For almost any idol group that debuted last year, during a great-enough-to-be-noteworthy glut of new projects, to stand out after the fact was going to require unique efforts and angles. Some of them, like we saw from Toricago the other day, are all in on creative updates on familiar tropes. Others looked to up any of a series of antes — to be more something than thei r peers — while others did enough to catch the eye and now face a long road ahead.
Arguably the greatest move that anything in idol could have done last year, then, would be to be in fact the creative side project of a modern musical legend who would lend credence, gravitas and much-needed artistic credibility to the whole in addition to that all-important name recognition. Yes, of course I speak of ZOC, who may have had the most enthusiastically received debut I’ve ever seen despite being more notable for instant member drama than anything they did musically. Basically, it was super idol.
A few months in, though, ZOC has been active and working and stable, and now with a single on the way next week, it was time to really show us what they have to offer. The MV for “family name” tells the tale:
I don’t know what everybody necessarily expected from the ZOC experience, though I’d wager that just about everybody with a realistic inkling trusted that Seiko’s influence would be all over it. And it is! I’d love to get the perspective of people who are true Oomori Seiko fan club members, the folks who know her discography backwards and forwards and can ID movements in her creative history by her chord selection, things like that. Because I hear it, I do, but there’s bound to be better analysis out there.*
So where does this leave ZOC? I guess we’ll see in a month or so. Seiko wouldn’t have put the group together if she didn’t feel strongly about it, both professionally and creatively, so I’m guessing that she’s in it for as long a haul as can match her level of effort, but I’m very curious to see where this single falls on the Oricon rankings. What’s the ceiling? Is it the 70,000 video views in the first 24 hours, or is it something more? A steady performer or something that can challenge the Big Bads in idol (at a time when trust in them is probably as low as possible) and move the needle a little bit? A new inspiration for a new generation, or a project well-positioned to profit from new tropes and opportunities? Some or all or none of the above?
Regardless, I’m looking forward to the journey.
*Yuck it up, ya jerks