Single Review: Hironobu Kageyama – Cha-La Head-Cha-La (with Bonus Review)

Hironobu Kageyama (景山 浩宣) is a Japanese singer/songwriter and musician from Osaka, Japan. He is sometimes called Kami (Kei) by his fans. Due to his long standing association with anime, including being an original member of the Anison (Anime song) band JAM Project he has also been dubbed the ‘Prince of Anime/Tokusatsu Songs’.

As I touched on above, Kageyama has been a prominent singer for the various anime, video game and tokusatsu productions for years and remains a fixture in the industry to this day. Now specifically why I decided to review something from him. Anime has been a massive part of my life since I was a little kid, and being completely honest I learned a lot of important life lessons about determination and kindness from the anime I watched when I was a boy. I still remember rushing home after school each day to watch Dragon ball Z on Cartoon Network and right next to Akira Toriyama, who we obviously have to thank for creating the series in the first place, I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Kageyama because he made the song I’m here to discuss today. Cha-La Head-Cha-La which was released on May 1st 1989 was the soundtrack to that show, and very much the soundtrack to my adolescence, it was pure, it was fun and uplifting and it’s very important to me. When doing a little research for this review, I was very happy to learn that Kageyama considers this track to be his best work, as people are always happy when he sings it. I’m glad that such an enduring part of my childhood is held in such high esteem by the artist who made it. 

‘Cha-La Head-Cha-La’ is so good, It immediately gave me chills. I selected a live version of it, and specifically one of the older versions rather than the more updated 2005 version, just because I wanted it to be as pure and close to the original as possible. And oh man Kakeyama is a tremendous performer, his voice hits the high notes perfectly and you feel his love and passion in every line. I love the synth driven, rock energy of the number and just how much fun the song is. I obviously mentioned up top how much this song means to me, but seriously I cannot hear it without singing along, and there are so few songs which really make me smile, but this is one of them. It’s hard to disconnect this track from Dragonball Z but honestly looking at it completely objectively I still think it’s a really good song. The melody is rich and playful, upbeat and high energy, and not only does Kageyama have a great voice but he matches the tone and energy perfectly. 

So that’s what I thought of Hironobu Kageyama’s single ‘Cha-La Head-Cha-La’ and if you want to check that out for yourself then head on over to Spotify. While you’re at it make sure and visit his website, and follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

BONUS REVIEW

Flow are a five piece, Japanese rock band who formed back in 1998, made up of Kohshi on Vocals/Rhythm Guitar, Keigo on Vocals, Take on Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals, Got’s on Bass/Backing Vocals and Iwasaki on Drums. Much like Kageyama who I talked about above, Flow are also involved in the anime scene, with several of their tracks being featured either in Anime or in Japanese drama series. Likewise in their 20+ years as a band they’ve released a considerable body of work, including 11 albums and 37 singles.

Anyway, as you can obviously tell I love the track ‘Cha-La Head-Cha-La’, and back on March 20th 2013, Flow released a cover of the track, as their twentieth single, a double A-Side which included a track called ‘Hero (Kibō no Uta)’. This song in particular sticks in my mind for being featured in the video game Dragon Ball Xenoverse, where I fell in love with it nearly as much as the original. 

‘Cha-La Head-Cha-La’ is immediately higher energy than the original, the heavier percussion as well as the strings, and the electronic backing all give the track a phenomenal charge and forward drive. It’s a super clean, invigorating addition to what is already an amazing track. I will add that while Hironobu Kageyama is an amazing vocalist, it is interesting to not only hear this track performed by someone else, but hearing the unique contribution of multiple voices to the melody. I do not want to compare the original and the cover too much, so all I’ll say is that both do different things and both succeed in capturing the energy of adventure, and remind me of the excited boy I was when I first watched Dragon Ball Z for the first time. 

So that’s what I thought of Flow’s cover of ‘Cha-La Head-Cha-La’ and if you want to check that out for yourself then head on over to Spotify. While you’re at it, check out their website, and support the band by following them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

First Published on: https://offtherecordblog.org/


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