[Editorial] 80s and 90s Songs Covered by Current Idols are Nostalgic with a Fresh Feel

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[Editorial] 80s and 90s Songs Covered by Current Idols are Nostalgic with a Fresh Feel

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For idol fans, Buono’s “Hatsukoi Cider” is very familiar. When Hello! Project wota hear the first line of this hit song, “Kiss wo ageru yo~” (“I’ll give you a kiss~”), they’ll immediately recognize Airi Suzuki’s voice, but depending on the person, a number of voices may come to mind.


Hello!Project fans didn’t want a cover of Buono!’s “Hatsukoi Cider”. However, under the leadership of OTZ, who used to be in charge of Buono!, a cover was done by the group he’s now in charge of, Friend♡Friend.

Buono!’s “Hatsukoi Cider” (MV)

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Recently things have calmed down some, but at one time a strange phenomenon was happening where cover songs were being sung too often, and if you went to see a bunch of groups perform, you were sure to hear one played. If you listened closely, you’d hear many idol fans say that they’d never heard the original before.

Of course, now there are many who perform covers of songs by Hello! Project and AKB48, but that’s because there are many idol fans that have heard them before. Because they’re songs that everyone at the venue knows, everyone can join in the fun. When everyone’s excitement spreads like fire throughout the venue, it can lead to double the fun.

A typical example would be BiS’s “nerve”. As soon as the music starts, you can be sure everyone will strike an “ebizori” pose and point. It goes without saying that the song has been covered live, and many idols have joined in on the group’s “Japan Ebizori Project”, which was planned before they disbanded and has continued on since.

The “Japan Ebizori Project”, which was planned for BiS’s disbandment on July 8, 2014. You can a number of idols doing their signature “ebizori” pose.

Perhaps a cover song’s greatest strength lies in it being a song that you’ve heard before. Based on that point alone, people will pay more attention to it.

And right now, with the concept of doing cover songs, one group has been gaining popularity. This group is none other than Idol Renaissance. Their covers span a wide range of hits, many of them of songs that came out before the members were born. Because a large number of current idol artist fans are in their 30s or 40s, they often stick to older hits.


With their “hit song renaissance” theme, Idol Renaissance is bringing back many of Japan’s famous, older numbers. They might be young, but they’re covering idol songs like Kyoko Koizumi’s “Kogarashi ni Dakarete”.

~“Futari no Akaboshi” and “Kogarashi ni Dakarete” Debut~ [December 12th Ebisu de Omoide Travel Renaissance vol.2 Digest] by Idol Renaissance

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In this way, because so-called middle-aged idol fans are also experiencing the idol boom of the 80s and 90s, their level of interest in current idol music is also higher. There are definitely groups that are hooked on this trend, and this time we’d like to introduce some of them to you. These are the idols that are covering 80s and 90s idol songs.

One of these artists is Hakoiri♡Musume. They mainly do covers of idol groups formed by Fuji TV, like songs from Onyanko Club and the members’ solo careers, along with songs from artists formed by Otome Juku, suck as CoCo, ribbon, and Qlair, in addition to songs by Checkicco. You could even say they’re cover song maniacs, going as far as covering the coupling songs and album songs associated with each cover song. Rather than sticking to just songs people have heard of, you get the feeling that they’re trying to tell people today about the classics from before.


Hakoiri♡Musume, which covers idol songs from the 80s and 90s. They do covers of solo numbers released by the members of Onyako Club, like Sonoko Kawai and Mamiko Takai, as well as covers of music by Otome Juku groups like CoCo and ribbon.

Hakoiri Musume no Teikiban Digest

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As a solo artist, Ayami Muto is an idol artist who announced a hiatus at the end of last year, but began work focused on cover songs. She started her 80s idol song modern play solo project, DNA1980, and released two CDs of 80s idol hits, titled DNA1980 Vol. 1 and DNA1980 Vol.2.

Most of the idols from the 80s were solo artists, and matched up with Ayami Muto’s solo project, generated a lot of buzz.



DNA1980, a solo project by former Sakura Gakuin member Ayami Muto. Limited copies of the CDs DNA1980 Vol.1 and DNA1980 Vol.2 were released.

DNA1980 Vol.1 Track list
01 Suteki na Lovely Boy (Kyoko Koizumi/1982)
02 Cherry Blossom (Seiko Matsuda/1981)
03 Ri Bo N (Chiemi Hori/1985)
04 Kanashimi yo Konnichiwa (Yuki Saito/1986)

DNA1980 Vol.2 Track list
01 Smile For Me (Naoko Kawai/1981)
02 Aoi Sangosho (Seiko Matsuda/1980)
03 Namida no Paper Moon (Hidemi Ishikawa/1983)
04 Cecil (Yui Asaka/1988)

『DNA1980 Vol.1』収録曲
01 素敵なラブリーボーイ(小泉今日子/1982年)
02 チェリーブラッサム(松田聖子/1981年)
03 リ・ボ・ン(堀ちえみ/1985年)
04 悲しみよこんにちは(斉藤由貴/1986年)

『DNA1980 Vol.2』収録曲
01 スマイル・フォー・ミー(河合奈保子/1981年)
02 青い珊瑚礁(松田聖子/1980年)
03 涙のペーパームーン(石川秀美/1983年)
04 セシル(浅香唯/1988年)

Although not the concept behind the group, Aoi Soda Kun is a group that does covers of 80s idol songs. Currently made up of Karin Ogino from Yumemiru Adolescence and Haruka Oba from drop, they’ve performed songs by artists like Miho Nakayama, Yoko Minamino, and Shizuka Kudo. Although their music is familiar, they might need a little more time to properly insert the calls that are part of cheering on current idols.


Aoi Soda Kun, which started out as a side unit. They’ve covered hit songs such as “Hade!!!”, “Toiki de Net” and “Again”. The group has been performing together for less than a year.

Another cover group adding their own flavor to idol music from the 80s and 90s is Sunmyu~. They’re a group handled by Sun Music, who worked with popular idols from the 80s, and the company’s first idol group in 20 years, covering songs first released by their elder sempai.

They’ve done covers of Yunako Okada’s “Kuchibiru Network” and “First Date”, Noriko Sakai’s “Yume Boken”, and typical cover song “Natsu Matsuri”. “Natsu Matsuri” wasn’t a song by their elder sempai, but rather a song by JITTERIN’JINN that Whiteberry originally covered. This version covered by Sunmyu~ was given a catchy arrangement to match current idol music, and has become a regular hit at summer festivals.


Sunmyu~, which is the first idol group from Sun Music since Pumpkin. They perform original songs along with a number of major idol songs.

Sunmyu’s 3rd single, “Natsu Matsuri” [1 Chorus ver]
【さんみゅ~】3rd single「夏祭り」 [1Chorus ver]【MV】

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Like Sunmyu~, the group Tokyo Performance Doll doesn’t just cover songs from artists that came before them, but adds their own spin on them.

Tokyo Performance Doll, the popular group from the 90s, was revived with new members, and is currently active in their second generation. Because of this, they interweave 90s covers with original numbers on stage. On stage, their performances combine live music with theatrics, for productions that make use of lighting and video, and feature the innovation that the group had in their 90s.


Tokyo Performance Doll, which was active during the 90s and disappeared in 1996, was revived in 2013. Like during the group’s first generation, they held the non-stop stage Dance Summit.

[LIVE] Tokyo Performance Doll/Jijo Saidai no Yuwaku -Rearranged ver.-

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And although Pink Lady hasn’t revived, Pink Babies is a group that has taken on some of their music. Pink Lady’s main active period was during the 70s, but hit numbers by the nationally-known duo have been covered by a large number of groups as well as covers of their dances. Even at their solo concerts, Pink Lady songs dominate the show. Seeing as their set list even includes coupling tracks, one can’t help but become a Pink Lady fan.

Also there’s a group called Candles that debuted as an official version of Candies that we won’t go into to much detail over.


As part of Shunichi Tokura’s Pan Pacific Project, vocal dance unit Pink Babies takes on singing and performing hit numbers by Pink Lady. All of the songs they perform live are songs by Pink Lady.

Pink Babies – Wanted (Shimei Tehai)

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Tokyo Performance Doll and Pink Babies perform numerous cover songs, including those that weren’t hits, so many of their songs are ones listeners are hearing for the first time. But even when covering older hits, there are many younger people who haven’t heard of them before. In these cases, these cover songs make the same impression as new, original material. For people who know them, these cover songs are nostalgic, but for those who don’t, they sound fresh.

This time, although we took on the task of presenting groups actively covering idol songs from the 80s and 90s, there’s no end to the number of groups who have sung cover songs on stage. Because a classic song will always remain a classic, people love to sing them.

Personally, while I was writing about Miki Ito’s “Ubu” and Risa Tachibana’s “Otona wa Wakatte Kurenai”, I thought, “This is Ebichu (Shiritsu Ebisu Chugaku), right?” But upon listening again, I was relieved to find it was completely different.

*This update’s song: “Hatsukoi Cider” by Buono!

Translated by Jamie Koide

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Related Artists : Ayami Muto Tokyo Performance Doll BiS
Toshiro Arai

A producer of website "TOKYO IDOL NET", which "photography" and "idol" is its concept. He also writes for Tokyo Idol Project, and so on.

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