Friday, April 12, 2013

Let's Talk about 5th Dimension

I would like, if I may to take you on a strange journey. A journey through time and space and the strangest and farthest of the cosmos. The things you are about witness will shock you, confuse you, and maybe even frighten you. For the world we are about to enter is not for the hesitant or the cowardly. Today, I am asking you to cast aside all your rationality and sanity and enter a world of madness. My lovely readers, we are about to enter... the 5th Dimension.

No, I'm not talking about The Twilight Zone! I'm talking about something much stranger and much crazier: Momoiro Clover Z!

Only a few days ago did this bat-shit crazy idol group release their second album titled 5th Dimension and personally, I have been really excited to hear this album ever since I saw the promotional images for it. I thought the costumes looked awesome along with the futuristic and surreal cover art. With the release of Neo Stargate and Birth Ø Birth's PVs, that's only fueled my excitement even more! I think another reason for my excitement is because 5th Dimension is the first Momoiro Clover Z album that I've listened to! I've only been a fan of Momoiro Clover Z for a very brief period of time now (about two months) and the only other thing I reviewed by them pre-5th Dimension material was their Saraba, Itoshiki Kanashimi-tachi yo PV back in October. I'm really hoping their new album will give me an idea of just how diverse MomoClo can be musically, especially since I've heard tons of praise for their Battle and Romance album. Now something I want to point out is that I have not listened to Battle and Romance. Not yet anyways. Partially because I can't find a DL link but also because I don't want to listen to Battle and Romance yet, not until I've finished reviewing 5th Dimension. I'm trying this new thing where I review an album and don't compare it to the group's predecessor. I pinkie-promise I'll listen to Battle and Romance once I'm finished reviewing 5th Dimension but I want to be able to review 5th Dimension without any preconceived notions of how a typical MomoClo album sounds. Besides, there's always something I find exciting about listening to my first album by an idol group. So enough with this intro, let's open the Neo Stargate into the world of madness that is Momoiro Clover Z's 5th Dimension!

1. Neo Stargate

Well, I did a whole review of this song, including its accompanying PV so if you want a fuller opinion of Neo Stargate, just drop by my Review Index! But my short opinion of this song? I think Neo Stargate is a really stellar album opener! The song is pretty serious compared to some of MomoClo's other songs (Neo Stargate ain't no Pinky Jones) but personally, I don't mind that the song is more serious... as long as it's interesting! Neo Stargate plays out like the overture to a grand, sweeping space opera. The song is a brilliantly crafted blend of techno and classical, mixing music from the opera O Fortuna with techno elements. And the song isn't 100% doom-and-gloom super serious; the chorus is very upbeat and energetic too! I don't know if fans of the sillier and quirkier MomoClo will like Neo Stargate very much, but personally I think it's a great strong and a strong one to open 5th Dimension!

My Rating:

2. Kasou Dystopia

Following the epic album opener that is Neo Stargate is Kasou Dystopia, the most cheerful song I've ever heard with the word "dystopia" in the title! I don't know why but I was kind of thinking that Kasou Dystopia would be like Perfume's Electro World, still upbeat but also a melancholic and depressing tale of a dystopian society. Surprise, it's not! Or maybe it is; I won't know until I can get my hands on the translation. But just because Kasou Dystopia doesn't sound like one of my favorite songs ever doesn't mean it still isn't an awesome song! I really love this song because it's so energetic and upbeat, like many great MomoClo songs. The chorus sounds very hopeful, almost pretty at times, and I like how the song just keeps building and building up its energy. The final verse before the last chorus is when the song gets really quiet and then it comes back in with such a punch! I think Kasou Dystopia was a great follow-up to Neo Stargate!

My Rating:

3. Mouretsu Uchuu Koukyoukyoku・Daiaana Gakushou ”Mugen no Ai”

Space pirates! I think that and the insanely long title are what people immediately notice about Mouretsu Uchuu Koukyou... I'm just gonna call it Mugen no Ai! This song was sort of a turning point for MomoClo in terms of their popularity; Mugen no Ai sold extremely well and has been the first in a series of successful singles the group has been releasing. So for such a well-known song, it must be pretty awesome, right? To a lot of people it is! At first for me, I didn't like this song that much. I thought the vocals were too high-pitched and sounded annoying, the song was too fast, and just... too overwhelming! But after awhile as I got used to the ridiculously fast-paced nature of Mugen no Ai, I really started to like it and I can see why other people do too! It's just such a weird song with the metal combined with the idol vocals but for some reason it works. Mugen no Ai is a great song that displays all the craziness you can find in Momoiro Clover Z!

My Rating:

4. 5 The POWER

Does anyone else find it kind of humorous that a song with the number 5 in it was placed as the fourth track on the album? No one? Okay then... Now I'm just going to go ahead and say that 5 The Power is my least favorite song on the 5th Dimension album. Why? Well... I don't want to say it's too weird because believe me, I've heard weirder idol songs. Okay, so MomoClo's music has reached a point where it can be really awesome or really annoying for me. Unfortunately, 5 The Power kinda falls into that annoying category for me, or one part of it: the rapping. I can take the girls of MomoClo rapping a little bit but there are verses that just have them rapping and rapping and... Look, I don't like rap that much already but badly done rap is not something I enjoy. I'd give the girls a gold star for trying t because I can tell they're trying... Other than the rapping, not much about 5 The Power sticks out to me.

My Rating:

5. Roudou Sanka

Next up is the oldest A-side to be featured on the album; Rodou Sanka was released way back in 2011, a time in which I was barely getting into idols! I actually read a PV review of this song and I just didn't connect the PV in the review to this song until I actually looked it up on Youtube. But I ain't doin' no PV review; how does the song stand on its own? Well... I swear to god this song should be a Quentin Tarantino movie. Preferably Kill Bill Vol. 1 but I also think the song could fit in Pulp Fiction and maybe Jackie Brown. Maybe. The reason I say that is because the opening of Rodou Sanka sounds like the intro to a 1970s B-movie or a show like The Mod Squad or Charlie's Angels. Honestly, I like Rodou Sanka; it's not the best MomoClo song I've heard but I think it's pretty fun and has nice and cheesy vibe to it. It kind of reminds me of a more lighthearted Show Fight!, if Show Fight! sounded more like it was recorded in the 70s.

My Rating:

6. Get Down!

I don't know what it is about this song, but Get Down! kinda grew on me. I mean, when I first listened to the whole album, I liked it and all but over the days I've been listening to 5th Dimension for my review, I've started liking this song more and more. I don't know what it is about this song but I really, really like it! I like how bouncy and catchy it sounds, especially in the chorus! I think that chorus is what I like most about the song; it reminds me of something I'd hear from a 90s movie from some reason... I think I like Get Down! because it's a fun song to dance to, even if you suck at dancing. Not that I suck at dancing or anything, what would make you think that!? I also like the xylophone used in the instrumental for Get Down! I don't know why; I guess xylophones just make songs sound better! Overall, Get Down! doesn't bring anything new to the album but it's one of my personal favorites!

My Rating:

7. Otome Sensou

Here's another MomoClo A-side that charted for months and months after its release! Seriously, their singles have been charting for ages lately... So how does Otome Sensou hold up? Well, what I always notice about Otome Sensou is that it is a long song. Like it's nearly seven minutes long. Now just because a song is long doesn't mean it's necessarily bad! Neo Stargate is eight minutes long and I think that's a great song! Perfume's edge (-mix) is over eight minutes long as well and it's my favorite Perfume song! Unfortunately for Otome Sensou, after about four minutes in, this song starts to drag. Not so much that it's unbearable to listen to but when I first heard this song, I kept looking at my iPod to see when the hell it was ending. It's just one of those songs that sounds like it should be a certain length but then it goes on and on and on and... Bottom line is I think I would have liked Otome Sensou better if it was just a little bit shorter, like five minutes long!

My Rating:

8. Tsuki no Gingami Hikouki

Okay, this is gonna sound a little strange but... I can't come up with an opinion for this song. I mean, it sounds nice and all but that's pretty much it. I don't even think it's bad song or even a bland song, I just don't have enough of any sort of opinion to write it out. Well... Tsuki no Gingami Hikouki has a nice flow. The vocals even sound pretty decent for MomoClo, save for a few shaky high notes. And there are a few parts where I kind of like the instrumental. I guess one part I enjoy in the song is where the girls are speaking and not yelling like they do in some of their other songs. That worked pretty well. I think the reason I don't have much thought towards Tsuki no Gingami Hikouki is because it's one of those psuedo-ballads where it's kind of ballad-y but still upbeat. I've never been a huge fan of songs like that and for Tsuki no Gingami Hikouki, it's an okay psuedo-ballad but nothing special for me.

My Rating: 


So the other promoted album song off of 5th Dimension is Birth Ø Birth! Isn't it nice when an album promotes two songs? Like Neo Stargate, Birth Ø Birth got its own music video that comes with the album; the PV is even a continuation of Neo Stargate! So how does the song hold up on its own though? Well, I noticed that Neo Stargate and Birth Ø Birth have similar tones in that they're both more mature sounding with some techno thrown in. Though I think Neo Stargate was a little more operatic... Anyways, you all know I loved Neo Stargate and I really enjoy Birth Ø Birth too! The only weird thing about this song though was the mood whiplash between the verses and the chorus; the verses are all dark and edgy but then the chorus pops up and it's much happier and upbeat! I got used to it after hearing the song a few more times but it's still a little jarring. Overall though, I think Birth Ø Birth is a solid song to promote the album with!

My Rating:

10. Joukyu Monogatari -Carpe diem-

Chai Maxx? Is that you!? I can't believe Chai Maxx was reincarnated in the form of Joukyu Monogatari -Carpe diem- for the 5th Dimension album! Okay, okay, joking aside Carpe diem (yes, I'm abbreviating it) sounds a lot like Chai Maxx. Like the song isn't a carbon copy but there were many moments while I was listening to this song, I thought, "Did I accidentally play Chai Maxx?" Like the part before the chorus where the girls sing really fast and the chorus in general being similarly structured just screamed Chai Maxx. Luckily for me, Chai Maxx is one of my favorite MomoClo songs, and even more luckily, Chai Maxx is one of those songs in which I don't mind if another song sounds like it. I flipping love how Chai Maxx sounds and even though Carpe diem may be a near-carbon copy, it's just as awesome as the original! Both songs are energetic, fun and just put me in a great mood when I listen to them!

My Rating:

11. Soratobu! Ozashiki Ressha

After I listened to this song, for awhile I was trying to think about what it reminded me of. It was quite frustrating as I just couldn't quite put my finger on what musical style Soratobu! Ozashiki Ressha reminded me of. And then a few days later, it hit me: Soratobu! Ozashiki Ressha sounds like a musical number you'd hear in a Broadway musical! I don't even know what specific Broadway musical (maybe Hairspray?) but can you not see this song being performed as some big grand musical number? With all the different sound effects in this song, the cheesy announcer, the energy of the vocals, this would be a great musical number! Maybe I'll write a musical around this entire song! I kid, I kid but as you can tell, I enjoy Soratobu! Ozashiki Ressha a lot! It's a really fun song and I think it displays that boundless energy that the girls of Momoiro Clover Z have! It's not my favorite song from the album but nonetheless I still like it a lot!

My Rating:

12. Saraba, Itoshiki Kanashimitachi-yo

Oh look, it's the first MomoClo A-side I reviewed! Actually at the moment, it's the only A-side I've reviewed... Back in October and the glorious month of Halloween, Saraba, Itoshiki Kanashimitachi-yo was on of the many glorious Halloween PVs I've reviewed. So like with Neo Stargate, if you want a fuller opinion of this song I'd pop by my Review Index and check it out! Anyways, I think Saraba, Itoshiki Kanashimitachi-yo is an effing awesome song, especially for Halloween. If you like MomoClo when they're lighter and sillier, you might not be a huge fan of this song since it is one of the darker songs I've heard from them. But damn, does it sound cool. It's incredibly catchy and that instrumental is to die for. The song is a great blend of weird, eccentric, and creepy infused with rock and I love how much stuff is in this song. Saraba, Itoshiki Kanashimitachi-yo is dark in the most twisted and awesome way possible.

My Rating:

13. Hai to Diamond

And closing the album is... a ballad? Wow. For some reason "Momoiro Clover Z" and "ballad" are two terms that I never thought I would put together in a review. I think because... the idea of such a spastic and energetic group taking on a slower song seems like it wouldn't really work to their advantage. And Hai to Diamond doesn't have any of the musical strengths found in MomoClo's stronger and more vibrant songs. It's a very downbeat, slow song (nearly 7 minutes actually) and very... well... ballad-like! Hai to Diamond is more or less a pretty typical ballad, the only odd part being that it's a ballad done by Momoiro Clover Z. The song sounds nice and everything but if it wasn't on the album, I wouldn't be saying that 5th Dimension is a terrible album because this song wasn't included. The bridge you hear about 4 minutes into the song is absolutely beautiful but other than that, Hai to Diamond is an okay closer to a mostly energetic album.

My Rating:

The Verdict

Well, that was a fun album! I have to say I really enjoyed listening to 5th Dimension because there was an amazing variety of differently styled songs! I know that a few bloggers were speculating whether or not 5th Dimension would be a more serious album considering the cover art and two promotional songs. And while 5th Dimension does have a few more serious-styled songs, there's also just as many fun and energetic songs. There are even a few slow songs thrown into the album! What I always think makes for a great idol album is when the songs all have their own style yet blend together at the same time. That's why I love albums such as Brand-new Idol Society's Idol is Dead and Perfume's Game so much. I think 5th Dimension for the most part, played to MomoClo's strengths and had a lot of upbeat and energetic songs that were distinguishable from each other. I think something else that also helps with 5th Dimension is that the A-sides were all really strong. Even Otome Sensou, the weakest of the A-sides was still an enjoyable song. I also liked that there are a lot of new songs on the album and not as many A-sides. There's a nice balance between old and new on 5th Dimension. And most of the new songs I thought were really good! My favorite tracks were Neo Stargate (which I thought served as a great opening), Kasou Dystopia, Get Down!, Birth Ø Birth, and Joukyu Monogatari -Carpe diem-. The only tracks that I could have done without were 5 The Power and Tsuki no Gingami Hikouki but even then I can still appreciate both songs for trying out different styles. In fact, one of the strongest aspects of 5th Dimension for me was that all the songs didn't sound the same; each track had a different style and although that style may not have necessarily worked I can still give the songwriters props for placing so many different styled songs in the album. Each track on 5th Dimension stands out on its own and for that reason, I think 5th Dimension is a pretty awesome album.

So overall, I will give 5th Dimension 4.5 out of 5 apples! For my first MomoClo album to listen to, I'm really happy that I ended up liking the songs! The album has great variety and a ton of energy which I always love; it makes me happy that I finally decided to give Momoiro Clover Z a chance! I'm also happy that the album is doing well commercially; the album's sold over 150K copies at the moment! Anyways, now that I've listened to 5th Dimension, I think I'm gonna try and find Battle and Romance now and finally give it a listen!



    1. Oh my... I'm afraid I don't know speak/write Japanese but thank you for the link to the concert! Eh... ありがとうございました!(sorry if that translated poorly).