Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Momoiro Clover Z – Infinite Love

Space pirates on bikes! Yes!


Michaela Drapes: I feel very disoriented, like I walked into a Japanese pop idol interpretation of the hits of Queen and things written by Phil Spector, amped up 1000% to the energy level of a rabid touring production of Mamma Mia. And, to be perfectly honest, I’m not entirely sure I understand everything going on here, and watching the video just made things more puzzling. A Sailor Moon-meets-E.T.-meets-Henry Darger homage?

Iain Mew: On my first experience of “Infinite Love”, together with its space pirates on bikes video, I laughed a lot and thought “this is awesome!”. I’m a bit cautious about being too enthusiastic about things which are really enjoyable straight off and have a large novelty value, though, especially when they’re coming from a scene which I’m not at all au fait with. I am unlikely to ever watch the anime this is the theme for. Then I realised that there was a recent control sample whose sole appeal to me did quickly turn out to be the fleeting lol value of shoving together girl pop and metal, and that “Infinite Love” is definitely not that thing. In fact, the more (and more and more) I listened to it, the more I realised that its excess was not ridiculous but joyful. Hyper genki over the top pop and ornate over the top metal turn out to be a brilliant match when blended as seamlessly as this, and it’s packed with moments which are still thrilling way beyond pure novelty effect. Is it in fact literally awesome? Aye aye, sir.

Sabina Tang: If you had guessed that this was the opening theme to an anime called “Bodacious Space Pirates,” you would be right. I am assured it is a better and subtler entertainment than it sounds, but that’s no justification for this single being more than 90 seconds long. Wish the full title (“Fierce Space Symphony, Seventh Movement: ‘Endless Love'”) had been kept in translation, so I’d’ve at least known what I was getting into.

Anthony Easton: This actually samples the theme for Adam West’s Batman, doesn’t it? I hear a Bat-Manga/Johnny Quest remake; there is a full-speed-ahead cacophonous energy about this, sort of like Puffy Ami Yumi’s cover of  the Teen Titans theme but louder, faster, and more vulgar, which kind of makes it amazing. 

Brad Shoup: So we’ve found the difference between always entertaining and doing everything to entertain. And instead of just getting some studio paper champion to do some mid-period console version of metal guitar, they shelled out for a gaijin mid-carder. You already know how you feel about heavily-filtered teenage shouting with comical choir counterpoint. Friedman calls it the “Bohemian Rhapsody” of idol music, and since I could only listen to this once every two years, that sounds right. Unfortunately, that’s not how TV scheduling works…

Edward Okulicz: I guess this is what would happen if Queen had been a J-pop group or something, and arranged by sadistic people for whom the phrase “less is more” has no meaning. It’s all there – cheesy guitar solos, multiple sections, thick, luxurious mixing, and a pace that makes Nana Mizuki sound like Low. Luckily for them, the pop world is full of sick, sick people who eat this shit up.Would probably be a 10 if it weren’t also five minutes long and sounding like twice that; being exhausted is sometimes the end result of pleasure, but it’s not really the cause, now, is it?

John Seroff: Transiberian Orchestra lmeets Bullet Hell SHMUPs and the result is a big bowl of Fruity Pebbles spiked with the cutest Ketamine high you ever had in your gosh darn life.

Jonathan Bogart: Don’t get me wrong, this is great, and it would be AWESOMEZ if it didn’t go on for so long without more variation — “Bohemian Rhapsody” at least has the operettic middle thirty-two. As it is, I feel rather like I’m being cornered by someone telling me a wonderful joke, who keeps telling it for four more minutes after I’ve got the punchline.

10 Responses to “Momoiro Clover Z – Infinite Love”

  1. Yeah, this is definitely joyful excess – girls joyful at being crazy and loud and intense, the songwriters joy at being allowed to do whatever they want for this group, as their aforementioned excitement for craziness allows them to do _everything_ – from a labor anthem protest song* to the most mental christmas carol ever**, to this; and marty friedman’s very much heartfelt joy over being able to play his baroque guitar solos on an idol girl group song, of all things. You can find him performing this live with the girls and the 100 man strong choir on youtube:

    It could potentially be tiring if it wasn’t so damn fun.

    * ‘Labor Anthem’:
    ** ‘Santa-san’ :

  2. No, but, if this were “Bohemian Rhapsody” it would up the ante instead of repeating itself (i.e. JBog OTM).

  3. Patrick Macias wrote a cool thing on Momoiro Clover Z which goes some way to explaining their posture & the attitude of constant joyful enthusiasm:

    I like the group but I agree that the song is overly repetitive. At a certain level, you need to do something more interesting. Step it up.

  4. well I mean there are two different guitar solos and the amazing ‘aye aye sir’ part, that’s repetition enough

  5. lack of*

  6. MomoClo appear to be the darlings of Japanese metalheads, as their producers apparently have those kinds of roots:

    According to the article, this song is as wild as it is due to fan backlash against how their previous single was too traditionally structured.

    I’m not sure how the song is overly repetitive. The overall structure is intro-verse-prechorus-chorus-instrumental1-verse2/monologue1-prechorus-chorus-monologue2-interlude-bridge-chorus-outtro. That’s already miles less repetitive than most pop songs. Or is this being judged on different standards from most pop songs because of its genre and unconventional structure? Is it because it’s in a foreign language, so that the chorus, which has the same melody twice, just sounds the same since we don’t discern the lyrical progression?

  7. Well, speaking for myself, I’m not judging it for being in a foreign language because I speak Japanese. I may be judging it for being metal because I don’t like metal very much — or rather, I find I do not like this particular recombinant variety. It may have a complex structure but it’s really got one idea: not-very-good idol-pop singing and shouty speed-metal, all the way through. The shorter it is, the less it would have worn out its welcome with me, but it’s fine that the people who like it do so precisely because it is long!

    (You don’t really want me to attempt to analyze “Bohemian Rhapsody” in order to prove that it contains multiple ideas.)

  8. Also, for context, it’s not like “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a [10] with me. It took me a long time to hear it as anything other than a practical joke, and there are about 4,581 Queen songs I like better.

  9. Just curious: would there be a significant change in score if the vocals were better? Although I can see your point about the song being based around the concept of not-very-good idol-pop singing, because some of the lines in the verse and prechorus, and that entire “Aye aye sir!” section seem purposefully written so that anyone with a more polished voice would sound even more hokey and hammy, unbearably for the people where the original wasn’t already.

  10. Yeah, as you say… to make this work with better singers, it may have to be a different song altogether.

    There would be a significant change in score if it had slowed down for a pensively melodic middle eight by one of the girls solo, or if the second instrumental had been a harpsichord in waltz time. Something like that. For that matter, if this were one of their earlier singles, which I expected to sound like teenaged girls karaokeing tokusatsu themes — and *do* — I would have rated this higher. Patrick Macias’ article up there asks in passing if there are female equivalents to bonkura, and I can point to quite a few of my close friends.