In 2004, Berryz Kobo debuted with their first single, ‘Anata Nashi de wa Ikite Yukenai’. Ten years have passed and they have just released their 10th year anniversary commemoration single, ‘Ai wa Itsumo Kimi no Naka Ni/ Futsuu, Idol 10nen Yatternnai Desho’!
This is currently one of my favorite singles from Berryz Kobo. Recently, I was slowly beginning to lose faith as their songs and music videos have been less appealing with each single, but I was very much impressed with both the songs and the videos for this single. Berryz brought all they had to celebrate their 10 years of being an idol group.
The first song, ‘Ai wa Itsumo Kimi no Naka Ni’ is a serious and militant song. It has a strong beat, lots of repetition and powerful choreography. ‘Futsuu, Idol 10nen Yatternnai Desho’ is the complete opposite. It is a more carefree and joyous song. Although they are two completely different songs, I really love them both.
Ai wa Itsumo Kimi no Naka Ni
When I first heard the song, my jaw nearly dropped to the ground. I could not believe that this was a Berryz song! I was hypnotized by the powerful instrumental of brass, strings and deep background vocals. The girls sang in demanding and low voices that emphasized the intense and robust nature of the song. I was surprised that all the girls got their share of solo lines and the fact that Chinami did not sing in her usual high-pitched voice that always annoyed me.
When I saw the music video I was not surprised to see a fixed dark setting that was used for both the close up and the dance shot. This aided in creating the intense atmosphere along with the instrumental, authoritative vocals of the girls and contrasting of the lighting. Even the black outfits that the girls wore emphasized the concept and their natural beauty. For me, Maasa, Chinami and Yurina really shone and impressed me most throughout the music video.
The choreography reminded me of the military. Their moves were robotic and strong. There was a lot of pointing, marching and chain-reaction movement. They also wore serious demeanors and stared at our souls during the close up shots.
The passion and intensity in this music video was so great my heart was racing! I am proud that Berryz is capable of pulling off a strong image such as this. It is completely different from their past singles and shows their versatility as a group.
Futsuu, Idol 10nen Yatternnai Desho
This music video is the exact opposite of Ai wa Itsumo Kimi no Naka Ni. It has a more cheerful concept and melody and the setting is brighter and creates a sense of nostalgia as past and recent pictures of the girls decorate the walls behind them. As I looked at these walls of pictures of the girls throughout the years and compared them to the girls ten years later that was dancing and singing in front of them I could not help but think, “Wow, these girls have grown a lot!” They have matured physically and vocally.
I also noticed how beautiful the girls looked in the music video, especially Yurina and Maasa. I compared the members to their younger images I saw on the walls behind them. Risako has matured in a beautiful young lady, Yurina has gotten much taller and even Saki has outgrown her tomboy image. I have not been a fan of Berryz Kobo since 2004, but I have been around long enough to see them grow and improve and I cannot help but to feel like a proud mother as I watch the girls look back at their past as they stare at the pictures in front of them.
I do not like the song as much as Ai wa Itsumo Kimi no Naka Ni, but it is still really inspirational. The girls sing of their experiences and the pros and cons of being an idol group for so long and although they face hardships, they love their jobs and the experiences that come along with them. After listening to a serious song like Ai wa Itsumo Kimi no Naka Ni, this song is a reliever and brings about jubilant emotions and a sense of nostalgia with its synthetic dance-pop beat and meaningful lyrics.
The only complaint I have for the video is the random horse noises heard throughout the song. It also seemed like majority of the choreography is focused on the horse theme. There were parts of the choreography where the girls looked like they were riding a horse and even made a stance resembling a horse on its hind legs. This freaked me out a bit, especially since I am not a fan of horses. However, a few fans commented that the horse sounds and choreography were included because it is the year of the horse. This may be true, but I still do not like hearing random neighing and the horse movements in the choreography looked rather strange and awkward.
This single makes me very proud of the girls and it also brought about feelings of nostalgia. I really loved these songs and I really hope they continue to impress me and release good music like this. They have worked really hard for the past ten years and I hope that they continue to stay dedicated and successful for many years to come.