MOMOIRO CLOVER Z VS KISS - YUMENO UKIYONI SAITEMINA
Patrick St. Michel: Momoiro Clover Z have always been the most ambitious pop group in Japan since the “idol boom” kicked off in 2009. Most fledgling outfits zeroed in on one niche — occult rock! steampunk! — and hoped for the best, but Momoiro refused to settle for one theme. In particular, they mined Japanese pop culture, appropriating super sentai and appearing live with beloved anime theme song singer Mitsuko Horie. This devotion to the past has been a boon — taking cues from Sailor Moon’s visuals — and a curse, evidenced last week when they Kirby-absorbed ’80s doo-wop dillweeds Rats & Star and gained the ability “blackface.” Before that, though, they teamed up with KISS and… made a mediocre song with a surprisingly unmemorable video. Its catchy enough, with just enough stickiness come the hook, but nothing more. Which makes sense, considering all of this is just a stunt to drum up ticket sales for a KISS concert in Japan (guess who’s opening?). This is Momoiro at their least ambitious.
Abby Waysdorf: Quite frankly, I give this points because I like that it exists. I also give it points because it reminds me of “Hard Rock Hallelujah,” mixed with the theatrical darkness of The Bolshoi or Theatre of Hate. It could do with some tightening — Eurovision’s three-minute restriction is one of the things that makes “Hard Rock Hallelujah” work so well — but it’s still pretty delightful, so who really cares?
Iain Mew: In the best cases, Momoclo have exploited synergies between idol pop and metal to magnify the extremes of both, reaching exponential heights of awesome ridiculousness. This businesslike product of their current collaboration suffers from the fact that the moments where KISS come through aren’t connected to the rest of the song; it comes off more like a hostile takeover than a joint venture. Still, while it wastes Momoclo it pays off for KISS, making their bits sound raw and vital in a way they wouldn’t alone.
Maxwell Cavaseno: Momoiro Clover Z continue to do everything at once while KISS don’t do anything but still manage to get paid. The universe expands and contracts before settling once more.
Brad Shoup: Not totally crazy about the music from the elders: they never riffed as well as they chanted, and dang could they chant. The rhythm section’s laying hard-rock rivets, and Momoiro are just as at home riding those as they are with the cocaine-cowgirl bridge. I guess there was some leftover “Live and Let Die” orchestration?
Katherine St Asaph: They’re metal all right: big hunkin’ lunkin’ slabs, reassembled with rivets and aluminum-coated cheese, with force of will and absolutely no human parts. Momoiro Clover Z are also on this; they’re great.
Madeleine Lee: 90 seconds of an anime opening sequence is usually enough Momoclo for me, but I like how this one develops. It helps that it’s shorter than most of their other multi-movement singles, and the presence of one of the most chorus-minded rock bands ever keeps things chugging along, with the brass adding unexpected warmth. At times it sounds like a particularly well-made mashup, which I think is the goal of this collaboration, anyway.
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