Revisiting an Oldie From a New Generation

Many have categorized oldies as songs that have a certain flair to them and have something memorable. Spice Girl’s “Wannabe”, Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water”, and Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” are a few songs that qualify as oldies.

Japan has a plenitude of oldies too. Each decade presents a distinct set of tunes and genres that capture the attention of many. But sometimes, an oldie might be considered “too old” by the newer generations as the musical arrangement or even the vocals are outdated. That leaves one question: How can people today enjoy a very popular oldie from an older decade like the 1970s? The answer is simple, just reinvent it with today’s sounds and fresh faces.

That isImage and video hosting by TinyPic what exactly Pink Babies is all about. Called the sister group of the legendary idol duo Pink Lady from the 1970s, Pink Babies cover a lot of lovable tunes from the duo and the 70s. Pink Babies formed in 2013 with several girls. The lineup has changed over the years, as one of the members pointed out to me on Sunday during the handshake event, as the current roster has ten girls. These girls cover popular tunes as well as unknown stuff from albums and b-sides.

Pink Babies released their first cover single, “Nagisa no Sinbad”, in the summer of 2015, first at Jan Expo and then at Tokyo Idol Festival. I actually picked up a copy that was signed by Aina at TIF. The group continues to release singles at least once a year while performing at small festivals and venues within Tokyo.

The group went around to various cities in Japan to perform and hold events at various malls to celebrate the release of their second single. One of the spots they visited was the Parco Shopping Mall in the heart of Nagoya’s shopping district. The event had three parts: a mini-live, handshakes, and then photo ops. In order to participate in the later two events, you had to buy their new single beforehand or on the day.

As it was mall event, the stage area was pretty small. The crowd was pretty small too as around 30 people showed up for the mini-live. A small percentage of the crowd were people who were passing by. These lives are a bit up-close and personal as the distance between the stage and the crowd are a few meters. Heck, I had a great view from my spot despite the speakers being in the way as I was a couple of meters away.

The mini-live started on time with the girls performing these songs:Image and video hosting by TinyPic

  1. SOS
  2. MC
  3. Dou ni mo Tomaranai (Rio O., Chinatsu, Aina, Sara)
  4. Kuruwasetai no (Mayu, Rio S., Kotono, Saho, Yui)
  5. Hoshi Kara Kita Futari (Mayu, Aina, Yui, Sara, Chinatsu)
  6. Catch Lip (Kotono, Saho, Rio O., Rio S., Yukari)
  7. MC
  8. Southpaw
  9. MC
  10. UFO

Pink Babies are pretty good in terms of being an idol group. They have mediocre vocals but have an array of girls that have their own appeal. However, my only concern about the group is “how” they perform each song. Even though Pink Lady had unforgettable performances, the group did have outfits and dance movements that were considered maybe too risque. They frequently showcased their legs (and body) as they wore tight spandex outfits with very short skirts or no bottoms. Pink Lady also had dance movements that center around their legs.

I don’t know iImage and video hosting by TinyPicf it was a positive or a negative for the duo as they were 18 years old when Mie and Kei started to perform. However, I wasn’t really satisfied when I first saw Pink Babies performing such songs at the Tokyo Idol Festival two years ago. I felt like the stuff they were performing was a bit too much or risqué for these girls. The group was then composed of girls between 12-16 years old, singing and dancing almost like their big sisters some forty years ago. I just felt weirded out seeing such young girls publically performing dances that were more suitable for late high school to college girls. But, that is the nature of the Japanese idol industry and the argument about “what dances, outfits, and songs are too much for idols” could be saved for another day. I am just relieved after seeing the mini-live on Sunday that the group has mellowed out and matured a bit where singing and performing Pink Lady songs wouldn’t be bothersome.

The handshake was after the mini-live. You could shake hands and have a 30-second conversation with each member if you bought a CD. I felt like I had more time with each girl compared to past events with other idol groups as I could talk about many things with the members. When the handshake event finished, then it was time for a photo-op. Depending on how many CDs you bought, you could get a picture with a member. Or, you would play a game where someone would pull out a slip of paper that contained one of various photo-op Image and video hosting by TinyPicoptions. The options were: a two-short or three-shot miniature Polaroid, a 30-second minute video with your favorite member, a group shot with all the members, and etc. I took my chances and picked from the box. I got a chance to take a miniature Polaroid with two of the members. So, I picked Nagoya native Rio O (or Ohrio) and Chinatsu (because she told me her favorite princess is Belle, just like mine).

Like I said before, Pink Babies isn’t a bad group.  They are worth checking out if you like to listen to covers of oldies, if you a fan of Pink Lady or old Jpop tunes, and/or like idol groups. I love them and have learned much more about Pink Lady’s songs, especially my new favorite song “Catch Lip”, from this cute group.

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Signal’s “Secret Rain” Promo Event at HMV Sakae (August 15, 2015)

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Commited to catching up, here is another report! This is dedicated to all the Sailor Moon musical fans all over the world. ❤

Signal is a Japanese pop band that had three ladies transformed as handsome guys (more like the “ikemen” type). The trio formed in 2015 with members Root, Rei, and Lyra. If you are a fan of the all-female theatre troupe Takarazuka Revue, you might recognized Lyra from the Tsukigumi or the Moon Group. Others might recognized Root from various “ikemen shoujo” magazines like KERA or Men’s Bible. But, I think a lot of people from the Western World knows Root as the phenomenal Jadeite from the 2013 Sailor Moon Musical La Reconquista.
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The group released their first mini-album, entitled “Secret Rain”, on July 29, 2015. This is the only CD they ever released as Signal announced at the end of last month that they were going to split up due to each member wanting to pursue their own individual activities.

Originally when I went the mini-live at HMV Sakae on August 15, I just wanted check out this ikemen group because they looked interesting when I researched them beforehand. I didn’t really know that Root was in this group until she did her self-introduction. I was shocked when she introduced herself and had to check the group’s blog to make sure it was true. At that moment, I grew excited as I really loved Root when she starred in the 2013 Sera Myu musical. She makes a great guy villain and is an amazing singer.

The live started promptly at one o’clock. The crowd was a bit small with most of the audience being young adult females. I stood in the back of the crowd because I didn’t know this group really well to join the front section with the true fans. The “guys” came onto the stage and did their self-introductions. Root’s acting as a guy is pretty spot-on, like always. She got the mannerisms and can produce a guy-ish tone easily. So can Lyra. However, Rei was the weaker ikemen as she was pretty girlish. She really can’t do the ikemen really well as you can tell in the picture above that she is one that looks less masculine then other two. During the MCs, she brought out the playful female side as she tried to be cute and more girlish. Maybe a career in ikemen entertainment isn’t suited for her but she was having fun.

During the twenty minute live, Signal sang two or three songs, which the very last one was “Secret Rain”, while entertaining the crowd with a couple of MCs. The group was pretty shaky live as Root and Lyra could perform in an ikemen style and Rei couldn’t. I swear she just sang the song in her normal voice (and not the ikemen-type that was featured on the PV). However, the “guys” were having fun and you could see that the members enjoyed each other and had a good relationship between them.

After the mini-live, the staff prepared the stage for a handshake event for those who bought the CD. I quickly bought the album and obtained one handshake ticket. The line for the event was small, so it wasn’t much of a wait to approach the table. The first member who I greeted was Rei, who spoke some English to me and asked me if I lived in Nagoya. Then next was Root, who I told that I loved her in La Reconquista because she was my favorite Jadeite and I will continue to support her. She thanked me. Lastly, I approached Lyra, who I had a small conversation with. The event was laid-back as the fans could spend a decent amount of time talking to each member. I swear some of the girls before me were fangirling a lot though.

I haven’t listen to much of the album since I bought it. But, if you enjoy ikemen or vocally-altered dance music, you should check out this group. It’s a basic Jpop group that you expect to be from 2015. However, the group’s charm and the great relationship between each other is what makes Signal stand out. Just look at the PV below. You might even fall in love with one the members.