Friday, December 25, 2009

»» My Top 10 Albums of the Decade

Since 2009 is coming to an end, I decided to put some thought into what are the best asian albums from this decade. I started listening to asian music in 2004, but have checked out some older stuff, so I think I have a good view of the decade overall. Of course this is a personal list, so the reviewing isn't by any means professional, and I probably left a lot of good stuff out, and will later remember other albums I loved and should have made the list, but right now, this is the top 10. Out of 10 albums, 4 of them were released in 2008, so the fact that they were released just last year might have influenced my decision a little bit, but oddly enough, no albums from 2009 made the list. The albums are listed on alphabetical order. There's no way I could pick a favourite out of these. Let's get started :)

Buono! - Café Buono!

Released in 2008, this was Buono!'s debut album. Buono! is the most successful Hello!Project unit right now, and this album might just be the perfect explanation. Hello!Project acts are usually bashed and people are always saying they aren't actually talented and all, but those people certainly have not given them a chance. If you're one of them, try Buono!. This album showcases Momoko's, Miyabi's and Airi's talent very well, and they're three of the most talented girls in Hello!Project. The vocals are terrific, and all songs are very enjoyable. The peaceful Hoshi no Hitsuji Tachi was the song that got me hooked at first and it's still one of my favourite ones, but it surely doesn't top Kimi ga Ireba as my favourite song. The lyrics are beautiful and it's one of their best vocal performances. Other highlights of the album are Baketsu no Mizu and the title track.

Utada Hikaru - HEART STATION

Utada's talent is undeniable. She holds the record of the best selling album ever in Japan for a reason: her music is beautiful, 'cause she always puts so much emotion into it. Therefore, it always sounds like she's actually connected to each song, and that gives her an egde, 'cause that way people can relate more to the songs. This album contains Flavor Of Life, which is one of her biggest hits ever and a great song. My personal favourite is Fight The Blues, the first track, 'cause it always cheers me up. Other noteworthy tracks are Take 5 and Stay Gold.


After two highly praised albums, YUI released I LOVED YESTERDAY and most people said it was boring and simply more of the same stuff she's always done. As if that was a bad thing. I love this album because it single-handedly got me into YUI. No, I never cared about YUI 'til 2008. I fell so hard for this album that I downloaded the rest of her discography and listened to it, but it's still my favourite release from her. Singles Namidairo and LOVE & TRUTH are definitely two of the strongest tracks off the album, but the chaotic Daydreamer and the dreamy Am I wrong? are definitely my favourite ones. There are no filler songs in this album, though, so I really like every track.

Ai Otsuka - LOVE JAM

Ai Otsuka's voice kind of haunts me at times. Back in mid-2008 I had a really huge Ai Otsuka addiction for a few months, and I would listen to all of her albums and singles and b-sides a million times, which is why she's ranked so high in my account. This album, however, was always my favourite. Don't get me wrong, Ai Otsuka has yet to put out a bad album, but this one is really a great one, and it was released like 9 months after the previous one, which means she put this together in no time, and that's really something. My favourite track is Daisuki da yo, but Futatsu Boshi Kinenbi, Friends (the album version is MUCH better than the one included in the Daisuki da yo single) and Kingyo Hanabi are also really really awesome. And Superman is superfunny xD

BoA - My Name

I've been listening to K-Pop ever since I started listening to J-Pop. In fact, the first asian song I ever heard was the korean version of BoA's Rock With You. Boy, did that blow my mind... However, as my love for J-Pop progressed, not many K-Pop acts managed to win me over. BoA's My Name is one of the few K-Pop albums that, 5 years after its release, still makes me go like 'wow, this sounds really great and fresh'. This is BoA's korean masterpice, mostly due to its heart-throbbing ballads. Feeling too happy? Try listening to My Prayer, Good-Bye and Stay In Love.

Ayumi Hamasaki - MY STORY

Ayumi Hamasaki is probably one of the most consistent musical acts I have ever followed. For me, MY STORY is her masterpiece, and most definitely one of my all-time favourite albums. I couldn't possibly name my favourite song, 'cause even the interludes, especially Catcher In The Light, are awesome. Then there's About You, one of Ayu's strongest rock songs, the absolutely perfect ballad streak with Liar, HOPE or PAIN, HAPPY ENDING, Moments, walking proud and CAROLS, the heart-warming HONEY... And the album's jacket is also probably the coolest one I've ever seen. There isn't a single song I feel like skipping when I listen to this album, and it was also one of the first asian albums I actually bought, so it's really close to my heart. Whenever I try to get someone into asian pop, this is one of the albums I tell them to listen.

Namie Amuro - PLAY

I must confess, this is a shallow entry. The only reason why this album is here is because I'm a sucker for beats and gay divas.

Ikimonogakari - Sakura Saku Machi Monogatari

This was the first thing I ever heard from Ikimono, and it totally blew my mind. Their fourth album was quite a surprise, and totally made me rethink all those things I said on my Nakumonka review, but they have yet to outdo this one. The emotion in SAKURA, Koisuru Otome and Tayumu Koto na Kinagare no Naka de is simply overwhelming, and so is the joy in all the upbeat numbers. Their new album, Hajimaru no Uta, brings back some of this emotion and joy, and is worth a serious listen.

Nell - Separation Anxiety

Most people won't even know this one. Nell is a korean band and I know absolutely nothing about them. However, when they released this album I was going through a rough time and felt kind of sad, so when I read the album's description on z-degrees, I decided to download it. Now that's what I call a blessing in disguise. Separation Anxiety is quite the experimental album, but has a few generic, fun songs too. The lead promo song, 기억을 걷는 시간, is awesome, the guy's vocals are probably how I think an angel's voice would sound like if angels existed. I can't really say what are the best songs in the album, I love all of them, so just listen to all of it, 'cause it's really a effin' awesome album.


Oh, BoA, the way you do me. Once again, BoA is by far the most important J-Pop act in my book. She got me into asian music. VALENTI was the first album J-Pop album I have ever listened to, and while it might no longer be my favourite album of all time, it's certainly still one of the favourites. Everyone went crazy when she released LOVE & HONESTY, her third album, and yes, it's an awesome album, but for me it lacks some of the innocence (?) that made me like VALENTI so much. My favourite track has got to be Sekai no Katasumi de, with its gorgeous lyrics, closely followed by Moon & Sunrise and BESIDE YOU.

So there you have it. Right now, these are the 10 albums from the 00's I like the most. I realize most people will think most of them are crap, but hey, if you're one of those people... go fuck yourself. And have a Merry Christmas.

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by Sairo!