Back in 2018, amoung the most highly anticipated JPop group set to debut by far was Johnny’s and Associates, King&Prince. Considering that the group had taken upon a name change from Mr. King vs. Mr. Prince to their current name, many fans were left wondering how the two units would sound and feel as one group. The answer came with May 23rd 2018 release of “Cinderella Girl”.
I can not stress how big this song was. It was everywhere. TV, grocery stores, you name it and this song was being plugged left, right and center. King&Prince dominated prime time television as guest performers and interviewees. Any magazine worth looking at had King&Prince members as their cover, or a featured article on them. Member Hirano Sho practically took off over night as the face of the group, with the other members following quickly with acting positions, tours and so much more.
Let me be quite clear; “Cinderella Girl” is not a difficult song. It has a simple premise and safe combination of flowery words and melodies that give it that quintessential Johnny’s vibe. I mean come on, “Cinderella Girl” is the perfect debut song for a group literally called King&Prince. But this the basic structure, as well as the fact that this song was literally everywhere for a solid six months; the covers were bound to follow. Trust me, there is a plethora of them available online. However, as always the ones that have me curious are the covers done by Visual Kei artists.
Cover sung by Mike of Blu-Billion
Recording/Mixing by 宗弥 (so-ya) of (Blu-BiLLioN)
Mike’s vocal cover was the first cover that I was made aware of. At the time, I was pretty shocked to see a Visual Kei artist was even touching a Johnny’s piece. As time has progressed I have been very clearly proven wrong in the best sort of way. It was the lead off of a series of covers that Mike and Blu-Billion would later post.
As for the actual cover, I am impressed. By the title I was really only expecting Mike to be doing a vocal cover over the original backing track. Blu-Billion continues to be full of surprises with So-ya stepping in and doing a remixed version that suits Mike’s vocal style perfectly. I have to say in terms of personal taste, this version is my favorite released to date. It’s the perfect embodiment of what a good cover should be about!
Cover Sung and Performed by Masaya of EVERSSIC, Juri of GARAK’s and Hikarito of AIOLIN
Acoustic Guitar & Electric Guitar Solo performed by Hikarito of AIOLIN
Programming done by You of AIOLIN
I’m not going to lie, having three vocalists from three different bands was pretty unexpected for this collaboration. However given Hikarito’s nack for covers, this comes as no surprise to long time fans. The timing was in a sweet spot as well given that this came out not too long after Mike’s cover. This video is what made think that VKei was suddenly all closet King&Prince fans.
I enjoy the variation on the tune, especially by Visual Kei vocalists it felt a little less substantive. While on brand for AIOLIN, the intentional echoing effect, made the cover sound literally and figuratively hollow. There are several sections within this cover where key lyrics are echoed and muddled where if you don’t have the volume just right, or headphones in, sounds like dead space within the song. However, I am always a fan of cross band collaborations so seeing these three vocalists come together to make something like this was amazing! I’m hoping this trio can come together again for a band to band collaboration!
Cover sung and performed by ROYZ&Prince (I.e. Royz)
So this version is actually the one that reminded me that I had two other covers of this song to potentially make a post about, because it came out last month in response to COVID-19 actually. See this cover is probably the most committed to I’ve seen yet. Royz actually went to the same filming location, the costume, and with the alter-identity name they were set. It’s the strongest cover yet since they have adapted the lyrics to be inclusive of men and women, but also about the COVID-19 situation as a way for us to fans to make us smile.
I’m not going to lie I thought this was a standard cover, with commitment until Subaru literally sings “For our future~ Gargling and hand-washing~”. I can not express to you how much I lost my shit at that, and actually restarted from the beginning to get as much context as possible. It’s somewhere in the uncanny valley effect, but really cute as well. Can Royz dance? Absolutely not but they are attempting to here. Can any of them sing aside from Subaru? Most likely not but the lip synching is pretty good if you don’t watch too closely. It’s the funniest cover I’ve seen in awhile and I knew I had to share it with you guys.
With that, have three times bandmen did covers of a ridiculously catchy 2018-Johnny’s track. I don’t wish an ear-worm on you, but here you go? I’ll see you next post with something a little less catchy listening-wise?