May 14

PWC14 Quarter-Final: Chile v Japan

Pop World Cup 201421 comments • 712 views

javiera Welcome back to the Pop World Cup, and to the first of our four quarter finals. Chile (managed by lartsaegis) reached here via what turned out to be the narrowest Round of 16 win, against Cameroon. Japan (gaffer: Patrick St Michel) saw off Uruguay more convincingly. The winner of this game faces Nigeria or Ghana in the semis.

QF1: Chile v Japan - which do you pick?

  • CHILE: Javiera Mena 53%
  • JAPAN: Perfume 48%

Total Voters: 80

Poll closes: 23 May 2014 @ 15:00

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This match runs until Friday! Both teams’ songs are below the cut, along with a belated farewell to Switzerland…

CHILE: Javiera Mena – “Luz De Piedra De Luna”

“I had a hard choice coming into this round, I really did. And in one respect it was a choice that hinged on who Chile would be playing next: so when I found out we would be up against Japan, I had a hard choice coming into this round, I really did. I already had a sort of prospective write up done for Mena’s latest flaming sword, Espada, it was one that delineated my history with who I’ve come to dub as Javiera Wena — how I got to know her through her first album Esquemas Juveniles, how I fell into the slowdancing-in-a-drowning-room depth of field that the title track had, how Espada takes direct reference to Revolutionary Girl Utena: Adolescence Apocalypse and how it remixes the prince aesthetic, how the melodyne pitch shifting is TREMENDOUSLY used to make her voice sound like a male’s voice, how I love the whole damn thing even if others have started to wane on her, but I had to take a step back and have a pow-wow with Javiera herself.

At a dinner I brought out a toy silver-paint-plated plastic buckler made for an action figure, put it on the table, and I took the pink sword from my drink and set it down beside. I told her she could either play with the shield of herself or the sword magically extracted from the chest of her lover. She told me that a man on TV once told her to “believe in the shield, because the shield brings the sword,” but she then replied that the sword brings a safeguard, and invoking Tracey Thorn on Massive Attack’s Protection, she said “I have no fear, and I’ll take on any man here who says that’s not the way it should be.”

I then told her that while I know Espada is who she is now, Luz de Piedra de Luna has literally been haunting me since I began planning strategy for this match. I had a dream just yesterday night where I was in a classroom, explaining to a professor who had been teaching me how to teach Young Adult Literature a translation/breakdown of the chorus:

“Aunque cuando bailo contigo (But when I dance with you though) / no me preocupo más (I worry no more) / sueño contigo (a dream with you) / Luz de Piedra de Luna (Lightsewn Stone of the Moon / Cuando bailo contigo (When I dance with you) / no, no trato más (No more do I try) / de entender que tu luz se apagará (to understand why your bright always dies). The shieldmaiden of Santiago brings a shield the size of Satan’s, circa Paradise Lost. We play on a field of dreams.”

JAPAN: Perfume – “Hurly Burly”

“This far into the tournament, staying focused is key. Which is why for this match, we are marching down the pitch with a bounce in our step but unafraid to get aggressive if need be. The teams’ eyes are focused on the back of the net, and this techno-pop tune shall guide them there.”

SO FAREWELL THEN…: Switzerland, guided by the enigmatic Mullah Rezmat through Group E only to exit at the hands of Rezmat’s former charges Iran. We’ve lost one of the most unpredictable sides in the tournament, shifting formations completely from game to game. My personal favourite, the Celtic metal of Eleuveitie, didn’t quite catch the fans’ ear, so instead here’s veteran playmaker Boris Blank and “Random Tox” from game three…


  1. 1
    Iain Mew on 19 May 2014 #

    Two of my favourite pop acts of recent years, at their respective peaks (though a slightly atypical one, in Perfume’s case). This is the most difficult choice yet and I might stop and marvel at the quality of play for a bit before deciding.

  2. 2
    Ronald on 19 May 2014 #

    It was only a matter of time before Perfume made an appearance. I guess I talked them up when I said the f(x) song South Korea played in the last round sounded like a Perfume song. And it’s Hurly Burly! The B-side that should’ve been on LEVEL3 but wasn’t! It’s definitely one of their stronger recent songs. I think I may need to think about this before voting because I’m liking the Chilean song as well.

  3. 3
    lartsaegis on 19 May 2014 #

    Perfume, everyone! I knew it was only a matter of time…

  4. 4
    Tom on 19 May 2014 #

    A terrific game. After their torpid start to the group stages, Chile have been a transformed side in recent matches, and unlike some of their techno-oriented players this is one hotly tipped striker who doesn’t let them down on the big stage. Japan meanwhile play the kind of fast, upbeat, pressing game neutrals have been expecting since the tournament began. It could go either way: there are passages of Japanese play where the busy, precise short passing and attacking waves are just irresistible, but the Chilean side have a little more aggression and you’d fancy them to find the gaps in the slightly weaker Japanese back four. Several plays of this one required…

  5. 5
    thefatgit on 19 May 2014 #

    I’m not at all sure which way this one’s going to go. Absolutely delighted with both managers’ preparation for this QF match. So much quality on show. I can’t call it either way yet… early doors & game of two halves, Brian.

  6. 6
    lonepilgrim on 19 May 2014 #

    tight defensive play from the Japanese team make them a hard side to beat but Chile match their discipline and add a little bit of in-your-face aggression. When their striker goes down in the box there may be suspicions of diving but it’s enough to win a penalty and seal the match

  7. 7
    lartsaegis on 19 May 2014 #

    Okay — now that I’m back at home, I can fully take all this in. I’d just got into work and when I saw we were indeed facing Perfume the perf, I almost threw my phone at the wall, out of a happiness lightly glazed in frustration. I gotta say that Level 3 didn’t really connect with me like JPN or Triangle did, and now that I know they left this stomper off, I can confirm it as a misstep for the group as a whole. Seriously. This is one of the best Perfume songs I’ve ever heard, so you can understand why I’m biting my thumb on the sidelines.

    I had a bit of a reservation in playing Luna because of the minimalish buildup it takes to get to the chorus and the flak we’ve got from the press and fans because of such play, but once it gets to that zenith, the song explodes. It’s setpiecey like all our other tracks all the way back to the beginning, while Espada just drops you on the drive — it’s the most “route one” track she’s ever made — that I know of. Didn’t want to look vulnerable against Japan of all people, but I’m glad fans have seen there’s more stab to this than meets the eye.

  8. 8
    lartsaegis on 19 May 2014 #

    Also, diving? Really? Us? Really? Brian, you hear this? Really? Diving? Us? Really? Diving? C’mooooooon. We’ve got no Real Madrid players on our team.

  9. 9
    Patrick on 20 May 2014 #

    This is my favorite Javiera Mena song, and having to go up against it is super intimidating because of how great it is! Great showdown right here.

  10. 10
    Garry on 20 May 2014 #

    Chile (with Croatia) has been my favourite tean if this is PWC and this track does nothing to change that view.

    I’m not up on Perfume’s recent form, so I can only take this at face value, and it comes up short. Gone is the playfulness from of the ealier Japanese performances, this is straight to the point, straight down the line, straight to goal. A pity for them Chile has probing wingers and more coherent play from the back.

  11. 11
    Chelovek na lune on 20 May 2014 #

    The Chilean track is pretty stunning; no disrespect to a competent Japan team, but they are running round in circles and passing the ball among themselves while the opposition runs rings around them before heading, successfully, for goal several times over.

  12. 12
    Geoff on 20 May 2014 #

    #7 – I wouldn’t worry about the long build-up to the chorus – in fact that’s always been my favourite bit of the song, it builds wonderfully til that explosion of chorus. (oh and thanks to introducing me to Espada too, I’d missed that she was back). Excellent play from Chile’s star striker here.

    In contrast the Japanese score early but don’t really add anything new for the rest of the match…surprisingly easy win for the South Americans here.

  13. 13
    Matt DC on 21 May 2014 #

    Chile are playing a tactical blinder in this tournament, a restrained group stage before peaking late, and this is a fantastic performance, a decent enough verse but it really comes into its own in the chorus. Japan’s effort is game enough but overly cutesy and can’t really compete.

  14. 14
    Kat but logged out innit on 21 May 2014 #

    Adding my support for the Chilean side here – Japan have been great all tournament, but I think they’ve happened across a Chilean fighting machine in full flow, who look unstoppable. I can’t wait for the semis, Brian!

  15. 15
    Erithian on 21 May 2014 #

    Neither can I, Kat! Chile for me too – mesmerising performance.

  16. 16
    koganbot on 23 May 2014 #

    The Chilean track makes me imagine Vanessa Carlton in recessive mode somehow finding herself in a Madonna arrangement. As the beats reach her she wonders whether to reach back. She sends out shoots, branches, blossoms.

    Japan, meanwhile, gives us a bush with multiple flowers, a thicket of them, you might say, chattering one to the other.

    So, one compelling drama from Chile, a surfeit of playlets from Japan. Either makes a fine vote. (Finally going with Chile, only ’cause I know the song already, and can make more sense of the style. The Japanese track is as good, just harder for me to find my way into.)

  17. 17
    lartsaegis on 23 May 2014 #

    Damn this was close! Had to play an ace just to keep Japan barely at bay. Good game!

  18. 18
    Mat on 23 May 2014 #

    Perfume is my favorite group, but this is imo one of the weakest tracks of their 13 year career. Not a bad song, but feel they could’ve fielded a tune to take them beyond the 50%. This is a great Mena tune though so fair play.

  19. 19
    Ronald on 23 May 2014 #

    Wow this was really close!

  20. 20
    Patrick on 24 May 2014 #

    Whoa super close, well played match!

  21. 21
    jeff w on 24 May 2014 #

    Bah. Missed another one. There really should be a RULE that no match can begin and end during the same working week. Probably (just) the right result though.

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