Top 50 Progressive Idol Songs

So, I'm back once again with another of my stupidly long lists. This time, I'm choosing to list the most progressive idol songs.

Now, granted, progressiveness is a hard trait to define at the best of times. I am in the interesting situation that my three cobloggers are also big prog nerds, therefore I anticipate (and expect, don't let me down guys) some criticism regarding my choices. So, before we begin, just what is prog anyway? I had a go at explaining some of the stuff I class as prog metal here, but of course, prog metal is but a drop in the ocean. Prog is a massive sprawling genre, with nearly as many subgenres as metal. So I'll just leave you to make up your own minds on what is prog and what isn't, and get on with explaining some more of the system I've been using to determine my newest list.

This time, I started out with, once again, shitloads of idol songs. Probably approaching 1500 songs now, and I listened to all of them. I also asked Henkka for some recommendations, as he's better versed on early H!P that isn't Momusu than I am.

After that, I narrowed it down to about 140 songs which I deemed had some progressive qualities. I once again attempted using the * system to narrow it down further, but my prog-mind decided to be strict as fuck that day and wouldn't let me pick any more than 11. Not great when you're aiming for a list of 50, eh.

So, I went into my trusty Calc and stuck all the songs in. I deleted a few here and there along the way as I decided I'd been too easy on them, so my final count was 126 songs to get the 700 treatment.

Yes, the Seven Arbitrary Rankings have returned. This time, they are:

  • Length

  • Structure

  • Timbre Spectrum

  • Virtuosity

  • Musical Curiosities

  • Insanity

  • Awesomeness

Put them together and we get 700.

Now I'll explain in a bit more detail what each rank entails.

Length is obviously pretty obvious. Progressive music has the tendency to be quite longwinded and (some would say) bloated. Therefore any song with true progressive aspirations tends to be a bit longer than the three-minute radio friendly fare. However, of course, idols tend to be radio friendly anyway, so I determined (correctly, it turned out) that idols songs would not generally go beyond the length of seven minutes unless they were a medley or prefixed by a random play (I'm looking at you, Mr. Moonlight). Therefore I made a simple equation to give a scientific score for this category. Time (in seconds) divided by 42, then multiplied by 10. Round to the nearest whole number and you have the percent of exactly 7 minutes that the song comes in at. Only one song got 100.

Structure is basically how many parts the song is made up of. Obviously, a song repeating the same section over and over with no additions or progression will get a lower mark. Likewise, a simple Intro-Verse-Prechorus-Chorus-Interlude-Verse-Prechorus-Chorus-Mid8-Chorus-Outro won't get more than 45 unless the Interlude or Mid8 is greatly extended and slightly freeform. 100 points would be a rhapsody, ie. a song that never repeats a single section, or in one case, one that simply had so many bloody sections I lost track of them and had to redo it. The closest song to rhapsody structure only got 95 points, because after 11 consecutive sections it repeated the prechorus and chorus. The one 100 point song in this category had 16 distinct sections.

Timbre Spectrum is the variety of musical instruments, whether played or synthesised, that are used during the song. Obviously, some songs go wall of sound and blast them all at the same time playing the same thing. This doesn't really count. An example of what I mean from recent prog music is this song from Haken. Slightly circus in style, adding different accompanying instruments to distract from the rhythm, sometimes running as counterpoint to it. Also, obviously, use of very common prog instruments such as the Hammond, Mellotron, and Minimoog get some points, as does the use of instrumentation that goes against the "grain" of the song. Two songs got 100 on this section, one for using almost a whole raga, the other for using just about every bloody preset on a Korg triton and a few that ain't.

Virtuosity is a given. Progressive music is frequently equated with some of the best musicians in the world. Therefore, super virtuosity is getting marks. This applies to any instrument. Four songs got 100 on this section. Two were for guitarists, one was for the bassist, and one was for the entire playing band. Unfortunately the song for the bassist didn't make the final 50, so I'll just tell you that it's C-ute's Massara Blue Jeans.

Musical Curiosities is anything out of the ordinary music-wise. For example, shifts in tempo, time signature, key signatures (that aren't the common-as-fuck Westlife Stand Up For The Final Chorus Keychange), mode; or just being in a fucked up of the above to start with. Only one song got 100 on this, due to the mode it's in being so insane I can't understand it.

Insanity is one of the two obviously arbitrary ones. A lot of prog (and before that, psychedelic rock) artists are off their heads on something or other, or just insane. Thus, this heading. Anything that makes you go, "what the fuck did I just listen to?" will score high on this. Six songs got 100 on this.

Awesomeness is the most arbitrary ranking, just because it's whether or not I like it, and how much I judge the song to be worth on a holistic level. Not just prog, not just pop, but in general. Is it a good song? Obviously, this had the highest number of 100s at nineteen songs. But most of them didn't even make the list because they just weren't amazingly proggy. Also one song actually got 110 but that's just because it's the coolest song ever.

So, thus, a possibility of 700 points (or 710 if you're paying attention). This time I'll try to keep the complaints to a minimum and only link official-ish Youtube videos (or ones that have been up for a while). If I can't get one like that then I'll nick some more bandwidth and upload them in the mediaplayer.

So, to the list.

50. Buono - Deep Mind

This song follows a pretty normal structure, and musically it doesn't do a great deal of amazingness, until you reach the chorus. It doesn't have a hook. What pop song has a hookless chorus? Thus it got points for that. It also got a few points for the bizarre use of autotune in the mid-8. Horrible technology, yes, but it was so out of place and dissonant I figured it had some method to the madness, and thus it got prog points.


48=. C-ute - Edo no Temari Uta II

The shortest song on this list by some margin (only scored 35 for length), it's nonetheless on this list. Why? Well, the instrumentation is pretty weird. The structure is all over the bloody place, and hard to predict where it's ending up next, and it's pretty damn insane. Plus that jazzy piano solo. Ooh yea.


48=. Kusumi Koharu - Konnichipa

There's no video on youtube but this thing's been up three years so I guess it'll last a bit longer. So, yea, the first appearance of her crackiness herself. Whatever Koharu was on at any given time is probably worth the combined value of my entire possessions, so off her head she must have been. This gets major points for insanity (100, in fact). Plus that accordion is blissfully annoying and amusing. The reggae mid8 with her making weird noises just adds to the craziness.


45=. Momoiro Clover - Chai Maxx

The first appearance, but by no means the last. This got pretty high on my awesomeness and insanity scales, so maybe not the most worthy addition to the list, but it still has some weird stuff in the prechorus, a load of random Japanese puroresu terminology, and other insanity. Mid8 is also quite fun to listen to for the (admittedly quiet) guitar harmonies.


45=. Kikkawa Yuu - Aitakunattara

Forgive the OPV being of Airi. But the song is good and slow and has some Beatles-esque strawberry fields forever flutes in the verse. The length and awesomeness had high scores, but it's those flutes that got me truly over that this had progressive merit besides being just another long slow ballad. It is a long slow ballad though. Also has a slow synth solo and an acoustic guitar solo. Worth it I suppose.


45=. Kusumi Koharu - Balalaika

She's back again. This got high points for its interesting usage of Eastern European instrumentation (not including, shockingly, the eponymous instrument). Plus it's Koharu, so got insanity marks. But still, despite all that, I like it as a song. One of the few Koharu songs I don't want to viciously burn her to death in.


44. Momoiro Clover Z - Kimi no Ato

A ballad, with hints of some of the proggier era of Dire Straits, which I deemed just about proggy enough to make the list. It's also an amazing song, so it got points for that. One of the few songs on the Battle and Romance album that didn't go up to 11, it made up for it with being the nicest song on the album by far, and being awesome.


42=. C-ute - Kimi wa Jitensha, Watashi wa Densha de Kitaku

So, C-ute's newest (non-silly mashup) single. Got points for length, a bit of virtuosity (that lead guitar is some pretty shweet stuff), and some for musical curiosities. The solo is fucking sexy, I must say. Still, overall it's a nice little ballad with some very sexy guitar sounds and just about proggy enough.


42=. Kira☆Pika - Hana wo Puun!

Oh look it's cracky again. This was one of Henkka's recommendations, I wouldn't have subjected myself to it otherwise (I kid, I kid). So, once again, many points for insanity. Also has some ska brass band, so points for some extra instrumentation. The mid8 is just fucked up, some reggae and other stuff I don't know how to describe seem to have entered. Oh well.


40=. Berryz Koubou - Special Generation (Eccentric Remix)

So, it's a remix. I was going to disqualify it for that, but couldn't bring myself to. It's just so mental. Some jazz breakdowns and switches in instrumentation every few bars, which gained it some high points on the timbre rank. It's wonderfully mental and (I'm getting murdered for this) three hundred thousand times better than the original.


40=. Momoiro Clover Z - D'no Junjou

Some nice string instruments and beats make this an odd choice for a proggy song, but those dark bassy synths in the preprechorus are win. The mid8 also has some crazy ass music that employs the stereotypical DJ shout preset from every horrible digital drumkit ever, and pulls it off well.


39. Super☆Girls - Shelter Nanka Iranai

This song has some quite interesting instrument usage, as well as musical curiosities (such as the little change between the intro and the verse). It also got points for virtuosity (the guitar work is pretty good throughout). The little break in the mid8 is cool, and the song in general is quite win.


38. SKE48 - Shoujo wa Manatsu ni Nani wo Suru?

Excuse the terrible PV quality. SKE channel is a nightmare. Anyway, this mixes surf rock, Misirlou and odd structures to come up with one of the weirdest Bsides the AKB family have ever done. It also has a fucking mental as a really mental thing solo that is totally at odds with the slow surf-y music. Really worth it just for that tapping.


36=. Morning Musume. - 3, 2, 1 Breakin' Out

This song has a weird riff, and some odd stylings and generally isn't what one expects from Tsunku. Until you realise you've heard it somewhere before (more on that later). This got high marks for structure and insanity. Because whoever arranged it was deranged.


36=. Buono! - Blue-Sky-Blue

Some Floyd-esque stylings and general proggy buildup in this awesome ballad, also got a really high mark for virtuosity due to the final guitar solo blatantly channelling Dave Gilmour. The 80s chord strums in the second verse also helped this song get to this level.


35. Super☆Girls - THE ROCK YOU ~Kimi ga Kureta Akashi~

This song is punk, so why have I put it as prog? Well, the harmonies in the prechorus are cool, it also scored well in length and awesomeness. There are also hammond organs in it. The guitar solo is win as hell, and nice and long. The song structure is weird for punk and thus brings it into the prog-line. Prog Punk? Someone has to eventually I suppose.


32=. Morning Musume. - Dekiru Onna

This song made it for one reason only. Freddy Mercury decided to possess Tsunku for a day, and this was the result. The virtuosity is pretty Brian May-level, and sounds just like the guy. It's also fucking awesome, so more points there. Also some hammonds, pianos, guitar accents, and other cool stuff all over the place. All in all, win.


32=. Berryz Koubou - Magical Future (Full Proper Version)

Another one Henkka turned me on to, this gets here for the z0mgwtfawesomeness of the interlude that didn't make it into the album version? Why didn't it make it into the album version? Because Tsunku is a fool, I suppose. Anyway, the hammonds and change to 3/4 make the whole thing amazing. Then it just changes back to 4/4 and carries on as if nothing happened. Perfect.


32=. Morning Musume. - Odore! Morning Curry

It's Pirates! This gets marks for the random instrumentation, the weird key, the stupid lyrics, the little 3/4 section before the accordion solo and the general mood of insanity that pervades the song like the smell of vindaloo after a night on the piss that you can't remember but your stomach certainly does, and struggles to pass out from one end to the other. In other words, this song is the shit.


29=. Tokyo Girls' Style - Sayonara, Arigatou

The horrible synth bass TGS use aside, this song is long, strong, and win. Some use of accordion in the verse is an interesting counterpoint to the bass which is trying to pound the fuck out of my ears like a St. Bernard to a Chihuahua. This song also has a fucking wonderful solo, and the post solo bit is also full of epic win. Even though TGS really ain't my thing, this song is fucking lush.


29=. Morning Musume. - Koi no Dance Site

Indian instruments abound and a really cool bassline. The structure isn't too bad, but this song picks up its points on the timbre and insanity. It's also pretty awesome, so it got a few points on that end. Plus it has something no other song will ever have. SEXY BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAM!


29=. 9nine - Shiroi Hana

9nine's first album was fucked up and this song is no exception. Got a high mark for musical curiosities, the harmonies and oddness in this song is on a different level to what has been so far. The bass is quite well played, giving it some virtuosity points. There's also a keychange for the last chorus that isn't a Westlife one. Guess Amano Tsukiko knows what she's doing when writing songs.


28. AKB48 - Hana to Chire!

This song got quite a high mark for structure, because it keeps progressing through the song without going back to what's already been done too much. It also got musical curiosities, such as the mid8 interlude which has some weird additional instruments. Plus there are a hell of a lot of tempo changes, speeding up and slowing down constantly, as if someone could be fucked to use a metronome and just tapped something every time he felt like it. The guitar noises are also quite interesting.


27. C-ute - Hitorijimeshitakatta dake nanoni...

Prog dance metal or something, this song. Got quite high on timbre for using all these heavy synth basses and rock instrumentation at the same time. Musical curiosities got pretty high too, as well as virtuosity, mostly for the craziness in the mid8. If that riff isn't prog, nothing else in the world is. Proggiest riff I've ever heard in Jpop.


25=. Michishige Sayumi - It's You

This doesn't sound like your average anything song. Until, once again, you reach the middle 8, where the Hammond solo and guitar solo break the fuck out of your ears before attempting to rape your deaf, spasming body. Plus Sayu's annoying as hell voice is at least better than that of the beloved (lol) singer of Dream Theater, one Mr. James LaBrie.


25=. Melon Kinenbi - This is Unmei

Dat opera stuff at the beginning. Then punk. Then who knows what the fuck is going on. Melon always screwed up my senses, mostly because they were supposed to be idols but holy fuck they could all sing but were ugly. So, this song fits in nicely to that. All these weird operatic bits. Still, win song.


24. SKE48 - Ima, Kimi to Irareru Koto

That slide in the intro synth riff is win. This song got high as hell on virtuosity, some pretty cool soloing and strong vocals keep this song high. One of the few songs from KII 3rd I like, actually. It's not SKE's best (that's still to come), but a worthy addition to this list. If you can't get on Nicovideo I do apologise. It's nowhere on Youtube and intlwota is being a tool and giving me HTTP errors whenever I tried to upload it.


23. Morning Musume. - Ambitious! Yashinteki de Ii Jan

Well, obviously, this got 100 for virtuosity. Still some of the best guitar sex I've heard in idol music. Plus the little string accents all over the place are nice on the ears and win. The solo is fucking godlike. The vocals don't suck, and the song is awesome enough to be one of only three Momusu songs above 500. Damn good job.


22. Super☆Girls - NIJIIRO Namida...

Long song is long, also epic guitars, epic solo, epic post-solo choral+monologue bit, and full of jizzworthyness. This is the highest placed Avex idol track (unless you count SKE, which I don't). This is just so win. Probably my favourite song of last year actually. Pure sex.


21. SKE48 - Jealosy no Alibi

Fuck me I love this song. The guitars and the harpsichords meld to form something beautiful and aural orgasm never fails to be achieved. This gained high points for virtuosity (the solo and the bit before it), musical curiosity (the bit before the solo again) and awesomeness. Because it is frankly the best SKE song of ever.


20. Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku - Oh My Ghost? ~Watashi ga Akurei ni Nattemo~

This song is, as would be expected from Stardust groups, completely insane. This is the song with 16 sections (some of them only a few seconds long), thus it got 100 on structure. It also has harpsichords, so that's fucking win. Unfortunately the music isn't particularly amazing. Memorable, yes, but not amazing. Still, insanity eh. Dunno what the writer was on but I think it's only a matter of time before their brain is irreversibly damaged. Unless it was Hyadain, in which case it's too late.


19. Momoiro Clover - Ikuze! Kaitou Shoujo

And back to the unquestioned masters of complete insanity. This got a lot of points for timbre. Some tubular bells and sirens and random guitars and who knows whatever the fuck else is lurking in the background of this song. Obviously, it also got insanity points, and if there were points available for "most ridiculously complex looking dance move of all time" it'd get them, simply for Kanako's ebizore jump.


18. Morning Musume. - Koi wa Rock'n'Roll

Quite simply the most bizarre and wtf Momusu song of ever. At it sounds rather similar to 3, 2, 1 Breakin' Out. Tsunku you lazy bastard. But this is better. And weirder. Tempo changes, weird sounds, completely insane. The bass is pretty cool. The song is also pretty win, as a lot of old Momusu songs are. That solo is fucking insane and weird. Some of the little random sounds remind me of OLD Floyd. Like, Piper at the Gates of Dawn stuff. Though I doubt Tsunku was quite as off his head as Syd Barrett was.


17. Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku - Houkago Getabako Rock'n'Roll MX

This is metal, but it's also got enough of a proggy side to be listed here. The shredding guitars as virtuosic as fuck, all the little synthy flutters and weird stuff push up the score on the timbre rank, and the general weirdness of the structure sent it up here. Plus, of course, it's both insane and a cool song, so marks there too. They also got some marks for the lengths of the screams. Polish that some more and you'll be able to sing Maiden. Overall, Ebichuu are really growing on me~~~~~~~. (Can't believe I just linked that.)


16. Babymetal - Headbanger

Yep, it's not even out yet and I'm ranking this bitch up here. It's also metal as fuck. And it has harpsichords. And follows a bit of a convulted song structure that completely does away with a second verse. So fuck it, it's here. It also gets marks for being insane and the most awesome thing since... fuck. I don't even know. What's more awesome than teenage Japanese girls mixed with proper metal? Plus Sumetal's turning into quite the vocalist, so some virtuosity ranking for that, and for the solo which is short, fierce and metal as fuck.


15. Momoiro Clover Z - Z Densetsu ~Owari naki Kakumei~

The psychonauts are back again. Once again, shitloads of marks for insanity and awesomeness, plus a few for virtuosity (this guitarist is pretty damn cool, I must say. The blink and you miss it solo is quite delicious). Timbre spectrum also picked up a few for the wide range of crazy super-sentai theme song based musical instruments that appear. More randomness and epicness.


14. High-King - Kioku no Meiro

I'll be the first to admit it, this song probably shouldn't be this high as an example of true prog. It's a dance track. But it's the most epic dance track of ever, cuts out before the second chorus to deal you the coolest baroque solo ever, then, if you haven't already squeezed all the life out of your ballsacks, a techno bit using a circle of fifths to complete one of the best hands-free orgasms you'll ever experience. The guitarist was on fire, and the circle of fifths really needs to be used more in modern music, it's fucking epic. Shame about AIDSYuuka.


13. Momoiro Clover Z - We are UFI!!!

This is where the structure stuff starts taking centre stage. Each girl gets a verse with different instruments before there's even a hint of a chorus. Doesn't quite reach the highest levels of massive structure, but it's getting there. Plus it's insane. Though given it's Momoclo, I may as well stop saying that. It's pretty much a given by this point. The talking instead of the second verse is cool. But it's fun.


12. Babymetal - Ii ne!

At last it arrives. This song has 11 consecutive sections before repeating any, and even then it's only the Prechorus and Chorus. Plus, with the mix of dance, metal and hiphop, it's a prime example of how to do fusion. The riffs are fucking epic at points, so is some of the dance stuff. And considering it's better than any Nu-Metal or Metalcore ever created, I suppose it counts as a success. Plus, again, teenage girls and metal. Fuck yea!


11. Buono! - Tabidachi no Uta

Fuck the Beatles. This is where it's at. The strawberry fields forever flutes at the beginning, the long, winding song that builds up into a fucking awesome thing, the lyrics of passing and ephemeral nature of existence. What more prog? (except the next ten songs on this list, I suppose...) This is a mastery of a composition, and that's why it got 110 for awesomeness.


10. Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku - Karikeiyaku no Cinderella

And they're back again. Full of random. Piano coolness, synths, strong bassline, weird chitchat between the members in place of singing, and some of the weirdest lyrics I've ever heard. The waltz in the middle is a nice little bit in 3/4 so it gains marks in musical curiosities for that. These lot are bonkers.


9. Buono! - Goal

This song is pretty minimalist, takes something pretty simple then gradually builds on it, layer upon layer, until it becomes flesh, then sentient, then grasps with the full force of nature towards its intended target. It's also pretty long, in order to achieve its potential, thus it gains marks on both length and musical curiosity. Of course, structure is also pretty good, due to the building around one riff and then pushing it a bit further, a bit further, until it's all pretty and delicious by the end. Plus, of course, it's a win song.


8. Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku - Kekka Alright
[audio:|titles=Kekka Alright]

As I said in my FAKSM of this song:
It begins with an electric guitar quoting Bach’s Toccata and Fugue, then flows full throttle into multilayered guitars weaving interesting patterns and delicate themes. The vocals aren’t so much sung as they are spoken. The bassline takes the randomness and pulls it together into some semblance of form, and the drums are fun. The vocals become layered too at points, and the middle eight choral section is truly mesmorising. The syncopation in the chorus makes everything sound cool. The addition of brass instruments add a bit of a ska feel, and in general it’s all just moderately controlled chaos. The end quotes Fur Elise (I think, though can’t be sure) and then just has a girl saying “all right” with a beep. Proggy much?

That pretty much sums it up. Didn't get 100 on anything, but scored high enough on each category to get this high. Pretty win.


7. Momoiro Clover - Pinky Jones

This song got 100 for timbre, because it uses pretty much every instrument on a keyboard at some point, plus a load of others. Has a pretty regular song structure, but it's mental, awesome, blasts the fuck out with weird Indian instruments, bagpipes, little crazy circus music, thrash metal bits, and kid music. Honestly no idea what to call it except prog pop.


6. Momoiro Clover Z - Otome Sensou

100 for length (CD version is 6:58, which gets it just over 99.5, thus it's 100), the only on this list. Thus it's long as fuck. The structure is also pretty fucked up, can't think of any other song I've ever remembered hearing that goes as far as having a prepreprechorus. From those two it gets most of its points, but also quite a lot for insanity and awesomeness. I mean, shit, when was the last time you saw a seven-minute long pop single a-side?


5. Momoiro Clover Z - Ame no Tajikarao

The other song with 100 for timbre, this has the sitar, the tabla, the tanbura... It's majorly fucked up. And I love it. It's also written quite a lot in a raga mode (chorus aside, obviously). There's also bits of reggae and weirdness, the chorus is pop, the second prechorus bit is ska... Just dunno where to begin. Or stop. This is Momoclo's Within You Without You. Minus George Harrison.


4. Melon Kinenbi x Midori - sweet suicide summer story

This is so fucked up it's awesome. It's basically noise music. Sung by idols. Elements of jazz, prog, screwed up keys, sigs, modes, fucking everything that can be subverted in this song is. Another one Henkka recommended to me, this is just fucking insane. Got points for its structure (or lack thereof), musical curiosities and insanity. Plus awesomeness. Much as I wouldn't want to be stuck in a room with Melon (they look like they could kick my ass), they are damn good singers.


3. Petitmoni - The Pucchimobics 2

This song is quite mental. Changes genre about 7 times during the song, has no real lyrics of any substance, and doesn't generally know what the fuck it's on. There's a chorus, but it's such a complete contrast to the rest of the song that I wonder if I might have been better left out. As such, timbre and musical curiosities get shitloads of marks, as does insanity. Because this is the ultimate example of Tsunku being high. If he wrote it. I don't even know. I'd never even heard of it before Henkka recommended I include it "even as a joke". Well, it's rather higher than I think even he would have thought...


2. 9nine - Nemureru Mori no Shoujo

I don't know what drugs this person was on, but I've a feeling if I took them my mind would never return to normal. Short as all hell (only 45 points), but gains them all back and more in other areas. I don't know what scale, key or mode this is in, but it breaks my brain trying to think of it. It screws with structure by having the prechorus never actually lead into the chorus except at the very last time of asking. The guitar work is fucking mental, so is ever other instrument for being able to play whatever the fuck this is. This song got 100 in three headings, more than any other song. Insanity of course being one of them. The chorus, when it finally comes in at the end, is creepy as fuck. In fact, this whole song is creepy as fuck. Then bells.


1. Momoiro Clover Z - Mouretsu Uchuu Koukyoukyoku Dainana Gakushou "Mugen no Ai"

Of course it's Momoclo at #1. Who else could it have been? This, frankly, is an insane masterpiece of epic proportions. Marty Friedman's mental as fuck shredding skills, a 100 person choir, orchestral hits, interweaved melodies, counterpoints, harmonies, short breaks, interludes and pure epicness. 100 in Virtuosity, obviously, plus 100 awesomeness and high in pretty much everything else except musical curiosities, in which it was merely average. The solo is epic, the live solo when Marty came out of the stage floor and destroyed the world of Jpop forever was even better. Really, this is pure sex in aural form. Marty himself described it as a 21st Century Bohemian Rhapsody. I wouldn't go that far (it ain't a rhapsody, for a start), but it's certainly one of the most epic and progressive pieces of pop music I've ever heard. And long live Hyadain for writing it. That crazy motherfucker.


So, what have we learned from this list? Well, firstly that Stardust groups (Momoclo and Ebichu) get the most insane, slightly bizarre composers who aren't afraid to take epic risks and have them usually pay off handsomely (a lot of Momoclo's fans are said to be prog nerds and metalheads who formerly had no interest in idols, so I guess the music means more to a lot of people than a lot of idol fans would let on). We've also learned that 9nine's first album was pretty damn proggy and fucked up, just as their second album was pretty heavy, and their new album is pretty shit. We've learned that Tsunku seems to have stopped smoking his crackpipe recently, and judging by the reduced quality of his output lately, I'll be hoping he picks it back up again reasonably soon and starts making some more crazy shit. I've realised that AKB's early output, despite being held by some in the fandom as more "artistically pure" and "aesthetically pleasing" than their recent modern, lowest-common-denominator radio-friendly generic pop still doesn't tick many prog boxes (trust me, I had more AKB down on this list than any other artist, and yet only one song made it to the top 50). And finally, I've realised that Babymetal just fucking rule.

Anyway, as always, complaints in the comments. If anyone wants to see the full spreadsheet I've uploaded it to rapidshare in XLS format. I expect plenty of moaning about the arbitrariness of the rankings, so again, don't disappoint me.

Therefore, until the next random list I decide to do, I think this is about it for massive 5300 word posts.



  1. Thank you for this - it's good to see that pop still takes risks some times. Some times it can actually be interesting...This made me think of how my ex always used to sit on his high horse and tell me "his" music was just more complex and therefore better than my idol pop. I wish he could read a post like this (I'm not bitter at all ;P). He might actually enjoy something... All those MomoIro Clover clips are what I didn't even know I was looking for btw. Anyway, I'm rambling. Basically I will check these out and you are fantastic. >_^b

  2. Arbitrary_greay1 July 2012 at 05:40

    As soon as I saw Konnichipa on the list, I wondered if HattenxJoy was going to make the list, considering that for a while I haven't been able to find it online in streaming form.
    On the other hand, it probably scores low on everything but Musical Curiosities, Insanity, and Awesomeness, so it still might not make the list.

    There's also a some Minimoni that may qualify, although probably not enough to break the top 50:
    Wassup Enryo no Theme
    Renai Isshuunen (Mostly for the middle 8 from another planet)
    Haru Natsu Aki Fuyu Daisuki
    Vitamin Fusoku Kaishou Koukyoukyoku
    Mini Hamusu Kisha (Koharu's Konnichipa breakdown was clearly derived from this song)
    I Love Blues
    Suki Suki Kirai Kirai Kirai Suki. (a non-H!P-fan I showed this to called it mathcore)

    Minimoni may have well been Tsunku's chosen experimental group.

    Also of interest: in a music bloggers roundtable, one that has shown favor to Kpop, and middling favor to Perfume/Capsule, Mugen no Ai came up:
    (For reference, aggregate score above 6 is good, but the goal is to get above 7 to be seen as Good.)
    You can see me poking at some of the lower scoring critics in the comments.

  3. It might not have came out well when I wrote the post, but my general approach with Koharu and the older H!P subunits (ie. before 2007) is mostly one of complete ignorance. I know Koharu's singles but not the Bsides, and of Minimoni I know Jankenpon and Minimoni Telephone Rinrinrin. I was sort of hoping Henkka would have hit me up with their stuff, but maybe he either figured it wasn't proggy enough, or that any idol enthusiast worth their salt would know all Minimoni songs. Whichever way, not a single one was considered :P

    It's always interesting to see how the other side (Kpop fans) feel about idol music. I'm never too keen on a great deal of Kpop (seemingly I'm only into their male artists that can play instruments because at least they're not usually drowned in autotune), and the thought of Kpop employing progressive structures and modes seems almost as ludicrous as the same in modern Western pop. Could be completely wrong though, my exposure to Kpop is probably but a small fraction of a percentage; my exposure to Western pop even smaller.

  4. AG: Oh, I don't think it's just Minimoni. I think the theme here is groups aimed at kids. When it's kids' music, Tsunku throws all caution in the wind. "Fuck it, they won't realize it anyway if I try out some fucked up shit." And while we're on the topic of Minimoni and since you mentioned the song, I still think Haru Natsu Aki Fuyu Daisuki is pure awesome. Should've been the A-side.

  5. Oh, and Krv: the reason I didn't hit you up with any Minimoni suggestions is that it's one of the H!P groups I've always criminally overlooked. But more importantly, it was hard coming up with as many suggestions as I did in the first place... I don't have an ear for this stuff. The only type of progginess I can easily point out in a song is the kind that sounds like... well... this song. So, in other words, like a goddamn mess. (That is by the way one of my absolute all time favorite prog albums for sure.)

    On the topic of K-pop, though I'm absolutely no expert on the matter, I might have some suggestions as far as progginess goes. Though like I just said, I don't have an ear for this. I only have my Finnish hunches, it's like a really shitty spider sense. I'll link 'em here and someone can tell me whether there's actually anything interesting going on in them or if it's just me.

    * I think KARA's Lupin has a goddamned incredible chorus, and it's the biggest tease ever with its length I'm sure doesn't even reach 15 seconds. Bastards.
    * I think miss A's Breathe might get some Insanity points. Or just Idiotic Shit points, if those were given out. I do love the song, even if I feel more stupid with each passing second spent listening to it.
    * f(x)'s Chu~♡ has another fun chorus that features a nice mellotron-y synth in the background.
    * SNSD. Sweet Talking Baby incorporates classical in the form of Boccherini's Minuet in a really fun way (the name alone might not ring a bell, but you're sure to recognize it when you hear it). I'd kill to hear a proper instrumental version of Etude because, again, it sounds so damned fun. Finally, and this may as well be nothing more than a very basic pop song for all I know, but I always thought I heard something cool going on behind the catchiness of Chocolate Love (Retro Pop ver.). The instrumentation is really simple and stripped down, but it's f'ing drowned in layered vocal harmonies, and that mid-8 (is that what you call it?) is sweet. And fuck it man, though this is beside the point, that riff is infectious as shit.

  6. Man, they may be boybands but I'd take CN Blue and FT Island over that lot any day :P

  7. Well, I don't blame you. Let's put it this way... there's a reason I'm not an expert on K-pop.

  8. Just heard the preview of the new Berryz song. Think Tsunku must have read this list and got out his crackpipe.

  9. too much koharu songs on that list... ears bleeding. frankly can't imagine why any adult would wanna listen to the kirara revolt songs unless they love pain or have a better sense of humour than me.

  10. oh, and "Goal" sounds too much like a coldplay song.

    and i'm fucking biased against coldplay 'cause they all sound like U2 songs and Bono is a fucking idiot.

  11. A new challenger appears in Dempagumi Inc., courtesy of Hyadain.

    First, they covered the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage":

    And their new single WWD is 6 minutes long and attempts to hit every genre ever: