Tuesday, May 20, 2014

No Party Like a Family Party!

What the hell am I doing reviewing something else by Kyarypamyupamyu? I swear to god she released a single like two months ago. I'm gonna end up waiting half a year (again I might add) for Perfume's next single, and Kyary releases one two months after Yume no Hajima Ring Ring!? And now she's releasing an album in July!? Do Kyary and Nakata just not sleep!?

I shouldn't blame Nakata for the onslaught of Kyarypamyupamyu releases this year. It's probably her management that contracts him for Kyary songs at such a rapidfire pace. So Perfume management: get your shit together and give us some more information about Perfume's next single. And Kyary management: lay off the Kyary singles and albums and everything. Please. Just let Kyary tour after releasing Kira Kira Killer and Pikapika Fantajin so I can rest and review something else. I'm not sure why exactly I keep reviewing Kyarypamyupamyu. I have this love-it-or-hate-it relationship with her music. I think it's her endearing personality that keeps me from abandoning reviewing her music altogether. I think people read my reviews of her stuff too? I don't know, I just feel like Kyarypamyupamyu's music is the music I listen to when Perfume hasn't released anything. And luckily for Kyary, Perfume hasn't released a single since November, not that I'm irritated at Perfume's management for being unnecessarily vague about the single. No. Not at all. All right, let's talk about Family Party before Kyary announces another single. I admit, I'm astounded that I've been able to keep up with her releases this well so far...


There are three covers for Family Party, one being a cartoony Crayon Shin-chan type of cover and the other two showing live-action!Kyary doing something weird. So basically the same covers for Kimi ni 100 Percent/Furisodation except with a different concept. And the concept of Family Party's covers must be robots! The regular edition shows Kyary as a giant robot with a strange wig, and the Limited B edition cover (featured above) has her wearing an even stranger wig with some kind of Muppet poking out of it. Even the Limited A cover with cartoon!Kyary shows her as a robot! The regular version is by-far the strangest, and it looks like Kyary is attacking some kind of city with her four giant arms. They're all pretty weird covers, but weird in the bright, friendly way that doesn't freak you out. It's just Kyary wearing and/or doing something quirky like usual. Which isn't always bad, I think these covers look fine! As for the songs on Family Party...

Family Party


Welp, so much for evolution. You know, Kyarypamyupamyu is really not in the position to talk about her musical aims when she doesn't even produce her own music. Especially when half her A-sides are written to be tie-ins for various products and other media. Family Party is her second song related to children's show Crayon Shin-chan, the first being Kimi ni 100 Percent. Now Kimi ni 100 Percent was very much a kid-friendly song, with a beyond-adorable melody and the same lightness that Mirai no Museum had. Unlike Mirai no Museum, Kimi ni 100 Percent's light, fluffy sound fitted Kyary's image, and I surprisingly enjoyed the song. Family Party was created for the movie Crayon Shin-chan: Serious Battle! Robot Dad Strikes back. I've not seen this movie, but I can pretty safely say that it probably involves a robotic father. Just a wild guess. Anyways, Family Party is a movie and that is all it tries to be. The song seems to be about holding a family together, or something that probably relates to the movie. Musically, the song sounds like the kind of song you'd hear on a children's TV show. Look, I don't really expect much from Kyarypamyupamyu's A-sides, but I still find Family Party to be underwhelming.

Yeah, as you may have figured out, I do not like Family Party. Admittedly though, my opinion of it has softened since I first heard it. I mean, the first time I listened to the preview of Family Party, I hated it. I thought Family Party was a terrible song that was equal parts annoying and grating. And... okay, it still kind of is, but not anywhere near as much when I first heard it. There are some cool parts to it, like the 8-bit opening, and I actually kind of like the instrumental. It sounds like something you'd hear in a Nintendo game. My biggest problem with Family Party is that I find it to be annoying, in the same way that a really shitty kids' show is annoying. Family Party is a very juvenile-sounding song, even for Kyarypamyupamyu. And the other thing that turns me off from the song is Kyary's vocals. Her vocals are very hit-or-miss, and something about the way Nakata edited them this time around makes them sound so much more obnoxious and squeaky than some of her other songs. While there are much worse songs out right now Hello Kitty, Family Party is still my least favorite A-side that Kyarypamyupamyu has released. This or Mottai Night Land. Actually, probably Family Party since Mottai Night Land is slightly less annoying in comparison.

While I'm usually split on Kyary's songs, I do enjoy her creative and kooky music videos. The PV for Family Party garners a slightly different opinion from me than the song. However, I still must admit that it isn't my favorite Kyary music video. I didn't know what was going on it any more than I did some of her previous music videos, but still. I admit, Family Party didn't look very much like a "family party" at least not the ones I've been too (mine have much more cornbread and barbecue chicken). It looked more like a Wii game. Everything was very white and retro-futuristic looking, and I don't think the letters in the PV were actually letters. Unless they just took German letters and flipped them around a bit. Basically, Family Party's concept is that Kyary is playing some kind of game with this robot that's also being operated from inside by Kyary and there's this referee that holds up random cards, and I don't know, it doesn't make a lot of sense. Coming after the very sensical Yume no Hajima Ring Ring, the PV for Family Party is kind of refreshing in how random it is. But you've still got your staple Kyary elements: the quirky mascot, the quirky backup dancers, the quirky person wearing a mask, buckets and buckets of quirkiness.

But it's the presentation of Family Party that makes it a good PV. Because while I've seen all these elements in every Kyary PV ever, the way they're handled is very nice and entertaining. This is a very fast PV, and there are a lot of different images that you can catch. For instance, Kyary and the robot's teams are presented by a dog and a parrot. Why? Who knows! I guess families have pet dogs and parrots. I think I heard someone say that this PV was supposed to represent how hard managing a family is, but personally, I don't see it. I guess you could kind of connect that concept to Kyary managing the robot with her multiple arms. At the end of the day though, I don't think Family Party's PV needs a hidden meaning to make it watchable. It isn't good for the brain to dwell long on analyzing a Kyarypamyupamyu PV anyways. It's just a fun, quirky PV that you'd expect by now from Kyarypamyupamyu. Overall, I was entertained, and really, that's a PV has to do sometimes. Watching the PV did make the song a little bit more tolerable as well. Not enough for me to like the song, but just enough that I can tolerate it.

I'm only giving Family Party two apples, and nothing will convince me otherwise. Not even the extended mix that this song will probably get, because Nakata loves making extended mixes out of Kyary's A-sides. Maybe if I was a fan of Kyary's "kawaii" technopop style of music, I'd be a bigger fan of Family Party. But as of now, Family Party is a party that I have no intentions of attending any time soon.

Scanty Skimpy

With a title like Scanty Skimpy, I was expecting something either really weird or really cute. It turned out to be the latter. Scanty Skimpy is a very cute little song that's just a tad bit whimsical. It also sounds kind of... French? I'm not an avid listener of French pop, but Scanty Skimpy sounds like something I'd hear out of Amélie. What I like about Scanty Skimpy is that it's one of Kyary's cute songs that isn't cute in an extremely annoying/sugary way like Mottai Night Land or Point of view or half the tracks off Nanda Collection. It's just this cute little song that's kinda simple-sounding but sweet. The song Scanty Skimpy reminds me most of is Furisodation, except not quite as energetic. It's still a pretty peppy song, and it fits with Kyary's music style. Although it might fit with her music style a little too smoothly. Scanty Skimpy comes off as a tad bit underwhelming. I mean, it's nowhere near as underwhelming as Family Party. In fact, I'd rather Scanty Skimpy have been the A-side over Family Party. This song isn't as annoying! But it's a very basic Kyary song, that doesn't bring too much to the table. The melody is very nice, and that French pop-vibe does add a lot of charm to the song.

I was actually curious about the lyrics for Scanty Skimpy, since the title sounds kind of tantalizing/flirtatious. Turns out Scanty Skimpy is about a girl who likes to eat but also wants to wear cute clothes and is torn between the two. So kind of like Berryz Koubou's diet song only not as weird. Wow, I can't believe I just said a Berryz Koubou song was weirder than a Kyarypamyupamyu song. Anyways, the only other thing noteworthy about Scanty Skimpy is Kyary's vocals (kind of). They sound just as squeaky as Nakata always edits them, but Kyary commented (I think on her Twitter) how it was hard to sing Scanty Skimpy because she had to use her "lower voice." When the song first started, I had no idea what she was talking about. But getting to the verses, I did notice her voice was surprisingly low. So many of her songs are so high-pitched, and it was kind of refreshing. Then of course it went back to the squeaky high voice. Admittedly, those "low" notes aren't that low; I'm a soprano, and I could have belted them out. Just in comparison to the rest of the song, those verses are a tad bit lower. Other than that, this was a decent B-side, although I liked Slow-mo better.

I think it's appropriate to give Scanty Skimpy four apples. It's a good song, and blissfully, it doesn't get on my nerves the way Family party does. Scanty Skimpy is a cute little song, and that's pretty much what you can expect. It doesn't try anything too crazy, other than a few melodies, but it was pleasant on my ears. So yeah. On to the final track...

Invader Invader -extended mix-

What is this, extended mix #20 now? It's pretty much expected that a Kyary single is going to have an extended mix of one of her A-sides, and this time that extended mix falls onto Invader Invader. Funny, that was the last Kyary single I reviewed... Previously on Nia's Wonderland, I found Invader Invader to be an enjoyable song but lacking in anything distinctive beyond a gratuitous Dubstep break. So does Invader Invader -extended mix- add more substance to the song? Well, certainly not in the lyrics. There are a few extra vocals added to this mix, but it's mostly just Kyary repeating the title and a few more "Wows" and "Yeahs." It starts pretty much the same as the original, only there's a brief instrumental before Kyary starts the chorus instead of immediately jumping into it. After Kyary starts singing, the rest of Invader Invader -extended mix- is relatively similar to the original. I'm sure there are a few slight changes in instrumentation that I didn't catch. Invader Invader -extended mix- really starts sounding like an extended mix until after the second chorus, when that instrumental is drawn out. Other than that, Invader Invader -extended mix- is one of Nakata's remixes that's stayed relatively similar to the original.

Compared to the original, I like Invader Invader -extended mix- about the same. The extended instrumental bits are my favorite parts, since they add even more kookiness to the song. But the mix doesn't blow the original out of the water (or into space is what I should say). I'd be content with listening to either one. I will say though that Invader Invader -extended mix- doesn't diminish anything from the original recording, which is what several of these other extended mixes have suffered from. Of course, Nakata still keeps that Dubstep break in, and somehow it still sounds just as random and unnecessary as it did in the original Invader Invader. The biggest weakness of Invader Invader -extended mix- is that it doesn't add anything terribly different to the original. It's too... safe of a mix? I guess I could also say that's the biggest strength of Invader Invader -extended mix- because it doesn't compromise the original in a bad way. But a best-case scenario extended mix would have been a mix that both changed and enhanced the original. Invader Invader -extended mix- does a little bit of that, but only to a small degree. Still, it's a decent listen!

I'm kinda torn on what to give Invader Invader -extended mix-, but I ended up giving it four apples, like I did with the original! It's pretty good as far as extended mixes go, but there isn't a lot of note that's added to with it. If someone into electronic production wants to pick into this mix, then feel free! They might find more to talk about with this extended mix than I did...

The Verdict

It's not even June yet, and already I feel kind of burnt out on Kyarypamyupamyu. Yume no Hajima Ring Ring, Family Party, Kira Kira Killer, and now a whole new album, and all this is just by July. Maybe it would help if Family Party was a stronger single, like Yume no Hajima Ring Ring. But the A-side for Family Party is just a kid-friendly song for Crayon Shin-chan that I find to be too cutesy and annoying to enjoy. Scanty Skimpy is better, but it's still a B-side and not even the best Kyary song I've ever heard. And I didn't really need an extended mix of Invader Invader. Luckily, Invader Invader -extended mix- is actually pretty fun, but even then, it didn't change that much in the original. So I've got one bad song and two decent songs. My final verdict? Family Party is worth listening to if you're into Kyarypamyupamyu's music. If you're looking to get into her music, I wouldn't start with this single though. I'd start with Fashion Monster or Ninjari Bang Bang or Candy Candy or even Pamyu Pamyu Revolution. But not Family Party. If you like Kyary's cuter and more saccharine music, then you might find Family Party to offer a better selection of songs than I did. There are definitely some interesting things in all these songs, but for me, it comes down to a matter of taste.

I think the problem with me and Kyarypamyupamyu is that most of her stuff is too cute for me, Family Party included. If I'm in the mood for cute, bubbly technopop songs, then yeah, sometimes her stuff works. But most of the time when I'm listen to her music, it's like being force-fed Pixie sticks and cotton candy. I do like Nakata's compositions though, and I think it's the instrumentals of Family Party that make me enjoy this single more. I listened to the instrumentals of Family Party and Scanty Skimpy, and I actually think I enjoy them more than the actual songs! Especially Family Party's, I really love the 8-bit usage in the instrumental and the melody sounds so much nicer without Kyary singing. That's when it occurred to me... maybe the reason I'm not a huge fan of a lot of Kyary songs is because I don't like her voice that much. I mean, I'll take her over Dempagumi.inc (I'll take anything over Dempagumi.inc though, even vultures getting castrated). Same goes for Scanty Skimpy; it's a really cute instrumental, and again, I could see it being a movie track to an artsy little French movie! So I guess overall... if you like Kyary's voice and her cute style, then you'll like Family Party more than I did. But if you like Nakata's compositions more, listen to the instrumentals. They're still cute, but not quite as overtly cute as when Kyary is singing.

So after those three tracks of varying cuteness, I think I'll give Family Party three and half apples! Eugh, reviewing this single makes me feel like I need to brush my teeth or something. Yeah, I need to feel edgy and hardcore again; I'm gonna go listen to some Capsule.


  1. Nia, have you ever heard of a singer named Yun*chi? I doubt you've heard of her, she's an electronic artist like KPP and Perfume; I think she's under the same music producer-ish as Kyary but she's 10 times cooler than Kyary! You've gotta listen to Yun*chi's new album that was released this year in February (called Asterisk*) it's FREAKING AWESOME and you won't regret listening to it!!! (I hope, hahaha). Ah~ so many awesome songs on that album.~ I won't tell you which songs I like, every song's just amazinggggg.

    1. I feel like I've heard of her in passing, like mentioned on a random Tokyohive article I didn't bother to read. But hey, I love electronic J-pop singers, so I'll definitely check her out! Thanks for the recommendation!

    2. You're welcome! If you have trouble finding the Yun*chi album online, you can always search and download it from j-mp3.info; not sure if you know that website, but it's always filled with new J-music.

    3. Oh yeah, I found it on j-mp3.info, and it's also on Jpopsuki as my last resort. I've listened to about half of the album so far, but it's nice! Very refreshing, and a little more raw than Kyary. Yun*chi has a nice voice!

    4. Awesome! Ha ha, yeah, Yun*chi's a new artist, so I can see why you might say her music's more raw than Kyary. LOL I can't help but say Yun*chi's voice kinda leans more towards the cutesy side hahaha if you get what I mean