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Momoiro Clover Z - 5th Dimension Review

So, the time has come. The time of reckoning. The opening of the wormhole to the next and 5th Dimension. The progression of Momoiro Clover Z to ever greater heights.

Or something.

It's worth pointing out at this point that Battle and Romance was one of my favourite idol albums ever, and if I hadn't actually reviewed the second disc it would have been even higher. The bar is thus set rather high from the start and there's no shame in falling short of the exacting requirements needed to better the first album. Still, with luck (and a great deal of hope), this album won't fall anywhere. It may even surprise me and match (or possibly even better) the first. We shall see.

I'll start off with a word of warning. This post is a bit wordier than I planned. Also, you might want to keep your mouse handy to hover over the text, this post is link heavy, but the new theme doesn't really draw any attention to them whatsoever.



Preamble: The covers for this album are frankly amazing. I could have picked any of them and it'd still be amazing. The spiky gimp masks are awesome. Spikes in general are awesome. Unless you're Satyricon. On this cover the central pose reminds me heavily of some of the concepts Meshuggah used in obZen. The spaciness is pretty cool too.

1. Neo STARGATE.



As it was written by Oosumi Tomotaka, the guy who wrote Contradiction, DNA Rhapsody and Push, I had quite a lot of hope for this song. Indeed, it starts out incredibly awesome simply by featuring one of the most famous and enduring pieces of modern classical music, O Fortuna from Carl Orff's cantata Carmina Burana. However, once that finishes, rather than segue into the actual music of Neo STARGATE, it sort of just stops, then Neo STARGATE starts. Somewhat lacking. Indeed, there's even a song which presents exactly how to use O Fortuna and segue it seamlessly into a song, it's called No W. But anyway, I digress. The song luckily keeps the same key as O Fortuna, namely D Minor, which keeps the jarring to a minimum. The arrangement is full of big sounds, bells, drums, and dirty nuclear basses that would make even Skrillex happy. Also a choir helping the song along in the verse, with some guitar harmonies and, of course, the vocals from the girls themselves. They're not bad. After the verse we get a continuation of the same bit with a synth lead, which I surmise was introduced into the song for the sole purpose of giving Kawakami and the other two "lab assistants" something to talk over in the music video. Then we get the prechorus-esque section, which features some falsettoing which is slightly forced-sounding and certainly not the most pleasant thing to touch one's eardrums, with escalating beats and a gradually crescendoing whooshing sound that increases in pitch along with volume until some vocoded 生まれ変わる lyrics and we go into full on dubstep territory. This section isn't actually too bad. The buildup paid off and, while the chord progression is nonexistent and the melodies uncomplicated, it certainly makes up for it with brute force. The vocals in this part also suffer from lack of decent melodies, but who cares. They're probably only there so we don't forget about them all together. And then we get the actual chorus, a construction so utterly dull and insignificant in comparison to what has gone before it that it's almost a complete non-starter. The vocal melodies are pathetic. The music, which up until this point had been increasing in both complexity and musicality and sheer "I'm going to break your pelvis whilst I fuck you up"ness just sort of comes to a halt. Like reaching the summit of Everest and then finding that all you are is wet, cold, oxygenless and probably feel no different after climbing it than you did before, thus it was an entirely wasted trip. The chorus progression is awful. The punchyness of the bass-synths has gone. The girls are once again in that higher register they all suffer at. And then the beat is just overly simplistic and awful. I don't think I've ever heard a less satisfying payoff in any song ever. After this we get more choirs and big drums. Then the girls start singing along with the choir, which hurts. The next section is a deconstruction of the first verse, or whatever it is, with less instrumentation. Then from there it's all copy/paste through to the end of the dubstep section, which excises the vocals this time. Then we get a buildup chorus (because they obviously decided that having a bonus dubstep section between the prechorus and chorus made up for missing out a middle-8) which has a decent buildup but still sucks. Then we just get the choirs at the end, with Momoclo "helping" out. Overall, I didn't expect to write nearly this much. Probably the most I've ever written for one song in an album review. The problem lies solely in the chorus. I think that, were they to remove the chorus entirely it would be more effective, as proven (to my eyes) by Rayle's third edit. In addition, I think an extra section after the second dubstep break before maybe finally going into the buildup and final chorus, just once, might make an more interesting structural pattern as well as give the chorus even more of a point. Though, of course, they'd still have to beef the chorus up a bit to stop it sucking. Anyway, I think that's enough ranting on this one. 5/10

2. 仮想ディストピア. The latest Akirastar offering to the Momoclo world, it sounds... well, like Akirastar. Unlike Kimi to Sekai and Bionic Cherry, it gives hints that it might be different, such as the revving synth and dissonant guitars at the beginning, but all this is mere deceipt as it goes into another bog-standard Akirastar-rock song. On the other hand, at least his vocal melodies are good, as are his guitar riffs, which in this song present something of an old-school rock 'n' roll vibe. The bassline in the verse is actually surprisingly good. Prechorus has a decent buildup. Chorus is once again a letdown. Melodies aren't bad, but the instrumentation is disturbingly sparse and the beat is a simple 4/4 holding the fort with just one fill. Luckily the post-chorus section is quite fun, with some contrapuntal vocal melodies intertwining and the whole thing not sucking. Standard copy/paste for the second time around. The guitar solo is decent, but won't win any awards. Buildup chorus has some choral-club lalalaing in the background. Not too bad. 7/10

3. 猛烈宇宙交響曲・第七楽章「無限の愛」.



So, Mouretsu, Hyadain's ultimate gift to humanity or something of the like. I've probably written a lot about this song elsewhere, suffice to say I love it. It came 1st on my list of Top 50 Progressive Idol Songs and would no doubt get insanely high on my metal and guitar solo lists were I to re-do them. This song is so over-the-top that it makes the addition of O Fortuna to Neo STARGATE look like a bad joke. The choirs, epicness and Marty Friedman's ludicrously bizarre picking style (he uses upstrokes more than downstrokes when playing leads, and seems incapable of alternate picking when doing rhythm, as seen in his screentime-stealing attempt in Ikuze Kaitou Shoujo) combine with a mildly toned down version of Hyadain (mostly because there aren't seven additional sections in completely different genres) to produce probably one of the best songs ever to come out of the idol world. Marty once said they were going for the Bohemian Rhapsody of Jpop. Despite it not actually being a rhapsody, I'll admit they hit the nail close to the head. I can't see anything much more epic than this ever making the rounds. The song starts off with a nice choir-assisted guitar lead, which then follows into a chromatic ascent of arpeggiated dissonant chords. Then we get the first part of the verse with megaphoned vocals with a very good melody and a cool little chord progression. Second part of the verse allows Marty room to expand and he does, with some nice little licks around all over the place, while the vocal melody follows the rhythm guitar while the choirs counterpoint it. Then there's a harpy-brief break bit before the prechorus, only 12 bars in length, brings the speed up for the chorus, which is epic. The vocal counterpoints between the choir and Momoclo is well done and the chord progressions are good. Also the little breaks which allow the listener to recover a little, then resuming at full flow with the addition of lead guitar melodies is an inspired touch. Then there's the glorious little harpsichord/guitar lead break, which leads into the mass of "Aye Aye Sir" spam. Back into the second part of the verse, and then full throttle through the same bits again as earlier. Chorus loses none of its epic the second time around. Then we get a speaking break for Momoclo while the choir sing some stuff in the background. Then there's the absolutely glorious guitar solo (how could it be otherwise with Marty playing?), final buildup preprechorus with just harpsichord is lush, then prechorus into the final chorus with Marty playing basically another solo over the top of it. Well, and why not? Then at the end we get the harp and choir lalalaing us out. I haven't even really touched on the vocals yet. This is one of the better examples of Momoclo singing as they usually do and yet it's still highly effective even in the midst of what is a coherent and impressive song. Usually they play to their strengths and act quite barmy, as Momoka aside none of them can be considered strong vocalists in the slightest (though Kanako can hold a tune and A-rin is actually improving considerably), yet here their barminess colludes with the epicness and the winner is the listener. If a conventional idol group had tried singing this, it wouldn't have worked (imagine someone in C-ute or Berryz trying Reni's "Wow!" at the end of the final preprechorus), likewise any other group. Hell, Marty even tried covering it with some other metalheads and it was rather less effective, solely because even death growls aren't as insane as Momoclo's vocals. So yes. Epic song. Utterly epic. 10/10

4. 5 The Power. Part of me rebels at this being track 4 simply because it has "5" in the title. Not entirely sure why but it just feels wrong. Anyway, we start off with a simple drumbeat with far too much reverb which gradually increases in tempo, and gains some valve amped screaming guitar sounds which hint at some 60s prog which then turns out to be a ruse as we're treated instead to NWA. Is actually quite amusing, in a thoroughly "what the fuck am I listening to" kind of way. Makes me laugh that it's two years since their rapper left before they actually release a full-blown rap song. Anyway, the prechorus is pretty cool for its brief melodies, and the chorus is quite nice for its ska feel. The second verse shows why A-rin's probably the best rapper in Momoclo nowadays. Copy paste in the second time around. The third verse (which is what it is, basically, no middle-8 here) is abbrieviated, and heads straight outta Compton into the chorus (I really shouldn't have done that...) which has a slower version of it tacked on the end for an outro. For a rap track it's not bad, the 80s stylings lift it miles ahead of any modern day popular rap stuff (except this, because it's hilarious) and in general doesn't suck. 7/10

5. 労働讃歌.



This song sort of broke Momoclo's base after a long time of it being used to the double-powered whammy of Hyadain and Narasaki writing most of their A-sides; that it was sort-of conventionally structured outraged some fans (hence the batshit insane over-the-topness of Mouretsu which came after), however, as someone who appreciates the music of Ian Parton's The Go! Team I feel I sometimes have to defend it. After all, who doesn't love crazy blaxploitation music that has video game characters running around New York? Not to mention, the crazy union-friendly lyrics by another favourite nutcase of mine, novellist and rock singer Ohtsuki Kenji from Kinniku Shoujo-tai (who's probably best known to H!P fans as the guy who wrote Stacy). Anyway, onto the music. The intro starts off with some guitars and a blaring brass section while a siren sounds in the background, before we head into a nice little guitar lick which brings us into the preverse, which is megaphoned in and slightly rapped. The verse itself has a nice melody, while the music reverts to its blaxploitation style. No prechorus here, straight into the chorus, which is pretty fun, then straight into the verse again. Ian Parton ain't messing around here, but this time we get a refrain between the verse and second chorus which has some more nice melodies and blasting brass. After the second chorus we get a reprise of the intro, which then heads through the guitar lick into a full-on rap in place of the megaphoned pre-verse. Then back into the chorus for a final blast through, before another intro reprise with megaphones for the end. Honestly, not entirely sure what the problem with this song is. I enjoy it. 9/10

6. ゲッダーン! A song written by the prime mover behind the innovaters of the viral music video, namely Damian Kulash from OK Go, one would expect really not a great deal. I'm not saying I disdain OK Go or American alt/indie rock in general, but honestly the genre ran out of steam a long time ago. There's only so much 3-minute happy radio-friendly light-rock one can take before smashing the CD and putting on some early Black Sabbath instead. So colour me mildly surprised when what I hear coming through my headphones on this track is some xylophone spam and a sine-wave breath-synth, before a heavy as hell bass synth. "This sounds nothing like OK Go," I think to myself before checking that it's actually the correct track. It seems, however, that it actually is. So, I'm intrigued. Momoclo themselves also help by singing "Get Down!" which I assume is what that disturbing mess of Katakana spelling out "GEDDA-N!" is supposed to signify. The intro isn't particularly good though. The verse has the intrumentation take a break while the girls sing, which is an okay choice. Then we're treated to a building 5-part harmony in lieu of a prechorus, which then leads us into the chorus, which is unmistakably OK Go. However, it's a decent exposition of the style and I find I'm not minding it. Then we go back to the start, basically. Almost a copy/paste, except the drums accompany the vocals in the second verse. Vocal melodies aren't bad, I suppose, though not quite as insane as Momoclo usually get. The mid-8 has some nice and slow guitar/synth ambiances with a decent vocal melody overlying it. Then we get a buildup with the bass-synth and xylophones, before the last chorus. The ending has some little guitar leads before building up the harmony again to end. It's still the shortest song on the album, so I wasn't wrong about that at least, but it was a surprise. Much better than I expected. 8/10

7. Z女戦争.



From the shortest song on the album to the longest (or at least, the longest which doesn't include a 2:30 sample of a piece of classical music at the start). Written by Yakushimaru Etsuko, from Soutaisei Riron, this song is minorly insane. Battle-music and choir club, because nothing goes better together. Starts off with some silly vocals, then flows fullthrottle into silly scat-singing which serves no point except to get crowds following the dance. And how they do. So it works. Thus we've had two vocal sections even before the start of the verse, which is stripped down and features a bass, some drums and an 80s-esque synth. Think the soundtrack to Beverly Hills Cop. And vocals, of course. A guitar shows up too. The prepreprechorus has just the bassline and some extraneous instruments floating around at the edge of your consciousness. Chord progression is good though, and vocal melodies too. Then it builds up into the preprechorus, which has more energy and some slight hooks, which again work to get the crowd working in their live shows. Not that they ever need much encouragement. The prechorus (getting through all the pre's is thirsty work), expands on the sound of the preprechorus and introduces a new chord sequence and some more cool melodies, though less hooks, then we get some stop/start moments to give us the long-awaited chorus. It does, at first, sound sparse. It's by no means the greatest chorus ever, but it's nowhere near as lacklustre as that of Neo Stargate. The vocal melodies are decent, and the chord progressions don't suck. But there's no real punch to it. Still, minor moan. Then we go back into the slightly scat-influenced pre-verse. Then copy/paste all through to the end of the second chorus. After that we get a guitar/string section lead playing the same thing, it's not bad. Then we get the choir club bit, with amazing melodies and a capella voices in the background, with some small instrumental intrusions. It then just builds and builds until all five are singing and then builds into the preprechorus, which is doubled. Some extended guitar phrasing on the end of the prechorus. Chorus is the same. Then back into the scat-bit for the outro. Overall, I like it. The length allows time to absorb all the disparated elements and the rather extended version of the standard formulaic-pop-structure, which then equates to a better understanding of it. Not the greatest song, but it works. 9/10

8. 月と銀紙飛行船. I must say I do enjoy the music of The Beatles, especially their later era experimental stuff, something fierce. So when the Japanese master of pulling songs that could have been The Beatles out of his hat comes along and writes a song for Momoclo, I think it's safe to say before I even begin that I'm going to enjoy it. H!P fans may be aware of some of Nagai Rui's Tanpopo arrangements, namely BE HAPPY Koi no Yajirobee, I & You & I & You & I, Oujisama to Yuki no Yoru and most famously Otome Pasta ni Kandou. If that doesn't sum up the Beatles-ness from the start, you have been warned. We start off with Strawberry Fields Forever-esque flutes played on a Mellotron, as it should be. With a male choir in the background. Then acoustic guitars and some horns crescendo into... hold on, is this Arjen Lucassen? The chord progression sounds just like something he would do. Plus the high pitched choral "aah" sounds which follow the progression. Then it all slows down for the verse, which is just acoustic guitars, Mellotron and Momoka at first, until we get some piano intruding rudely on my blissful state. The minimalist buildup of instruments through the verse and prechorus is frankly wonderful. And then the chorus. It basically is a Beatles song at this point. Just rather better produced. I suppose the interceding 50 years or so have seen some improvements in that area at least. The chorus has some of the weirder drum patterns I've heard this album, sounding a touch like a marching band. Honestly, this is just epic. I love it. I fucking love it. Second verse doesn't bother building up, it's all there from the start. There's very little that would usually make me this blissed out and happy at the same time, and to get it from Momoclo is fantastic, especially as I'm usually the opposite of blissed out when listening to Momoclo, somewhat hopping about in a frantic state of mild insanity. Middle-8 starts with some Hammonds and Harpsichord, then suddenly turns into Queen, with a Brian May-esque solo while Momoclo talk over the top. Then we go all quiet again and turn into a huge buildup for the final chorus, which has a more normal beat instead of the marching band one. The ending is just superb. Massive crescendo and then everything stops except the Mellotron flutes, which hold on for ages and then die. Honestly, this is a big challenger for the title of best-Beatles-esque-idol-song ever. Unfortunately the talking over the solo probably just stopped it from challenging Buono's Tabidachi no Uta for that crown, but it's still a fantastic song nonetheless. 10/10

9. BIRTH Ø BIRTH.



So, NARASAKI's contribution to the album. I have high expectations because hell, it's NARASAKI. The guy responsible for Pinky Jones, Lost Child, Kuroi Shuumatsu and the Bloody Christmas remake of Santasan. So we start and we get heavy trance. At least the synths have a lot of presence, I hate it when people try to make dance tracks that sound weedy. Guitars are there, as it is Narasaki after all. The bit after the intro with the synth riff actually reminds me heavily of the main theme of the Mortal Kombat theme for some reason. Maybe it's the one bass note remaining constant while the rest of the lead track jumps around an octave above it. Anyway, then we get the verse, which has a decent melody and some driving guitars in the second part. Unfortunately, Momoclo's vocals don't quite work on it. We get the Mortal Kombat thing again, into a second go at the verse. At least NARASAKI's structure fuckery is intact. Prechorus has an interesting progression, with vocals sounding pretty decent. Then we get a weird slappy bass interlude before the chorus, which, surprisingly, is another let down. Once again they're trying to sing too far out of their ranges, the melody isn't particularly good, and once again the synth basses and such lose any kick in the teeth they had. Luckily it's not quite as jarring as Neo STARGATE's, because the buildup wasn't quite as far up to 11 as that was, but it's still a disappointment. Straight after the chorus we get dubstep for the sake of dubstep. Sounds like NARASAKI's been flicking through other Jpop group's dubstep drops, this one sounds a bit like Babymetal's Uki Uki Midnight. It's not a particularly good drop either. Owes more to the Brostep crap than actual dubstep. We head straight back into the prechorus for some reason, Narasaki's structure insanity I guess. Second chorus is just as underwhelming. Mid-8 continues on from the chorus, still in a ridiculously high pitch. Not amazing. Then we get some spacey stuff which is easily the highlight of the song, as some ska instruments come in. Then last chorus and boring. Probably the worst song on the album. 4/10

10. 上球物語 -Carpe diem-. From the guy who brought you Chai Maxx and D'no Junjou, comes this. It sounds very little like either of them at first, though probably closer to Chai Maxx. The song starts with a chromatic descent riff reminiscent of surf rock, then we get an intro with vocals, and a decent rock arrangement. Verse has quite prominent piano and a twist in the vocal melody that's pretty cool, there's also some rapping near the end. Prechorus is pretty much a structure jumble in itself, flows from one end to the other without repetitive patterns. In the chorus it's much easier to tell that this is by the guy who did Chai Maxx, it's pretty much highly similar witth different timbre and slightly worse melodies. Still, it's a good one for getting the blood pumping. Another rap post-chorus. Then we get a weird end-of-verse and prechorus and then back into the chorus again. Not finding much to dislike about it except its immense similarity to Chai Maxx in the chorus, which I'll take points off for. Mid-8 is pretty cool. Another rap in that. These raps are probably the best part of the song. Or they were, until the buildup to the final chorus which has a blues riff and a weird as hell contrapuntal clapping vs castanets battle or something. Or a tapdance battle. Makes the blues riff sound pretty damn fandango-esque. Then the buildup chorus is the castanets and acoustic guitar, leading even more into fandango territory. Except being 4/4 it's not fandango, but something else. Either way, it's fun, and helps regain some of the marks from the Chai Maxx theft. Some of the stupidly fast vocals at the end sound like a cheap shoutout to Hyadain's Samba de Toriko. Fun song though. I like. 9/10

11. 宙飛ぶ!お座敷列車. For a change, I've no clue who the guy who wrote this song is. His name is Satou Akira and he's a member of a band called infix, but beyond that, no clue, so I go in with an open mind I guess. A first on this album. It's a steamtrain at the start, and a ringing schoolbell. I think. Matches the title anyway. Sounds like a happy pop-rock song with some swing additions. Not bad. Verse melodies are decent, chord progressions very 50s. Prechorus is good. Chorus is Tsunku-esque. In a good way, from early 2000s. Good melodies and the arrangement is pretty good. Ooh, some more guitars, with some Queen stylings at the first note. Some train conductor. Second verse with more guitar leads, some crazy random additional instruments sounding like a callback to the first album, and then some added ska-feel for effect. This is probably the song most like the first album on this one, so it's mildly out of place but somewhat of a welcome relief to know they haven't actually regained their sanity or anything horrendous like that. Pretty standard copy/paste in the prechorus and chorus. Then we get a sudden dramatic turn and the conductor turns into the Z Densetsu narrator (or at least, sounds like him) and we get a crazy buildup instead of a mid-8. Then back into prechorus and chorus like nothing happened. This song is mildly insane. But hell, I like insanity. 9/10

12. サラバ、愛しき悲しみたちよ.



The latest single on the album, this song was written by Hotei Tomoyasu. You know, that guy. I'll start with the main problem I've had with this song since it was released: structurally, it sounds like a mess. I know I'm all for structural fuckery and weirdness, but in this case it sounds like Hotei wrote a normal song, then sort of chopped it up and rearranged it in weird pattern just so it'd sound more akin to Momoclo's usual structural fuckery. Mildly forced, I guess you could say. However, that's really only a minor point, and the music itself is pretty damn good. The riffs are simple but effective, the intro blasts the simplest of them all, a quick tonic-octave-devil's interval-resolve to dominant. Take out the resolution to the dominant and you're left with something evil-sounding like Black Sabbath's eponymous song. However, restore the dominant to the equation and you're left with a more positive outlook, something which matches the lyrical and PV theme of light and darkness. The verse has harpsichords, which makes me happy because I really like harpsichords. Then we return to the main riff. The prechorus is pretty straightforward and rock, but wait! Then we get some crazy extra prechorus with the harpsichords and some chromatic guitars. Nice. Then the chorus, which has a damn good vocal melody, over the top of a circle of fifths. Nice going, Hotei. Post-chorus we get more harpsichords with some mysterious ticking noise, before we get the second verse over the same ticking noise and harpsichords. Then we get the weird bridge part that's the start of the weird tacked-on feel bit. The pianos and melodies are nice, while the guitars just hold their chords. Nice musically, but weird structurally. Then we get a quick solo, Hotei showing off his skills. I guess they don't call him the Japanese Clapton for nothing. Then we get some semi-rap-rally-cry type thing. Then the main riff comes back in and normality is restored. For about ten seconds, when we get some crazy assed guitar noises which are amusing. Then it's back through the pre-chorus, harpsichord sex and then the chorus. Then main riff to close. Structural fuckery aside, I like it. I'll dock it a point for sounding forced. 9/10

13. 灰とダイヤモンド. At long last, I've reached the end. I've also reached the remarkable return of Hyadain, who composed this song but didn't do the lyrics or arrangement, which is odd. Starts off with a violin and a piano, nice enough, and the rest of the string section comes in. Sounds like a ballad. Acoustic guitar and opening vocal lines support that supposition. Vocal melodies are pretty, and they sing them well, which is cool. Drums and bass come in and we get a nice soft-rock feel going. Some call and response in the vocals is nice. Chorus is nice, but not amazing. Post chorus there's a nice little instrumental break, which leads back into the already-full-strength-on-instrumentation verse. A-rin's high notes in this are sort of toeing the line between strong and annoying. Everyone else sounds pretty good. Momoka's high notes in the mid-8 for a change don't sound like she's autotuning herself (possibly the only person I've ever heard who can sound like she's being autotuned when she's not is Momoka. Interesting ability). Buildup chorus is nice with just the strings and acoustic guitar. And Kanako, of course. Then we get a quick speedup and some interesting things happening. Some proggy polyrhythms in the extended instrumental break. Then a prechorus with more intertwining bits. Then Momoka with a nice long sustained note with nothing else behind it. Chorus time again. Outro guitar solo is nice. Or, I thought it was an outro. Then we get another buildup chorus with some building strings and marching drums. Then it all slows to a halt having not actually built into anything. They tricked me, the bastards. But somehow I like them for it. This song started off not really sounding far out of the ordinary, a straight-up expy of Stardust Serenade. Then it sort of expanded and burst its seams like a butterfly exploding from its pupa and spreading its wings, and explored directions that left even me slightly off-kilter. So, despite its humble beginnings and the chorus not being the best, the development that occured after the halfway mark lift this higher. So I must thank this Kondou Kenji guy who arranged this (and Otome Sensou too) for making the song longer, and thus better. Thank you. 9/10

Overall: Well, I wrote rather a lot more than I planned (over 5500 words), and probably rather a lot more than anyone with any sense could be bothered to read. It might be down to some level of writer's block (might seem counter-intuitive, but it means I take a long time to write, but at the end of it I'll have a damn lot of crap to sift through), this post took me nearly two days to write. My last.fm shows the ridiculousness of my slowness:


Still, compared to my earliest review I've got a bit too in-depth, I think.

Anyway. You may have noticed that I included a lot of exposition on the composers of the songs in this review, probably hence why it's rather more massive than most of mine tend to be. The reason for this is that Momoclo tend to feature a lot more composers than many idol groups, plus I know their names. In H!P stuff I can mostly just blame it on Tsunku and be right most of the time. In 48 groups a lot of their single and album stuff is so generic and formulaic that it doesn't really much matter who wrote it, you could throw a stone at a crowd of people who've composed for AKB and no matter who it landed on could conceivably have composed it. I may make an amendment to this statement when I finally get around to reviewing NMB's album. Still, even despite that, the main AKB culprit is Inoue Yoshimasa. In Momoclo they switch and change a lot more, so I pay more attention. Anyway, on Momoclo and not a tangent, this album is supposedly a concept album. However, there's not really much of a musical theme running through it that I can pick out, except for the more "mature" sound. Mature in this case meaning not adult or sexy, but less random screaming and insanity. Though obviously, that still occurs in Mouretsu and the Flying-into-Space-Train song the name of which I've forgotten already. Lyrically too, I'm slightly confused as to the place for Roudou Sanka, a song about manual labour, unions and suchlike in the middle of what purports to be something of a space opera.

Still, anyway, despite the struggling beginnings, this album generally peaked out towards the end, and save for one very un-Narasaki-like failure it's in general not a bad album at all. Could have done with more Hyadain, indeed, he himself had a tweet up that said this album wasn't really very Momoclo-ish, before deleting it. A shame, I thought. But even so, it's what it is, and what it is doesn't disappoint me nearly as much as I thought it might after I heard Neo Stargate and Birth Ø Birth, so that's all to the good.

8.1/10

So, up next I suppose I've got the Berryz album, the NMB album, and the Sakura Gakuin album to review at some point. Might also try a new feature or continue with an old one. Gotta justify this new theme somehow. However, until then, enjoy flaming me in the comments.

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