Article: When KISS Met J-Pop

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There’s always been a weird connection between KISS and Japan – their second album, Hotter Than Hell, was packaged with Japanese writing and imagery, and the band’s make up has a definite kabuki element to it. Of course, KISS were notoriously Big In Japan, breaking the Beatles’ record for shows at Budokan.

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And while the band are clearly past their prime – and Gene Simmons’ curmudgeonly public pronouncements and obsession with money are a continual embarrassment – it’s clear that they still have the ability to sniff what is in the air and cash in on trends.

But I doubt that anyone, anywhere, could have predicted that in january 2015, the band would team up with Jaanese idol group Momoiro Clover Z for an utterly ludicrous joint single.

Momoiro Clover Z  have also previously worked with ex-Megadeath guitarist Marty Friedman, who now lives in Japan and is a major celebrity and songwriter for J-pop bands. And as we have discussed before on The Reprobate, the phenomenon of kawaii metal is one of the more interesting, eccentric things going on in the often moribund and repetitive HM world at the moment. It probably hadn’t escaped the attentions of KISS.

Yumeno Ukiyoni Saitemina
 was released in Japan on as a Momoiro Clover Z edition (blu-ray and CD) and KISS edition (CD only), and a remix of the track also appeared on Japanese-only compilation album Best Of Kiss 40.

The video is extraordinary – a delirious, anime-live action combo of madness. The song itself is oddly ear-wormy, so be warned. It hit number 1 in the Japanese charts.

The alternate KISS version is called Samurai Son. And damn if this isn’t the best thing that the band have done in years.

If this isn’t amazing enough, KISS were joined by Momoiro Clover Z on stage at the Tokyo Dome, where they performed not only this track but also Rock’n’ Roll All Nite.

Here’s the full version, shot from miles away.

Oh, and there’s a making-of video too…

There was also a KISS stamp booklet released in Japan that featured images from their 40 plus year history but seemed to mostly concentrate on this recent collaboration. Coming with ten 52-yen stamps, postcards, a poster and a seal of authenticity, this sold out at a price of 4980 yen a set (that’s nearly $50).

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While it might be easy to scoff at all this, it’s rather admirable to see an old band – one that has not had the reputation for being overly adventurous – stepping out of their comfort zone and trying something radically different. If only more bands were less precious and more open-minded.

DAVID FLINT

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