mini J-Song Roundup #11 – All About YouTube Covers

Like many other people, I love listening to covers of music I’ve heard before, whether that be from another well-known musician in a live concert or fans who record themselves singing and/or playing an instrument in their bedroom. You really don’t know what to expect when going into a song cover (other than that they’re singing a particular song) since everyone has a different style of singing, different use of instruments, the visual presentation alongside the sound, etc.; thus being able to discover extremely talented people who you should’ve listened to sooner and genuinely want to support. And that’s really what makes cover videos on a website like YouTube so enjoyable.

*Goose house – arguably one of the most popular cover groups in Japan, performing Hoshino Gen’s SUN (which I believe is one of their best covers)

Today’s Japanese song roundup is going to be revolved around really nice and lesser known cover artists whom I’ve recently found on YouTube. Also, this roundup will be much shorter than usual, as I’ll be showcasing only four songs today rather than eight… cause I’m a bit lazy with this post lol.

Let’s just jump right in!


“Glitter / キラキラ” by aiko (Cover) – Hirano Gaku (& Friends)

A capella (meaning a style of music performance without instrument accompaniment, usually only vocals are used to imitate the instruments) is something that I have definitely neglected, even before I started to seriously listen to Japanese music. I knew that groups like Pentatonix (who, I’m pretty sure, popularized doing a capella covers on YouTube/the internet) existed but I guess I wasn’t exactly interested in that style of musical performance. However years later (and my interest spiking mainly because of Leap250 recommending me a capella covers and what inspired this post lol), I’ve garnered a great love for a capella covers, especially covers of Japanese music.

This particular group doesn’t have a formal name, I believe they’re just a group of friends who enjoy doing this particular style of music. Lead by the wonderful voice of Yamamoto Ayaka, this cover of aiko’s “Glitter” (which is an incredible song) was very pleasant to both watch and listen to. Everyone did their part/instrument imitation nicely and everyone just sounded so smooth together. But I think another great thing about this cover is how they did this performance: just going outside, recording on a smartphone, and performing the song. No professional equipment was used, and I just really thought that was a great and unique performance presentation (also that view of Sapporo, Hokkaido is gorgeous).

Other Covers to Check Out


“YAMABIKO” by NakamuraEmi (Cover) – otonogram

If you like acoustic/unplugged music groups like Goose house, you will most likely enjoy the performances from this group also consisting of six people, otonogram. I wish there was more background info about these guys that was more available to a foreigner like me but it seems like they’re a fairly new group that started uploading covers on YouTube around March 2018. I’ve only scratched the surface with otonogram but they truly do seem like a talented group of musicians and while they do perform with the obvious instruments like a guitar and keyboard, the addition of something unique like beat boxing is significant to note.

There are a ton of covers they have made already in their one year of existence but I chose this song, “YAMABIKO” by NakamuraEmi, specifically because it stood out to me the most, in terms of how similar it sounded to the original (also because I’ve been listening to more NakamuraEmi recently lol). Yamazaki Kurumi beautifully replicated that dominant-sounding acoustic guitar performance, Yatarota Keitarou went in with beat boxing, and main vocalist Matsumoto Chinatsu honestly sounds just like the original artist. Such a great cover!

Other Covers to Check Out


“Lady Blues / レイディ・ブルース” by LUCKY TAPES (Cover) – Nagie Lane

We’re back with the a capella covers and here’s a group that I truly believe is talented and should get more recognition. If I’m not mistaken and like many other a capella groups, Nagie Lane consists of members who are in other singing/musical groups and/or do other jobs. Every single one of them are a part of other a capella groups and even Suehara Yui is a model on the side. I just found their backgrounds and fresh presence really interesting!

Their cover of LUCKY TAPES’ “Lady Blues” has to be one of my favorites out of the covers they’ve done, and I actually discovered this group by Takahashi Kai himself (the frontman of LUCKY TAPES) after he featured their cover on his Instagram. There’s a ton to like about this cover such as how they imitated the trumpets, how the female vocalists have pretty varying voice pitches that still mix together well, Matsubara Hiro’s impressive percussion, and the overall similar vibe they expressed compared to the original. And hearing Hirano Gaku doing the bassline hella smoothly was amazing 😛

And as I was writing this post, the official Nagie Lane Twitter account, as well as Hirano Gaku, actually liked and retweeted the tweets where I mentioned the group. It honestly is a surreal and weird feeling to actually be noticed by the music groups I follow and enjoy, for the first time as a matter of fact! (i also don’t know if they knew what I said in the tweet, since it’s all in English lol)

nagielane

Other Covers to Check Out


“Flamingo” by Yonezu Kenshi (Cover) – DAZBEE

Saved the best for last!

When I first heard DAZBEE’s cover of Yonezu Kenshi’s “Flamingo”, my mind was going into shambles. Her voice is incredibly good (and she imitated Yonezu Kenshi’s vocal styling pretty well) and that acoustic arrangement by katagi is GODLY. Apparently DAZBEE is a musician/cover artist from South Korea, which is something new I learned and now am impressed by the fact that she isn’t actually Japanese; she definitely sings in Japanese extremely well. As I’ve mentioned before, DAZBEE’s singing abilities is obviously superb, having that calm and more deep styling while still being able to hit high notes if needed. Also, the visuals she includes in her videos look absolutely stunning and fit her covers very appropriately.

Honestly, her cover performances speak for herself so please, check out some of her other cover songs (which are all worth listening to)!

Other Covers to Check Out


That’s all the songs/cover artists I have for you today! There are thousands of amazing people/groups who do song covers but we’d be here for days, so I hope you enjoyed this small handful of talented people.

Please let me know which song/artist was your favorite! Also, feel free to provide some Japanese cover YouTubers you know in the comments; I’m always open to new suggestions 🙂

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Thanks for reading!! 😀

-al

  1. Ahhh thank you! When I read your title, Goose house is the first that came to mind. The other one I follow is Kobasolo (and the various female singers he collab w/). Now I have more groups to listen to. 😀

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