For the ranging Morning Musume fan I am, I cannot deny that while they have had their ups and down, their sister group Berryz Koubou has been consistently good throughout their run. As the group with the least amount of line up changes (the first, and only, has been Maiha’s graduation back in 2005), Berryz Koubou’s image has gradually matured…mostly.
With 28 singles, and eight albums in their long career as a group, Berryz Koubou has proved their staying power in the J-Pop world. But as the group’s second cover of a foreign hit, does it soar or flop? Let’s take a look at Cha Cha SING.
Berryz Koubou’s first foreign cover was Dschinghis Khan, based on the German Eurovision contestants in 1979. It was a smash hit, which makes it weirder that it’s been such a long time since there’s been another one. This time around, it’s a cover of a Thai song by the same name, by the highly popular singeractor Thongchai “Bird” McIntyre. Who is he? No clue, but he is both talented and gorgeous, which is more than enough reason to do a cover of one of his most prolific songs. And since I couldn’t find a version of the MV of the Berryz Koubou version with subs, I figured one of the original Thai version would convey the sense of the song…more or less.
The cover is more pop-esque and bubble gum compared to the more lower-toned, more soulful sounding original, but for the type of group they are, who’ll do a ballad one single and a rock anthem the next, it works. Plus, it is catchy as all Hell – try listening to it and tell me you don’t randomly start humming the chorus. I also love the intro, which sounds very Thai and melodic, really bringing you into the song. Though you really ignore the verses because of how fun and energetic the chorus is, even the bridge.
The dance is pretty simple compared to other stuff they’ve done, but they are also emulating the original dance from the Thai version, which is part of why the song is so popular. But the verses also have a simplified dance but it really amplifies the cute-factor of the group interactions, which is always a plus for a very simple, but elegant, music video.
I am not entirely sure about the costuming in this video. For one, I hate those little jackets, not for the ornate design, but for that weird star-shaped collar and those noxious tiny puff sleeves. I can even deal with the springy headdresses, but man those jackets are ugly. Also, I wish they hadn’t made the jackets all the time color, rather than red and blue. Mostly because the girls in the red jackets are the most heavily featured ones – Risako, Miyabi, and Momoko, which make it seem like favoritism. Though lord forbid someone actually accuse Tsunku of that and for anything to change. I just think would have all looked better in either red or blue, not a mix.
I am not sure what they did with people’s hair in this video, particularly Risako. Are her bangs dye like purple, or was it a weird dye accident? I can’t tell if her whole hair is this way cause it’s pushed back by the head-piece. Either way, it makes her look older, as in the right light it looks grey, and that’s never good. Miyabi’s hair is a very light blonde-brown which makes her head look smaller and causes it to blend more into the background, neither of which is particularly flattering. Maasa has to do something with her hair – it’s been the same color and style for over ten singles. There’s a difference between being known for your hair-style and being boring, so just change it up a little. Also what’s with everyone calling her fat? That’s just cruel – she’s not fat. Zukki’s not fat. No one in the whole Hello!Project collective is fat, or ever was. Trust me, doing all that dancing and singing, and running around on tour and TV shows, they don’t have time to be fat. And for the love of God Momoko, please stop with the pigtails and cutesy attitude, you are way too old for that. Plus, the pigtails just don’t work – they haven’t worked since you were 16.
The design of the video is very simple, with lovely bright colored backgrounds, with the words “Cha” and “Let’s Go” popping up occasionally in a very clean, gold font, which is used sparingly so as to not be tacky,
Overall, Cha Cha SING is a well done cover and a lovely single for this versatile, fun group. While I didn’t agree with some of the choices made in the sense of costuming, I can’t deny that this is one of the catchiest and most fun songs in their repertoire, and one I’m going to snatch up on iTunes as soon as it comes out!