You might not have known that it has been just over two years since Babymetal’s first single, Babymetal x Kiba of Akiba, hit youtube. You’d be forgiven that since there is a good chance that you don’t know what exactly Babymetal is, and if this is the case I am thrilled to be the one to tell you: they are – get ready for it – the world’s first j-pop/metal band!(!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [those should be read as WHAT?!?!? and not I've been waiting for this so long and now it's finally here])
Yes, that’s right. Those three girls posing with their cartoonishly awesome-looking band make up the band Babymetal, the same band I’ve been listening to for the last 20 minutes without a complaint in the world. Let’s get two things straight right off the bat; I know that Babymetal is as corporately-created as they come, and I also know that celebrating something only for innovating of “creating something new” is always a lapse in critical faculties. However, when that new something is enjoyable than there is reason to be glad for something that wasn’t around before. And while the world doesn’t need – and I mean by no means whatsoever – whatever sub-genre one would consider Babymetal, some people in Japan with some money decided to try this idea in real time and it seems to be working (at least, according to this week’s Billboard heat-seekers cart).
I will not pretend that I am an expert on either J-pop of metal (I know nothing about the former and only a little of the latter), but if there is one thing I can appreciate it is the honest of this pairing: how many pop acts sing on top of harder music when they want to sound “edgy” and how much hard music that is backed by major label’s corporate dollars is little more than a bunch of A-B-A-B-C-B-B pop songs with heavy riffing and growling? At least the masterminds behind Babymetal were upfront in their intention, which is to make a new form of metal that is basically adorable teenage girls (instead of hairy, dirty-looking men) singing pop songs over it (instead of growling/screaming undecipherable whatever). And don’t let me mislead you, there is plenty of room in the music of Babymetal for “rap” breaks, piano openings, synthesizer strings, and full-on pop-breaks amidst the shredding guitar solos and constantly pounded drums.
I am really hoping that you watched that because I was fascinated watching that thing; guitar graveyard, the skeleton-band ripping it up, the fact that I was watching what amounts to anime characters come to life doing call-and-response to the tune of (what I remember hearing at) Hellfest. The youtube wormhole that so often stole my time away just got stuck on Babymetal…and based on the bewildered smile on my face I would have to say I enjoyed it. I wanted to include a few of Babymetal’s videos because I was transfixed by all of them, and while I might not walk around claiming to be a Babymetal fan, I know that it’s there if I ever need to hear the weird child of J-pop and metal.
All that, plus they have a full-on ripper called “Death” which I cannot imagine any parent bringing their kids to Babymetal is going to appreciate.
(This last one is worth it for the first 50 seconds alone.)