Come and see Highway’s favorite Love Live! songs!
When the first season of Love Live! School Idol Project premiered in January 2012, I hadn’t watched any other idol shows, and didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. But when Honoka threw off her jacket and pushed up her sleeves for that impromptu dance through traffic with Susume Tomorrow, I knew that this might be a great show for me. What I didn’t know at the time was how much great music had already been made, and would be made in the future by this same group.
There are a ton of songs that I like by µ’s and the sub-unit groups that have come out of this project. So that this doesn’t get too long, I’m going to break it into 3 categories and just give my favorites in each. Those three categories are the released singles (and their videos), the songs from the anime (and their videos), and then the rest of the songs which haven’t gotten videos but have been released, either as B-sides or mini-unit songs. And there might even be more songs that I haven’t listened to yet, because it’s hard to track them all down. But let’s take these categories in reverse order.
Eri is surprised at some of the songs here
Honorable Mentions: There are a lot of songs that I like to listen to in this category, and most of them have unique reasons. BiBi’s (Eri, Maki, and Nico) ラブノベルスfrom Diamond Princess no Yuutsu (“kora kora!”, “mou iyada!”), Printemps’ (Honoka, Kotori, and Hanayo) “Love Marginal”, Honoka’s “Someday of my Life”, Maki’s “Darling!”. Takaramonozu (ska), Loveless World (metal), Unbalanced Love (electropop), all of these are worth a listen, plus others when I’m in the right mood.
3rd Place: Glass no Hanazono – Eri and Nozomi
One of the best things about the music that this project is making is the variety in styles. It’s not all pop, or even rock, or electronic. Sometimes they throw in something completely different, like a more 50’s style pop with Glass no Hanazono (Garden of Glass). Piano, Horns, a nice active baseline, and good harmonies and switches between Eri and Nozomi make this a favorite of mine.
2nd Place: Soldier Game – Umi, Maki, and Eri
Umi seems to have fewer songs that she’s featured in than just about any of the other members of the group, so this one stands out a bit. But more than Umi, this song features the three best voices (imo) in the whole group, backed by disco-era latino style heavy on timbales and horn fanfares. Plus some great powerful singing by Umi.
1st Place: Kaguya no Shiro de Odoritai – µ’s
The B-side to the first season’s ED song, Kaguya no Shiro de Odoritai is straight up disco. And it features that second favorite topic of disco songs: dancing. Put that together with some awesome lyrics and everyone contributing, and you get 4 and a half minutes of sheer fun. Hayaku shinasai, yo!
Because I want to save the best for last, In-show song comes next. I’m saying that anything that was played as an insert song in the show is eligible here, whether it had an accompanying dance animation or not. This also includes OP and ED songs, and because these may have animations, that goes into my ranking as well: good animation always helps. So here’s what I think of this category
Honorable Mentions: Yume no Tobira from this season has a great dance setting and signature move, but the song is a little bit of a letdown. Dancing Stars on Me, also from this season, is a good candidate for a favorite, and we’ll see after the single comes out. And Bokura wa Ima no Naka de, the first season’s OP, is fun and peppy, but beaten out just a bit by this season’s OP, Sore wo Bokutachi no Kiseki, partially because the CG animation has gotten better.
3rd Place: Korekara Someday
Sung by a 7 member µ’s, it took me a while to warm up to this song, but a lot of my opinion of it is sealed by my change in what I think of Kotori. Initially, I didn’t like Kotori’s character much at all, mostly because I didn’t like her voice. But as more of her personality came through, it changed to more of a “Her voice isn’t the best of the bunch, and is probably the worst, imo, but she’s a good character.” I especially like the photobombs that she does in the first season’s OP and in Bokura no Live. And along with a nice poppy song, the animation does a good job showing everyone having fun. That puts this one up here.
2nd Place: Start:Dash (Both Versions)
A perfect representation of how small they started
I actually don’t differentiate much between either version of Start:Dash. The difference in singing isn’t much, it’s not like anyone makes or breaks the 9-member version, and the arrangement is just a little different between the two anime versions (although the singles are both the same). For videos, I think I like the 3-person version, especially since it’s the song that really hooked me into the show, and the lead in, with the disappointment of the curtain opening and nobody at all being there, really made an impact.
1st Place: No Brand Girls
Maybe the sexiest part of any µ’s routine right here
Not only is No Brand Girls in the top spot in this category, if I was ranking top 3 overall, it would be in that, but I’m not sure where. While I’m not a big fan of the drama around the animation with Honoka’s anime cold, I’m a huge fan of the dance itself, which I think is probably the best choreography they’ve but together in the series. On top of that, the outfits are great, and the song itself is tremendous. Anthemic and powerful, it makes a great statement and fits in with my favorite styles of music.
Now the big category. I think pretty much everyone’s favorite µ’s songs come from the singles that were released with videos outside of the anime. There aren’t a whole lot of them, but there are some really great songs in here.
Honorable Mentions: Natsuiro Egao de 1, 2, Jump – with perhaps the worst video quality, but a fun song; Mogyutto “Love” de sekkin chu – If I’m in the right mood, this song works, but the video is just too static for my tastes, and the music too electronica; and Music S.T.A.R.T., which I’ll count in this group, since it’s some sort of OVA.
3rd Place: Bokura no Live, Kimi to no Life
Yes, I love Kotori’s photobomb
The remade video really helps, but this has always had some great catchy dance moves and is a nice song to listen to at any time.
2nd Place: Snow Halation
This is really tough, because there are times when I’d much rather listen to Snow Halation than the #1 song, but ultimately it’s just behind. It’s almost a love ballad, but is surprisingly fast, almost rock. when you listen to it, and has that wonderful dance pattern during the choruses. Plus this video brings the most dramatic part, when the lights all switch after the solo. Finally, the way it ends up, with that skip up the middle by Nozomi, Umi, and Honoka just may be my favorite move of anything by µ’s.
1st Place: Wonderful Rush
I might be the only person who puts Wonderful Rush above Snow Halation, but it’s been my favorite song since the first time I heard that flanged rhythm guitar in the second verse. And that’s followed by that great rock breakdown. The song is just epic and the video supports it 100%, telling the most coherent story and featuring a catchy and memorable dance. And in just a fun bit of continuity, every time Kotori has some reason to have a pillow (and sometimes when she doesn’t), she has that same pillow, being a camping trip, their training camp, whatever reason. A great touch to reward fans of the show.
Yes, my banner has Umi from Korekara Someday
So those are my rankings, and now let’s see what yours are! Noone has to give as much detail as I do here, but feel free to disagree, replace songs with your own favorites, and try to spread the word about that µ’s song that you think is great!