After years of silence, the Modern Freaks of “Chika” Idol Department in Japan re-emerged yesterday to drop a surprise announcement that rates as some of the biggest music news of the year: in recognition of the 10-year anniversary of the debut of BELLRING Girls Heart, the legendary unit’s entire catalog will be made available via streaming.
Details are sparse except for hints that events will be forthcoming to countdown the days until the release on April 8th. There is no word yet regarding which platform(s) the tracks will be uploaded to, but most other AQBIRec artists, past and present, are widely available on the major streaming services, so hopefully BeruHa will follow suit.
The original crow girls disbanded just over five years ago, leaving a substantial legacy that still reverberates across the genre. The alumni of BELLRING Girls Heart have gone on to play pivotal roles in some of chika idol’s most prominent units including MIGMA SHELTER, CY8ER, Gu-Gu LULU and SAKA-SAMA, and solo acts such as ATOMIC MINISTRY, Clock & Botan, N・Feni and the incomparable Kai. Their direct influence fueled their successor unit, There There Theres, and their spirit (and hand-me-down costumes) currently lives on through NILKLY. Indirectly, many current idols such as Mani and Nadeshiko of Yanakoto Sotto Mute cite BELLRING as the primary influence behind their desire to become idols.
Although the unit only lasted for four years, BeruHa’s mark on the genre is indelible, scoring three entries on the Homicidols list of 50 Greatest Alternative Idol Albums: UNDO THE UNION (#44), Bedhead (#29), and BEYOND, which we ranked as the second-best album released in the past decade.
All these years later, it will be awesome to finally commingle these essential albums and classic tracks into our digital playlists. Or, as BELLRING’s legendary manager Koji Tanaka puts it:
“Hey, are you old? BELLRING Girls Heart is finally streaming!”
— 田中紘治 (@koji210) February 23, 2022
Of course, if you are old enough to remember Soundcloud, you don’t need to wait until April 8th.