I admit, the disbandment's been easier to deal with than I'd thought it would be. I think maybe because I've been busier than I expected this month? But I do feel a pang of sadness when I'm planning out things to review. Still, just because BiS has no future doesn't mean I can't dwell on their past! For a fairly short tenure, BiS left behind a large number of songs, music videos, and crazy stunts. Yesterday, I was trying to tally up how many songs BiS has released since their formation. Technically, they released three albums and ten singles of music. But they also did a boatload of collaborations with other artists from Vampillia to Dempagumi.inc to Hijokaidan to Dorothy Little Happy! The total number of BiS songs I was able to come up with was over sixty. They've were around from late 2010 to July 2014 and in that time they release over sixty songs. To put in in perspective, Perfume major debuted in September 2005. From September 2005 to May 2009, they released twenty-eight songs. I am downright grateful for the amount of music BiS released before they left. They could have been one of those groups that barely released anything before dropping off the face of the planet. Like amU...
So as you can imagine, with over sixty songs, BiS has some released some pretty amazing music. They've also released some pretty terrible music. But when have you heard of an idol group that hasn't? Besides, I'm not here to focus on the low points of BiS. They were one of my favorite idol groups, and I need to pay respects to them. And since I can't draw, the only way I know how is by writing about them! I think a top 20 list for BiS is long overdue anyways. From nearly the get-go, I've sung my praises about BiS on the Wonderland. I've loved them for their unconventional image, their many, many strange music videos, and most of all, their really good music. BiS music varies from pop rock to ska to death metal to even electronica. The only consistency is a level of energy that I wish I'd hear in more idol groups. So after much internal deliberation, I have come up with my favorite 20 BiS songs. They have so many great songs to pick from that narrowing it down to 20 was a challenging feat! For that reason, here are a few honorable mentions:
I wish I was Special
And now let's get to the good stuff! The following twenty are my favorite BiS songs, and while they may be my personal favorites, I highly recommend you all listen to them. Hell, if you haven't listened to BiS, then do it! If you can get past their visuals, you might find some pretty good music! And then you too can experience crushing sadness over their disbandment! Fun for the whole family!
20. Demo Sayonara
I have and always will find Get You to be the weirdest BiS single, even if technically it was a collaboration with Dorothy Little Happy. But that's where most of the weirdness stems from! Dorothy Little Happy is about as cookie cutter as idol groups get, and if you like that sort of thing, this group is your cup of tea. Personally though, Dorothy Little Happy is my cup of blandness. And I don't drink tea. Anyways, for Get You, BiS and Dorothy Little Happy each covered one of each other's songs. Dorothy Little Happy covered Nerve and handled it pretty well, and in turn, BiS covered Demo Sayonara. The original Demo Sayonara is just as boring as everything else I've heard from Dorothy Little Happy, so hearing BiS cover it was definitely weird. Luckily, the BiS version changes so much of Demo Sayonara and ends up sounding nothing like the original! BiS's Demo Sayonara goes heavy on the synths, and I love it. Demo Sayonara reminds me of most of Ash and Error, but the added appeal comes from the fact that Demo Sayonara is a cover. BiS's cover has such energy and loudness to it. I'm not sure if they performed it at concerts much, but when they did, I'll bet it was awesome. Really though, all the songs on this single are good. Demo Sayonara's just my favorite!
I'm not sure if Gugigi is even a real word. But the song is cool! I love all the songs off the Nerve single, and I'm coming!! was so close to making it on the list. What I like about Gugigi is that it's one of the more pop-sounding songs from BiS. I love their alternative and rock songs, but their pop songs are just as strong! And I just feel very refreshed when I listen to Gugigi. It's such a happy song! BiS has a ton of abrasive and serious songs, but there's this very laidback happy sound that Gugigi has. There are even parts where the song sounds kind of bubbly! I don't know, there's not much else I can say about Gugigi. Insert something about nice composition or arrangement. Honestly, I just get good vibes whenever I listen to Gugigi. It's a nice B-side! Something that disappointed me about BiS's B-sides is that very few of them made it to their albums, especially for Brand-new Idol Society and Idol is Dead. Who Killed Idol? got a few. It really is a shame, because BiS released some strong B-sides. And there's such a nice variety with the B-sides too! Not every BiS B-side worked, but they all stand out. Gugigi stands out as one of BiS's happier, calmer songs. Gugigi isn't even the strongest B-side on this list! It is one of many to come so let us proceed onward!
18. Split Brain Syndrome
17. Our Song
16. Thousand Volts
Admittedly, Who Killed Idol? is probably my least favorite of BiS's three albums. Don't get me wrong, it's still got a few highlights. One of them being MMGK. MMGK dabbles into a more electronic sound for BiS, and I think it works really well. The riff at the beginning makes for such a strong opening and the rest of the song maintains a high level of energy. What I always liked about BiS is that they balanced electronica and rock really well in their songs, and that especially stands for MMGK. I also love the pacing of MMGK. The vocals go by really fast, and it's like you're getting swept up into this wave of crazy electronic rock music. I'll bet this was one of the crowd-pumping songs at concerts! I jam enough to MMGK in my car, can you imagine how crazy it must be with other people around? MMGK goes hard but not to the point where it's abrasive. My biggest problem with the other electronic songs on Who Killed Idol? (mainly StupiG and Error) was how abrasive they sounded. Like someone was mashing a hammer against my skull. MMGK is just right. It's not too messy, still maintains an earworm of a melody, and is long enough to hold my attention. Of the album tracks on Who Killed Idol?, MMGK is definitely the top one I'd recommend.
Speaking of electronica!BiS, here's Ash! A lot of what I said about MMGK can also be applied to Ash. But I think Ash is a little more all-over-the-place than MMGK is. I mean, I'm not even sure how the hell to describe Ash. Yes, it's got a ton of synths but there are also parts where it sounds closer to metal? All I know is that Ash reminds me of something I'd hear out of a cypberpunk movie. Which is pretty damn cool. Ash is such a hectic, energetic song. The song is frighteningly loud and doesn't relent on that loudness until the song stops playing. While BiS's more hardcore/metal songs usually didn't resonate with me, I took to Ash much better than I thought I would. I think that may be because there is still a clear melody to Ash that's buried under synths and growls and loud noises jam-packed into three minutes and twenty-five seconds of insanity. There's a lot of energy to Ash too, which is always something I admire in a song. The song sounds effing crazy, and the music video doesn't let up on the craziness. Ash is crazy in the same way that watching an explosion is crazy. And then Ash ends all that craziness with what? A fart noise! It's equal parts hilarious and stupid, but I think that describes a lot of BiS's antics. I may never know what to completely make of Ash, but I love listening to it all the same.
13. Mirror Mirror
Technically, this song isn't a BiS release. The song was a collaboration between BiS and alternative/experimental/orchestral band Vampillia for their album, The Divine Move. For the album, Vampillia collaborated with a variety of unconventional artists, including Togawa Jun! BiS contributed their vocals to two of the album songs, this one and Oops we did it again. Of the two, I prefer Mirror Mirror. I'm not even sure what to categorize Mirror Mirror as. The song is five minutes long and crams in so many different sounds and vocals; it's beautifully chaotic. Mirror Mirror starts out sounding like a church chorus, but then the song swings back and forth between soft delicate melodies and brutal screams and snarling. It's a little unsettling. I'm pretty sure that's what Vampillia was going for! Mirror Mirror took awhile to grow on me because of how dissonant it sounds, but over time, I really appreciated the whiplash of sound. I wish BiS had done more collaborations with Vampillia. I think they could have produced some pretty amazing stuff if Mirror Mirror's anything to go by. Oh well, as things are, Mirror Mirror is calculated chaos, the kind that you can't bring yourself to get away from. The collaboration with Vampillia makes Mirror Mirror one of BiS's most original songs.
12. Elegant no Kaibutsu
So has anyone heard of vaporwave? I swear it must be a buzzword these days, because I keep bumping into that term everywhere. Maybe that's because I've been listening to a lot of Especia these days... Anyways, I still don't 100% get vaporwave. From what I've read, it's a tongue-in-cheek approach to 80s pop and features album art that looks like it was created with Photoshop and Microsoft Clip Art. Anyways, I bring this up because I just found out a few months ago that Elegant no Kaibutsu is a vaporwave song. And I think Teenage Flavor is too, but that song didn't make the list. Elegant no Kaibutsu is a cover originally by an also-defunct band called Spank Happy. Funny enough Pour Lui covered Elegant no Kaibutsu as a solo single before going on to form BiS. I don't have the original to compare BiS's Elegant no Kaibutsu to, but I love the BiS version. At the time, I liked Elegant no Kaibutsu because it sounded so different compared to the other songs on Brand-new Idol Society. It had a funkier, quirkier sound, like something I'd hear from Cyndi Lauper. Then came my aforementioned discovery of vaporwave. I may not have a firm grasp on vaporwave, but I do think that Elegant no Kaibutsu is a cool song that would fit right in with an 80s hairspray commercial.
BiS was never big on releasing digital singles, but of the few they did, Tofu was my favorite! Yum, Tofu. Honestly, I am not a big fan of tofu, but I love the song! Tofu's a pop rock song, like many BiS songs. And... that's pretty much all I have to say about it. I like how Tofu sounds, and it's a happy song from BiS. Yep. Very articulate song description, I know. Well, one other thing I do like about Tofu is the lineup around this time. If I recall correctly, UK had just left the group leaving BiS a trio yet again. Yufu was one of my favorite members of BiS, and I love hearing her voice in Tofu. It really is a shame that she and Pour Lui got along so poorly. Then came the Avex label and two new members; the five-member lineup of Pour Lui, Nozomi, Yufu, Mitchel, and Wacky is my favorite BiS lineup. I do get nostalgic thinking about the one around Tofu though. I think Idol was around the time when BiS started experimenting more and more, and Tofu's one of their last safer-sounding songs. Safe doesn't always equate to bad, and I enjoy listening to Tofu a lot. It's a happy song that gets me nostalgic for the older BiS. Although now I think many of BiS's songs are going to invoke nostalgia in me. Overall, Tofu's just a sweet, likable pop rock song from BiS.
10. Yah Yah Yah
I swear Yah Yah Yah is the last cover on this list! From here on out, it's original BiS music! Yah Yah Yah was originally by Chage and Aska, a duo formed in 1979. Their version of Yah Yah Yah was released way back in 1993, and it's a fun song! The two guys singing the song sound really into it. A lot of the covers I've listed on here I liked because they sounded so different from the original version. But BiS's cover of Yah Yah Yah retains pretty much the same upbeat nature of the original. I can't spot many differences between the original and the cover. There are probably some compositional differences, but I don't have the ear trained to listen for those. As much as I loved hearing BiS put their own spin on various songs, Yah Yah Yah is refreshingly close to the original song. I don't even think I'd want BiS to change much about Yah Yah Yah, because the original version is a really great song. It's a bright, sunny rock song, and BiS's version puts me in a great mood. And it's easy to sing along to. Most of the song is pretty much just singing "Yah Yah Yah." Even a non-Japanese speaker can learn that! Primal was one of BiS's best singles, and Yah Yah Yah is one of two B-sides on it that particularly stand out to me. It's one of BiS's more feel-good songs, which is nice!
DiE is a decent BiS song but pales in comparison to B-side Mura-Mura. And that's not even factoring in the music video. Mura-Mura's PV was definitely one of the stranger ones from BiS. It involve satirizing the Minegishi Minami shaved head scandal and then kidnapping a random fan. And a face in a Pour Lui's crotch spewing out white liquid. The song does mean "horny" in Japanese... In their later years, BiS branched out to a lot of different sounds and gimmicks. Some didn't work as well as others, but they were always interesting. Mura-Mura is BiS's foray into ska. I haven't listened to a ton of ska, but I have listened to enough to enjoy the genre of music. And hearing BiS take on ska was something I never thought I'd hear them do! The final result was immensely enjoyable, entertaining too! Mura-Mura sounds equal parts playful and energetic and a little crazy. That brass in the instrumental fuels on the energy, which is part of what I think made Mura-Mura work so well. I love how the song starts by pretty much bursting to life then stays that way until the very end! Special mention again to the batshit-crazy music video. It's definitely not for everyone to watch but it does leave an impression... But hey, so does the song! Mura-Mura is a ton of fun, and if you like ska, check it out!
8. hide out cut
I am a sucker for pianos. The prettier they sound, the faster they're going to reel me in. Even shitty piano songs still appeal to me just a little bit. Hide out cut is my second favorite BiS B-side and mainly because of that beautiful instrumental. I wish I had sheet music to Hide out cut, because I would love to learn that melody. And the rest of the song is beautiful. Hide out cut isn't exactly a ballad; the tempo's too quick to be one. Hide out cut is an emotional song, and I think that's propelled by the vocal delivery of the girls of BiS. The original song has a little more of an impact than the re-recorded Who Killed Idol? version, but both recordings still sound emotional. The only off-putting aspect of Hide out cut are the lyrics. BiS released a few songs that they sang in English, Hide out cut included. The only problem is the English lyrics... make absolutely no sense. Like seriously, look. Parts of it I get but other parts just need to be re-worked entirely. When I first reviewed Hide out cut, the lyrics really bothered me. Now though, I don't care. I still love this song, strange, nonsensical lyrics and all. The composition of Hide out cut is pretty enough to transcend the lyrics. So if you can get past those lyrics, I strongly recommend listening to Hide out cut, especially if you're looking for a prettier BiS song.
Ah, memories. I remember the teaser videos for PPCC involves the girls dancing in underwear labeled "PPCC." Those were later revealed to be swimsuits, but nobody realized that at the time. PPCC was BiS's first side under a major label, and I was so worried at the time how switching to Avex would affect their sound. Luckily, PPCC was a much-needed confirmation that the BiS we knew and love wasn't going anywhere. This song rocks. There are many BiS songs that do, but PPCC gets a special trophy for being a song that rocks. And PPCC does it so effortlessly. PPCC has an amazing buildup to an even more amazing hook. Pero-Pero-Chuu-Chuu (I can't say it out loud, I have to sing it out loud) is such a perfect hook. And the rest of PPCC is just as great as that chorus hook. It's fun, it rocks, and did I mention the music video? I can't talk about PPCC without talking about the music video. It's one of my favorite BiS PVs and one of my favorite summer PVs in general. While Final Dance was a good effort from BiS, the PV for PPCC is bloody, violent, and the first introduction of BiS's spiked baseball bats. It's probably the most un-summer summer PV an idol group's released, but that's part of its charm. PPCC was BiS's entrance to a major label, and it was a memorable one.
BiS didn't release a ton of ballads, but of the few they did, I like them all. I've always said what I like in a ballad is emotion. Don't give me something that sounds soft and full unless I want to fall asleep. I like my ballads to have some life in them. And I think that's why I love Hitoribocchi so much. The song is definitely a rock ballad, which also plays to my favor. I think it may even be more of an alternative-rock ballad. I'm reminded of The Smiths or The Cure during parts of Hitoribocchi which isn't a bad thing at all. What carries Hitoribocchi though is the vocal delivery. To put it plainly, the girls sing their hearts out. They carry such clear, unbridled emotion when they sing Hitoribocchi, especially in that final chorus. Even the music video is about them trying to complete a 100km and the obstacles that come with that. Hitoribocchi is a loud ballad, yet there is this strange tenderness to it. The quieter bits in Hitoribocchi give me chills, like the singing before the final chorus. Hitoribocchi is raw and emotional but also a beautiful ballad. I think the members of BiS writing the lyrics to Hitoribocchi adds to the emotion of the song as well. I've heard a lot of J-pop ballads, and Hitoribocchi is ones of my favorites, maybe even more now that BiS has disbanded.
There are so many great album tracks off of Idol is Dead. Hell, I probably could have just put the whole album in this list. But my absolute favorite song off the album is Chelsea. Chelsea is fast-paced, fun, and freaking crazy. If you like punk, I enthusiastically recommend checking Chelsea out. Chelsea is BiS at their punk-rockest, and they completely own this song. I do wish BiS had done more punk songs. The sound really worked for them. The chorus of Chelsea is the best part of the entire song. It is insanely catchy. The best part though is the final rendition of the chorus when the key changes, and the song starts building up and sounding even crazier. The final thirty seconds of the album is pretty much the girls just screaming and ad-libbing whatever they want. It's amazing; I could bang my head to that last part all day. And then the song is over. Chelsea is around three-minutes long but feels more like a minute and a half. I think the length of the song works. Chelsea's meant to be a fast song! Idol is Dead had a ton of memorable songs on it, but Chelsea was the first one that instantly stuck in my memory. The song is equal parts fun and crazy, and that was when BiS's music worked best. Who knows who Chelsea is, but the song is the bomb.
4. Eat it
I wish this B-side made it onto one of BiS's albums. Even their best-of album would have sufficed. Eat it doesn't deserve to be only a B-side off of Primal. Okay yeah, BiS Kaidan covered it, but that doesn't count. You know how I was saying that Chelsea had the buildup of craziness? Well, Eat it also has one and bumps it up to eleven. With BiS's crazy songs, even their more disturbingly crazy songs, despite being somewhat terrified, I could never pull myself away from them. Eat it starts out with an eerie music box accompanied by static, my first sign that this song was going to be freaky. But then as the song goes on, Eat it sounds catchy and has a strong chorus and buildup. Then very slowly, the song gets weirder and weirder. After the second chorus, there's this creepy chanting. Topping it all off, the members of BiS spend the end of the song screaming their heads off. Then it's over. Eat it sounds like the kind of song I'd hear in a horror film. An exploitation horror film like Planet Terror or something. And yet... I love this song. There is something about Eat it that keeps me coming back. Maybe it's the delivery. Maybe the energy. Maybe the sheer freakiness. It's one of the BiS songs I could more easily see Togawa Jun singing. Actually... maybe that's why I love Eat it so much.
From here on are all the songs that I included on my 50 favorite idol songs list. I know, kind of a spoiler, but what can I do? I do feel like I'm repeating myself at this point though. Besides, what can I really say about Nerve that hasn't already been said? Well... BiS did a Nerve dance video project! Via Youtube, various idol groups (and random people) all uploaded videos of themselves dancing to a snippet of Nerve. Even groups like Bellring Shoujo Heart and Tokyo Girls' Style got in on the action! I may have even done a video... Anyways, watching all these different idol groups dancing to Nerve was so heartwarming. I think it was a fun little sendoff to BiS. And what other song would they have used than Nerve? I think every idol group has that one song that's their "staple." This staple is either a fan-favorite, gets performed at concerts a lot, has many different version, or some combination of those three (for instance: Perfume's Polyrhythm, Morning Musume's Love Machine). Nerve is BiS's staple song. And I can see why. It has a fun, swinging beat and a melody that stays with you. Nerve did start getting a little overemphasized towards BiS's disbandment, but in the end, I still love Nerve. I love every incarnation of it, from the very first one to the final lineup version.
2. My Ixxx
My Ixxx was the first BiS song I ever listened to. Also, it was the first music video I ever saw from them. Together, My Ixxx left a very strong impression on me. My Ixxx showed me that there are more to idol groups than just AKB48 and Hello! Project. There's a complete underbelly of idols all over the spectrum, from conventional and friendly to strange and grotesque. BiS often leaned toward the latter, but had I never discovered BiS, I may have never even branched out into looking at the weirder idol groups on the market. Even without the nostalgia of My Ixxx, I still love the song. My Ixxx doesn't pull as many sounds out as some of the songs on this list. In comparison, My Ixxx is actually one of BiS's tamer songs. It's pop-rock, a genre of music that can either sound completely generic or surprisingly pleasant. My Ixxx just works well. The vocals are weirdly laidback, with the instrumental sounding more driven, and that all works. The song goes really well with the music video. Despite all the controversy surrounding it, I always liked the PV for My Ixxx. Was it controversy-invoking? Sure, but I found it to be very artsy. And the girls looked so carefree in it! My Ixxx is a song that strikes a lot of memories for me, while also being a great song. That is why My Ixxx is one of my favorites.
And at number one is Primal. God, I love this song. I really love this song. Obviously, that's a no-brainer, but sometimes I sit back and think to myself, "Man, Primal is a wonderful song." But why do I love Primal so much? Because it sounds so raw, so powerful. The riff in the beginning sets the serious, emotional tone, and the rest of Primal is the girls singing like the world is going to end. The vocals or Primal are what make the song. The way the girls sing it hits me with such emotion. I get chills when I listen to Primal; even after playing it a bajillion times, I still do. When I listened to Primal, that's when I knew that I wanted to be a fan of BiS. Primal is BiS at their most brutal and most vulnerable. The music videos emphasizes that. The PV for Primal stands out just as much as the song with too-close-for-comfort home footage and the girls shoving cameras down their throats. It's disturbing and poignant at the same time, and I don't think BiS was ever able to capture that in a music video again. BiS has done crazy and weird, but Primal feels like something much more raw. For that, I love Primal. It's my favorite BiS song and ultimately, one of my favorite idol songs. Even if you never listen to another BiS song in your life, I at least recommend listening to this one.
BiS went through a lot of changes in their career from lineups to labels to music. Going through the songs on this list, I realized that the many faces and sounds of BiS were what helped make them such a great group. I'm gonna miss their variety. So how you other BiS fans holding up post-disbandment? And what are your favorite BiS songs? While we're at it, what your least favorite BiS songs?