It seems like forever since a Tokyo Girl’s Style single. Yes, they did release ‘Love Like Candy Floss’ earlier this year, but it was a cover of a song that came out 5-6 years ago; a nice cover, but nothing that generated much interest for me personally. For that reason, I’ve been keeping a keen eye out for their next single, hoping it would wow me like they did with ‘Himawari to Hoshikuzu’.
And along comes ‘Kodou no Himitsu’, presenting its full PV and song more than a month in advance:
I was completely taken aback by this. It had unusually cool and laid-back instrumentals, contrasted by earnest and lively vocals. That chemistry between indifference and passion, along with its haunting melody, made for a catchy and compelling song that stayed in my head for days. The solo lines lack power, but when sung altogether they generate a powerful vocal presence.
PVs play an integral role in presenting the song and building the atmosphere around it, and ‘Kodou no Himitsu’ has some of the most surreal and spellbinding visuals I’ve ever seen in an idol video. I never expected Tokyo Girl’s Style to be placed in a surreal, conceptual landscape for a PV, but I’m so glad they did.
It’s up to the viewer to decide what’s actually going on in the video, and there’s enough material for you to piece the parts together and form your own interpretation. I also found the repeating visual motif of “breaking out” and exploding very appropriate, given that the song title translates to “Secret Heartbeat”, which could indicate that strong, maybe even dangerous feelings are trapped or held captive by circumstance, forced into secrecy.
This is a great example of how creativity is born from limitations, as the director of the PV tackled the challenge of shooting an interesting video with the seemingly confining premise of the girls being contained in a glass box for the entire video. There’s a ton of fascinating imagery placed throughout, from the spiderweb ropes that bleed dark goo, to the mysterious purple vapor that morph into sinister Rorschach inkblot-like formations, utilizing shapes varying from animal skulls to handguns.
The one criticism I have about the PV is actually a big part of it—the dance shots. Not the dance itself, but the way it is presented. If you watched the video, you’d notice that there’s a weird, jerky quality in the movement. It’s because the shots of them dancing are actually on fast-forward. They probably set the song on a slower tempo, had the girls dance more slowly and accurately, and later sped it up to the actual song tempo to achieve this effect. I understand the purpose of this technique and I do think it’s successful at some parts. It makes the dance moves more mechanical, and giving a “stop-motion”, hyper-real effect, but it’s best when used sparingly; this PV felt like it was on fast-forward 80% of the time.
Normally, this would bug me to no end(and it initially did), but I found myself being surprisingly forgiving of this just after the first couple views. The overall charm and intrigue the video presents completely won me over. The PV is abundant with weird visuals and deft editing, perfectly complimenting the bittersweet song to create an engaging, darkly attractive package.
‘Kodou no Himitsu’
Tokyo Girls’ Style
Releases May 18th, 2011