November 28, 2015

What is a ‘Babymetal’?

The November 2015 CLASSIC ROCK magazine made a passing reference to a group called Babymetal.  A letter to their COMMUICATION BREAKDOWN page peaked my interest with the following statement: ”  If Babymetal is the future of rock, I wanna be a neanderthal.”   With that said, I checked around.  My first thought was, “What if the Baby Hit Me One More Time Brittney Spears had fronted a band like, say, Anthrax?  Would that work?

Be it far from me to judge one genre of music (or sub-genre as this seems to be the case), you can decide for yourself what you think of Babymetal.  The live clips I watched featured mosh pits and rabid fans.  Go figure – leave it up to the Japanese!

A couple of hints – they get labeled (of course) – J-pop.   Their record company calls it ‘cute metal’.  The name has several explanations:  The Japanese words for ‘baby’ and ‘metal’ are similar, making it a kind of play on words.  Another suggestion is that it is a ‘new’ genre of music, and thus a ‘baby’.  Either way, it came from the mind of a producer who had a talented singer and he decided to see what they could create putting her in front of a metal band.  The original backing band mimmed to backing tracks, more recently the backing band’s music is all played live.  Say what you will, but they have toured some major festivals and occupied the same stages as Iron Maiden, Metallica, Slayer and a host of other major league metal bands.   Like the Ramones, they all have names ending in ‘metal’.

One rumor was they are the modern equivalent of Menudo.  Anybody remember Menudo?  Kind of like Logan’s Run – you get too old, and you are out!  As the rumor goes,  the oldest girl is 16 and about to ‘age out’ of the group – the two younger girls are 14.  Upon further investigation, we found out that “In the spring of 2013, Susuka Nakamoto (Su-metal) graduated from junior high school and therefore had to “graduate” from the group Sakura Gakuin (that consists of girls of up to junior high),” however her producer decided that she could go on with the spin off group Babymetal. . . . yes, manufactured pop lives.

The first clip I had attached to this was from a couple of years ago and the ‘skeleton clad’ band members were mimming to a backing track.  The newer clip I replaced it with shows them with a live band who definitly can play – this was taken at the Sonisphere UK Festival.

Makes me want to revisit The Monkees – and yes, The Last Train To Clarksville was the first LP I ever bought – followed closely by The Doors – talk about a quick transition from ‘manutactured pop’ to ‘the real thing’.  You have to at least give The Monkees credit for at least graduating from ‘mimming’ for TV to playing actual concerts.