While it seemed to me that there was a veritable dearth of good music in 2011, that certainly didn’t seem to be the case in 2012. Maybe nothing sounded good in 2011 because I was too affected by the disbandment of D’espairsRay, and I just needed some time to open my heart to new music. Whatever the reason, there were plenty of tunes that caught my attention in 2012 and kept me entertained.
DIVISION, by the GazettE. Despite the fact that the tracks were divided into a Rock half and a Digital half, the album played together as a very cohesive whole. The band may have experimented with things like dubstep, auto-tune, and unusual time signatures, but they fully understood that the songs just had to sound good.
My top 3 favourite songs of 2012 were all from “DIVISION”: beautiful and painful Kagefumi, musically complex Kago no Sanagi, and sad and ominous Yoin.
BEST SINGLE (A-side & B-sides):
RADICAL HYSTERIA, with B-sides COBRA and IN CREATURE, by BORN. There was no clear winner for this category, and I was reluctant to choose this, since it’s something of a re-release (RADICAL HYSTERIA was the B-side of COBRA in 2010.) However, RADICAL HYSTERIA is one of the best songs that BORN has ever created, in my opinion, and it really did deserve to be released as a single. The addition of the third track, IN CREATURE, made for a solid record overall.
Runner-up: WE aRE, with B-side COLD CHAIN, by abingdon boys school. This was a strong comeback single for abs, and it might have won if the band had included simple instrumental versions of both tracks. Instead, there were multiple, useless karaoke versions of just the title track. I took marks off for that.
Rounding out my top 20 songs, in alphabetical order by artist:
- COLD CHAIN, by abingdon boys school (B-side of “WE aRE”)
- Muyuu no kago, by AND
- RADICAL HYSTERIA, by BORN. Their “Stupid life clip” for this song was the most amusing PV I saw last year. It deconstructed the band’s usual scary-sexy image and revealed them to be a bunch of goofs.
- MISS TAKE –boku wa mistake-, by BUCK-TICK. Ridiculously hooky, this is one of the best BUCK-TICK songs I’ve ever heard.
- ATTITUDE, by the GazettE (from “DIVISION”)
- DERANGEMENT, by the GazettE (from “DIVISION”)
- DRIPPING INSANITY, by the GazettE (from “DIVISION”)
- Ibitsu, by the GazettE (from “DIVISION”) OK, I’ll stop now.
- DARK SHAME, by GRANRODEO (OP of CODE:BREAKER) The theme songs were the only good thing about that anime.
- A FLARE, by lynch. (one of the lead-off singles from “INFERIORITY COMPLEX”) I wasn’t that much into lynch.’s music before, but this song was just the kind of pretty-but-heavy that I’m a sucker for. Because of A FLARE, I purchased the album as well as some of lynch.’s previous works and I was pleasantly surprised.
- G.G., by MUCC (from “SHANGRI-LA”) The first MUCC song I’ve ever liked. Normally I can’t tolerate Tatsurou’s singing. Not so with this song.
- Munashiki 「Sei」 no Guui ≒ 「Shi」 no Shini, by NEGA (from “VANITAS”). This 12-minute opus was an unlikely lead-off single for “VANITAS”. Even songs that I consider to be good will usually lose my attention after about 3 minutes; this song didn’t bore me even after 12. Anyway, I guess they knew what they were doing because I ended up buying the album.
- CATALRHYTHM, by OLDCODEX (ED2 of Kuroko’s Basketball)
- ZERO SATISFACTION, by ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D
- S, by SID. The first SID song I’ve ever liked. They’re not usually this heavy.
- 0 GAME, by SPYAIR
- vanity, by ViViD (B-side of “message”) ViViD’s recent singles had been so tame and generic-sounding that I almost didn’t listen to this track.