THTFHQ AWARDS 2023: Album of the Year

THTFHQ AWARDS 2023 Album of the Year

2023 was a year focused on male seiyuu artists trying new things and surprising their fans with awesome albums.

From January 5 to 15, 2024, readers and viewers of THTFHQ voted for these awards valuing, first and foremost, talent and quality over popularity.

Nominees were shortlisted by The Hand That Feeds HQ and our readers chose a winner.

To avoid petty fights between fans and disrespect towards seiyuu and their fans, no votes are disclosed in any written features covering THTFHQ AWARDS 2023.

If you want to check the abridged version of the complete results of this year’s edition, those were unveiled on episode 182 of SEIYUU LOUNGE, THTFHQ’s weekly podcast all about male seiyuu music and 2D groups.

#1 Yuma Uchida “Y”

Yuma Uchida Y regular edition
Regular edition

Yuma UchidaY” emerges on top after a tough head-to-head with Trignal’s “Ironna Katachi”. 

In celebration of his 5th anniversary as a solo artist, Yuma Uchida created his first-ever series of digital singles, culminating in the release of his 3rd full-length album “Y”, easily one of the best albums of the year.

In this album, Uchida focused on showcasing his versatility as a singer and performer, showed his singer-songwriter skills for the very first time, and was daring with performances that added violence and sexiness to the mix.

After listening to Yuma Uchida’s “Y”, you will not only be impressed by his growth as a solo artist but also by the near-perfect close to a 5-year chapter of awesome tunes and outstanding performances. Now, I believe you and I are excited to see and hear what Yuma Uchida releases next, after celebrating such an important milestone as a 5th anniversary.

If you haven’t checked this album yet, oh boy, you’re in for a ride! If you have, you know well why this was the popular choice this year.

Yuma Uchida’s “Y” is your album of the year.

From this point on, the albums mentioned are not ranked (the order in which they appear below doesn’t correspond to the place they ranked in the final voting):

Kent Ito “Hanabi”

Kent Ito "Hanabi"
Regular

Kent Ito’s “Hanabi” arrived early in 2023 ready to share with us all top quality citypop music with awesome vibes. Ito’s music feels cozy and warm at all times while being serious about its quality and performances. 

It is the perfect balance between a quality singer wanting to create music that not only is unique and stylish but that also entertains his fans in unexpected ways. 

There is nostalgia but also a happy, warm feeling coming off from his music, and that, I believe, makes him unique in the seiyuu artist’s landscape. 

The quality of the instrumentals is high – now with Ito in charge of the composition for some of the songs -, and Kent Ito’s vocals are so sweet and smooth to the ears.

Kent Ito’s “Hanabi” is an amazing entry in his repertoire, setting a high level of quality for future releases while showcasing the vocal prowess of one of the most experienced and technical singers among male seiyuu.

UMake “ATMOSPHERE”

UMake "ATMOSPHERE"
Regular

ATMOSPHERE” is an album that may have went under the radar for many but oh boy, wasn’t this an awesome album by UMake!

It perfectly captures the duo’s laidback, cozy vibe and simple semi-acoustic rock sound. Although the duo has this sound and vibe since their start, they have improved it over the years and in “ATMOSPHERE” you can feel it by how much they experimented with music genres, composition styles, and even their lyrics.

The ethereal and dreamy music, along with the warm vocals of Kent Ito and Yoshiki Nakajima, feels like a warm blanket on a cold day. 

The album showcases the balance between fancy compositions by Kent Ito and vivid lyrics by Yoshiki Nakajima, resulting in feel-good tunes. 

“ATMOSPHERE” is a fancy, laidback, and incredibly sweet album. It is the perfect album to play when you want to feel loved or just want to relax.

Sir Vanity “midnight sun”

Sir Vanity "midnight sun"

With a unique approach to rock and pop music, a thunderous bassline at their heart, at the same time that fans get fancy synths and drums and twin guitars and vocals, courtesy of Yoshiki Nakajima and Yuichiro Umehara, Sir Vanity continued to turn heads around in 2023.

And the time arrived to turn even more heads with the release of their first mini-album, “midnight sun”. Fans can find in this release stylish songs and performances that range from minimalistic to incredibly intense, stylish, and groovy.

On the other hand, their evolving sound, mixing influences from various music genres, creates a stylish, muscular yet emotional rock sound that makes you hit that replay button time and time again. This time around even acid-jazz was added to their sound and it sounds downright amazing.

Sir Vanity’s “midnight sun” stands out for its consistency and quality on the vocals and instrumentals and is, easily, one of the best albums of the year.

Trignal “Ironna Katachi”

Trignal Ironna Katachi regular edition
Regular edition

Ironna Katachi” is unreal. So good and so unique, especially in the group’s repertoire.

Their sound was polished to the littlest detail. They sounded more confident than ever.

The sound is mostly loungy, with a lot of jazz, space, and nu-disco going on yet still with the occasional pop tune and a really interesting downtempo rock song in there as well.

You can tell from the presentation of this album just how much the group matured.

Their sound – which was already amazing in “Tricolore” – was vastly upgraded to fit with the group’s current singing skills and talents and the whole vibe about their songs showcases just how experienced and mature the group now is.

The intro to this mini-album is pure class and confidence in my opinion. “CHASE THE DESTINY” is nothing like their usual music, fully embracing a comfortable style of rock, and then comes the big surprise, “Tashikani bokura wa”, easily the best song in this album and one of the best released in 2023.

“Ironna Katachi” was one of the best albums released in 2023.

Tetsuya Kakihara “Waratte ite…”

Tetsuya Kakihara "Waratte ite..."
Regular edition

In 2023, Tetsuya Kakihara released “Waratte Ite…” and this album was all about exuding laid-back vibes and showcasing his impressive technical prowess. 

It seems that the concept of “Waratte ite…” is all about bringing happiness, warmth, and a sense of being loved and appreciated to his fans and listeners. 

He masterfully achieves this through a collection of six songs that incorporate chants, choirs, unconventional compositions that break free from traditional patterns, groovy tunes, and soul-stirring ballads. 

“Waratte ite…” not only leaves you with a broad and proud smile but also invokes tears and goosebumps. If you’re seeking a musical journey with a well-defined concept, “Waratte ite…” is the mini-album for you. It’s an invitation to smile widely and cherish the experience.

This is yet another near-flawless album by Kakihara and one of the best albums released in 2023.

SparQlew “we will…”

SparQlew we will regular edition
Regular edition

SparQlew‘s mini-album, “we will…” is filled with highlights starting from “All my heart”. 

This one combines a late 90s R&B pop vibe with a cool tropical pop twist. It’s catchy as hell and one of the most exciting releases of 2023. 

The sub-unit songs on the album deserve some serious recognition too. They dive into rock music, each in their way. 

Hozumi and Yoshinaga bring the noise with a high-energy, riff-driven rock track. On the other hand, Uemura and Horie go for a heart-melting rock ballad. It’s a nice change that lets fans appreciate the unique skills of the group members. 

All in all, this was yet another amazing entry by SparQlew, raising the bar yet again for them.


Thank you to everyone who voted at the THTFHQ AWARDS 2023!

Vanessa Silva
Vanessa Silvahttps://www.handthatfeedshq.com
The Hand That Feeds HQ founder, content creator, and music reviewer. Basically, the only person managing everything at The Hand That Feeds HQ. Stumbling upon Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus" in 2011 was the start of this journey. If music is thought-provoking or deep, you may find her writing almost essays (not limited to, but it happens a lot with Soma Saito's music). She's the producer and host of the male seiyuu-centric podcast, SEIYUU LOUNGE (see Spotify link in this profile).

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