This week’s Summer Refreshment takes us to the Stone Age. In this vast wasteland… this is beginning our burning farm so let’s shake our coconuts, coco boys and coco girls!
I must make a confession: Thanks to Coconuts Musume, I got hooked onto coconut milk. I was consumed with this desire, this taste for coconut milk (even if the kind I ended up getting was meant to be used for cooking – and came in a can). One side effect that is that the taste of (unrefined) coconut oil and coconut water (which is the theme refreshment of this post) doesn’t bother me.
For ages, they were among my favorite H!P group (at times bumping out their (mainstream) Japanese counterpart as number one favorite) for the fact that I related to them being Americans singing Japanese music for the Japanese market. Nevermind the fact that Ayaka was the most suited to life in Japan (with Mika coming in a close second), a fact I would later learn in my time as an H!P fan. I was 13-14 for goodness sake!
(I would start my self-study on Japanese language and culture only two or years before discovering H!P and thus the Coco Girls. Due to
my affinity for language the weird way my tongue works, my ability to enunciate in Japanese was closer to Ayaka and Mika than… let’s say, Danielle or April.)
It wasn’t until later, when I listened to their material through our newly-broken-in stereo system (complete with a new receiver and the full speaker system attached for surround sound movie viewing), that I had found out how… Shonen Knife-level their non-native vocalization skills are.
What am I talking about? I know at least one person (that person being Ray) would probably understand. If not, here you go:
My apologies to the Shonen Knife fandom for I know for a fact they’ve gotten better. *proudly shows off Strawberry Sound and Let’s Knife* It’s also a travesty that finding that video was the first time I’ve listened to that song since the mid-2000s – and I’ve been a fan since 2000 with true fandom beginning in 2002. Word up, Buttercup!
If it’s any consolation, I liked SK on Facebook and Osaka Ramones has been on my wishlist for years.
So let’s start shaking
The party begins with their first single Halation Summer, released on July 23, 1999. The b-side of which is famous for it being an English cover of Morning Musume’s Summer Night Town.
Early Berryz fans may also remember this song from ③ Natsu Natsu Mini Berryz.
Halation Summer is… something. I’m sorry, it’s just the. Also, anyone else notice the looks on people’s faces when they saw those five gaijin (rather, four gaijin and a Japanese former expat) singing and dancing. We see our girls singing with dizzy shots or surrounded by palm trees.
It’s also somewhat easy to tell Ayaka and Mika from the others — because they had the best Japanese accents. (Forgive me. I really feel bad for doing this, especially since the Coco Girls (imo) had some of the best voices in H!P history. It was just sad how the group basically amounted to a novelty act in the eyes of the public. Probably the only ones who would give them the time of day would be the international fandom — and even then, there are those who’d rather see five Japanese girls performing instead of a bunch of Americans Westerners, even if one was born in Japan.)
We keep on dancing with the Coco Girls’ sophomore single, DANCE & CHANCE, released on August 25, 1999. While two Coco Girls (Chelsea and April) stop dancing after this single, we are treated with more vocal fun.
If it’s any consolation, we are treated to another English cover as a b-side: Besides the title song, Sharan-Q’s “Zurui Onna” (which is a good song in of itself – seriously, listen to it sometime).
DANCE & CHANCE is the cool and sexy image that is prevalent in early H!P releases (yes, even in early MM releases). In a sense, musically and visually speaking, this is would remind folks of Juice=Juice. (If anyone is to cover this song, it’d probably be them. Then again, since everyone is turning up the smexy, it can be anyone).
On another note, it took me years to hear the Japanese version. You had better luck finding the English version. Perhaps there’s a reason for this.
We keep on getting down with the Coco Girls’ third single, Tokonatsu Musume. Released on May 16, 2000, this is the first for 2nd gen Coco Girl Lehua.
ZYX fans may remember this song as the b-side for Shiroi Tokyo.
Coco Girls, won’t give me another chance? (Show my love)
Tokonatsu Musume features images of summer (fruits, juice, flowers, etc) in both the visuals and the lyrics. Nevermind the pink levels that would drive any pink fanatic (i.e. Sayumi) into a drooling frenzy. Then again, it’s not enough pink.
I also came to a horrific realization: where are Manatsu no Kousen is Morning Musume’s only summer-themed single, just about every single Coconuts Musume puts out is a summer single! Notice how all of their singles fall within the May-August range and reference at least one of three things: summer, passion, dancing.
We keep on having fun with the Coco Girls’ Watashi mo “I LOVE YOU”. Released on July 26, 2000, this is the last for Coco Girl Danielle.
The outfits bring to mind “schoolgirl.” During the second verse, our girls turn into more “everygirl” (comparatively) outfits.
Nevermind the weirdness of the PV. While it has the cheapness of standard modern H!P vid (meaning this has been done from way back. We see the Policeman, the Priest, the Construction Worker, the Businessman, and the Driver.)
Also, pardon the glitch in the particular YouTube video I linked to.
As far as singles go, the party ends here with Jounetsu Yuki Miraisen. Released on August 22, 2001, this is the first and only single released on zetima (the label of many an H!P artist) and probably the one everyone associates with them (or so it seems with me). This single features another oddity: instead of a remix or a cover, the b-side is another song, sung in Japanese called “Koibito Boogie-Woogie.”
Hawaii’s Angels return with their military-inspired outfit (one of whom’s should be familiar to those who watch a certain Bishoujo segment). In between the 60’s flair in the effects and anytime the girls are shown with their alternate outfits.
Also, that animated star bit at the end. What does that remind me of…?
In spite of a lack of musical output, the Coco Girls were still pretty active. From 2001 to 2004, they hosted a radio show called KISS THE COCONUTS! Also:
- Danielle made an appearance outside of the Cocos as a member of Akagumi 4 (the 2000 shuffle group that sold the most that summer).
- Mika is best known among the Coconutters as being one quarter of the famed Mini Moni, added to give the group an “international” feel. In America! As for whether her outfit (which stood out) was due to her being “tall” or being an American is a matter of what you want to believe.
- Ayaka is also well-known among H!P fans, but for a different reason: her Surprise English Lessons. (Indeed, watching those made me like her more.) She has appeared in the most H!P groups out of the Coco Girls (Mika coming in second), not limited to Sexy 8, Petit Moni (she was in that third lineup with Hitomi and Makoto), and ROMANS.
Now for the fun part: Where are they now?
- Ayaka Kimura: After graduating, Ayaka left UFA in 2008 and signed on to another agency under the name Nagate Ayaka. She’d later marry a golfer and have a son.
- Chelsea Ching: Chelsea would leave Coconuts Musume in 2000 to finish high school. She would graduate with honors from UCSB with a psychology/business economics degree, all while pursuing amodeling career. She had also made appearances on Meet My Folks and a Taco Bell commercial that aired in Hawaii.
- April Barbaran: April left CM in 2000, owing to adaptation difficulties. Upon returning home, she continued her education.
- Danielle Delaunay: Danielle graduated in 2001 to study in college. She would study in LA and later England, graduating in 2005. As a face of Ruebelle Designs, Danielle is now a married singer/actress in the UK. She also formed a band, DELAUNAY, and had a deal with netlive.ne.jp that presented a lot of band-related content for six months. (This is from May 2007, mind you. Who knows if they’re still around?)
- Mika Todd: Mika left in 2004 to study America. During her time, she joined an entertainment agency, released a jazz album (sold only at her concerts), and did vocal work on a cartoon show. (Look up Da Jammies.) Mika also joined the Twittersphere, reconnecting with Aibon, Lehua, Chelsea, and Danielle. (Cue the fantasies of them getting together.)
- Lehua Sandbo: Lehua left in 2002 to pursue college studies. Nowadays, Lehua is a private citizen in her hometown and is married to a surfer, with whom she has a daughter. She had graced many magazines and was even crowned Mrs. Hawaii. Recently, she contacted the Western wotadom to for some Q&A.
I’ll leave you guys with some lessons. Be sure to study! There will be a test come three months!
Mahalo nui loa and aloha, Magical Meteorites and Earthlings!