I’m just going to get this out of the way, I’m hooked on BabyMetal. One of their hits songs, Give Me Chocolate, gets played almost every other day on iPod…it’s just so damn good! Why is this so damn good? Not everyone likes it, JerNettie I know you secretly do, but it seems that there are a lot of people who normally don’t listen to heavy metal giving this a go and enjoying it.
In class we discussed heavy metal mixing with Broadway (Phantom of the Opera) by Nightwish, and then we separated out what was heavy metal and what was broad Broadway or both. For Babymetal, I believe their categories are heavy metal, cuteness, and traditional Japanese Customs/Culture.
I found a really interesting interview with them, it’s about 20 minutes long, but the members of Babymetal explain a lot of the meaning behind their performance and their appearance. Here are some of the highlights.
Another hit song, Megitsune (female fox) is similar to Festival Metal- Music – Traditional Japanese taste.
-Theme, “Women are actresses” It is said, foxes deceive men – one of the members states that this song relates both foxes and women, people think foxes deceive or disguise, people also think women wear make up to disguise themselves, and people think ill of foxes as they disguise themselves. She relates this to females and foxes both hide their emotions, they act so well.
– Kimono-like Costumes
-Screams are not like “wooooowwww” Babymetal’s screams are chants. “like in festivals” These chants express cuteness.
There is choreography so the audience can dance
Words for Babymetal concert
-‘Wall of Death’ : audience is divided into two groups then audience rushed into each other. For a Babymetal concert, two members run across the stage as to symbolize this gesture.
-‘Mosshusshu’: Moshing, people running into each other. Babymetal’s version is safe, enjoyable, and friendly.
Headbanging: Babymetal has two versions.
-Baby Headhanging: audience shouts ‘Hedoban Hedoban’ – shaking their head laterally
-Dogeza Headbanging: Babymetal and those in the audience will kneel down, bow deeply, and shake their heads. Sometimes the audience will use their hands to make this gesture if there is not enough room.
There is some acting between the members during their performance.
After viewing this interview, I googled around and landed on an article entitled, Babymetal aren’t the latest chapter in the ‘wacky Japan’ story. The article explains some reasons why Babymetal is so popular in Japan and how Japanese pop culture shaped this group. I thought these were the best bits.
What has happened is that by adopting the simplistic but effective marketing model of cute face + whatever = ¥¥¥, the idol scene has opened up a new route for alternative musical ideas to enter the fringes of the mainstream. And by catering to subcultural fan groups, they have, aided by the growth of the Internet, given voice to aspects of culture that the core mainstream’s drive for homogeneity has ignored — building strong, die-hard fanbases in the process.
While the wackiness of idol acts such as Babymetal is obvious for all to see, it’s also the work of people who know exactly what they are doing, trying to craft fun out of a specific set of economic, creative and marketing circumstances. In that sense, is it really any more absurd than the theatrics that Western metal acts such as Dragonforce and Manowar have been delighting and dismaying fans with for decades?
Just thought everyone might find this interesting as most of us probably don’t think about why bands might sound a certain; we just listen and decide, like, dislike, awesome, wtf, etc. By trying to understand the mix of this sound, I actually learned a lot about what is happening in Japanese musical culture and why I might be attracted to this group. Their cuteness mixed with the heavy sound (which is awesome btw) just makes it so fun! I also have a lot of respect for Japanese ‘respect’ culture and this brings this into the mix. You can be a hard hitting, respectful, cutesey, heavy metal fan…wtf is that?! Totally opposite of most heavy metal bands I’ve experienced…but I love it.