Jpop / Momoiro Clover

Review of Momoiro Clover Z’s Battle And Romance!

So I’m finally getting around to reviewing the long-awaited Battle And Romance album Momoiro Clover released.  I definitely wasn’t disappointed!  I’ve listened to every song quite a bit over the past week, just to let everything really sink in.  Here are my thoughts, track by track.


1.  Z Densetsu ~Owarinaki Kakumei~

This song is a perfect way to start off the album, as the intro really works as an opening track.  The song itself is just pure, crazy Momoclo fun.  Each girl is announced by her color and sings a line or two about herself, making this a good introduction for anyone trying to figure out who is who, or which voice is which.

Everyone is good here, vocally, although I’m not too big on Ayaka’s super-high “shinjite” near the end.  Kanako is particularly enthusiastic in her lines in the refrain, especially her “zettai akiramenai! WE ARE!”.  Momoka’s voice is amazing as always, and Reni and Shiori turn in typical good performances.

Oh, and the Akari reference?  Love it!
“BLUE!”
“Ah…”

2.  CONTRADICTION

This track is not quite what I expected from Momoiro Clover – actually, with the electronic rockish sound, it almost sounds like something that BeForU would have had on one of their albums.  Except it’s not awesome enough for that.  But I digress…

This song isn’t bad, it’s pretty cool and all, but isn’t one of the best tracks.  This album is full of songs that are AMAZING and this song isn’t at that level, but it is good.

CONTRADICTION has a much more serious tone than the previous track, with insistent pacing and good vocals.  I think Shiori’s “Please!” is my favorite part.  Overall, the song is good, not great, but good and still a worthy addition to Momoclo’s discography.

3.  Mirai Bowl

This song was fantastic when they released it as a single and it’s still great, even with Akari’s parts replaced…  Most of them were good, anyway.  I really love Momoka’s incredulous “HONTO?” that replaced Akari’s.

However, with the good comes the bad…  Ever since I heard their cover of Words of the Mind, I hated Ayaka’s rapping (that song should have been a Momoka/Akari duet, seriously).  Ayaka replacing Akari’s rapping here is completely different in style and doesn’t sound too great in my opinion.  She is my least favorite Momoclo member overall due to her vocals crossing the line from “withstandably cutesy” to “STFU cutesy” for me, and yeah, she crosses that line in the rap, so I’m not a fan.  Thankfully Kanako and her awesomeness saves the day when that’s done and all is forgiven (not really).

Overall the new version is mostly good, but would have been better if they had just left the rap out entirely.  The single version with Akari is what I’ll keep listening to when I want to hear the song.

4.  Wani to Shampoo

YABAI!!!

This is my favorite of all the brand-new tracks!  It’s exactly the kind of crazy wacky fun stuff I love to hear Momoclo do.  The song starts off calm enough, with some very nice vocals from Momoka.  However, it’s the last day of summer and they have 80 pages of summer homework they have to do,  and the song becomes crazy and ridiculous.  There are questions and (wrong) answers, lots of yelling, and the refrain gets more and more frantic as the song goes on.

I love the question parts.  Kanako’s “QUESTION!” is awesome, and I also LOVE Ayaka’s wrong answer to “where do you live now?” –  “YES I DO!”.  See, I don’t hate her, she has her moments.

This song will probably appeal to anyone who liked the crazy changes of pace in Pinky Jones, but give it a shot even if you didn’t like that one, it’s great fun.  One of the albums’s best tracks.

5.  Pinky Jones

Speaking of Pinky Jones, here it is!  The re-recording without Akari, that is.  Reni gets her solo in the middle and does a pretty good job with it (I think it was a little low for her register, but it wasn’t a disaster like Ayaka’s rap so…).  Ayaka sings the line with Akari’s name in it, which works since the line with her own name was in unison.  Momoka and Kanako get some of her other lines.

This song is one of my favorites from Momoiro Clover, but it didn’t start out that way.  This song took a bit to grow on me, but once it did it was one of my favorites.  I would recommend a few listens before condemning it for that reason.  It’s fun and pretty crazy, with a fun instrumental (sitars?), fun vocals, and lots of energy.

6.  Kimi no Ato

Momoclo goes all soft on us for this one.  Awwww…

This song replaces Kimi Yuki as Momoclo’s slowest song.  I think that Kimi Yuki was much stronger than this one, but they do a good job here too.  The tune is pretty nice and we get some really nice vocal performances from Kanako and Momoka especially.  I expected Reni to be the best on a slower song like this one, so go figure.

This is not one of my favorite tracks on the album, since this kind of song isn’t what I really look for in Momoiro Clover, but I don’t mind it.  It’s no Wani to Shampoo though.

7.  D’ no Junjou

Aww yeah.  Momoclo’s strongest single this year, in my opinion.  It’s the same as the single track, so go read my review of that so I don’t have to type it all out again.

Short version:  This song rocks my socks.  LOVE.

8.  Amenotajikarao

Maybe the weirdest song on the album?  I absolutely LOVE everyone’s vocal performance on this one, actually my favorite vocals on the album in the verses.  The whole song has a …  um cultural?…  feel to it.  The verses sound amazing, the chorus isn’t as good as the verses, though.  They sound better individually than in unison here.

This song is really cool, a very different sound to the whole thing and one of the standouts on the album for me.

9.  Orange Note

Not gonna lie, this was the song I was looking forward to the most, and it doesn’t disappoint, even without Akari.  In fact I would say it fares the best out of all the songs that had her removed from them (even if the version with her was never released on CD, it was performed at pretty much every concert).

Every part of this song is catchy for me, the verses, refrains, bridges, rap, all of it.  The entire song gets caught in my head all the time, whether it’s one part or another.  The climax of the song with everyone’s overlapping solos is gorgeous in particular.

Shiori’s rap pleasantly surprised me, too.  She did it flawlessly.  I never thought it would come off this good.  She did awesome!  Everyone else is good too, of course, but I gotta give her props for that rap.

Orange Note just might be my favorite song on the album.  This is Momoiro Perfection.

10.  Ikuze’!  Kaitou Shoujo

This should have been the best song on the album, it was my favorite single and is insanely catchy and fun.  But it’s not, because I really don’t care for the new recording of it.  Sigh.

The first thing that went wrong was how they tried to change the lyrics to remove Akari’s name from it.  Instead of Reni Kanako Akari Shiori Ayaka Momoka, we get Reni Kankoooooo Shiori Ayaka Momoka.  I do appreciate the reference to Kanako’s nickname (Kanakooo with a rising voice), but the rhythm just feels so off that it’s terribly distracting. Also distracting:
– Kanako’s version of Akari’s famous line was totally different in execution, and I was not a fan of it at all.
– The unison lines in the chorus and such don’t sound as nice in the re-recording.
– Somehow the background music and sound effects seem a lot more prominent in this version, too.
– Oh, and the crazy crooning in the background during the last repetitions of the refrain?  UGH.  Sorry Momoka (? I think).  You and Kanako are my favorites.  My Beloved Idols That Can Do No Wrong.  But these changes sucked.

If you have never heard the original of this, you will probably not feel the way I do.  It’s a great song, the vocals that weren’t changed are all great, and it’s very catchy and quirky.  But the original is much better than this and I’d rather listen to that any day.

11.  Stardust Serenade

They had to get a reference to their label in there, didn’t they…

This is the low point on the album for me.  It’s not awful or anything, but it’s boring and didn’t catch my interest, even after a few listens.  On the plus side, if this is the worst part of the album, then that makes this album pretty friggin awesome because even this song isn’t what I’d call BAD, it’s just a little bland.

12.  Kono Uta

Momoclo falls back on something more traditionally pop than crazy in this one, and the result is a pretty enjoyable, but not incredibly memorable, decent song.  It’s better than the previous song, but it’s no Orange Note or anything.

This Song (hehe, get it?  Kono Uta, this song…  Nevermind.) is typical Jpop idol fare, but with Momoclo doing it, it manages to be pretty good anyway.  I really like the faster parts, where the girls try to sing their lines quickly in such a short burst.  The refrain is pretty typical stuff, and the song climaxes with one of Kanako’s solos, like she does.  Nothing remarkable, nothing horrible or anything, just pretty good.  Not too much more to say about This Song (… get it??).

13.  Momoclo no Nippon Banzai!

Does anyone here remember Mini Moni’s Rock N’ Roll Kenchoushozaichi?

Momoclo take us on a tour of Japan, going over all the prefectures and sometimes give a food, or something that the area is known for, all worked into one crazy song.  The song is all over the place stylistically, so it’s VERY Momoclo and a great bonus track to have on the album.  Plus it can be educational for us gaijin who might learn something new from it.

My favorite parts were Momoka’s, going over some of the foods in the Osaka area, complete with dialect.  I’m also a big fan of Shiori’s “Ehehehehe…”.  Sign me up for the Momoiro Clover Jet.

And with that we’re done….  Almost.  Let’s not forget the bonus disc of solos…  Actually, I wasn’t too impressed overall with them, compared to the other material, most of them don’t quite stack up.

Kanako’s engrish was fun, but the rest of the song was boring.  Shiori’s was a very typical idol song, that didn’t really catch with me at all.  Momoka’s was a ballad that had nice vocals, but ultimately was boring.  Ayaka’s sounded like the return of Rainbow Pink, but with some awkward forced sexy in the middle.

But, there were 2 that I really liked.  Reni’s Koi wa Abare Oni Taiko was in an enka-style, and really surprised me – it was very good!  I like Reni’s voice in the first place, but it really seemed to suit this style well.  I loved it.

And then there was Akari’s solo, fall into me.  She was cut out of all the album tracks, only to have a solo on the bonus disc.  How that makes sense, I don’t know, but I don’t care because this song is SO GOOD.  Akari raps the verses, in her own cool style that she really owned in her time in Momoclo.  Then when she gets to the refrains, she sings, and she sounds amazing.  I don’t understand, when she left she said she didn’t think she could sing well?  What??  The vocals don’t sound like anyone else could make them sound, but they are beautiful in her own style.  This song makes me want her to have a solo career.  This song alone makes me happy for the bonus solo CD.

Momoka, Kanako, Shiori – please do something interesting next time.  You’re usually so good.

Ayaka – Just, no.

Reni – Maybe you’re on to something.

Akari – I MISS YOUUUUUUUU!

Anyway, bonus solo disc aside, this album was insanely good and the new material was very good overall.  Some new favorites in the new album tracks, and many solid additions to the Momoclo discography.  If this album isn’t my favorite of the year, I will be VERY surprised
–Jess♫

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One thought on “Review of Momoiro Clover Z’s Battle And Romance!

  1. Pingback: Recommended Reading – August 3rd, 2011 | International Wota

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