In which one of the better rock bands in Japan get transformed into the house band for a party desperate to be raunchier than it actually is. Clearly the idea of the record label higher-up thinking “if we combine Artist A with Artist B, we’ll grab both their markets! Double money!”, “Wonder Woman” (take your random capitalization and cram it) sees the dark side of The Telephones major label rise. Which, hey, did result in one absolute gem of a song earlier in the year so I’m not here to play the “indie cred hate” card. I just wish they’d noted the part in their contract saying “you have to dumb down your sound so we can sell a couple records to J-Pop fanatics” and said something about it. The electro-edge that helped push many of the band’s best songs gets served a plate Ritalin, taking away any of the unpredictability of The Telephone’s finest moments in favor of a ho-hum chug that happens to have some keyboard sounds. The only interesting thing the band brings to “Wonder Woman” are Akira Ishige’s scant seconds of singing, unhinged as ever. This happens way less than it should.
Then there’s MiChi. Prior to “Wonder Woman,” everything I’ve seen the young popster in has been relatively solid as far as J-Pop goes. Her song “Change The World” even ranks as one of the best J-Pop singles I’ve heard in the last few years. But she’s completely out of her element here. Reminding us that sometimes not being able to understand lyrics can save a song, MiChi drops lyrical bombs left and right, hitting clunker paydirt with the wannabe sleazy chorus of “rock with me ’till your pants fall off.” Like…baby’s first Ke$ha? Whatever it is, it’s a dud made even worse by a, ur, phoned in showing from The Telephones. I’m hopeful both parties utilize the clause that allows them to make good songs again.