LADYBABY is Lady Beard, Rie Kaneko and Kuromiya Rei – a Japanese idol group who sing and dance beyond the boundaries of national borders, gender, and all generations. Armed with an original genre they call “Kawaii Death” (“Cute Death”), which is a fusion of J-pop and death growls. The group mixes the sounds of Japanese pop music with heavy metal. Additional members also include Shizu Mizuno, Marx and Mikiti Genuine. Currently LADYBABY have 2 singles out – “C’est si bon Kibun” and “Renge Chance!” available iTunes, Amazon and LADYBABY’s official website http://bit.ly/1YDg9Za. From humble metal roots LADYBABY have progressed through a myriad of sounds and styles, all the time pushing the borderline of metal right through the confines of J-Pop, and in so doing have become the most innovative and original band in the straddling the genres…if not the only one I know of!
Real phenomena exist within J-Pop, and chief among them is the insane and adorable world of idol pop. Japan is the world’s second largest music market and idol pop is its industry’s crown jewel. To be of “idol” caliber simply means potential stars must be willing to temporarily relinquish control of their own humanity and submit themselves to a culture that is as punishing as it is rewarding.
Being young is the central tenet of idol pop from which all of other key cultural characteristics of the genre flow. Some idols-in-training are as young as seven while most are under 20. Within being young, one must also create the illusion of being—saccharine, chaste, demure, and sincere, so to not shatter the fantasy-land in which all idol pop fans dwell. A little dose of kawaii, the Japanese quality of cuteness, also goes a long way.
One look at LADYBABY, and 85-year-old Johnny Kitagawa, the father-figure of Japanese ‘idol makers’ must be close of on having a heart attack. And when he hears the crunching power chords and growling vocals that trespass the J-Pop rhythms of “C’est si bon Kibun”, a double-heart attack would be the order of the day! One type of artist will create something with their emotions poured out. Another type of artist creates a piece of art through using their brain. LADYBABY are exactly that type of artist.
It is for this very reason that LADYBABY’s status in metal and J-Pop is so paradoxical. They do not swarm you through a gust of emotion. They attack you through a barrage of multifaceted time signatures, complex tongue-in-cheek lyrics, a series of thrash metal verses and subsequent, contrasting J-Pop choruses. Ladies and gentlemen, brace yourselves for what you are about to hear because you might not return. Each song sticks with power and precision all the while feeling like parts of brilliant machinery put together into one dynamic hallucinating creation.
There is an amazing infusion of groove added to each track, seamlessly injecting LADYBABY’s manic J-Pop direction with their already jaw-dropping, calculated metal time signatures. The outcome is a grotesquely attractive as it is sweetly whimsical, and watching the videos only adds to the effect. It’s really hard to imagine that LADYBABY won’t make any impression on listener’s (or viewers).
They have chosen such persuasive visual imagery and vigorous soundscapes that they just cannot go unnoticed. Nobody is doing what this band does. They are on their own. Japan has a rich history of creating fantasy worlds for consumers. Now LADYBABY is creating a fantasy world for Japan!