July 13, 2014 by londonsenpai
I know it’s been a while since London Senpai has posted, but there are a few things that I strongly want to get off my chest which are regarding.. BABYMETAL.
This is not a full review of the concert in London but more of an overview about the idea of BABYMETAL that has sparked minor controversies, particularly with some heavy metal-fans. I just thought there are some things that need to be clarified and addressed from my perspective so please bear with me if this post seems to jump through a lot of subjects.
As you may know that this Japanese ‘Kawaii-metal’ girl group who debuted back in 2010, are already touring around the world this year which is very impressive, even for a Japanese artist. Although they probably wouldn’t have gotten this far without YouTube which is basically how they became famous in the short amount of time:
We were very lucky that they chose to do a concert in London because at first, I was curious about them but also skeptical as they were still very new to me, watching videos of them wasn’t really enough. However, once the tickets were on sale, my curiosity and ruthlessness got the better of me and I just instantly bought a ticket (I feel even more lucky now, knowing that the tickets sold out in minutes!). So to be fair, as an avid Japanese music and idol lover, I just thought “What the heck, just go for it, it might be worth it.”
.. And I have to say.. it was worth it.
On the day of the concert, I even flew back to London from Paris that morning after seeing Berryz Kobo x C-ute and Nogizaka46 at Japan Expo (had an extreme idol-fest, I know.) and kept thinking “Oh my goodness, will I even make it alive before seeing BABYMETAL!?” – as I woke up at 4-5am that day to catch my flight.
The entire atmosphere of the concert was absolutely amazing. Live instruments, live main vocals and hell of a lively crowd! I believe there were some small playbacks going on at some parts if we get extremely technical but even Yui-metal (Yui Mizuno) and Moa-metal (Moa Kikuchi) were actually singing live which is understandable as they have matured a lot over the past few years. The two members add so much flare to the group. But what was also great about the concert is that everyone, including the live band aka KAMI BAND each had their own spotlight slot throughout the show, showing the importance of every performing role.
-CREDIT TO THE UPLOADERS-
But really, I was totally blown away by the main vocalist, Su-metal aka Suzuka Nakamoto. Her vocals have that clarity where she hits nearly every note clearly and has impressive vocal control, allowing the melody of the songs to flow. The more I watch these fancams, the more captivating she is to me. Her performance just gives me goosebumps all the way:
-CREDIT TO THE UPLOADER-
I am so glad that I went to this concert as it has actually converted me into a fan now.
Overall, their performance was full of energy as many people say but what I also loved about it, is how theatrical it was. As shown in their VTR, they seem to have created some kind of fictional context behind the group, using the idea of the ‘Fox God’ blessing the three girls to become BABYMETAL, spreading a whole new twisted genre, using metal as the basis of all their songs and adding whatever style of music on top of it. This helped them portray this kind of epic show making us fans not only cheer for them but at the same time, being in awe with the entire production especially for the first time seeing them.
Afterwards, I have been reading a lot of comments and reviews about this group. At the moment, there is this debate that comes up a lot throughout many YouTube comments, that is whether BABYMETAL is ‘real metal’ or not.
In my view, all I see are some very self-righteous and close-minded metal fans raging about this girl group expressing that ‘this is wrong’ and that they are, ‘just a manufactured gimmick’.
Firstly, how pretentious can you be about a certain music genre now that this is the 21st century where more people are actually experimenting with music, not caring about what genre it meets. No music can ever be ‘wrong’, music is an art. Maybe one day in the future, there will be even more cross-over genres because we’ve all heard these typical genres before, why not mix it up and make music actually more interesting? No one actually cares whether it’s ‘real metal’ or not, it all goes down to how it sounds to everyone.
And yes they are manufactured, all I have to say is:
Welcome to the Japanese Idol Industry! They are what they are.
They were already members of the idol group Sakura Gakuin before forming BABYMETAL. The idol industry is well-known to have manufactured groups and rather over-produced content so really that should explain everything to you as to why they’re not ‘organic’. Besides being manufactured, that doesn’t make their music bad, I find this derogatory remark to have been overused all over the comments.
I found that not many people have really properly analysed their music before making comments, now that I have listened to their album quite a few times. As I’ve said, they use metal as their basis with the guitars and drums, adding other kinds of instruments portraying different genres like EDM, dubstep etc. The melodies they sing have quite a lot of modulation, making it a proper tune to carry throughout the songs. The melody is probably the one thing that makes people like me actually appreciate their music. I personally find heavy metal sometimes too noisy and not carrying enough tune to it, but of course, that is just me. Their songs are very well-composed, consisting many layers, giving their music that edge and complexity but it doesn’t sound too overdone. It still has structure to it so it isn’t so much of a mess to listen to. Therefore, I must give a massive applaud to the composers!
But why so much negativity? I don’t even know what it is, but their image is probably the one thing that a lot of people are blinded by. It’s just so easy to immediately judge these girls; belittling them for their age and for acting cute therefore I can see how it’s extremely easy for people to say it’s lame. Is it condescending? Yes kind of but it’s also the complex idol culture that makes a lot of people not understand this entire concept which might be hard to get over especially for people who are new to Japanese idols.
Anyways.. to end this rant, I want to conclude that BABYMETAL as a group are not a pure music artist I have to admit, but they are still a music act. It may seem all gimmicky with the costumes and the fictional story but there’s no denial this shows that it makes everything more interesting with a concept.
So what if they are manufactured? After experiencing their live concert.. they really know how to put on a show! As long as they’re entertaining, I am satisfied with that.
-CREDIT TO THE UPLOADER-
So yes, they still release songs, mvs, cds and hold concerts like any other artist.
However, BABYMETAL on the whole is a production and that still doesn’t stop them from gaining new fans. It’s more aggravating to me than it should be.. but people just need to stop acting like music elitists nowadays as there are no longer traditions to music.
So let’s think of BABYMETAL as a creative production where we have three girls:
Su-metal being the leader of the group along with two rather menacing girls, Yui-metal and Moa-metal acting as the two pillars of the group. All together, they are trying to introduce their new music to the world.
It’s as if it’s all dramatised. So really, I don’t see how badly gimmicky it is since all they did is used a little imagination and creativity to form this group, giving them a sense of character.
They are theatrical, they are energetic and they are unique.
BABYMETAL are pioneering the new light of cross-over genres throughout music!
I just hope that they can last a long time which of course, can only be determined by their future releases and activities.
So everyone, I would like to close this post with one last important message..
BABYMETAL, please do another world tour!
It’s been long so I really appreciate you guys for reading this post.
I just hope this wasn’t too difficult to follow otherwise please comment what you think!