Showing posts with label j-pop. Show all posts
Showing posts with label j-pop. Show all posts

Thursday, October 17, 2019

video review: 'METAL GALAXY' by BABYMETAL

Yeah, this one is going to piss folks off... eh, such is life. Anyway, either Elbow or the New Pornographers next, stay tuned!

album review: 'METAL GALAXY' by BABYMETAL

So I'll be very honest: I find it really hard to gauge how much cultural weight BABYMETAL have. Part of this comes from the very real distance I have from j-pop as a genre, but part of it is also linked to the lingering feeling that despite BABYMETAL's easily recognized brand, I'm not sure how many people outside the cult fanbase have embraced more than just the meme of their existence.

And if all of that seems unfair... well, yeah, it completely is, and this is speaking as someone who liked both of BABYMETAL's previous albums beyond the meme. I've always been convinced that a metal sound can work with a pop-context, and on Metal Resistance the group might not have surprised audiences in the same way with a little more care and restraint in their genre fusion, but the songs were tighter and better composed, and while the project was transitional, it also reflected the core of a pretty decent power metal band at their core. And sure, all of it was a little ridiculous, but I hoped as the girls at the core grew up and stayed with the genre while maintaining enough of a pop touch, they could play in the same territory an act like Poppy is exploring so much now. So even with the departure of Yuimetal, one of their lead singers, I really wanted to like Metal Galaxy - did they deliver?

Thursday, October 12, 2017

video review: '' by poppy

So this was cute. Fun record too, really happy I covered this.

And now onto something just as cute in its own way... ;)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

album review: '' by poppy

You know, it's very tempting for me as a YouTuber to start this entire review with a Poppy spoof. The washed out aesthetic and slightly offkilter delivery, full of fragmented non sequiteurs, internet soundbites and memes, the sort of layered satire of pop stars in the age of internet culture directed by Titanic Sinclair which has blown up into something I'd need the next hour to fully deconstruct and explain. To reveal more would be to strip away some of the charm of the original videos which you should all watch, but suffice to say, for the most part, I'm a fan of Poppy as an internet personality.

But I'm not reviewing an internet personality or a meme - I have enough trouble keeping reviews monetized as it is - I'm talking about the music, of which Poppy has touched since the very beginning with covers and eventually original songs that would leverage some of the satire against a technocolor backdrop. And while I've liked her pop music, I've always had my concern that her online persona would overshadow her records, that she wouldn't quite be able to capture the subtle twists and potency of her videos. Now you have to wonder if she'd even bother to try in some cases - around this time last year she released the ambient project 3:36 (Music To Sleep To), and despite certain eerier textures it was far more abstract than her usual content - but it also felt more like a digression, not the blur of k-pop, dance punk, and electronic synthpop I expected we would get on her debut. So okay, what did I find with Poppy.Computer?

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

video review: 'metal resistance' by BABYMETAL

I liked it. Sue me.

Next up, Billboard BREAKDOWN, and i'm really not sure what might come next, so stay tuned!

Monday, April 11, 2016

album review: 'metal resistance' by babymetal

Have to be honest, even I am surprised that I'm covering this band, a group that blew up on the Internet and in their native country of Japan a few years back but only now are seeing a real explosion on this side of the Pacific, bound with all of the controversy that one would expect fusing idol j-pop with a hodgepodge of extreme metal.

And really, there shouldn't be a controversy about this. I heard about Babymetal around the time of their debut and really was not all that surprised or impressed by the novelty of the concept. Oh look, a bunch of cute j-pop singers in front of what otherwise would be synth-driven DDR music except with a full metal backing band - cute concept, but on my first few listens that's all it seemed to be: a bit of a gimmick, and not even a new one. Let's face it, as much as some hardcore metalheads will refuse to admit it, heavy metal can work in a pop-leaning context. As much people tend to dump on hair metal or nu metal, both genres have their standouts that can work, and I've always thought symphonic metal with a solid hook can play in the same arena, if only because their power ballads are on a different level compared to most. Hell, I don't even need to point to Nightwish or Within Temptation or - God help us - Evanescence for proof of that, Disturbed is now notching their biggest ever hit on the Hot 100 with a cover of 'The Sound Of Silence'. Now I'll concede the more extreme metal genres have always been a bit different, but I've also heard enough Devin Townsend to know if the melodic hook is strong enough, you can win over most audiences - it's not like the riffs are that much more abrasive than modern EDM synths or a dubstep breakdown.

As such, my issues with Babymetal have always been a little different, because as much as I dig a lot of the heavier riffs fused with pop hooks, there are real problems with that debut album. For one, many of the songs did try to do too much, including genre fusions of hip-hop, reggae, and dubstep that did not fit whatsoever. A more glaring problem came in the lyrics - I get that most people aren't going to bother translating them, but they do come across as a tad too cute to really mesh all the way with a metal sound, which didn't help dispel the image of the band being a gimmick. That said, when I heard their sophomore record was taking things a little more seriously with more cohesion, I figured this was probably worth my time: was I right?