Berryz工房 has always been a very interesting idol group to follow. They (and the rest of the Hello! Project Kids) debuted at a very young age and have in essence been idols for more than half their lives. They were the youngest female group ever to perform at Saitama Super Arena thereby dethroning Morning Musume, who used to hold that record. Even some of the youngest recent additions to Morning Musume aren’t as young as the H!P kids were when they first joined that illustrious idol collective. The great thing about this is that one of the fun things about idols, watching them grow, evolve and improve is greatly amplified with this group. It’s also the reason why listening to Berryz工房’s second album can be a bit bewildering.
I’m not going to say the Berryz工房 girls sound bad on this album, otherwise I wouldn’t have purchased it. It’s just that they sound exactly as they should sound at the time this was released (2005): like a bunch of kids singing. Listening to this album shows just how much Berryz工房 has improved throughout the years and how far they’ve come vocally. When you listen to any of these songs performed in concert today, you can’t even really begin to compare them to the studio versions included on this album. It’s also a nice reminder that Berryz工房 isn’t just the group with the goofy and silly songs like some people may claim they are in response to them adopting a more mature song style as of late (alongside a desire to return to this nostalgia-clouded goofy image). They had plenty of mature songs (some might even say too mature at such a young age) right when they debuted.
As such, this is quite an enjoyable album. A lot of great singles are included like Special Genera~tion, Koi no Jubaku and Nanchuu Koi wo Yatteruu YOU KNOW? and you could easily purchase it just for those. The included album songs are good enough, provided you keep in mind that at this stage in Berryz工房’s existence these were still just little kids singing their hearts out. You can (and should) expect the occasional false note or off-key line. I’m perfectly fine with that. I’m not expecting miracles from kid-idols who are in their very early teens. I will admit though that I do I feel a slight pang of envy at those fans who were able to follow this group from its very inception (I only became aware of H!P around the end of 2007). It must have been wondrous to see.
As usual the album is available on CDJapan. It’s worth picking up, especially if you’re a recent Berryz工房 fan. It’s a wonderful piece of idol history.