I can’t know with just the music! What’s the fascination with Perfume & BABYMETAL, two groups gaining attention all over the world!?
Japanese girl units are going global. Whether it’s their excellent singing ability and subtleness or the freshness that reflects in their dancing full with gimmicks, their fame and popularity are rife with those overseas. With unique sounding songs, high-level performances, and their very nature which you will come to support and love without thinking, these girls are gaining immense support from many fans. Let’s dig deeper into this mystery and find out more about it by looking at J-pop trio Perfume and metal idol band BABYMETAL.
Masterful Performances: The Other Side of the Story
This year marks the 11th year since Perfume, a group demarcated from other Japanese girl units, made their major debut. 85,000 people mobilised to witness the girls’ 10-day concert in 2015 which was held to celebrate their 10th anniversary.
Perfume’s choreography is certainly stand-out and unique for its inclusion of robotic and mechanic dance routines. Their lyrics are catchy, so much so that they will stay in your head, and their techno-pop melodies are high-energy. These 3 factors are so skilfully synced together that they are limited to Perfume’s capabilities only as they continue to perform. Their live concerts see cutting-edge art employed for their screen displays as well as all colours being used for their sparkling lighting, a sure-fire artistic expression that leaves audiences taken aback.
We can say without doubt that Perfume are Japan’s representative female artist group.
They have at once escalated to the apex of the Japanese music scene after just 5 years since their debut. But it wasn’t an easy task.
They began as local idols in Hiroshima prefecture. Back then, they had a very different approach to how they are now and performed very typical popular idol songs. Later down the line they met famed producer Nakata Yasutaka in Tokyo where they established the group’s new concept “a near-future techno-pop unit” and made their major debut. They released huge hits including “Polyrhythm” and “love the world” successively, and with that constructed their ubiquitous image that “Japanese techno-pop = Perfume”.
The girls always express their gratitude to their supporting fans during their concerts and make deep bows many times over. They never forget how they started out as they continue to advance and progress with each passing day. It’s this very stance that moves their fans and why they continue to gain committed support.
Idols Singing a New Kind of Heavy Metal
BABYMETAL – priding themselves as “A fusion of idol and metal” and “The birth of a new kind of metal” – continue their inevitable advance. They pioneer a new style of heavy metal with their dual-wielding weapons of cuteness and vehement. More so than in Japan, reactions have mostly come from overseas, having gained a huge following in the UK, Canada and America.
Where lies the girls’ musical charm?
BABYMETAL’s lyrics are full of radical and aggressive messages about politics and society, and this is combined with a heavy sound and high-speed tempo and rhythm that reverberates throughout your body, as well as original and striking hairstyles and outfits. There are of course many artists who hold that kind of image in heavy metal.
However, BABYMETAL are a little different.
BABYMETAL fuse their style with the idol genre and not only have cute lyrics, but also dress in red and black gothic fashion. They adopt fast-paced dancing and have cute screams in their music. With a plentiful amount of new elements, the girls display an image of idols-gone-heavy-metal. What lies in their overseas fans’ eyes and what separates them from the rest might be their show of musical innovation.
I don’t think we need to mention SU-METAL’s superior singing capabilities or the incredible level of skill given by group’s support band during their live performances. With music you only have to listen to and enjoyable performances you only have to go and see in order to witness how amazing they are, the BABYMETAL frenzy continues.
Text: Yoshida Kenji (SHUTTER)
Japanese Music Artists Performing Overseas in 2019: Part 4
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