Today is J-pop day on The Bias List and I’m counting down my eighty favorite songs of the year! You’ll want to start with the honorable mentions, but this post will cover songs 30 to 11.
30. Johnny’s West – Susumu Shikanee
Johnny’s West are at their best when they embrace raucous rock sounds and let their vocals rip. Susumu Shikanee is pure catharsis — a shout-along anthem that gets my heart racing every time I hear it.
29. 8LOOM – Forever Or Never
TBS’s fictional boy group 8LOOM released stronger music than they needed to, lapping their real-life peers with the propulsive Forever Or Never. That multi-pronged chorus is so addicting. (full review)
28. News – Loser
I’m so delighted News have continued with their hearty, anthemic sound even after big-voiced Tegoshi left the group. This is pure bombast and suits them so well. (full review)
27. Faky – Rock, Paper, Scissors
I haven’t been this invested in Faky’s music since 2017’s Someday We’ll Know! Rock, Paper, Scissors is explosive dance pop, harnessing the group’s impressive vocals for a series of satisfying climaxes. And for a fun connection, it was written by Da-iCE’s Sota Hanamura!
26. Snow Man – Juicy
Initially, I feared this was a bit too K-poppy for Snow Man, but their personality pokes through any song and I quickly became enraptured by Juicy‘s smooth charms. (full review)
25. One Love One Heart – Honjitsu wa Seiten Nari
I’m so excited for this new co-ed group from Avex and Stardust. Their music has been excellent so far and you’ll be seeing more of it on this countdown. But just because Honjitsu wa Seiten Nari is the lowest-ranked of the three singles doesn’t make it a slouch. The youthful garage rock sound is so enjoyable and that chorus just soars.
24. Man With A Mission – Blaze
I loved everything Man With A Mission released this year, but Blaze has the leg up thanks to its single-minded intensity. It’s a straightforward rocker in the best way and the vocal layering during its chorus is immense.
23. Snow Man – Refresh
Snow Man usually have a big presence on my list because they release so much solid music. Refresh‘s YouTube edit does the song no favors, but it offers a taste of the track’s big-beat energy. The chorus is such an earworm. (full review)
22. 8LOOM – Come Again
Most “real-life” boy groups would kill for a chorus this great! It ended up being the perfect soundtrack to the fun Kimi no Hana ni Naru drama and a rallying cry for idol fans everywhere.
21. Naniwa Danshi – Diamond Smile
Diamond Smile feels like the ultimate version of a certain style of “kira kira” idol song. It won’t be for everyone, but there’s no resisting those sprawling, sugary melodies. (full review)
20. The Rampage – Ray Of Light
The Rampage kicked off the year in style with Ray Of Light‘s vibrant 80’s throwback. I love the use of vocal effects in the chorus, giving the melody an otherworldly appeal. (full review)
19. INI – We Are
I want INI’s music to be so much better than it is, and standouts like We Are make that desire even more bittersweet. The group’s vocals are finally able to shine on its swooping chorus. It’s by far their strongest single. (full review)
18. The Rampage – Tsunage Kizuna
Every single The Rampage released the year had its charms, but Tsunage Kizuna‘s massive, synth-propelled chorus takes the prize for me. I’m a sucker for this sound, especially when it’s delivered with such gusto. (full review)
17. Johnny’s West – Shirankedo
Surrealism is an underrated facet in pop music, and Johnny’s West’s strange Shirankedo proved how brilliant it can be when tied to a killer hook and a personality-rich performance. (full review)
16. King & Prince – Ichiban
Even as a fan of Johnny’s artists, I can admit that a heavy hip-hop track like this shouldn’t work so well in their hands. Ichiban succeeds on the thrill of its production, the groove in its beat, and the group’s willingness to tackle the sound head-on. (full review)
15. NIK – La Vida Loca
Fans of K-pop are going to love this one since it sounds so much like what many Korean boy groups are doing (or at least, should be doing). That chorus sweeps in with such massive force. (full review)
14. King & Prince – Tsukiyomi
Seriously, Kinpuri’s 2022 output was so varied! Tsukiyomi stands as my favorite of their 2022 releases thanks to its strong vocal performance and exciting instrumental. How many times do we hear accordion play such a prominent role in a modern pop track? (full review)
13. Genic – JiriJiri Summer
This became a real sleeper hit for me, growing more addictive over the months. There’s something almost Grease-like about its buoyant melodies and the whole song drips with personality. It’s an instant boost of serotonin.
12. Predia – Dress
Dear universe: why did I only discover Predia during the year of their disbandment? Seriously, their music has everything I love in a girl group and Dress is a late-career standout that has a lot in common with Sweetune-era Kara (a massive compliment, btw!).
11. Superfly – Voice
Superfly have a long history, but Voice reinvents the duo as a solo project for vocalist Shiho Ochi and gives her a gospel-tinged dance epic to fully showcase her talent. It’s a stunning sound, made more immense by its theatrical arrangement.