Last year, I did a countdown of my top love songs by female vocalists. I had intended to follow up with a White Day counterpart, but then the earthquake happened. Now I’m hoping that this belated White Day special will cheer everyone up just a tiny bit. I’ve tried to stick to my original guidelines of no covers and no songs about lost loves and other sad topics. There is also a bonus for those of you non-romantics who prefer see March 14 as Pi Day.
Hibari’s Hi 8 – Love Songs with Male Vocals
8. “Anemone” by L’Arc~en~Ciel – Hyde is rumored to have written this ballad for his wife Megumi. If he did, he really went all out by employing an orchestra and delivering some of the most hauntingly ethereal vocals.
7. “Hesei Juushichinen Shichigatsu Nanaoka” by Alice Nine – This song is a tribute to the couple of the Tanabata legend, Orihime and Hikoboshi, who prove that time and distance mean nothing to true love. The lyrics remind us that we see the same stars and thus we can remain connected.
6. “Together” by MONKEY MAJIK – Why proclaim your love in one language when you can do it (and do it well) in two? Maynard and Blaise Plant sing earnestly about falling in love to an acoustic melody that has the same warmth as a feel-good country song.
5. “Sekai ni Hitotsu Dake no Hana” by SMAP – My co-workers told me that this was a very famous song that I ought to remember. After reading the lyrics, I understand why this was so popular. SMAP sings the words that every woman wants to hear—not that she’s beautiful, sweet, smart, or even the best girlfriend ever, but that she’s the “only one”.
4. “Love Letter” by Gackt- Okay, this was an obvious pick, being Gackt’s White Day present to his fans. Although the lyrics are really sappy, the melody is relatively simple (even with the strings) so the ballad isn’t too over-the-top. Plus Gackt’s rich baritone is perfect for serenading romance lovers
3. “Cassis” by the GazettE – Normally the GazettE delivers very angry pieces so this sweet ballad, softened by some piano, is a nice change. It has some of the most passionate guitar-playing and soul-baring lyrics I have ever seen out of a visual kei band.
2. “Kiseki” by Greeeen – Greeeen knows how to write romantic lyrics while keeping their songs really catchy, and “Kiseki” exemplifies this. The quickening of the tempo conveys the joy of being in love and how time can seem to fly by, and yet it slows down to express the desire to be with someone for a hundred or even a thousand years (my favorite line).
1. “I for You” by Luna Sea
This is the mother of all J-rock ballads. The rock instruments blend in with the orchestra such that this piece is loved by both rock and pop fans. Ryuichi belts out the lyrics while letting his voice waver just a little bit to demonstrate his vulnerability. This song is dramatic, ethereal, and heartfelt.
+4 Bonus – Anti-White Day Songs by Male Artists
It was really difficult finding suitable bonus songs because male artists don’t really sing about independence. They also usually try to not sound so bitter about break-ups. However, I managed to find four songs for those who didn’t want to give out chocolates but had to or those who received giri-choco instead of honmei-choco.
4. “Love Is Dead” by D’espairsRay – Well, the title says it all, but instead of moping, D’espairsRay is going to celebrate with a number that channels the 80s. Retro flashbacks aside, the lyrics hold some wisdom by acknowledging that love can be a disease and an addiction.
3. “Gimmick Game” by Kazunari Ninomiya – This Arashi boy seems to have been deceived by a heartbreaker. The song begins in an accusatory manner before giving way to cynicism. As Dr. House would say, “Everybody lies.”
2. “Raison D’etre” by Dir en grey – I was trying to avoid songs that reference abuse, but this is one of the top songs on my angry mood playlist. The unique riffs at the beginning suck you in, and while there is no screaming or banging on drums, the mood is dark and Kyo’s fury is nearly tangible.
1. “Cynical Re:actor” by Nightmare
It’s hard to hear it in the live version, but “Cynical Re:actor” has a recording of a woman speaking in English, making the song resemble argument between a couple who continue to deceive one another. It begins and ends with guitar riffs that rumbling like a storm that has come and gone.
Listening to: “Yorokobi no Uta” by KAT-TUN