Gang!, Tokyo-based artist Zombie-Chang’s most recent album from earlier this year, showed off her pop credentials. Plenty of the Shinjuku Loft-leaning dankness of last year’s absorbing Zombie-Change snuck in, but they were matched by moments of relatively un-fuzzy numbers not far removed from something that could sneak into mainstream rotation. With the benefit of a few months, the album has revealed itself as a pivot, at-times uneven but a necessary exploration of one’s music as they figure out the next step to take (see: Seiho’s Collapse or Suiyoubi No Campanella’s UMA EP).
“We Should Kiss,” Zombie-Chang’s newest digital single, illuminates a different path. One thing that has been undeniable about her, even since Zombie-Change, has been her charisma. Put her in a video, and she shines. “We Should Kiss” pairs her with director Kento Yamada, who finds a winning visual aesthetic for her — goofy bordering on ironic (fidget spinners galore) but ultimately charming (look how she spins those things!). She looks the part of a performer to watch.
But the song isn’t a continued push towards popular sounds, but a sharp turn back into where she thrives. “We Should Kiss” pulses forward, featuring 8-bit-synth breakdowns and the sounds of Tokyo train crossing sirens dropped in for disorienting affect. Zombie-Chang’s voice is slightly obscured, and hides an element of unease matching the menacing electronic propelling everything forward. Yet it’s still very much pop, at least in the sense that it features a great hook (or two, depending on what you call the part where she starts bringing up the title) and a melody driven into the recesses of one’s skull. This isn’t an appeal to pop music, but Zombie-Chang bending pop music to her needs. Listen above.