A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
TOP 20 ARTISTS OF 2017
AVEX STRIKES BACK
It is a Dark Time for Japanese Idol Groups. Although AKB48 and affiliated groups still
maintain Oricon Chart Dominance, 2017 continued the trend of local idols being forsaken
by their management. With many popular Idol Groups being disbanded early in the year, and
several being gobbled up by larger labels and stripped of what made them unique in favor of
trying to compete with generic songs in hopes of copying a dying formula in a crowded market.
Still there is hope. Nearly as fast as longstanding idol groups have been snuffed out, new groups
continue to bubble up, independent artists throughout Japan continue to write incredible music,
and it seems there’s still youthful energy out there and performers that are still willing to dream.
The evil lord AVEX, obsessed with finding new ways to tarnish my favorite group of last year
but, the fight isn’t over, and the music continues.. the performance continues. These
are the artists that made 2017 so much more enjoyable than it could’ve been, and you
should check these out and treat yourself to something new… (in no particular order)
While Making this list, I tried to base this on what I’ve been actively listening to throughout
the year, and tried to keep it to only groups that are still currently active. And, I’ve given priority to
artists I’ve seen in person live, so try not to take this too seriously if you think i’m missing someone
from this list. There’s too many that I listen to on repeat that either didn’t release hardly anything in 2017
or aren’t around at all anymore.
Devil Anthem cranked out a killer album in 2017 that’s been on my personal playlist most of the year, and this song in particular is a a total banger.
I’ve seen them live before back in akihabara, but they’ve really been ramping up their game this year, and you should really keep an eye out for them.
If I had to pick one group to watch out for Fukuoka Based idol Group CRUiSE! would be it. I had a big trip to Fukuoka this year, and they
didn’t let me down with their live show, and the rest of their songs are top notch. Some of my favorite song writers and music producers are behind this group.
So musically the legacy of some recently disbanded groups continues with this group. Also previous members from Stereo Fukuoka are in this group.
Also, make note of the dynamic and created choreography in their songs, it’s really great!
ヲルタナティヴ / Woltanative
Woltanative is a offshoot creation by the same company that brings us MAPLEZ, and features some MAPLEZ Members and some members
who were previously in other idol groups. If you’re as into MAPLEZ as I am, you’ll love this project because alot of the same musical DNA is present.
This group has been touring hard since their debut hitting Tokyo area constantly and making press appearances. Their songs span EDM to Rock, and they have
alot of class and high production. Continue to watch as is group continues to impress…
With Future-Bass being the trendy genre, and having music backed by current dominating producer Yunomi, CY8BER continues
to forge ahead with a unique sound and overall direction by leader Rinahamu, this could be the posterchild for the best sounds coming out of Japan right now.
Through word of mouth, and sheer quality anything Yunomi is involved with is required listening going into 2018.
(BAND JA NAIMON!)
Kicking off 2017 with a proclamation of having a “Perfect Year” was more than big words! Consistently churning out killer unique singles, music videos
and hitting the promo circuits all year have simply been overwhelming with how good they have been this year. pick any song or video they’ve released this year
and you be treated to something different from the last song, and all so incredible. This is a group at it’s best right now, and who knows what’s after this??
Either way, as a fan i’m hooked and I can’t get enough.
DEVIL NO ID
This is the kind of idol music for the club that makes you just say “holy shit this hits hard”. Basically take Trap music and dancehall and mix it
with idols and you get DEVIL NO ID, and seriously if you don’t know… now you do. You’re Welcome. Just wait for that drop and you’ll understand.
Even though the last couple years have seen lineup changes, MIRI and co. haven’t let up, and are slaying all who stand in their way.
Idol-rap icons at this point. I’ve been championing their cause since the beginning, and they’re doing a great job of keeping it going.
my bet is that 2018 is going to be a big year for them as they continue to assert their dominance within the scene.
Returning to the spotlight is one of the original shibuya-kei electro legends. Aira Mitsuki was part of the same electro boom that brought us Perfume
and she’s back with one of the best albums of her whole career “Pyramidal” is one of those albums that has no low points, it’s all gold. it’s a must have.
I think a whole new generation that missed out on her in her early days can discover her now, and this is a wonderful thing.
All hail AIRA!
Fronted by Fuki from Lightbringer/Doll$Boxx, this metal super group is the real deal. I’m already a huge fan of Fuki’s vocals, but the
rest of the band really suits her epic style by being equally epic with neo-classical death metal and virtuoso guitar solos. I’ve checked
out their back catalogue and it’s equally impressive. So I can highly recommend this to everyone with a Metal tendency.
Tacoyaki Rainbow just keeps releasing killer tracks that have a tendency to reference and mimic classic songs from techno, dance, and disco tracks.
Everything about them is fun, and it’s the kind of music you can just use to forget your troubles and just enjoy life.
As one of my favorite performers the last couple years, I will continue to sing her praises this year too. Incredible song production by Sasaki Kissa from Recoride.
KOTO’s energetic dancing and bright attitude brings light where there is darkness. if you’re not on the hype train already, toot-toot alllll aboaaaaard.
(Niji no Conquistador)
Nijicon is kind of one of those groups I forget about then come back to and realize just how many songs I like of theirs. They’ve been
consistently churning out great tracks and videos for the last 3 or 4 years, and they’re worth catching up with!
Keeping their spot as one of my go-to musical choices, PassCode have been enjoying incredible success and have been touring
non-stop pretty much since blowing up a year or so ago. I knew they were great when I first discovered them early on, and this a great example
of there still being room for new things within idol music. Many have tried to copy their formula since, but PassCode continue to be the gold standard.
I’ve been really getting into this group during 2017! They still don’t have many songs, but I really enjoy them, especially some of the b-sides.
You can get their songs digitally pretty easily via OTOTOY, and you won’t be disappointed. Also, Akimoto Yuuki has been one of my favorite idols
this year due to her crazy energy and over the top enthusiasm.
A true artist in every sense of the word. She writes, produces, performs, she’s the real deal. She had a big 2017 featuring collabs with Yunomi, and Nagomu Tamaki to name a few
Staying true to her chiptune roots and energetic sounds, she continues to prove she’s a huge part of what makes Japan’s underground music scene so vibrant.
Fairies continued to be a big group for me in 2017 with a steady release schedule and variety presence, and with a insane eurobeat inspired
single due out in late January 2018 i’m so hyped for what’s to come with how they seem to going into a kind of retro phase for their song choices
going into the new year. Watch for Fairies to light up 2018 in a big way.
Morning Musume ’17
So, there I was enjoying the Morning Musume EDM phase when my favorite member left… the music carried on kicking ass, and then
Kaga Kaede shows up and just slays in this debut video that set the tone for Morning Musume’s 2017. This is a great time to get back into Morning Musume
and I think this is going to be looked back as a epic moment in the long history of this Japanese Musical Institution.
chelmico are part of Tokyo’s vibrant underground indie hip-hop scene, and their music covers alot of ground and generally kicks all kinds of ass.
If you’re looking for something different, maybe something that isn’t trying to be a epic radio hit all the time, chelmico is for you. This is music for
music lovers, this isn’t fluffy junk food for your ears, this is a cultured high-class meal you need to savor with the right moment.
Despite Studio Maples’ cafe being closed down in Hiroshima, MAPLEZ (formerly known as Hiroshima Maples) continue to release amazing music
and if anything their homebase being gone has led to them hitting the road more and growing their fanbase across Japan. I pretty much love ever track they’ve ever made,
and it’s all so amazingly produced that I can’t help but keep being a huge fan. Please check out all their music if you haven’t yet, it’s all superb.
Started getting into this group towards the end of last year and during this year I have been slowing becoming a huge fan. After seeing them live in Fukuoka several times,
I’ve got to say that they’re one of my current favorite live acts right now. Their music has a cool Japanese traditional sound mashed with Rock and other styles. They’re
Pretty much a Kyushu exclusive group, so odds are you won’t hear about them outside of Fukuoka region, but after seeing them in person it’s hard to deny their power.
Finding their music online is difficult, and Youtube videos alone don’t really do their energy and elegance justice. Although I highly recommend them to anyone.