Blending two genres together is nothing new for J-Pop music. Rap and pop, reggae and techno, and, yes, even rap and metal. Some of these combos work well, while others make you wonder if the producer is drunk. A highly classical ballad melody with EDM? Not as big of a train wreck as you think.
Let’s listen to Toki wo Koe Sora wo Koe by Morning Musume ’14.
Here’s the official music video with English subtitles:
I understand the overall theme of the song just maybe not the exact situation. The singer cannot be with the boy that they love so they dream of another place in space and time but why exactly can’t she be with him now? Did he dump her? Is he in love with something else? Is he married? Sick? Dead? I understand it’s a common trope to make a song vague enough so that it can be applied to anything but there is such a thing as too vague. We don’t need to know what they ate on their first date but a little context would go a long way for a song with a dramatic metaphor about reincarnation and time travel.
While a lot of people think the dance is graceful and tough, to me it looks like a stilted posing number. There is a level of difficulty in synchronized numbers but a lot of the more difficult parts go to Ayumi and Riho while the rest just move the arms or make awkward arm motions bad poses to try to gracefully move as a group and hoping that no one will notice them. There are some parts that look good, where they dance as a group and we are supposed to be watching them all but the majority they are just hobbling around. I think it’s just the disappointment because this song deserved a more graceful ballet-hiphop dance and we got a half-assed version of it.
The video itself is really beautiful. Great backgrounds and special effects they carried over from their last single. The costumes themselves are gorgeous and the crystallized jewelry and head pieces really bring the whole thing together with the space-time theme. My one complaint is that they took a page out of the JJ Abrams Playbook and filled the video with, you guessed it, lens flares.
The song itself really ties in the theme of space with the surreal mix of a classical orchestration, with violins and piano, mixed in with the heavy bass and synth beats of EDM. It doesn’t seem possible that such a combo would work but it actually makes for a really beautiful remixed sound. The light airy vocals compliment it well also, adding to the feeling of longing and resigned hope. If there were one aspect that sold me on the entire concept, it’s the audio.
Ultimately, Toki wo Koe Sora wo Koe is a great song that suffers from vague lyrics and an over simplistic dance. It does hurt it in the overall presentation but not in its individual components. I like it much better than the other single its paired with, Password is 0 which sounds incredibly generic when paired with this unique sound. It’s definitely worth a listen.
– Great video.
– Good song.
– Lackluster dance.
– Vague lyrics.