Are you ready, OK?
As the second part in my “catching up” series, we get Cheeky Parade’s debut from 2013, “Bunbun Nine9′”. As a major debut, the song did well on the weekly charts, placing fourth with roughly 22K sold. Distinctive for many reasons, the song remains a staple of the girls’ setlist. This marks the first song I heard from the group- right around the release date. I remember being struck the strangeness of the choreography and the young fresh look of the girls. So, of course, it took me 3 years to write about the song. My bad.
The song sets the tone for the group’s musical output early. In the first 30 seconds, “BUNBUN NINE9′” goes from a bratty cheer to a synth led melody accented with hyperactive drums and electric guitars. The only thing missing from the Cheeky Parade instrumental palette is the 8-bit sounds that persists in their later output. I don’t want to mislead; I know when I hear about guitars I immediately think about a rock arrangement. “BUNBUN NINE9′” is an upbeat idol dance track all the way through. The bass pounds a bit heavier in the song than you’ll find in future Cheeky Parade releases- which may irk new listeners to the group. The sound rings unique to my ears, and provides an off-beat backdrop for this offbeat group.
Being the major debut, the girls look fresh from middle school. Freshly done up in their distinctive outfits, the girls appear more unified visually than their previous release “Cheeky Dreamer“. Colorfully patterned mishmash tops paired with plaid skirts hint at the irreverent vibe of the group. Their alternate school uniform look … well, it’s a school uniform look.
The dancing remains as crisp as ever. The girls lock into a distinctive shoulder and elbow choreography that matches the instrumental. I love seeing the group as they kick and jump their way through the dance. I don’t know how they’re not out of breathe by the end of the song!
And, there is nothing more distinctive than Cheeky Parade’s choreography during the bridge of “BUNBUN NINE9””. Like, what is that? Seriously, that choreography still looks alien, like it was dropped off from a transient UFO.
As I continue to learn more about the group, I see the main vocal pattern in this song. The group maintains a three vocalist approach with Nagai Hina, Suzuki Yuriya, and Yamamoto Marin. These three complement each other well. Hina provides a stability to the three and can be called on for practically any line. While Yuriya isn’t as stable as Hina, her voice provides expressiveness and emotion. On top of those two, Marin’s voice lends distinctiveness with a pleasing tone unmatched by the other two. The other girls round out the songs with group vocals and occasional solo lines. Personally, I love how they call on Mariya if they need an extra dose of brattiness.
Then there’s the puzzling scenes with the glowing orbs a la every anime you’ve ever seen. To review- the lights are their inner essences, literally that which makes them glow. When the orbs synchronize and launch skyward together … well, you should know what that means. Hey! Maybe my UFO statement from earlier really holds something!
“BUNBUN NINE'” is a favorite song for many. The debut gently gives listeners a taste of the cheeky life. It’s melodies remain engaging and catchy years after the fact. If nothing else, it’s probably the most accessible release by Cheeky Parade. As always, I make no effort to disguise my opinion here- and I think you all should give this song a listen!
You can buy “BUN BUN NINE9′” at CD JAPAN