Momoclo has done it again, and managed to surprise me with their latest single. How they manage to keep me so on my toes, I’ll never know – but that might be a large part of why I love them so much. With one of the tracks of this single, they have proven again that they are quite unique in the world of J-pop, and certainly take things in directions I didn’t foresee. Which track was the shocker? Well, we’ll get to that…
1. 白い風 (Shiroi Kaze)
2. We are UFI!!! / UFI （ももいろクローバーＺ） (Momoiro Clover Z)
3. サンタさん (Santa-san) –DJ Taku’s Christmas A-men Breaks-
［Remixed Produced by ☆Taku Takahashi (m-flo)］
4. サンタさん (Santa-san) –Bloody Christmas Version-
［Re-arranged Produced by NARASAKI ］
5. 白い風 (Shiroi Kaze)（off vocal ver.）
6. We are UFI!!!（off vocal ver.）
Normally I’d link to somewhere you could purchase this, but it was only available either at their concert, or from the King Records E-shop, which swiftly sold out. Alas, with something this limited, looking for a download might be your only hope, unless you want to pay an outrageous amount at a Yahoo! Japan auction, which won’t support the group anyway. Moving on to the review:
The first track, Shiroi Kaze (translation: White Wind), is similar in one way to their last MomoKuri single, Kimi Yuki, in that it is a slower song. I’m not a huge ballad person, and Momoclo is certainly suited better to fast and crazy songs in general, however, since their slower works are few and far between, I actually don’t mind. Considering that the other Christmas song they did this year was definitely on the wacky side, it’s nice to have something more serious to round the single out.
Shiroi Kaze is a pretty song. After a few listens I decided I definitely liked it. However, I don’t like it as much as Kimi Yuki, which reigns supreme for slower Momoclo material for me. I do prefer it to their ballad Kimi No Ato, though, and it is a welcome addition to the discography.
The thing that stood out the most to me about this track were the vocals of Momoka. If there is one girl in this group that has a voice that can handle a ballad, it’s her. She has such a beautiful tone to her voice when she sings, the way she inflects and carries the tune is memorable and just gorgeous. I almost wish this had been her solo song, because her voice fits it better than the others’ voices do. As always, I love Kanako’s voice, but she does strain a bit, and then Ayaka’s quirky cutesy style seems out of place in this. Reni and Shiori both sound decent, about as expected.
The next track, We Are UFI!, is one I have mixed feelings for. I love the fact that they are doing the UFI stuff, working with Akari (even if she won’t sing on the track). This track certainly has many Momoclo-esque things going for it, like unabashed silliness. I don’t think it’s a very strong song on its own, but for fun, humorous purposes, and with some knowledge of what it is and why it is, it works fine. The skits in the song got a little old for me, though.
Once again, on this track, Momoka was the standout for me. Her character in this song is the unbridled American, Catherine. Her lines include gems like, “Viva America!”, and my personal favorite line in the whole single, “Cheese hamburger!”. Seriously, it is hilarious, her voice and pronounciation and gusto with which she says the line are just classic. Here, take a listen.
We Are UFI! was fun, if not the best song, and it makes me think they might end up putting some of the other UFI songs as B-sides eventually, which would be cool. My favorite so far has been the song Alone, I’d like to have that on CD someday. This gives me hope.
Moving on from that track, we have the two remixes of Santa-san. The first one, DJ Taku’s Christmas A-men Breaks, I had been excited for since it was being done by Taku from m-flo. Unfortunately, it’s exactly the type of remix that makes me not really a remix person… The verses are remixed so that you can’t actually follow them, and even if they sound kinda cool, it’s not something I would seek out. It’s worth a listen just to hear what was done with the track, but that’s about the extent of its usefulness for me.
Now the other remix, Bloody Christmas Version, is another story entirely, and I’m not even sure where to start.
Have you ever heard BABYMETAL of Sakura Gakuin? You know, the group of teenagers singing cute J-pop songs to heavy metal music? That’s about how I would describe this remix, except this is way more demented. Seriously twisted.
It is here that I say, if you want to be surprised by this remix stop reading until you get to listen to it. If you don’t mind being spoiled, read on.
What’s messed up about this song is not the music, but what happens during the song. It goes as normal as a metal cover of Santa-san could be expected to go, until they get to Reni-chan’s part after the first chorus (you know, “Reni-chan noooooo motto ii toko mite mitai!”).
Reni sings, Santa-santa-santa, in that weird voice as she did in the original version, but then… Fwoop! She disappears. The instrumental goes on. And in the background, you can hear this very sinister growling, like a monster. And it is saying, “Hohoho….”
Wait, what just happened? Did Santa just….? Nah…
So the song continues. And then… fwoop! one by one, the other girls suddenly vanish while singing their lines, the same way. The girls that are gone even have their lines and parts in the unison lines removed. By the end of the song, everyone has been… Um, I don’t know? Snatched away? Murdered? It is called Bloody Christmas Version, so…
With all the girls dead, the song ends before it’s even finished, and I am left with my jaw hanging open.
I listen to it a few more times, just to be sure. Nope, I’m sure. And this is why Momoclo is truly something unique, because I don’t think we’ll be seeing any other J-pop stars being snuffed out of their own songs any time soon.
If you have a sense of humor about this kind of thing, you really should hear it. I’d recommend the single based on this song alone, its bizarreness overshadows the title track, and even the silliness of UFI. Cautiously recommended!