So, what did I spend 2011 listening to? As it turns out, quite a lot. This is the first year that I’ve had a portable music player capable of holding (nearly) my entire music collection, and I have a habit of listening to everything on shuffle. That said, a few things managed to stand out. My “top 10” in reverse order, from my Last.fm listening statistics:
Tied for 8th place
Tied for 6th place
I seem to remember this one from last year—just goes to show that good songs never die, right? Although yuiko has come out with several new songs and albums since this one was released way back in 2007, Discolor—with its simple pop-rock style and strong musical hook—has consistently remained one of my favourite songs. And to think I originally got it on a whim…
Tied for 4th place
With vocals by Tsubaki and a really catchy beat, leaving this song on repeat a few times was surely responsible for propelling this song near the top of my list, as it was released almost exactly one year ago. A Touhou arrange song, although as the years go by it sometimes gets harder and harder to tell where the “Touhou” is in them… but never mind, it’s a fun song.
In her first single after switching labels to Epic Records, her producers apparently wanted to try something different from the soft and slow songs that 牧野由依 had become known for. As a result, this song is catchy and up-beat and shows a side of 牧野由依 that we hadn’t seen before. Also, a sweet piano intro.
In 3rd place
I’ve never been quite sure how to describe the style of binaria’s songs, but this one fits in with them as being just as… whatever it is… as the rest of them. A very minimal arrangement allows the vocal harmonization between やなぎなぎ and Annabel to be the star of the song.
Tied for 1st place
It almost feels like cheating a bit, with two first-place songs; but based on my listening habits, that’s exactly what I have right now. Let’s take a look at what we have:
Like PiPiPiPARU, this is another song with an addictive, catchy beat and vocals by Tsubaki. It’s the older of the two EastNewSound songs that made this list, which both share a few similarities—including arrange by crouka. But when comparing two great songs one usually comes out on top, and this year, this was the song that I listened to slightly more often.
Come to think of it, this song actually appeared in the same spot on this list last year, having been released back in March, 2010. Somehow it has managed to retain that #1 spot over an entire year on the strengths of its arrangement, including an awesome piano melody and strong vocals. At the end of last year, IOSYS actually released an updated version STAR RIVER (D.watt alternative), but it didn’t make a dent in the listings—the lyrics were translated into English, and the vocalist wasn’t as strong in that language, not to mention that it lost the piano intro!
The last word
Yes, I know there are 12 songs in my “top 10”. But it really didn’t seem right to arbitrarily exclude two of the songs from the #8 spot.
Anyways, I guess that’s really a summary of what music I liked this year. Of course, I listened to a lot of music over the course of the year, and most of it—by far—was nowhere near this list. The spread was actually pretty small! My #1 tracks were only listened to a total of 19 times, while the #8 tracks only played 9 times. Which is really a side-effect of playing a lot of music on shuffle; I hear most songs just occasionally, unless I actively seek them out.
I do seem to be rather partial to female Japanese vocalists, though…