Top ten albums of 2015: Honorable mentions, Bollywood, etc.

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Honorable mentions:

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callme’s Who is callme?: More than just Perfume knockoffs, this is a solid electro-pop debut that runs just a little long at 16 tracks.

Arashi’s Japonism: Idol seniors expand on the recent national pride movement with an album heavy on traditional instruments. I’ll give them their due.

JUJU’s WHAT YOU WANT: Fun disco-pop from an underrated stateswoman of J-pop.

AILEE’s VIVID: R&B vocal powerhouse finally given songs that aren’t just Beyonce-replicas (bonus points for the track featuring Amber).

Flower’s Hanadokei: Ballad masters hit all the sweet spots with this beautiful collection of slow-tempo torch songs.

Hey! Say! JUMP’s JUMPing CAR: Fun boy band idol pop that see-saws between cutesy idol pop and EXILE-light jams.

The Only Three Bollywood Soundtracks You Need, 2015:

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01. Amit Trivedi: Bombay Velvet
02. Sanjay Leela Bhansali: Bajirao Mastani
03. A. R. Rahman: Tamasha

Top Ten English Language Pop Albums of 2015:

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01. Adam Lambert: The Original High
02. Justin Bieber: Purpose
03. Ellie Goulding: Delirium
04. Selena Gomez: Revival
05. Madeon: Adventure
06. Carly Rae Jepsen: E-MO-TION
07. One Direction: Made in the A.M.
08. Hilary Duff: Breathe In. Breathe Out.
09. Marina and the Diamonds: FROOT
10. Miami Horror: All Possible Futures

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Friday night Oricon (May 25, 2009)

An every Friday in a while look at the weekly Oricon Top Twenty Singles Chart.

If I were a Morning Musume fan, I might enjoy the banality of “Shouganai Yume Oibito” (#1), but since I’m not, the appears-approved track of the week is Mika Nakashima’s “Over Load” (#8); not because it’s particularly good, but because my diligent observation of the charts for the past six weeks has indicated how poor songs on the chart actually are; to personally rate a song higher than three on a five scale has become cause for joy. Increasingly, I’m becoming sensitive to rating within context: this song is less bad than that other bad song.

Kaela Kimura and her giant sweater-clad back-up dancers spend their second week in the top twenty with BANZAI (#18), a cute, late 90’s rocker grrrl track. THE ALFEE prove they are (barely) still alive! with single Sakura no Mi no Jukusuru Toki (#6); their appearance on May 8’s Music Station was like a sadly unironic aping of The Darkness (I’m referring to the glass-guitar wielding, pink-bell-bottom wearing, auburn-tressed vocalist) that was equal parts disturbing as it was embarassing. w-inds.’s are #2 with Rain Is Fallin’, a combination of pop, 80’s nostalgia, and Hammer time! fashion. JUJU’s low-key piano duet Ashita ga Kurunara is still in the top ten for the third week (and finally growing on me), which includes a cover of “The Rose.” Other covers include Hyde of L’arc~en~ciel’s side project VAMPS attempting Bowie’s “Life on Mars” on EVANESCENT (#4) and Kiyoharu’s “HELLO, I LOVE YOU” on Kurutta Kajitsu (#10) . All covers are, if not terrible, unnecessary.

Mika Nakashima’s single Over Load is the most entertaining of the singles this week, mostly because it’s surprising; from her role in the feature film Nana, to every pedestrian single she has released since 2001, Nakashima has been the shoulder to cry on when insomnia strikes. On her first number one single she says, “I was really surprised at first, but I assumed that that was the way it is, because I really knew nothing at all.” Which says nothing about anything. Just like this single, that I didn’t instantly hate. Again, I’m learning to judge within the system. It’s not easy.