Single Review: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu - Crazy Party Night ~Pumpkin no Gyakushuu~

Single Review: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu - Crazy Party Night ~Pumpkin no Gyakushuu~ | Random J Pop

The J-Pop queen or J-Pop princess of Halloween is a title that’s RIGHT there for the taking, and Kyary coulda had given that Tommy february6 nor heavenly6 hadn’t taken it, if she’d made Halloween themed singles a thing - but she didn’t. Although it’s not like she didn’t try. Back in 2015, during the post Pikapika Fantajin singles stretch came “Crazy Party Night ~Pumpkin no gyakushuu~”, a physical release which featured 3 other songs aside the title track. None of which are Halloween themed, but all sound like songs which could have fit so well on Kyary’s 2014 album Pikapika Fantajin, and in at least 2 cases, would’ve made it better.

Looking back on this period of Kyary’s career it is easier to see now what she and her team may have been trying to do. Nanda Collection was a huge success in a way that I don’t think Kyary had anticipated. To maintain the success, she had to keep this music thing going, whilst not pigeonholing herself into what she’d done on Nanda Collection. Kyary had to try and do something different, whilst still honouring an album which changed the trajectory of her music career. Featuring yet another Halloween single may have skirted too close to Nanda Collection having had “Fashion Monster”, which could be one reason why “Crazy Party Night ~Pumpkin no gyakushuu~” wasn’t included; assuming the song hadn’t even been written at that point. Regardless, it’s crazy given how popular “Fashion Monster” was and that kitsch was always going to be part of the Kyary brand for the next decade whether she liked it or not, that she nor Warner Music chose to embrace it. “Crazy Party Night ~Pumpkin no Gyakushuu~” may be a response to somebody realising a mistake was made after the fact. Who the fuck knows!?

All this is to say that Halloween singles should have been a Kyary thing after the success of “Fashion Monster”. And whilst it’s cool that a decision was made for Kyary to release a second Halloween single, it feels like too little too late on two fronts.

Single Review: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu - Crazy Party Night ~Pumpkin no Gyakushuu~ | Random J Pop

“Crazy Party Night ~Pumpkin no Gyakushuu~” isn’t a song I find myself going out of my way to listen to in the same way I do “Fashion Monster”, but it is a damn solid Halloween song. Great production is something you can oft expect from Capsule founder and producer Nakata Yasutaka, and it doesn’t falter here. The whole song just feels so big, grand and full of whimsy. And despite having a pretty standard structure, the way the song shifts tones and constantly feels like it’s going through variations causes the song to have this energy of unpredictability, but never to a point that makes the song seem difficult to follow. The experience of listening to “Crazy Party Night ~Pumpkin no Gyakushuu~” is much akin to a wander through a haunted house or a house of mirrors unto itself, and it’s genius. “Crazy Party Night” is just a brilliantly crafted thing. I’m not a fan of the song itself, but I can still appreciate how great a piece of music it is. If you like any piece of music from The Nightmare Before Christmas, then you’ll adore this song, as it’s in a very similar vein. This song really shows that when Nakata centres on a theme, that he can deliver something amazing.

Despite “Crazy Party Night ~Pumpkin no Gyakushuu~” being the main attraction and lead single, I imagine those who are Nakata fans and like Kyary’s less gimmicky sounding songs, will gravitate towards “No No No” and cite it as their highlight on the Crazy Party Night ~Pumpkin no Gyakushuu~ release. “No No No” is so damn good, that I do not understand the reasoning for not also making it an A-side and putting this song on an album. The whole thing sounds like an old school Capsule song, which is part of why it’s so damn good. “No No No” is a very different song for Kyary. It’s mellow, it’s simple, there’s no Kyary character framing with this song as there is with the other songs on this single, or anything else Kyary had recorded. So if whacky, colourful Kyary songs are your jam, then you won’t be in the group of people who favour this song over “Crazy Party Night ~Pumpkin no Gyakushuu~”. But those with taste knows what's up. 

As with “No No No”, “Oshiete Dance Floor” and “Kimama” are two songs that I feel would have worked so well on Pikapika Fantajin. More so in fact, as they both evoke that colourful sense of adventure which goes across the entire album, and is strongly present in the album intro itself. “Oshiete Dance Floor” and “Kimama” are both a complete shift from the surprisingly cool “No No No” and are an acquired taste, but one you’ll have if you are a Pamyu Pamyu fan. If you liked “Ring a Bell” from Pikapika Fantajin, then you’ll fuck with “Oshiete Dance Floor”, as it’s cut from the same cloth. Neither “Oshiete Dance Floor” nor “Kimama” are my cup of tea. But as with “Crazy Party Night ~Pumpkin no Gyakushuu~”, I admire the vivid pictures and scenarios in which the songs paint. You can envision the context in which both songs would play within the adventures of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. Both songs were used in TV commercials, but “Kimama” in particular was perfectly placed and gives the song a far greater context, providing an ‘AHHHHHH!’ light bulb moment. “Kimama” was used in the Japanese TV commercials for Animal Crossing: New Leaf. And anybody who has played an Animal Crossing game or knows anything of the ever popular debt simulator, will immediately get why “Kimama” is so perfectly matched. The song had to have been made specifically for an Animal Crossing commercial, because not only is the sound a perfect match, but the lyrics even mention things such as sending letters, relaxing and living a little wholesome life in a town. “Kimama” is not a song I’d ever skip to, but it’s so on the money for what the song is for. Nakata Yasutaka ‘understood the assignment’ as the kids say.

Single Review: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu - Crazy Party Night ~Pumpkin no Gyakushuu~ | Random J Pop

Crazy Party Night ~Pumpkin no Gyakushuu~ is a good single release. And a very generous one. But as much as I like “No No No” and find “Kimama” to be such a perfect fit for its intended purpose, this whole single really shoulda been a Scary Pamyu Halloween EP from top to bottom. As lazy as some would find it, I would have even welcomed the addition of “Fashion Monster”. Maybe an extended version, just not it’s not the same version that had been knocking around for 3 years. Not only is “Fashion Monster” a Halloween song and a great song in general, but it’s still one of Kyary’s best selling singles.

At this point in her career, Kyary’s sound was beginning to lose its focus, and you get a sense of it on Crazy Party Night ~Pumpkin no Gyakushuu~. Every song is good, but there’s no real direction with any of them individually nor collectively; which is why making Crazy Party Night ~Pumpkin no Gyakushuu~ a Halloween EP would have been a better shout.

And then there’s Pikapika Fantajin. A pretty underwhelming album coming off the back of Nanda Collection, the singles from which were responsible for pushing Kyary and her brand to new heights and garnering an even larger global following. The album wasn’t bad, but it didn’t give enough. And it’s really unfortunate that only once a line was drawn under the album that we ended up with songs like “Crazy Party Night ~Pumpkin no Gyakushuu~” and “No, No, No”, which are more in the vein of what I think the album needed. And then there's “Mondai Girl” and “Kiseki” from Kyary's previous single to add to the list. But for what it is, Crazy Party Night ~Pumpkin no Gyakushuu~ is a decent single, with songs which do a really good job of summarising the tent poles of Pamyu Pamyu’s sound, and showcasing that Nakata Yasutaka is far more fun and whimsical than his miserable looking ass lets on. Nakata’s approach to these songs is what sells them, because you get a sense of the fun that he and Kyary had making them. But the lack of a proper package, and the songs in what was a baffling set of throwaway single releases hurts Crazy Party Night ~Pumpkin no Gyakushuu~ as a whole.

VERDICT: Pumpkin no spice

▪ No No No