Momoiro Clover Z

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Momoiro Clover Z
Momoiro Clover Z LIVE 1.png
Live in August 2011
Background information
Also known as Momoclo, MCZ
Origin Tokyo, Japan
Genres J-pop, dance pop, bubblegum pop, power pop
Years active 2008 (2008)–present
Labels Evil Line Records
Website Official channel
Official website
Members Kanako Momota
Shiori Tamai
Ayaka Sasaki
Momoka Ariyasu
Reni Takagi
Past members Akari Hayami et al.

Momoiro Clover Z (ももいろクローバーZ Momoiro Kurōbā Zetto?, lit. "Pink Clover Z"), commonly abbreviated as Momoclo (ももクロ Momokuro?), is a Japanese idol group, composed of five girls. They are known for energetic performances, incorporating elements of ballet, gymnastics, and action movies.[1][2] In 2013, it was the 4th music artist by total sales revenue in Japan, with over ¥5.2 billion.[3]

History[edit]

2008-2009: Conception and beginnings[edit]

Formed in the spring of 2008 as a six-member unit, the group was originally named Momoiro Clover ("Pink Clover" or, literally, "Peach-Colored Clover"). The name was chosen to imply that the group was composed of innocent girls who wanted to bring happiness to people.[4] (Later in 2011, after the departure of Akari Hayami from the group, management added the letter "Z" to the group's name.) The group's slogan is "Idols you can meet right now" (いま、会えるアイドル Ima, aeru aidoru?).

Momoiro Clover began as a street act in 2008, performing for bystanders in Tokyo's Yoyogi Park.[5] As most members were students attending school on weekdays, the group was active mainly on weekends, leading them to be nicknamed "Weekend Heroines" (週末ヒロイン Shūmatsu Hiroin?).[6] In a one-year period, Momoiro Clover had a number of line-up changes. In March 2009, they became a five-member unit composed of Reni Takagi, Kanako Momota, Akari Hayami, Shiori Tamai, and Ayaka Sasaki.[7]

To support and promote their first indie single, "Momoiro Punch", Momoiro Clover took advantage of school holidays from May to August and went by minibus on a long tour across Japan. They gave a total of 104 concerts in 24 electronic stores of the Yamada Denki network. The girls slept in the minivan, and group's managers drove.[5] In the middle of the tour, Momoka Ariyasu was added to the group as a sixth member.[8] The single was sold only at the group's live events and those sales were enough for it to place 11th in the Oricon Daily Singles Chart and 23rd in the weekly chart.[9]

2010: Major debut[edit]

In March 2010, the girls stated their goals: to take first place on Oricon, to participate in Kōhaku Uta Gassen, to perform at Budokan.[note 1][10] They usually performed in a small club with live music or on a roof of a department store. They sometimes set a simulated stage of National Olympic Stadium, where notable musicians are allowed to perform.[11]

Their first major-label single "Ikuze! Kaitō Shōjo" was released in May.[12] The single debuted on Japan's Oricon Daily Singles Chart at the first position, and at number 3 for the week.[9][13] Momoiro Clover then moved to King Records. The group's first single with King was "Pinky Jones", composed by Narasaki from the Japanese rock band Coaltar of the Deepers with a "more chaotic" approach than previous songs. December 24 marked Momoiro Clover's first solo concert at a concert hall. Nihon Seinenkan, a venue with a capacity of 1,300 seats, was sold out in 30 minutes.[14]

2011: Shift to Momoiro Clover "Z"[edit]

Akari Hayami's "graduation" performance in April 2011

In January 2011 at the release event for a new song, sub-leader Akari Hayami stated that she had decided to withdraw from the group in April. Hayami explained that her character was not suited to being an idol and that her dream was to become an actress.[15] At the April 10 Akari Hayami "graduation" concert, the group's management announced the name change to Momoiro Clover Z after Hayami's departure.[16]

Momoiro Clover Z's first single after Hayami's departure was "Z Densetsu: Owarinaki Kakumei", accompanied by a new group image and stage performance.[17] The girls wore outfits with helmets and so-called "transformation belts" reminiscent of Japanese superhero movies, and the music video also borrowed from such "Super Sentai" imagery.[17] In July, Momoiro Clover Z released their first album, Battle and Romance. Later in December, Hotexpress described the band as the number-one breakthrough idol artist of 2011 and stated that the album became a big turning point for them.[2] Next February, Battle and Romance won the Grand Prix at the CD Shop Awards as the best CD of the year selected by music shop employees from all over the country. Momoiro Clover Z was the first idol group to win the award.[18][19] On Christmas Day, 2011, Momoiro Clover Z gave a concert at Saitama Super Arena to their biggest audience to date: all 10,000 tickets were sold out.[20]

2012: Rising popularity in Japan[edit]

In May 2012, Momoiro Clover Z performed in Putrajaya, Malaysia. The Prime Minister, Najib Razak, personally greeted the group. In June, Momoiro Clover Z opened a national tour, which closed with a sold-out show at Seibu Dome in August to a capacity crowd of 37,000 fans.[21][22][23] Both dates were broadcast live to selected cinemas across Japan, the latter also to Taiwan and Hong Kong.[24]

Live at Japan Expo 2012 in Paris

The group recorded an ending theme song for Pokémon's Best Wishes series (titled "Mite Mite Kocchichi" and included in the eighth single "Otome Sensō" as a coupling track).[25] In July, Momoiro Clover Z performed at Japan Expo 2012 in Paris.[26][27]

Momoiro Clover Z's ninth single "Saraba, Itoshiki Kanashimitachi yo", which appeared in November, topped the Billboard Japan Hot 100 chart, becoming their first single to do so.[28]

On December 31, Momoiro Clover Z performed at Kōhaku Uta Gassen, an annual New-Year-Eve music show hosted by NHK, for the first time.[29] Going to Kōhaku had been the group's goal for a long time.[30] During the January 1 Ustream broadcast, Momoiro Clover Z made several announcements: that the band set a new goal for itself — to give a concert at the National Olympic Stadium, an arena with 60–70,000 capacity, that they would release a new album in spring, and that Momoka Ariyasu had to undergo a throat treatment and she would not sing or even talk until the end of January.[31] The treatment was subsequently prolonged for another month, until the end of February. During the group's live Ustream broadcasts, Momoka communicated by drawing and writing on a markerboard. At live performances, other members took turns in singing her parts.[32]

2013: 5th Dimension[edit]

Momoiro Clover Z's second full-length album 5th Dimension was released in April. It sold 180,000 copies in the first week and debuted on top of the Oricon charts, with the first album Battle and Romance resurging to number two.[33] Finally, it won a platinum disk award.[34] In August, Momoiro Clover Z held a concert at Nissan Stadium. It has the largest capacity in Japan.[35]

2014: Dream come true[edit]

In March, the group held a solo concert at National Olympic Stadium, realizing one of their dreams since the debut.[36] Such solo concerts had been taken place only by six groups until then. Momoiro Clover Z was the first female group and also became the fastest group ever, which achieved that in six years.[37] As a two-day concert, a total of 150,000 people watched in the stadium and at live viewing venues.[38]

In May, the group released their 11th single "Naite mo Iin Da yo"; B-side "My Dear Fellow" made its debut at Yankee Stadium when it was used for Masahiro Tanaka's warm up for his first game with the New York Yankees.[39][40] The group also provided the theme music for the anime Sailor Moon Crystal.[41] The title is "Moon Pride" (the group's 12th single released in July).[42][43]

In August, the group performed at Lady Gaga's concert as an opening act.[44] It was a part of Gaga's world tour named "ArtRave: The Artpop Ball" and held in Japan. Momoiro Clover Z was designated by Gaga herself.[44]

2015[edit]

On January 28, 2015, Momoiro Clover Z will release a collaboration single with the American hard rock band KISS. In Japan, it will be released physically in two versions: Momoiro Clover Z edition (CD+Blu-ray) and Kiss edition (CD only).[45][46][47] Another mix of the single's title song will be also included as an opening track on the Japanese-only SHM-CD album Best of Kiss 40, to be released in Japan on the same day.[48][49]

Music style[edit]

Kanako Momota performing her iconic "Shrimp jump"

The band's songs are intentionally ridiculous "hyperactive J-pop numbers".[50][51] Their live performances are heavily choreographed and feature acrobatic stunts.[21] The group is noted for their "anarchic energy" that is similar to that of punk bands.[52] The response from the audience has been characterised as "seismic".[53] Although the girls' voices are not very stable when coupled with an intense dance, the group performs on stage live and does not lipsynch.[5][54][55]

Some of Momoiro Clover's works are quite complex, switching from one musical style to another during one song and connecting "seemingly unconnected melodies".[51][52] The group has worked with many noted songwriters and musicians, belonging to different genres of music, from pop to punk and heavy metal.[52] Overall, the group and its music has been noted as progressive and forward-thinking.[51][52] Ian Martin from The Japan Times dubbed Momoiro Clover "a pop group who provoke squealing, teenage admiration from punks, indie kids, noise musicians and heavy-psychedelic longhairs throughout the Japanese underground music scene".[51] Momoiro Clover "is known for upbeat tunes, eccentric choreography and the members' costumes".[27] A music critic from The Japan Times cites Momoiro Clover as an example of "a seamless integration of personality, image, and music, with each element mutually complementary".[56]

Members[edit]

Live in April 2011

On stage, Momoiro Clover Z members are easily distinguished by the colors of their clothes, much like the characters from the Power Rangers television series,[21] which originated in Japan as Super Sentai. In some songs and music videos, the group loosely parodies them.[5][57]

Current members
Name Color Birth date and age Notes
Kanako Momota      Red (1994-07-12) July 12, 1994 (age 20) Leader
Shiori Tamai      Yellow (1995-06-04) June 4, 1995 (age 19) Nickname: Shiorin
Ayaka Sasaki      Pink (1996-06-11) June 11, 1996 (age 18) Nickname: Ārin
Momoka Ariyasu      Green (1995-03-15) March 15, 1995 (age 19)
Reni Takagi      Purple (1993-06-21) June 21, 1993 (age 21) Former leader
Former members
Akari Hayami      Blue (1995-03-17) March 17, 1995 (age 19) Nickname: Akarin

Before the group made its debut, other girls were in the lineup: Sumire Fujishiro, Manami Ikura, Yukina Kashiwa (later a member of Nogizaka46), Tsukina Takai, Miyū Wagawa, and Runa Yumikawa.

Discography[edit]

Filmography[edit]

  • Shirome (シロメ?) (horror film, August 13, 2010 (2010-08-13), DVD release: September 24, 2010 (2010-09-24))[58]
During filming, the girls were reportedly led to believe they were participating in a documentary about an urban legend and that everything happening was genuine.[59][60][61][62][63][64][65]
  • The Citizen Police 69 (市民ポリス69 Shimin Police 69?) (March 19, 2011 (2011-03-19), DVD release: September 2, 2010 (2010-09-02))[66][67][68]
  • Ninifuni (February 4, 2012 (2012-02-04), DVD release: December 21, 2012 (2012-12-21))[69][70]
  • Momodora (ももドラ momo+dra?) (5-episode internet drama omnibus film, February 4, 2012 (2012-02-04), DVD/Blu-ray release: April 11, 2012 (2012-04-11))[71]

Awards[edit]

In 2012, their first album Battle and Romance won the CD Shop Award as the best CD of the previous year as voted by music shop salesclerks from all over Japan.[18] It was the first time an idol (group) got this prize.[19]

Year Recipient Award Result
2012 Battle and Romance CD Shop Awards — Grand Prix[18][19] Won
2013 "Saraba, Itoshiki Kanashimitachi yo" Space Shower Music Video Awards — Special Award[72] Won
MTV Video Music Award Japan for Best Choreography Won
Momoiro Clover Z MTV Europe Music Award for Best Japanese Act Won
MTV Europe Music Award for Best Japan and Korea Act Nominated

Overseas performances[edit]

  • September 9, 2011 – Japan Media Arts Festival in Dortmund, Germany[73]
  • May 26, 2012 – Hari Belia Negara 2012 in Putrajaya, Malaysia[74]
  • July 5, 2012 – Japan Expo 2012 in Paris, France[75]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ At the same ceremony, Momoiro Clover signed a contract with Universal Records. The public contract signing ceremony featured the weighing of every member to determine if they passed the weight requirement set by the record label for idols. If the band passed the requirement, they would sign a permanent contract. Reni Takagi failed, resulting in a temporary contract.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]