Momoko is the experimental pop venture of New York-based singer, songwriter, and producer Momoko Ishiguro. Her new single “Maintainers” is set to come out September 28, which she says sounds like the lovechild between Nine Inch Nails and Max Martin. The track’s slinky funk bass lie, exuberant “pop-drop” chorus, and technical sheen signals a turn towards a dark maximalist sound that is equal mix of 90s electronica and top-40 pop.
Traditionally, pop songs encourage a kind of magical escapism but in “Maintainers”, Momoko invites anxiety to coexist with pop-induced pleasure. “They’re coming down, they’ll check if we have something to give/How can we lend a hand, how can we help to systemise?” Momoko sings, right before a growling acid bass and howling synth pad bring ominous undertones to the chorus. In her lyrics, Momoko describes a defeatist attempt to understand and regain agency in a bewilderingly complex world: “Give me projections as I try to make some sense of this world/I’m really trying.” acknowledging feelings of disenfranchisement under the cover of a glossy pop song somehow feels fitting, given the state of our preoccupations with a picture-perfect lifestyle and routine public recognition of the political system; it is both disorienting and disturbing.
By the song’s coda, however, “Maintainers” makes a case for redemption as a chorus of voices sing: “Don’t you know I run this side of the world and/Without me you have nothing/Don’t you know I own you, get down kneel to me/Pray I’ll show some sympathy.” In the song’s closing measures, Momoko reminds us that mustering our collective will might be the only viable path out of insanity.
Grounded by her lush vocal timbre, Momoko’s deft songwriting moves effortlessly between dense and moody soundscapes, intricate R&B jams, and left-of-center dance pop. She was recently a finalist for HYPEBEAST and 88rising’s 2018 Uncaged Nights competition.
Keep an eye out for the track September 28th and the music video will follow on October 18th.