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The Top Ten Best Songs by AAA

Gosh, I’ve been meaning to create this best-of list for years now. But now that AAA are on their way to a nebulous (permanent?) hiatus, it seems like a good time to look back at their best singles.

For me, AAA are *the* co-ed J-pop group, impossible to fully replicate because their diverse set of performers just have so much charisma and chemistry with one another. At over seventy singles to choose from, this wasn’t an easy list to compile, which means there are a lot of honorable mentions. If you’re already familiar with the group, you’ll notice that a particular album (2011’s Buzz Communication) is represented very strongly in my top ten. What can I say? It’s just that good.

Honorable mentions:

Rainy Skies And Love Sound
Still Love You
Important Things
Hurricane Riri, Boston Mari
Blood On Fire
Wake Up!


10. Let It Beat! (2006)

Though I find much of the group’s early work to be hit-and-miss, Let It Beat aped debut track Blood On Fire’s aggressive dance sound to great effect.


9. Dejavu (2018)

Likely the last upbeat AAA single for a long time, Dejavu didn’t disappoint with its edgy electronics and bright pop chorus. It’s the sound of a group at their prime, able to successfully deliver a variety of tones and textures with ease. (full review)


8. New (2016)

A hand-clap happy pop track that finds AAA at their most mainstream, New compels listeners with a ridiculously sunny hook and filtered verses that replicate the sound of an old radio on a long summer drive.


7. Scent Of Summer Memories On The Wind (Kaze ni Kaoru Natsu no Kioku) (2014)

So much of J-pop excels at invoking a sense of wistful nostalgia, and Scent Of Summer Memories On The Wind is a sterling example of this. Its emotive melody and airy production rewards repeated listens.


6. Paradise (2010)

The first track from what I’d consider one of the best J-pop albums of all time, Paradise hits early with its soaring, Eurodance chorus, but truly impresses with the whirlwind force of its verses.


5. Undefeated Heart (Makenai Kokoro) (2010)

Another track from their flawless Buzz Communication album, Undefeated Heart hits hard right from the start. Its stadium-ready stabs of synths portend a track that pushes everything to eleven, surging on power vocals and unrelenting drama.


4. Party Up (2013)

Party Up takes the EDM trends of its era and improves upon them, anchored by a rousing chorus and personality-rich performance. It’s probably AAA’s most instantly accessible single, and certainly one of their most energetic.


3. Even Though I Love You, I Can’t (Aishiteru no ni, Aisenai) (2015)

AAA at their belt-it-out best, Even Though I Love You hinges on the incredible amount of emotion the group is able to infuse into the song. It’s a ballad with bite, pulsing forward on a sense of earned catharsis that gives each member a chance to shine.


2. Dream After Dream (2010)

A mammoth dance track, which might as well be tied for the number one place on my list. From the opening, chorused hook to the breakneck verses and insanely potent chorus, this is as good as pop music gets.


1. To Meet With A Reason (Aitai Riyū) (2010)

Not only my favorite AAA song, but one of my all-time favorite J-pop songs, period. Reason radiates emotional urgency from the very first moment, and never lets up. The instrumental is pure synth majesty, perfectly supporting the group’s diverse and powerful set of vocals. The melody is so strong and memorable, and draws on its simplicity to maximum effect. The fact that this was a double a-side with Dream After Dream is just stunning. Truly a feat of pop perfection.

~

7 thoughts on “The Top Ten Best Songs by AAA

  1. For me Aishiteru no ni, Aisenai would be right at the top of this list, but looking at this made remember just how fantastic AAA were at their prime. Buzz communication really is a fantastic album!

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  2. First of all, thank you once again for your public service. I had never heard of these people before.

    These songs have contemporary sounds, but the songwriting itself is old fashioned and comforting. “Dream after Dream” has an honest to goodness real break in it (2:25 to almost 3:25) and they aren’t afraid to let it run for a whole minute! “Aitai Riyu” is a good example of how to “bring a song home” with a real coda too (4:04 to end).

    So many of the rest of your list have that relentless energy that we all miss in current pop, without the excessive key changes that the western producers would have thrown in to amp it up. (only in “Paradise”)

    Finally, I appreciate that the women in the group are not there to be posed next to and shipped with the men in the group, but are allowed to hold their own. I feel that KARD consistently do intragroup shipping too much for my taste.

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    • Glad you’re digging them. They’ve got a huge (and very good) discography. And like Bigbang in the K-pop world, their solos are as good (if not better). Both of Nissy’s albums are pure perfection, imo.

      Glad you picked up on Aitai Riyu’s coda, as well. It’s one of my favorite parts of the track, and an oft-forgotten weapon in a pop songwriter’s arsenal.

      Like

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