I’ve been thinking lately about where I would place Momoclo’s songs in a ranking, what ones do I love the most, and why.
Some of the inspiration for this comes from the recent news of Momoiro Clover Z being the group chosen to sing the theme song for the new Sailor Moon series in 2013. Suddenly Momoclo’s videos on youtube were blowing up with english comments, and let’s just say not everyone seems as excited as I am about it… But even I have to admit that if my first exposure to the group was a rather sloppy live cover of Moonlight Densetsu, I might not have been too happy either!
I don’t expect Momoclo to appeal to everyone, in fact, their strangeness is one of the things I like most, and that very thing may be what drives some away. But, I’m sure there are some people out there, who aren’t familiar with this fabulous group, who might get into them if they only have a good introduction. For me one of the toughest things when trying out a new group is finding what songs to listen to. Maybe some not-yet-fans might be the same.
Looking at my iPod, I have over 60 different Momoiro Clover related songs, and that’s not even all their material, considering they have some songs that were never released. One very positive thing is unlike some groups, many of my favorite Momoclo songs aren’t necessarily all their A-side tracks, so many of my favorites ended up being B-sides or album tracks – all the more reason to spread the love for these songs, since they might be overlooked otherwise. There are a lot of good songs to be found throughout their discography, so making this list was harder than I thought!
Here goes nothing:
10. fall into me (a Hayami Akari solo)
So number 10 ends up going to a solo effort, even though on the whole Momoclo’s solo stuff is generally not good. This song is the big exception to the rule. I never miss Akari in the group more than I miss her when I hear or watch her sing this kick-ass song
(except for when she’s in drag and courting Kanako in the Mirai Bowl PV XD). In the midst of a lot of crazy and wacky material is this cool, almost haunting song, skillfully sung by now-ex-member Hayami Akari. Akari raps the verses in her signature low style, and when she gets to the refrain, she sings, and it sounds beautiful. There’s something about the way she sings this song, and how damn cool she is that really gets to me. God do I miss Akari. But at least before she exited the group she left us with a beautiful reminder of her.
9. D’ no Junjou (D’s Pure Heart)
Coming in at number 9 is D’ no Junjou, a song I always felt was overshadowed by its fellow release date mate, Z Densetsu. Both singles were released on the same day, but Z had previews released first, and was more “out there” and generally promoted more than D. Z Densetsu was fun, sure, but in the scheme of things it’s not one of my favorite Momoclo songs. I didn’t expect D’ no Junjou to come completely out of left field and stun me with it’s combination of cute and cool. It’s a different side to Momoclo, while still being perfectly “them”.
This song has awesome instrumentation, I absolutely love the strings, and it gives it a completely different feel than other Momoclo songs. It has a seriousness about it, but it’s still light enough to be fun as well. The dance is awesome, the costumes some of my absolute favorites, and the vocals were pure love for me. The big climax of the song comes and Kanako and Momoka knock it out of the park. I’m positively in love with both of those girls’ voices, and they are at their peak in the peak of this song. Everything about this song combined together just works for me, and I will never understand how it could have been overshadowed by a song that wasn’t nearly the same calibur.
8. Otome Sensou (Maiden War)
This might be Momoiro Clover Z’s most controversial A-side, at least when I look at how other wota have responded to it. It really surprised me how many opinions I read on it that were basically the opposite of my own. I still don’t get it really, I think it’s fantastic!
This song is a 7-minute long battle, spanning multiple styles, energy levels, and feelings. It caught on to me instantly, with the repetitive rin-rin-ri-rins, combined with the image of the girls in their costumes, raising their hands to the words. The verses start, and the girls are rapid-firing their lines one second, and soulfully crooning them the next. The pre-chorus comes up, and I’m caught by that, I love it, and then it takes it down a notch again for the chorus before picking the energy right back up with more of the melody at the start of the song. When we get to the bridge, Kanako sings it so perfectly, she enraptures me. The others slowly join in, until the song hits the finale, and the catchiest parts of the song hit again, this time with more energy and force to end it.
I love this song, and Kanako, man, Kanako.
7. Wani to Shampoo (Alligators and Shampoo)
This song was not a single, no, it was an album track. How could that be, when it’s so much better than some of their A-sides??
This song is super high energy and crazy. Moreso than Pinky Jones? I’m not sure, but it’s up there. The verses are calm, as the girls sing about their wonderful summer vacations, until the realization hits that they haven’t touched the pile of homework, and it’s due tomorrow. Cue mass panic, a flurry of questions and wrong answers, and the song’s frantic refrain.
One of the things that I always enjoy about this song is the frenzy the girls are in while they sing it. They never give off a vibe that they couldn’t care about what they’re doing, they throw everything into it, it’s something I truly love about them. Wani to Shampoo is a really silly song, but it was easy for me to get into it and be taken away with the madness that is Momoclo. I never thought a song about doing homework could be this entertaining.
6. Pinky Jones
I had a hard time with putting this song so low on the list because it’s so insane and energetic, it’s one of those songs that when it comes up on random, I never ever skip it. Those opening sitar notes come on and my eyes light up, I crank up the volume, and rock out. When a song is good enough to illicit that kind of response from me, far after the newness of a freshly-released single has worn off, it’s a good sign.
Pinky Jones was a huge surprise for me in so many ways, and I now appreciate how it came about. Way back when I first heard and started getting into Momoiro Clover, I’d loved their debut single, and though not nearly as good, their 2 indies singles were decent. I was really excited to hear what else this group would come out with! Previews of the next single, Coco*Natsu came out and… Well, it was cute and fun, but not anywhere near as good as their debut Iku Ze’! Kaitou Shoujo. I was disappointed, but then Coco*Natsu got pushed back and then demoted to a B-side when things got delayed due to label-switching. The new single would be a different song called Pinky Jones.
With a weird title like that I didn’t know what to expect – but I most certainly didn’t expect it to have Momoclo dressed up as native americans, singing a positively bat-shit crazy song full of sitars and other wacky stuff. Holy shit, this is awesome!
Pinky Jones has so much that I like – I love the instrumentation, it’s different and fun, I love the varied pacing within the song, the energy the girls bring to it, the “bring it on!’ feeling of the lyrics, and the crazy gymnastics the girls perform as part of the dance. The dance itself is so high energy, I have no idea how they can sing a note while doing it. Everything about Pinky Jones is wacky, fun, and by the end of the song I’m pumped full of energy. Well done, Momoclo!
5. Orange Note
Another album track, a non-single, to make it up on the list, and one of my favorite Momoiro Clover songs ever. This song is one of the groups’ oldest songs, having been sung in concerts long before it ever saw release as an album track. Unfortunately since it took so long to come out officially, by the time it was released, Akari, who had a significant part in the song, had left the group. Luckily, Shiorin picked up her rap part, and executed it flawlessly, so even though it’s missing Akari, the official album release of this song is still good. Nice save, Shiori!
Orange Note is more typical-pop than a lot of Momoclo stuff, but it does it so well! It’s catchy, charming, and gives me that warm-fuzzy feeling when I listen to it. The girls put a lot of feeling into it, and even the lines by my less-preferred members like Aarin make me smile. I love the dance as well, the movements of it complement the lyrics perfectly. I can’t think of a single negative about this song, it conveys such a positive feeling! It might not be crazy, but it’s worth listening to.
4. Hashire! (Run!)
Coming in at number 4 is… A B-side? Yup!
Hashire! and Orange Note remind me a lot of each other, not because they sound the same, but because they give me the same happy feeling. Hashire! is a song that makes me happy, and that counts for a lot. It’s got a little bit more weirdness than Orange Note, but not so much that it changes the positivity of the song. The refrain of this song is delightfully uplifting, and the semi-computerized rap-like part at the bridge is really cool as well as being different from things they’ve done in other songs.
The vocals (in the studio recording of this song – note that the video links to a live version which is obviously less polished, fyi) are some of my favorites from Momoclo. Reni’s first lines sound so pretty in that studio recording (in fact, she’s a real stand-out in this song vocally). The other standout is definitely Kanako, whose rapid lines in the verse are great, but her real moment is the climax of the song, with her solo lines. Something about the way she executes those lines gets me every time. I can easily mark this song as the first time I started to be a fan of her. Since Hashire! was a B-side, I first heard it after having heard Iku Ze’! Kaitou Shoujo. I couldn’t yet put all the voices to the faces, so I didn’t know who it was that started singing in the verse, “kizuita kono kanjou ni…”, and the solo at the peak of the song, but I loved that voice, whoever it was. Once Coco*Natsu came out, I was able to match the voice to the girl, and a great love began.
It might be a B-side, but up until this year it was my second-favorite Momoiro Clover song… So what has overtaken it?
3. LOST CHILD
Another B-side! And one of the coolest songs Momoiro Clover has ever done. NARASAKI did a stellar job in the composition of this one, and the girls’ vocals compliment it perfectly.
This song is unlike anything else in Momoclo’s discography. It starts out computerized, stylish and cool, before the girls’ actual voices ring out and Kanako makes me fangirl all over the place. I friggin love this girl’s voice, and when she comes in with her line, “watashi no naka ni shiranai watashi ga kakureteirunda…”, I basically die of joy. Momoka follows her, also sounding absolutely amazing. Hell, even Aarin sounds fantastic in this song, and I don’t usually like her vocals.
There are a lot of different parts to this song, they come together nicely, and I love every one of them, from the electronic sound at the beginning of the song, to the stunning solo lines, to the unison chorus, the spoken lines which were fantastic, the bridge, everything about this song is flawless for me. I love every second of it. LOST CHILD is easily one of my favorite things Momoclo has ever done.
2. Iku ze’! Kaitou Shoujo (Let’s go! Phantom Thief Girls)
Momoiro Clover’s debut single had to be pretty high up on this list, it was the catalyst to get me into the group, and remains one of the most memorable songs they have ever done.
Momoiro Clover did release 2 indies songs before this, Momoiro Punch and Mirai e Susume. Both were ok, but not spectacular, which is why I was really glad to become a fan when Iku Ze’! Kaitou Shoujo came out. This song was exactly what I was looking for at the time – I was a Hello! Project fan, but bored of what H!P was offering those days, when Morning Musume was more like Boring Musume and the happy, fun, silly material I had first started liking H!P for had fizzled out. Then, BAM! There was a new group, and they were a little silly, a lot of fun, catchy and intriguing… It was everything I was still looking for, but not finding in Hello! Project those days. H!P has since improved a lot for me, but my love for Momoclo has grown to be much bigger than my love for H!P, and I thank this song for being the start of that.
Momoka is by far the star of this song, and she made a great first impression on me. She was my first love in this group, and remains a close second favorite to this day. She leads this song well with her distinctive voice, and looks and acts positively adorable. Shiorin and Ayaka also came across well in this song, Aarin’s “pika-pika no diamond” line being one of my favorites in the song. Akari’s quick, deep whisper also stood out as being awesome.
The video itself was loads of fun, too, with the girls in several difference uniforms and cosplays, a fun concept including rescuing Shiori from an attack, and a very energetic, odd dance. I wouldn’t fully appreciate the awesomeness of the dance until seeing it in concert, though, because one of the downsides of the video is that it doesn’t focus on the biggest dance move in the song, the now-famous “Kanako Jump”!
Blink and you’ll miss it in the video, but check her out in a live performance! She jumps HIGH and her head and feet go so far back they nearly touch! And she does it perfectly every time!
Overall this song has a lot to offer – it’s very catchy, fun, and cool all rolled in one bundle of awesome. It was a great introduction to me and remains a favorite!
1. Mouretsu Uchuu Koukyoukyoku – Dai Nana Gakusho “Mugen no Ai” (Bodacious Space Symphony – 7th Movement “Infinite Love”)
Did anyone have any doubts that this would be number 1? How could it not, it’s pretty much the most awesome musical adventure to hit my ears in years.
I’ve gone on for posts and posts (and posts and posts and posts and posts and posts) about how amazing this song is, and thus I don’t really want to repeat myself, but I’ll do it again, just a little – This song is nothing short of spectacular. It’s a space metal opera starring a nutty group of girls who pour their all into the song and it blows away every other release I’ve heard in recent memory. Momoclo sings and shouts their lungs out, Marty Friedman wails on the guitar, and a 100-person choir backs the whole thing up. Maeyamada did an amazing job of composing this song. From the opening “oooh wow!” to the final shout of “Mouretsu!”, this song rocks. I don’t even like the internet’s over-use of the word “epic”, but that’s really the word to describe it.
If you’re looking for something different in the sea of sameness that can be idol pop, give this a try, and let it take you away. I can’t recommend this song enough.
It was tough pairing it down to only 10 songs for this list, there are plenty more songs that I adore that missed the cut. Who knows what other additions will be made to their discography over the next year that might overtake some of these songs… Momoclo are really hitting their stride lately, and I anticipate more quality material in their future!
Do you have a favorite that missed my cut? Don’t be shy, if you like it, tell others about it and why you like it so much! :D