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AMARANTHUS

Release Date: February 17, 2016

Track Listing

  1. embryo – prologue-
  2. WE ARE BORN
  3. Monochro Dessan
  4. Gorilla Punch
  5. Buroyoutougen Nakayoshi Monogatari
  6. Katte ni Kimi ni
  7. Seishunfu
  8. Saboten to Ribbon
  9. Demonstration
  10. Bussouge
  11. Naitemo Iin da yo
  12. Guns N’ Diamond
  13. Bye Bye de Sayonara
  14. HAPPY Re:BIRTHDAY

Hakkin no Yoake

Release Date: February 17, 2016

Track Listing

  1. Kono A, Hajimari no Z –prologue-
  2. Tougenkyou
  3. Hakkin no Yoake
  4. Mahalo Vacation
  5. Yume no Ukiyo ni Saite Mina
  6. ROCK THE BOAT
  7. Kibou no Mukou e
  8. Country Rose –Toki no Tabibito-
  9. Imagination
  10. MOON PRIDE
  11. ”Z” no Chikai
  12. Ai wo Tsugu Mono
  13. Mokkuro Ninaru Hate
  14. Momoiro Sora

Review

Momoiro Clover Z released their third (AMARANTHUS) and fourth (Hakkin no Yoake) albums simultaneously on February 17th. This is a rather ambitious move that in theory sounds like it could either fail big time, break even or have one album outsell the other. For this time out Momoiro Clover Z have crafted 2 conceptual albums similar to what they did for 5th Dimension. Let’s start with the descriptions of the concepts behind the album titles.

AMARANTHUS are summer annual weeds also known as pigweed. The name of this is derived from the Greek word for flower. 1 cup of cooked amaranth grain provides 251 calories and is an excellent source of protein, dietary fiber and some dietary materials. It is also rich in magnesium, iron and selenium. What exactly does this have to do with Momoiro Clover Z? Nothing really. The only thing I could think of for AMARANTHUS in relation to their 3rd album is that it pretty much explains the cover art very clearly if you look up what Amaranthus are and the human uses for this plant on Wikipedia.

The title of the fourth album means Platinum Dawn in English. Sorry, I have nothing else cool to report about this album title. There’s no real deep meaning or introspectiveness that I can decipher after listening to the album in its entirety. Again, the title is a perfect description of the album art.

Honestly, going into this I didn’t have a clue what these albums were about so I refer you to this excerpt from Hannah’s review instead:

Much of what drove the writers to produce their particular works was from the producer Miyamoto Junnosuke creating the two concepts (“waking dreams” for AMARANTHUS, and “sleeping dreams” for Hakkin no Yoake), with each song featuring a particular concept or idea and explicitly meant to not overlap with any other song.

Okay, enough about the album art, fancy titles and meanings behind it all. What about the music contained on these 2 discs? Well their 2014 and 2015 singles appear to have been split evenly across the albums, along with their special collaboration with KISS.

As with most Momoiro Clover Z material, genre is thrown out the window in favor of a catchall to see what sticks and what doesn’t. If you’re fine with that, continue reading.

AMARANTHUS can best be described as Momoiro Clover Z on Quaaludes. This is a display of a slightly subdued version of the group with less frantic songs making up the majority of the content. For those who want the hyper genki mega net that is the crazy Momoclo is known for then you’re going to have to lower your expectations just a little bit.

What is contained on AMARANTHUS sounds like an experiment to add a different tone to Momoclo’s repertoire. Not completely boring serious or anything like that, but a different type of pop from what they have done previously.

For the most part this isn’t a bad deviation from the norm. None of the members of this group are considered great vocalists. Let’s face it; most Momoclo songs just require screaming in key for the most part. But for the type of tracks presented here they all do a decent job of attempting to belt out the tunes that call for a different style of vocals.

Of course you do still get a taste of the classic Momoclo in spurts if you still like screaming in key with them.

For AMARANTHUS recommended songs to start with are We Are Born, Monochro Dessan, Katte ni Kimi ni and HAPPY Re:Birthday.

Hakkin no Yoake is more prototypical Momoiro Clover Z and this is where you’ll find the majority of the more interesting songs such as funky Tougenkyou and Mahalo Vacation. Ai wo Tsugu Mono is also another track that you should go to immediately.

Unfortunately interesting doesn’t necessarily mean “good”. I know that is extremely subjective but with Momoclo their bad is actually. Well… Very bad.

The track that stands out like a sore thumb is ROCK THE BOAT. This apparently was offered to Britney Spears at one time. It certainly sounds like something she would sing over. Unfortunately it’s something that Momoiro Clover Z should have stayed away from. If they were like Girls’ Generation, then fine. Perfect song. But they ain’t Girls’ Generation.

It just doesn’t sound like it fits Momoclo at all, not even a little.

So the burning question now is whether these albums are worth picking up? They both suffer the same type of issues sadly and those are inconsistency and plenty of what could be considered filler tracks. (Which may or may not be true depending on your level of expectation for these projects)

When comparing the two I believe you might be better off with AMARANTHUS as it has a more consistent flow from track to track and isn’t cobbled together as much as Hakkin no Yoake which simply falls apart after ROCK THE BOAT and fails to recover.

A word of warning, your mileage on AMARANTHUS may vary depending on your patience for Momoiro Clover Z pounding their chests and singing ballads like they’re going out of style.

If you are one who must have a complete Momoiro Clover Z discography then you have no choice to pick up both of these albums. For the rest of you, well you know what I think. Where you decide to dive into with these albums is up to you.

AMARANTHUS (Regular Edition)

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AMARANTHUS (Limited Edition)

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Hakkin no Yoake (Regular Edition)

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Hakkin no Yoake (Limited Edition)

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