This post isn't your typical "Culture" post on Ledger Note. This has more to do with various sub-cultures smashing together and solidifying Japan's spot as #1 in weird!
BABYMETAL is the next level heavy metal devil stuff. Some mad genius in a laboratory deep in the bowels of Japan decided to take the metal culture, dash in some karate, and take the prototypal middle school anime girl characters... he threw it all in a beaker and shook it till something popped out.
Throw on some kabuki masks in the mix and "blam!" The result is some of the best metal guitar craziness you'll ever see and hear, and that's why they're sweeping up fans worldwide.
Su-Metal, YuiMetal, and MoaMetal are currently on a world tour, raking in the money and living the life of queens. Of course, I'm sure it's grueling having to study and take school lessons on a tour bus and performing in the evenings. They are undoubtedly working their butts off, but they're getting that pay off for sure.
It happened fast, proving that we love gimmicks and creativity in our music and crave more of it. The female trio dropped their first album, BabyMetal, in 2014 and had both singles hit the Top 10 in Japan.
The Rise of BabyMetal's US & UK Exposure
Thanks to the internet, the madness has spread and the singles both hit the US Billboard charts, too. Lady Gaga tapped them to open for her ArtRave tour in 2014. That's huge exposure. When that wrapped up, they began headlining tours all across the UK. Right now in 2016 they are making a run across the US with their new record Metal Resistance.
They are terming their own sub-genre of music "Kawaii Idol Metal," but it's far from "cute" and moves more into the realm of sinister. It honestly kind of scares me. It started off pretty cute though, with their songs sounding like some kind of heavy metal anime theme songs. Here's one of their first big hits, Megitsune:
It even quotes the Sakura song on koto we covered before (which gets covered all over the place, like in the NES game Mike Tyson's Punch Out). This is no surprise since half of the gimmick is the Japanese culture stuff and that's a classic song over there.
Pop Meets Metal in BabyMetal
What's awesome is their instrumentation and versions of ghosts, darkness, and all things metal. Slaying metal guitar while rocking out with kabuki masks and kimonos in a dojo and all that... nobody can deny that this deserves all of the attention it's getting!
It's really smart too. We have a pop formula that works. Why not use that in other genres? I'd personally hate to see it happen but in this case it was done well enough that it could lead to a renaissance of interest in the metal genre more that it'll hurt it.
Check out this picture below, where they look like they're getting ready to command an army of foot soldiers to infiltrate and destroy the underground lair of some teenage mutant turtles.
Check out the official BABYMETAL website for more info and check out more of their videos on YouTube. It's hard to say how long and far they can ride this gravy train, but I'm buying my ticket first-class.