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New Zana Caroline: “Schokoladige Disko Featuring Kaki”

Ask a random Japanese person to name a Perfume song off the top of their head and I’m willing to wager they will say one of two things – “Polyrhythm” or “Chocolate Disco.” The prior warrants a praise-stuffed essay, but the latter can be explained pretty easily – it’s one of the trio’s simplest yet catchiest numbers, a cute-sy song about Valentine’s Day with the sort of chorus they pull off oh so well. Most of all, it’s a single oozing out positive vibes, almost goofy in this live video. The stuff of giddily drunk Saturday night karaoke.

Tokyo’s Zana Caroline takes the chorus to “Chocolate Disco” and holds it in front of a shattered mirror. Her “Schokoladige Disko” might borrow the pop-savvy Perfume hook but from the opening seconds it’s clear she’s going slightly darker places with it. She sings the chorus at first, but it’s against a sparse abandoned-alley of noise. “Disko” turns dancey quickly, but less karaoke-box fun and more The Knife’s Silent Shout unsettling, Euro-pop synths turned skeezy and menacing. Caroline herself speaks over the bounce, creepy monotone that makes everything else, even the 8-bit gurgling going on underneath, even stranger. She would have scored attention anyways if she just inverted the “Chocolate Disco” into a murmur from a shady corner you don’t want to check out, but where “Disko” really triumphs is how it doubles as a completely functional dance song. A semi-strange one flipping the script on a great Perfume track, but all the more fascinating because of that. Listen below.

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