Ronald Reviews: January 2023 (LE SSERAFIM’s “FEARLESS -Japanese ver.-” & SixTONES’ “Koe”)

Welcome to a new feature here on Nante Japan, “Ronald Reviews”! Each month, I will review the top song and album of the previous month per Oricon. If Billboard Japan releases a monthly chart eventually, I will do that as well. Think of this as a way to learn about the top releases of the month, or to enjoy them again if you’ve already heard them. That being said, let’s get into this month’s chart toppers!

This month, I will review LE SSERAFIM‘s Japanese debut single, “FEARLESS -Japanese ver.-” (222,286 copies sold), and SixTONES‘ third album, “Koe” (561,984 copies sold).


LE SSERAFIM – FEARLESS -Japanese ver.-

I often talk about how Japanese music lacks “diva energy” now and that KPop still has it. This is an example of that. There are two Japanese girls in this group, Sakura and Kazuha. They went to Korea to pursue a dream that really has no path in today’s Japanese music industry. And good for them! The song is fun, catchy, and full of attitude. It sounds like something that would play in Zara. 7.5/10

Get the single here:

SixTONES – Koe

1.Overture -VOICE-

This intro to the album is largely accapella, and sees the group harmonizing. One of the things that SixTONES has really try to put an emphasis on is showing their vocal talent, as shown when they appeared on THE FIRST TAKE. While the attempt at harmonizing is appreciated, I’m not so sure that their voices blend together that well. 5/10



It’s chaotic, it’s noisy, but it’s fun! It has a very lively energy and is a nice first song for the album. 6.5/10


3.Good Luck!

It’s a feel good genki song. It’s a bit cheesy, but endearing. 7/10



The best song on the album. It’s an EDM banger (complete with drops and shoutouts in chorus), which means that either they’re playing on nostalgia or anticapating the future, which I’m not sure. There is a really nice bridge that softens the blow to the head that is this song. 8.5/10



It’s sweet and nostalgic. 7.5/10



This is an anime theme, and you can tell. It’s all over the place in a good way. I enjoy the jazz influence here. It reminds me a bit of something Shiina Ringo would give to another act. 8/10


7.Hito Hito Hito

This really reminds me of Suchmos or one of those other neo-city pop acts that emerged a few years ago when that wave was a thing. It’s a really chill song. It’s interesting that almost the whole song is rapped, and it’s all the members doing it, not just Juri. This song is something totally unexpected from SixTONES. 8/10



It’s a fun R&B-influenced song. 7/10


9.Chillin’ with you

This has a similar vibe to “Hito Hito Hito”, but even more laidback. 7.5/10



The song is OK, but it’s just kinda there. There really isn’t anything to grab my attention and make it memorable. 6/10



This is similar to ‘Boom-Pow-Wow!”, but with a nostalgic twist. Not as crazy, but still fun. 6.5/10



For some reason, this reminds me Sandaime J Soul Brothers’ “Hanabi.” Like that song, this one is also sweet, endearing, and emotional. 7.5/10



Very nostalgic and uplifting. A nice album closer in theory, but not due to the various bonus tracks attached to the end of the different versions of the album. 7/10


Limited Edition A Bonus Tracks

14.Need you

This is similar to “Outrageous”, where I can’t tell if they’re playing on nostalgia or anticapating the future due to the use of EDM. I do like how the bombastic EDM sound is only used in the chorus and essentially serves as the chorus. 7.5/10



This is like second coming of “SUBWAY DREAMS.” The song is just kinda there. 6/10


Limited Edition B Bonus Tracks

16.OPA! (Shintaro Morimoto×Juri Tanaka)

It’s giving Mediterranean vacation! It sounds like something that would play at a beach side bar in Greece, so they did do the name of the song justice. It is a bit repetitive though. 7/10


17.La La La Love Story (Taiga Kyomoto×Yugo Kochi)

I can see what they were going for with this, but the execution is a bit kitsch? But maybe that is the point. 5.5/10


18.Ai to Iu na no Bell (Jesse×Hokuto Matsumura)

I like the use of piano along with dance music here. It sounds  like something someone like DAISHI DANCE would have made 10 or 15 years ago. 7/10


Regular Edition Bonus Tracks

19.Cat Call

This song is so ridiculous that I can’t help but love it. It’s something that I think would work great in a concert setting, especially the “I meow, you meow, meow meow meow meow meow” chorus. It’s a lot of fun! 8/10


20.Ongaku -Koe ver.-

At first I’m reminded of Hoshino Gen or Official HIGE DANdism, but by time the chorus comes, it turns into Arashi or Kanjani8. It’s a good enough song though. 6.5/10



It’s a nostalgic song. It sounds like something a number of boybands have put out over the years, but I’m thinking more Western as opposed to Japanese. I like the emotion conveyed in the song. 7/10


Album average: 7/10

I loved some things on the album, but I didn’t really hate anything. I do feel like the album was overly long though and some songs could have been omitted. A nice effort overall though!

Get the album here:


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