Sometimes one has to wonder when an artist’s creativity and flexibility are going to run thin. After all, we all though Lady Gaga was going to go on forever, but we haven’t seen much from here in the last year, while Madonna once looked like a one trick pony that managed to keep her career alive through reinventing herself and her music. So which of these fates will befall Japanese superstar Kyary Pamyu Pamyu? After all, there’s only so much bizarre imagery and catchy music one can make, but she shows no signs of slowing down. So when will this peculiar pop princess loss her edge? Has it already begun?
Let’s take a listen to Kyary’s new single, Invader Invader.
Here’s the video, with translated lyrics here:
If you’re wondering what the lyrics mean, they are surprising vague. As far as I can tell, it’s about stylish aliens who come to take over the Earth. The song doesn’t have much of a message, a metaphor, or anything to it really. It just feels like a song that’s running on the theme of space aliens without putting any actual thought into it. I’m serious, all the lyrics say is that Kyary is a fashionable invader, who can shoot missiles from her ears and merge rainbows. Even a song as ridiculous as Pon Pon Pon had real mostly cohesive lyrics!
The video sort of reminds me of Daft Punk’s Around the World with all the separate groups dancing around each other and the small stage on a backlot. There’s a lot going on in the video, with Kyary and the faceless dancers jumping around, the DJ at the top, and the fuzzy space monsters bopping on the side. This doesn’t hide how small of a set this all takes place in, so the video does end up feeling a little cramped at points. There are times it switched to other scenes of Kyary placing different items on a hexagonal grid, which seemed interesting but is never developed in the video what she’s summoning or commanding. That’s not to say it’s an ugly video per se, there’s still a lot of craftsmanship in the editing and design. This video simply lacks the imagination and complexity of her other videos and rather just uses bizarre imagery in the hopes that those who know her style will just accept it at face value when she’s really serving up a subpar video by her own standards.
As for the dance, it is incredibly simplistic when compared to her other choreography. There’s a lot of jumping up and down, with most moves using the hands only which is strange in comparison to her more ambitious dances. This is both a blessing and a curse. The fans will be able to learn it with more ease, making it a popular dance for even those who belief their skills are lacking. On the other hand, the dance showcases how unoriginal, unmotivated, and unimaginative the single and its video are. The costuming is also a little lackluster; not the crazy, interesting costumes from before but more subdued clothing from both Kyary and the back up dances, and Candy Land reject costumes for the monsters.
The music itself is actually the most interesting part of the video by far, and is the only reason I’d ever watch the video again. The song mixes different genres together, like pop, club, techno, synth and even dubstep at one point. While the beat and easy-to-remember lyrics make this tune quite a bit of an ear worm, I could barely remember the tune a few hours later. Throughout writing this, I had to keep the video running consistently just so I wouldn’t forget what it sounded and looked like. Kyary’s voice retains the same strength and tone she always has, so the vocals are strong at least.
In the end, Invader Invader is a fun song, but nothing more. It lacks the all-out creativity, attention to detail, and genuine love that other Kyary songs have, which is a real shame. While I wouldn’t start making bets for when Kyary’s career finally takes a nose-dive, this is definitely a single that has fallen below the typical Kyary standards. Hopefully, the next major release focuses on quality rather than speed of release. Still I recommend it to any KPP fans since the song is still enjoyable.
– Catchy melody and good mix of genres.
– Fun dance, albeit simplistic.
– Sparse and superficial lyrics.
– Poor video.
– Lackluster overall.