Japan, although of this planet, is like another planet in itself.
There is no other place on Earth that could possibly come up with Harajuku fashion style, array of vending machines or the breadth and depth of game shows there. Could it be due to their island-nation status? The constant push-pull of overworked, OCD-level salaryman work structure vs. hyper-stimulated, anything-goes anime culture?
Most likely, yes and yes. But we can't forget the cult-like fascination with Western pop culture, especially rock music, as a huge influence. Starting with Elvis and reaching true recognition overseas with Cheap Trick's At Budokan album, the insane fandom and consequent reimagining of said rock music culture is a big source of fascination and reimagining of that Western style.
Enter Babymetal - possibly the truest hybrid of North Japanican (trademark pending) cultures:
1) Girls in their late teens styled to the nines in Harajuku/anime fashion
2) Said girls singing J-pop influenced vocals
3) The backing band plays some of the crunchiest, tightest, reimagined Western-style metal
Babymetal's name is their style in a nutshell: 'Baby' describing the J-pop female vocalists, and 'metal' being the... let's just listen to what that word could possibly refer to:
Don't quite grasp it yet? How about another example...
Alright - still don't get it yet? Think of an unlikely food fusion restaurant, like this Jewish/Japanese spot in NYC. On paper, not in a million years does it seem like it would work, but Sailor Moon anime-influenced J-pop combined with breakneck, crunching heavy metal WORKS, because of the similarities between the two genres: Over-the-top theatricality, spasmodic beats and killer hooks.
Not unlike Matzo balls (which are essentially dumplings) in a hearty bowl of ramen being quite the tasty proposition. Dang - now I'm hungry. But more of a craving for chocolate...
One thing is for certain: Kawaii culture and rock is a popular pairing: Babymetal has won numerous awards, toured with Metallica and Red Hot Chili Peppers, plus performing with metal deity/Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford gave them a stamp of approval like none other. They've also spawned their own mini (at the moment) genre. Are they a trailblazer for future projects such as a Hello Kitty / Slayer collab? Time will tell.
Now to work off that chocolate with a karate lesson:
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The officially unofficial blog of Faux Rawk. Everything you read is true, although some of what you read is 100% false. Whoa... trippy, man.