Anime / Kawaii / Vocaloid Music City Pop / Shibuya-kei / Contemporary J-Pop

Doja Cat’s “Say So” and “Kiss Me More” and Asian Musicians (Rainych Ran, Ikkubaru, Kizuna AI, Mariya Takeuchi, tofubeats) | Plastic Love, Indonesia, J-Pop, City Pop

There is a music video with Japanese lyrics that is not famous among Japanese people but appeals to the global audience.

1. Rainych “SAY SO”

This’s a cover of the hit song “Say So” by American singer Doja Cat, sung by Indonesian YouTuber Rainych Ran, with Japanese lyrics! But why so international?The purpose of this article is to explore this interesting mystery and introduce tracks related to that song.

2. Doja Cat “Say So”

This is Doja Cat’s first song to hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100. She is an American high school dropout who loves subcultures, including Japanese ones. This song has a groovy 1980’s vibe. There is a reason why people are drawn to that vibe around 2020: adults feel a sense of melancholy for that era, and young people of Doja Cat’s generation who did not exist at that time feel a sense of novelty. This music trend is parallel with the 80’s style fashion trend that is popular around 2020.

Appendix A. Mariya Takeuchi “Plastic Love”

Appendix B. Miki Matsubara “Mayonaka no Door ~ Stay with Me

Japanese singers’ city pop songs—especially Mariya Takeuchi’s “Plastic Love” (released in 1984) Miki Matsubara’s “Mayonaka no Door” (released in November 1979)—became popular again around 2020. This fact also resonates with the 80’s revival.

“City pop is a Japanese or Japanese-inspired genre of music that (1) has swelling melodies, (2) has a groove, especially in the bass, (3) features reverb on the drums, (4) uses artificial synthesizer sounds, and (5) is supported by sax solos and brass backing.” The following article explains those characteristics and gives examples.

Further, the following article is about the 80’s revival in South Korea (Korean city pop).

Appendix C. Rainych “Plastic Love”

In fact, Rainych also covers “Plastic Love.”

3. Doja Cat “Say So – Doja Cat Reacts To Rainych Japanese Cover Side By Side”

Now, let’s go back to Doja Cat, who sings the original version of “Say So.” During a live internet broadcast, she was told by a fan about YouTuber Rainych’s cover of “Say So,” which was already introduced at the beginning of this article. Doja Cat’s somewhat exaggerated but sympathetic reaction is recorded in this reaction video, which led to an increase in the view count of Rainych’s cover video.

4. Rainych “Say So (tofubeats Remix)”

This is Indonesian Rainych’s debut song in Japan. It was remixed and japanaized by the up-and-coming track maker tofubeats. (The woman in the music video is not Rainych but TikToker Hina Kagei.) Rainych seems to love Japanese music, especially anime theme songs, and has uploaded many such videos. Her Japanese pronunciation is surprisingly natural to native Japanese speakers, but she does not understand Japanese at all!

Appendix D. tofubeats “Plastic Love”

Appendix E. tofubeats “No.1 feat. G.RINA”

Tofubeats also covered “Plastic Love” by Mariya Takeuchi. However, if you want to check out tofubeats’ distinct originality, “No.1 feat. G.RINA” might be a better choice. It gives you a glimpse of his rhythmic sense and aesthetics.

Appendix F. tofubeats “Window (Ikkubaru Remix)

Incidentally, tofubeats’ “Window” is remixed by Indonesian band Ikkubaru, which has been inspired by city pop.

5. Kizuna AI “Say So”

Let’s get back to the story. “Say So” has also been covered by a variety of VTubers (i.e., virtual or avatar YouTubers). This video is a cover by Kizuna Ai, the most popular VTuber with a cute English rap with a Japanese accent. That song has also been covered by many popular VTubers outside of Japan, including Bao, Lumi Celestia, Gawr Gura, and Nyanners,.

6. Rainych “Kiss Me More”

7. Doja Cat “Kiss Me More ft. SZA”

Rainych also covers Doja Cat’s “Kiss Me More,” another international hit, in Japanese, rather than English.

In sum, Rainych, an Indonesian singer who loves Japanese culture, covered Doja Cat’s “Say So” with Japanese lyrics instead of English ones. Then, Doja Cat’s mention increased the number of views on Rainych’s video, and it made her debut in Japan with an arrangement by Japanese composer tofubeats. Since then, the Japanese version of “Say So” has been covered by various singers, including VTubers both inside and outside of Japan. Keep your eyes peeled for more Japanese cover songs by Rainych and other YouTubers!