This is nice. The last time I wrote anything about Momoiro Clover Z was … well, never. Although I really enjoyed most of the group’s early releases, I haven’t written anything about the groups releases in the last 2+ years. I hope this tells you a lot about what I thought of MCZ’s recent. That is just background information. I do not have an axe to grind with the group, I just keep waiting for a great release to write about. And now, Momoiro Clover Z forced my hand.
If you have not heard, Momoiro Clover Z just released the PV for their new single “Yume no Ukiyo ni Saitemina”. If you live under a rock or the protective layer of a warm blanket (perhaps under a desk next to your laptop), Momoiro Clover Z’s single is a collaboration with KISS.
Wait, did I type that correctly? KISS? The crazy, platform shoe wearing, makeup and spandex wearing, chest hair exposing Detroit rock band from the 1970’s KISS? Aren’t they old enough to be Momoiro Clover Z’s GRANDPARENTS?
Well, the answer to all those questions is yes.
I need to start by telling you that I enjoyed “Yume no Ukiyo ni Saitemina” more than any other release from the Momoiro Clover Z in the past year. This is amazing since I am not a particular fan of KISS. Sure, I enjoy singing “Rock ‘n Roll All Night” at karaoke occasionally. I always thought KISS takes itself too seriously and play too macho considering they dress like alien drag queens. As far as I am concerned, KISS is a middle of the road 70’s pop band wrapped in an adolescent moonage daydream.
What about the song? “Yume no Ukiyo ni Saitemina” builds from a nice percussion part to a guitar riff that is equal parts neolithic and inspired. The chorus for “Yume no Ukiyo ni Saitemina” truly sounds like a steel cage match between the two groups as KISS and MCZ overlap and trade vocal lines. Momoiro Clover Z get more interesting parts, although the simplicity of KISS’s vocals are easily memorable. Mostly, the chorus sounds like a mess, or if you prefer, a beautiful explosion of chaotic sound. Instrumentally and compositionally, the song has the sophistication level of a sweaty high school boy’s locker room.
Visually, “Yume no Ukiyo ni Saitemina” divides itself into two distinct parts. Anime starts the PV with Sushio (Kill la Kill) at the helm. After the cartoon KISS intimidate the cartoon Momoiro Clover Z, MCZ make a charge at KISS riding on their spirit animals. This brings us to the live action sequences. The actual girls look particularly nice in their samurai inspired idol gear. I also like their choice of weapons, which has NOTHING to do with ninja turtles.
Allow me to narrate the action. Cartoon Ariyasu Momoka turns into live Momoka mid spin. Gene Simmons wags his tongue. Momoiro Clover Z strike a few poses. Gene Simmons wags his tongue again. The Ukiyo-e backgrounds shake and shimmy. Gene Simmons wags his tongue, yet again (this man is someone’s grandpa…). At the climax, Momota Kanako meets Paul Stanley halfway and they … shake hands. Where’s my epic battle?
After listening to the song, I feel as though someone said, “Hey, you liked Momoiro Clover Z’s rock opera, right? You liked their collaborations with Western artists! Here’s MORE!!” What I didn’t want KISS mugging their way through an MCZ PV! With all the animation, and all of the Paul Stanley, and all of Gene Simmon’s tongue, not enough time given for Momoiro Clover Z to shine. If we gauge MCZ songs and PVs but the number of acrobatic stunts performed during the choreography, then “Yume no Ukiyo ni Saitemina” earns a flat-footed zero.
So, the song is serviceable, but the PV doesn’t have nearly enough Momoiro Clover Z. Making lemonade from the release, the song works for me better than most of the singles in the last two years. I also appreciate the “Ukiyo-e comes alive” backgrounds during the live shots. I think I saw Houkusai’s “Red Fuji” back there, right? If you are a fan of “Kill la Kill” (and I am a fan), then the animation will provide nostalgic good times.
The girls may be getting older and perhaps feel as though they have moved past my conceptions of the group. I doubt Momoiro Clover is going to give us another “Santa San“, or another “Chai Maxx“. I don’t need anything insane. I just hope the group can manage to find the energy and sparkle that first drew me to the group. If all they offer us is collaborations with irrelevant, aged rock stars and in-absentia PVs, then I will groan through their next release with the rest of you.
For reference, Momoiro Clover Z’s YouTube channel published a video called “Who are Momoiro Clover Z?” I think one gets a good understanding of the group through this video.
Also, here’s a bit of the KISS version of the song from KISS’s extended advert for their 40th anniversary “best of” release. Mostly the same, right?