With the recent announcement of a second installment of the CRUSH! V-Rock cover album series, it got me thinking. In the genre of Visual Kei, there seems to be a high chance that a band could make a pretty decent cover. Personally, I love all kinds of music (but do not fret, Visual Kei is by far my favorite genre) but usually the term “cover” is regarded with a sneer. The statement “I prefer the original” can usually stand in place of “they never should have f*n touched this song!” Often, people like to pretend like the cover never existed. They want to blot it out of the memory the same way people don’t like to talk about the black sheep of the family. But Visual Kei-at least to me, seems like a different game. I have yet to hear a visual band covering another visual band and making an entire mess of it. (Notice I said visual band, since frankly I’ve heard non VK artists covering Luna Sea…)
So, I decided to compile a couple of covers that I personally find interesting and well done. I’ve kept the limit down to four because anymore of that would be a bit too much for a single post.
Ryuichi Kawamura’s cover of Dead End’s Serafine
Many Luna Sea fans know that Kawamura looked up to legendary Dead End vocalist Morrie and even sported a very similar look to his during the early years of the band so, when I heard that he covered the bands most iconic track I was delighted but hardly surprised. Kawamura changed some things up which I personally find refreshing since when I listed to his version of Serafine, I feel I’m hearing it for the first time again. I absolutely adore this song. If pressed, I would say its got to be on the top ten list of greatest Japanese songs. But of course, that’s me.
Buck Tick’s cover of hide’s Doubt
After hide’s death, some might remember that there was an album released of hide’s friends covering his songs entitled “Tribute Spirits.” I thought there were a lot of great covers on that record especially from the guys of D’erlanger and Kiyoharu but this cover is uniquely special to me. Buck Tick was one of the first bands that I got into and it was through this cover that I found out about hide and in turn about X and about the whole genre of Visual Kei. Just for clarification’s sake, hide originally recorded Doubt for his 1994 album “HIDE YOUR FACE” and then later rerecorded for his ’98 record “Ja, Zoo,” adding to the end of the name the year he redid it which was actually ’97 hence, there are two versions from hide: Doubt and Doubt ’97. Buck Tick covered the latter and following hide’s steps, they named it Doubt ’99. Just as a warning, if you don’t know hide…well, he’s probably the coolest person who ever lived.
Dir en Grey’s cover of The Stalin’s Warsaw no Gensou
Before anyone gets their panties in a bunch about whether DIR EN GREY is Visual Kei or not or that The Stalin is punk and is pre-VK, I would like to say two things: both bands are instrumental to Visual Kei as we know it and their existence is vital to the genre and how it has formed; secondly, DIR EN GREY is still popular amonst fans of VK, myself included. But that’s another argument for another time. I want to talk about the cover and how mind blowing it is. As far as I know, this is a rare instance where DEG is actually covering another band’s song. The cover is well… very different from the original. Personally, I love with DEG did with it. This is probably the most radical cover I’ve heard.
Matenrou Opera’s cover of X Japan’s Kurenai
This track was on the first installment of Crush. Reading the tracklist, I was like no way, that just seems wrong. I was really curious to see how Sono was going to pull off all the English lyrics because lets face it, a lot of young guys have really bad English pronunciation. In order to be completely honest, I have to admit that I’m not a big Matenrou Opera fan. Usually Sono sings way to high for my ears-although they do have some really good songs. But on further thought, Toshi does have an abnormally high voice himself. Either way, I think Matenrou did a pretty good job covering one of Japan’s most famous songs.
So, there you have it! Let me know what you think and also, let me know of any covers that you find interesting/good/etc. Personally, I love covers and I love to see new life breathed into a song.
Source: Thanks to all the Youtube people who posted up the vids.
All the info is gleaned from my memory so if any of it is wrong, don’t hesitate to let me know.