We’re fairly “crazy crazy” about everyone involved in this, but TOGETHER isn’t quite the same story.
Will Adams: An important aspect of Nakata’s work is precision. Every piece of his compositions sounds purposefully placed and manicured to maximize its potential, and “Crazy Crazy” is full of examples of this. The AutoTuning on Charli’s voice turns her runs into right angles, snare fills fit neatly between sections, and the post-chorus sequencing creates in-song level-ups. The genius of Nakata is pairing these polygonal productions with infectious pop songs. The chorus is a wonder, recapturing the heart bursts of “Boom Clap” with even more technicolor, and as such, it’s Charli’s best song in years.
Ryo Miyauchi: Charli’s intuitive hooks make a fine match with the whimsy of Yasutaka Nakata, a songwriter not at all new to playful, often nonsensical choruses. The happy-go-lucky boot-up noises also make me miss the producer’s older creations. Oh yeah, and there’s also Kyary, but it’s hard to notice with her uttering no more than five words. Given the mutual love they each have for their works, there could’ve been a better sense of dialogue.
Crystal Leww: At this point, I’ve accepted that Charli XCX is a top five curator in music right now, and that even if the immediate reaction is not joy, I will grow to like just about everything she does. Luckily, “Crazy Crazy” is pretty great on initial listen, with Yasutaka Nakata providing a pretty uptempo backdrop for the euphoric shouts of Charli XCX and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. “Crazy Crazy” sounds like the kind of spring fling to look forward to at the end of the winter.
Iain Mew: I feared Charli XCX coming off a bit too knowing to really suit a Pamyu Pamyu Revolution-style toybox banger, but no, turns out she can bring the right kind of sunshine energy. If Nakata’s production isn’t up there with his most anything-goes exciting, Charli’s performance provides some of that essence instead, and the synth bubbling in the chorus is an intricate delight. The main thing bringing “Crazy Crazy” down (apart from the video) is what happens to Kyary Pamyu Pamyu on it. I can understanding doing anything to get her on a better 2017 song than the limp EDM moves of “Harajuku Iyahoi,” but her minimal presence and the way that dual vocals morph into Charli mid-line give the whole thing a sad underlying feel of Kyary being muscled out of her own song.
Alfred Soto: The synth bubbles are delights in themselves, complementing the bubbleheaded lyrics. Still, that’s a lot of talent put in the service of ephemerality.
Jessica Doyle: There’s a whisper of something inviting and sparkly in the chorus, but that’s preceded by lyrics so aggressively banal as to come off as misanthropic. I feel like a sucker even trying to identify something worth listening for.
Katherine St Asaph: Charli XCX’s terrible PC Music tangent seems even worse in retrospect, now that it looks worryingly like it might be her idea.
Jonathan Bradley: Charli XCX’s cynicism wasn’t created by PC Music, but it is exemplified by it. Her lazy and pouting input on “Crazy Crazy” seems pitched as deliberate mockery of Kyary’s more sympathetic reading — and even if it is not, she proves herself unable to give herself over to the chaotic joy of the production. Nakata deserves exposure in Eigo markets, but not via guest stars who treat him as accoutrement.
Maxwell Cavaseno: How is Yasutaka Nakata and his cohort Kyary Pamyu Pamyu always so seemingly lost in translation? When Perfume or Kyary occasionally leak into America, yes, among music nerds, it’s because of fascination with their ultra-vivid form of pop. But whenever they filter out to the general public, it’s always through that ‘wacky Japan’ lens that frustratingly undermines the work. Charli’s eternal career inconsistency, forever caterwauling from pose to pose in desperate desire to find the ones that work: rock-edged alt-pop star, ethereal princess, super wink-twitch cyborg glitch cynicism… The only consistent thread is she cites Hannah Diamond’s “Pink & Blue”, a reflection of both her friends in the PC Music camp’s supposed fascination with Nakata & Kyary and perhaps a linger from her brief dalliances with the Vroom Vroom period but… “Crazy Crazy” instead feels really put-on and sort of sugary, with a lot less effort into giving the song a character and more into being a character. It feels as if the song doesn’t bridge between oddballs of pop and instead is falling victim to the lingering stereotypes of J-Pop in ‘Western Eyes’ (while not a major consideration, the video’s antics don’t necessarily dissuade this impression). It’ll be nothing more than another pit-stop in Charli’s eternal voyage for the thing that works, but it cheats the other parties the chance to get some of the respect outside of their home that their work should have earned.
Leonel Manzanares: While he’s praised for using layers upon layers of hi-tech sounds in his tracks, the secret to the genius of Yasutaka Nakata is his complex songwriting. You can hear the frantic start-stop rhythms and the super-busy synthwork in countless Asian Pop concepts or in the Soundcloud scene in the West, sure, but only a master architect like him adds structural wonders like the chord progressions in the post-chorus and the bridge.
Thomas Inskeep: Perfect, upbeat pop. Made with electronics but not the dreary brand of EDM-pop currently ruling the world, this is all sunshine and danceable and a singalong and I fucking love it and WE NEED MORE OF THIS.