SYSTEMATIC, yes. FANTASY, perhaps.
I’m still not quite over my AAA kick from Otakon, so you’ll forgive the liberal and pointless mention of them at the end of this post. (I also have another post from Otakon to make, but it seems I may not have the time to get around to that before I leave for Hong Kong this Saturday.) Now without further ado…
Once I called m.o.v.e‘s motsu one of the hottest (if in an unorthodox way) men in JPop.
It still holds true.
How many rappers can you think of (never mind the JPop sphere, just in general) who can dress like an office man with a sole floppy spike protruding from his hair and dance stiffly with white OLs – but still look cool?
…I thought so.
After what has been practically a year and a half hiatus from releasing anything, m.o.v.e is back. And with their latest and 27th single, SYSTEMATIC FANTASY/Good Day Good Time, I think it was very well worth the wait.
One of m.o.v.e’s hallmarks is their tendency to go into many different genres. I don’t mean in the way a band switches between ballads and pop-rock for an album. When m.o.v.e changes into a genre, they stay with that genre for a while. Any song they produce during that period can be undeniably placed in the genre, regardless of tempo or style. To date they’ve gone through Eurobeat, Techno/Trance, Latino, Bossa Nova, Hard Rock/Heavy Metal, Ska, and their supposedly self-created genre, J-Loud. (Let’s make a deal. I won’t ask about that one, and neither will you.)
SYSTEMATIC FANTASY has placed them back firmly into the realm of electronika, but it’s something they’re good at – and t-kimura knows this better than anyone. motsu’s rapping is as strange as ever, between his odd voice (not what you’d usually hear from a rapper) and the different sort of inflections he injects. But it also provides a nice offset against yuri’s nasal singing – while I’m a bit disappointed she’s gone back to this after her dramatic stint with their Rock phase, if you don’t expect nasality from Japanese pop, you have a problem. The song opens with a slow, almost dream-like electronic introduction, which goes with the whole “fantasy” in the title. The electronic influences work their way throughout the song’s base synth beat too, whether infecting the backup vocals, the hook, or just the little background noises.
The music video, which I mentioned in passing, is quirky and odd and… not-typical m.o.v.e? Well, m.o.v.e is always atypical. Words wouldn’t quite describe it – it’s not one of those videos that needs to be seen, but is well worth your time to watch. We will leave all descriptive attempts at “yuri is hot as a Office Lady”, “motsu must be having the time of his life”, “t-kimura, you put that cigar out right now, old man!”, “funky robotic motions”, and “perfect for the song”. Yes, I know. Not a very good job.
The other A-side, Good Day Good Time, has its fair share of Carribean influences, with that silly laid-back beat introducing us to the song and providing a break from the stanzas and choruses. But the rest of the song (read: stanzas and choruses) is crazy ska-rock at m.o.v.e’s finest – more than reminiscent of prior single How To See You Again, in fact. motsu shows off his vocal versatility, not only rapping (and pulling a machinegun vocal stint about 2 minutes in) but singing full blast with the choruses and the first stanzas. He’s got a really good voice for rock, too. yuri’s singing is less nasal with this track, and while it’s not quite the powerful delivery she gave back in DOGFIGHT, it’s a solid showing that works well with the fun feeling of the song. Once again, t-kimura shows how well he knows the abilities of the members of his group. HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR fans may like this song – but before any full-blown comparisons of m.o.v.e to HaiKara are made… m.o.v.e came first.
Two B-sides are included on the single, both of them remixes. The first is SYSTEMATIC FANTASY -Electro Baggy pants remix-, a more electronic version of the first track where all of the sung vocals have been edited (whether dumbed down electronically or lowered in pitch) and motsu’s rap muffled with the more childish backup taking precedence. At just over 6 minutes long, I think it’s a rather pointless remix that doesn’t hold up to the original track, but it may fit some people’s tastes.
Good Day Good Time -Indian Holiday Remix- is the other remix, and fitting to the title, tosses a more ethnic-influenced music background at the listener. The vocals have been quieted, as the music obviously takes center stage, but it’s a combination of odd lighter beats and strange melodies that give a different sort of relaxing atmosphere to the song. Actually, sometimes it feels like the theme song to an acid trip instead of anything else. But you know me, I have problems with remixes of most sorts.
One of my longer-standing music fandoms, can you blame me for thinking m.o.v.e got a definite winning combination? Between t-kimura‘s music skills, motsu‘s lyrics and adaptable rapping style, and yuri‘s vocals – it’s just a shame that not more people know about them. While this isn’t the best single for beginners to m.o.v.e, it is a good continuation to their story – and hopefully those who were only just introduced to the group thanks to Hidaka’s mention of them at Otakon will pay more attention to them.
I’m also looking forward to more clashes with AAA for this group, as in a promotional talk for this single, Nissy acted as though he lost his lips (one of the covers for the KKR/TR single is of his lips), and then in return, motsu acted as though he lost his right arm (meshed as part of the kaleidoscopic cover). Such dorks. ♥