PV VS Round 1: Coco d’Or vs Coco d’Or

Filed in American Wota 1.0

Two videos go head-to-head in shorts reviews, but only one emerges as the winner. This round, Coco d’Or’s two new PVs go up against each other. Which will win: “Time After Time” with its hunky violinist and vintage props, or “What a Wonderful World” with its upbeat CGI goodness?


Coco d’Or – “Time After Time”.

I love hiro deeply, but I think I love Coco d’Or even more. Not just because she sings English language standards and does so surprisingly well, but that her Coco d’Or persona also allows hiro to be more playful and down-to-earth.

When I first saw this PV’s title, I thought it was the Cyndi Lauper classic. Instead, it’s the older standard, which I guess is kind of a relief. At first I had to think hard to remember how the song went, but from the first listen of Coco d’Or’s version, this song came back to me in a tidal wave rush of memory… and it’s stuck with me ever since.

The male musicians – both white – make for some tasty equal opportunity eyecandy. The violin player – fiddler? – is all kinds of scrumptious, especially when he starts playing away. But maybe that’s just me.

hiro seems to like making videos where she mostly sits around or stands around or walks a little. I’d find that annoying in most situations, but not with her. Or at least, not with her doing the right song.

With a song as beautiful as the diva herself, such inaction seems almost meditative, the creation of a thoughtful visual tableau to match the audio tableau created by the song. She somehow makes this level of self-possession seem natural and acceptable instead of mind-numbingly narcissistic.

Though again, the song is what makes or break the PV. As I’ve stated in the past, I’ve had a hard time watching PVs from hiro’s solo career despite loving to watch her because the music simply didn’t click for me. (It’s the same problem I have with Ueto Aya, actually.)

The different props – excuse me, furnishings – are meant to evoke an indeterminate earlier age. Manual typewriter, non-digital camera. This could be anywhen from the 1950s to 1970s. A copy of either On the Road or Jonathan Livingston Seagull would probably help narrow down the intended vintage somewhat. It’s a nice touch, but with the hunky fiddler makes me think I’ve entered Allison Krauss territory…

hiro is in excellent vocal form here. What she does best is exposing the tenuous strength in a vulnerable voice, to want to comfort the high-pitched little girl but be surprised at the confident woman that emerges. Her English is also better than the first Coco d’Or album, but it still has the odd inflections which actually sound charming on her.


Coco d’Or – “What a Wonderful World”

In contrast to the naturalism of “Time After Time”, “What a Wonderful World” has a whole lot of effects and editing going on. Visually, it feels like one of those commercials for Windows where you’re able to make all these great artsy-craftsy effects that look homespun but are obviously digital graphics based on the way they zoom all over the screen.

Again, hiro is in white – this time, overalls. We see her figure in all its glory here, and thank God she’s not a stick – she’s a bumpy, well-rounded young lady. Hubba hubba.

At first, she mostly stands and sings and beams at the camera. She soon interacts with the effects, putting on a bracelet of drawn jewelry and playing with a CGI hummingbird and so on. Again, I get the sense that she’s about to start shilling for the latest Windows…

For all the playfulness, however, this song falls flat. I really don’t like the musical arrangement of the song. Upbeat is fine, the skittish acoustic guitar is a cute idea that makes the song unique, but it keeps threatening to become a dance song and for some reason I find that appalling. This is especially worsened when some stupid audio effects intended to funk things up just a little creeps into the number…

And then hiro spoils it all completely with a spoken-word interlude of her listing things that I assume are what make the world so wonderful. At this point, the PV shows – in comic book thought balloon form, no less! – all the maudlin images that hiro is describing.

I mean, really. It’s one thing to spruce up the standards, it’s another to not fully understand what the song is about and wind up butchering it. Which had me thinking: What is this song about>

In trying to figure out why I found hiro’s version so unsatisfying and… well, bad… it was because it was way too cheerful and positive. It made me realize that Louis Armstrong’s original version had a subtle undertone of elegy to it, almost as if he’s trying to convince himself that it is a wonderful world. His is a tone of bemused revelation, and his raspy, timeworn voice thus serves to emphasize the ephemerality of human experience. Enjoy it while you can, this wonderful world – we pass through it all too quickly.

hiro’s voice here is too pretty and chirpy to convey the complex emotional undertones in Satchmo’s delivery, and the sped-up musical arrangement completely destroys any chances of such an elevated approach. What was a song about trying to feel good has instead become a saccharine-sweet feel-good song.

Up to now, I always thought hiro’s Coco d’Or performances were as smart as the material she was handling. This is hopefully the exception that proves the rule.


And the winner by a very large margin is… Coco d’Or! I mean, Coco d’Or’s “Time After Time”.


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3 Responses to “PV VS Round 1: Coco d’Or vs Coco d’Or”
  1. Tsuji_Eriku says:

    ditto

  2. pengie says:

    You get +10 literary nerd points for mentioning Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

    This also reminded me that I need to listen to Coco d’Or. More cover songs, woohoo!

  3. josephie says:

    i agree with u!!!

    i love coco d’or’s songs….^0^