I have talked a lot about Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, to the point where I have already started repeating myself on the subject. She is one of the biggest artists in Japan, so to ignore her as a critic is irresponsible and unforgivable but like most artists she is slowly fitting into a pattern. The unpredictable can only be new for so long before needing a total re-imaging or falling into cliches. I’ve said it before and I will say it again now — she’s running out of ways to surprise us. Whether or not she’s got the vocal power behind her to keep it going past the shock factor only time will tell.
Let’s take a listen to Kira Kira Killer by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.
Here’s the music video and here is a rough translation:
The song itself is actually kind of novel for Kyary because it’s actually a love song (which would account for her getting shot in the chest with a heart-shaped arrow). She falls in love with a man who tries to appear bad but is honestly good, a “Sparkly/Glittery Killer.” I have no idea what that means per se, but I’m guessing The problem is that we don’t really know much else about the content of the song. Is this guy supposed to be death? Is the contrast between sparkliness and murderousness important? Why are you in love with a guy who will kill you? Something is definitely lost in translation here but points for first major love song that is still more interesting than the rest.
The video feels over the top and subdued at the same time. The colors are mostly black, grey, and white as well as pastel colors which gives the video a mellow feel, keep only out of the range of melancholic by the upbeat melody and trippy computer generated special effects. The mystic-man death figure isn’t as fun or involved as the polar bear, moon, or adult monster from her previous videos but it’s unique design is still a welcome change. The exploration of a bleak, repetitive underworld is an interesting idea that is executed well, with various nods to the different creation myths and religion symbolism. There’s also something to be said for Kyary being the executor and executed.
The costuming is sort of bland since she’s in a plush grey dress for 90% of the video, and her alternate underworld outfit isn’t much of a change from it. There are also way less outfit changes than I have come to expect but I understand that’s not a video that calls for a lot of pomp and circumstance. The dance is upbeat and cute, the cinematography is clear with good frame composition and camera sweeps like an anime opening, and while not her best video, the overall quality makes it a treat to watch.
The song itself feels very typical J-Pop up-tempo song with the typical electric dance music beats. Does that mean this is bad? No, it’s a very funny, enjoyable song that uses repetitive well like in Invader Invader with the tinkling piano notes in Mottai Night Land but it’s nothing brand new and special. If you enjoy her music, you will love this song but this probably won’t be the one to convince skeptics or grab any new, reluctant fans.
What works best about Kira Kira Killer is what’s worked best in every Kyary Pamyu Pamyu song — the vocals, the up-beat pop tempo, the weird but somewhat relatable nature of the music video, and her signature cuteness. Nothing wrong with sticking to a formula but it is one that I wonder how long she will be able to stick to it successfully.
– Good video.
– Good concept.
– Good song.
– Meaning not entirely clear.
– Costumes a little blah