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The Top 50 J-Pop Songs of 2022: 10-1

The Top 50 J-Pop Songs of 2022

Today is J-pop day on The Bias List and I’m counting down my eighty favorite songs of the year!

Now that you’ve had a chance to check out songs 80 to 11, it’s time for the best of the best — my absolute favorite J-pop tracks of 2022. This year, it’s a great blend of familiar faces and some new names.

HONORABLE MENTIONS
SONGS 50-31
SONGS 30-11
SONGS 10-1

2022 YEAR-END MASTERPOST


10. Snow Man – Orange Kiss



I happen to have a sweet tooth for pop music, and Orange Kiss was the most sugary offering from Snow Man in 2022. It’s a fizzy J-pop idol track through and through. It may not be extraordinarily unique or boundary-pushing, but sometimes you just want the classics delivered with plenty of excitement and panache. I played this one to death over the summer. (full review)


9. One Love One Heart – Now Or Never

This is the kind of song that sneaks up on you. At first, it might not seem like much. But, once you hit its explosive finale you realize the journey it’s taken you on. There’s a lovely sense of tension between the big, choral hook and the quieter, more hypnotic moments during the verses. Then, we have that brilliant post-chorus instrumental riff that intensifies to close the track in rousing fashion.


8. Superfly – Dynamite

Sometimes it’s easy to forget just how vital a killer vocal performance can be. Shiho Ochi absolutely shreds on Dynamite, meeting the intensity of the blistering instrumental with her explosive delivery. Just listen to that moment halfway through when the brass intensifies and she transports us to another dimension with her effortless vocal ascent. It’s hard not to get goosebumps.


7. One Love One Heart – Glory Daze

This was only released a few weeks ago, but it was love at first listen. One Love One Heart have already carved out an exciting niche for themselves, fusing idol theatrics with ballsy rock energy. This song plays like some demented glee club and I am absolutely here for that. The chorus hits like a sledgehammer and the music video is all sorts of Total Eclipse Of The Heart weirdness.


6. Miyavi – Strike It Out

Miyavi practically has a reserved seat in my top ten. His music is just so passionate and exciting. Strike It Out is effusive and intense, its emotion seared into every note. It’s an instant energy-lifter that will make you feel like you’re ready to conquer the world. It’s the anthem of anthems, really. (full review)


5. JO1 – Move The Soul

JO1 delivered the Born To Be Wild sequel we deserved with Move The Soul. This bombastic funk pop sound is so perfectly matched to their skills and I selfishly want them to record nothing but this style for the rest of their career. That chorus feels like such a big moment, underlined by the stickiest of grooves. (full review)


4. Naniwa Danshi – The Answer

Naniwa Danshi are known for their bright, sparkly pop music. But, I was thrilled when they tried on this darker sound. “Dark” in Johnny’s terms often means symphonic instrumentation and bounding, propulsive hooks. It’s a style I absolutely love, and it’s wonderful to hear a younger group keep it alive. The Answer‘s immense chorus is pure catnip for my pop music sensibilities. (full review)


3. Fantastics – Summer Bike

Summer Bike has had a ridiculously long life on my playlist. It may be because I simply adore this group, but the song itself manages to be super addicting without ever resorting to obvious hooks. Its undulating synth production makes for a mighty through-line, over which the guys deliver a series of smooth melodies that have such a natural ebb and flow. It’s hypnotic. (full review)


2. Ado – New Genesis

I mean, this is just immense, isn’t it? A deserved smash in Japan, New Genesis ties Ado’s powerful vocal to an ultra-dramatic production powered by resounding percussion and shimmers of synth accents. There’s such wonderful movement within this track as it grows toward its gargantuan chorus. I remember being bowled over the first time I heard it. That sense of excitement still lingers months later. (full review)


1. Sexy Zone – Forever Gold

Sexy Zone return to the top of my countdown after 2020’s Run. Honestly, they made a clean sweep this year. They released my favorite J-pop single, my favorite J-pop album (The Highlight) and my favorite J-pop b-side (Desideria). Forever Gold‘s splashy 80’s synth stabs and ebullient melodies were practically designed for me, crafted by one of my favorite producers Christofer Erixon (he also worked on Kis-My-Ft2’s Gravity!).

I recommend playing this loud in the car on a summer’s day. Of course, you’ll need the full version (dang YouTube edits!), especially for its fantastic second verse. Forever Gold is pure, giddy happiness fused to a pop song, and that’s a sensation I’ve always treasured. In 2022, I played no J-pop track more than this one. (full review)

22 thoughts on “The Top 50 J-Pop Songs of 2022: 10-1

  1. Thanks to K-pop boygroups being so terrible the first part of this year, Da-ICE singing the theme to Turning Red in Japanese and Doyoung’s Spotify playlist turning me on to Higedana, I have a ton of j-pop and dance-pop on my top titles and b-sides this year.

    Also shout outs to your regular j-pop reviews and Spotify’s Dance Pop: Japan. I might not like the
    exact same songs as you or their curator, but I get names to explore. So, huge thanks!

    Titles
    Kareki and Dino Jr. – Lightsign
    Ayumu Imazu – Tangerine
    Atarashi Gakko! – Free Your Mind (Spanish ver)
    Morisaki Win – Live in the Moment
    Zinee&issei, sty, RIOSKE – Nankai Melody
    Perfume – Spinning World
    Rampage from Exile Tribe – Ray of Light

    B-sides (fewer cause way more lead singles in J-pop)
    Da-ICE – Clap and Clap
    U-Know – Siren
    Da-ICE – Sweet Day
    TVXQ! – Like Snow White
    One ‘n’ Only – Focus
    CIX – Wonderng
    SF9 – Tear Drop (Japanese ver)
    Takeshi Fujii – Mirai Express 11

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  2. I don’t listen to much jpop but some of my faves of this year from the kpop artists :

    TVXQ Epitaph (Overall one of my favorite songs of the year❤‍🔥 I can’t ever get tired of this!)
    Ateez Rocky Boxer Ver.
    &Team Under the Skin (I love this so so much!)
    &Team Scent of You

    And the one japanese song I just chanced across by accident but loved : Vaundy Hadaka No Yuusha

    I discovered this as the bgm in a funny video actually but the song was so good that I sought out the full version. It’s the ending for Ousama Ranking and though I know nothing about the anime, if a song can catch my interest even without having a background of the anime it makes it a really good one in my books

    Liked by 1 person

  3. great choices – love the top 3 a lot so they’re apt picks for sure. so glad my favorite snowman single of the year made it this high up for you – i thought brother beat was going to be your highest actually! happy new year, nick and thanks for all that your write and review as always.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. honestly its so sad that half of the songs on here arent available on any sort of streaming (at least in the states) it just makes it so much harder to get into it yk?

    (with that in mind nick do u know any good platforms to listen to jpop songs unavailable on streaming…help me out here)

    Liked by 1 person

    • also ado in the runner up spot AS SHE SHOULD BE!!!!

      srsly her vocals are absolutely insane (i mean. how in the FUCK is she only 20) but tbh as much as i absolutely ADORE odo i just have a hard time getting into her other stuff bc its a lot more subdued compared to that (like u mean to tell me odo is her ONLY edm banger song???? bffr) but i still LOVED new genesis like….idk how to describe it its like the same type of feeling u get listening to snsds into the new world but w a ton of adrenaline mixed in…..incredible shit truly

      Liked by 1 person

    • Omg I was just about to leave a similar comment. I love Jpop and listen to it when I can, but I can’t tell you how many times I go to listen to a song and it’s blocked in my region. Not on Spotify, Youtube, Itunes, nada. I was gonna ask Nick how do you listen to these songs? VPN and buy them on Itunes Japan? I tried to VPN on Spotify and that doesn’t even work because Spotify uses the region based on your CREDIT CARD 😭

      No one tell on me but I downloaded Sexy Zone’s “Run” EP track by track from Bililli or whatever it’s called. This is where I’m at for a solution at this point lmao

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haha we’ve all been there! I think most of the stuff on this list (minus anything by a Johnny’s act) is available on streaming worldwide. Johnnys just hasn’t made it there yet so you’ve either got to import the cds (fyi the anime-style artwork on the Sexy Zone “The Highlight” physicals is beautiful) or know the right people.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Besides Ado (an obvious peak in top 3), I rly like Now or Never, even though I’ve just heard it for the very first time, did not know the group before!

    Btw, judging from your top 80 and one of the comments above, it seems to me that co-ed groups are much more prevalent in Jpop than in Kpop these days; I don’t know if it’s always been this way but I find it pretty interesting

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    • This is really just off the top of my head and not necessarily in order. Also, some of these are bands fronted by female singers:
      Every Little Thing
      E-girls
      Ayumi Hamasaki
      Nanase Aikawa
      TRF
      Predia
      Favorite Blue
      The “46” groups – I don’t necessarily have a favorite because it’s so dependent on the song
      Morning Musume
      Namie Amuro
      Dream
      Pamelah
      And not sure this counts since it’s co-ed: AAA

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  6. Every year I check these Jpop lists and I carefully listen to the ones that sound promising. Without exception, I always find one new group that I instantly love and I can’t stop listening to their music.
    2020 was M!LK, 2021 was Naniwa Danshi, and now it’s time for One Love One Heart. Thank you for making these lists and I hope you continue with them next year! Can’t wait to discover my new favorite Jpop group in 2023!

    Like

      • I actually watched this performance yesterday! It’s great, and that’s my favorite song of them.
        Now that I watched it again, I noticed they have a very Broadway feeling to them, they remind me of Spring Awakening a little bit.
        I haven’t read anything about the members yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they have some background in musical comedy or ballet. I have a few years of ballet myself and I can tell by the way they jump that they’ve received that type of training.

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  7. This year, my favourite releases were:
    Dios – Bloom
    Eve – Bouto
    LiSA – シフクノトキ

    Fujii Kaze’s Shinunoga E-Wa got a lot of recognition this year and I’m glad it did. It’s a great song.

    Other than these, I didn’t listen to much J-pop this year

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