The three teenage girls in the band Babymetal (ベイビーメタル）sing in Japanese. However, they had successful shows in London. And they have a lot of international fans, including Lady Gaga (レディガガ).
BABY METAL is a Japanese metal idol band. Their line-up consists of Suzuka Nakamoto as “Su-metal”, Yui Mizuno as “Yuimetal”, and Moa Kikuchi as “Moametal”.
The concept of the group is a fusion of the metal and idol genres. The three teenage girls and their band are managed by the Amuse talent agency. They released their debut album of the same name in February 2014.
2014 was the year Babymetal became a household word around the world. Their first London shows sold out in a flash! The group’s first world tour involved 25 shows in 10 countries, and as the buzz built up, it started to reverberate back home.☹️
Babymetal won over the skeptics with top-class musicians belting out the riffs as lead vocalist Su-Metal strutted and sang the infectious melodies. Moametal says many overseas fans memorize and understand their lyrics. She says they can feel how much the fans love Japan and Babymetal, and it makes them smile.
lots of J-pop groups have tried to go outside of the country to get global fame, but what made this group so successful?
By being different from everyone else. They’re a fusion of heavy metal and J-pop, and they’ve got cute lyrics and dance moves.
They’ve got a huge international audience though they sing in Japanese. They also have great sound.
Doing shows outside Japan was like a dream, and they were amazed when they found out they were going on a world tour a year ago.
《Babymetal came into this world in 2010》
They came bounding onto stage dressed in Gothic corsets and frilly miniskirts singing cute lyrics to heavy metal riffs.
They were slow to catch on in Japan but after 4 years of grafting, they found international fame.
Their “Gimme Chocolate!!” video went viral. It’s clocked up more than 28 million views to date.
The Sonisphere Festival in the UK was their chance to prove they were the real deal. The girls shared the bill with some heavy metal legends, including Iron Maiden and Metallica.
《Musical style and lyrics》
The band defines its style as a new genre called “kawaii metal” (“kawaii” meaning “cute”) and clarifies that it is “a mix of J-pop idol [music] and heavy metal” (because of their cute Japanese teen pop style fused together with various heavy metal styles).
・ death metal
・ heavy metal
and melodic speed metal ( “ikime, Dame, Dame, Zettai”)
and their edgy sound have been likened to electronicore (“Ii ne!”).
Former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman has also described the band as sounding “like Meshuggah with J-pop on top.”
Before the trio formed, they previously had no experience of the metal genre. Yuimetal admitted that beforehand the concept of heavy metal actually scared her, but later stated that “It’s fun and I see why people enjoy it so much! I still don’t completely understand it, but I’m interested.”😚
Kobametal, the band’s producer, aimed to create a fusion of heavy metal genres and mix them with Japanese idol music, quoting “At Amuse, we have this group called Perfume and I really like them. But I thought, if I’m gonna make a group, how would I do it? I really like metal, so I figured I’d try mixing metal and idol music.”
The magazine Metal Hammer described their act using the formula “Short skirts, school girl charm and squeaky voices — just like in the manga comics. But they mix the whole thing with Metal”.
Lyrical themes found in Babymetal’s music focus on real-world issues and also typical idol-pop topics such as encouraging young teens to accept and stand up for themselves, the pressure put on teenage girls to remain thin and also bullying while they also sing about what it’s like going to your first concert, the concept of an “ideal woman” and chocolate, subjects critics say are a step away from typical lyrical styles used by most metal bands.😟
《One fan gave their career a big push》
As Babymetal’s first album climbed the charts in Japan and the US, Lady Gaga asked the girls to open for her on part of her North American tour.
Yuimetal says Lady Gaga sent them a message saying she likes their music and wants them to do their best. It was an unforgettable experience that made them very happy.😉
Heavy metal pros also gave them a seal of approval. One of the genre’s most important magazines, the London-based Kerrang!, was the first to feature the group, and it awarded the girls its “Spirit of Independence Award.” Babymetal says they couldn’t believe it, but they were so happy and it felt so amazing.
Now that they’ve conquered the world, the girls have made a triumphant return to Japan. Heavy metal maniacs, J-pop fans, and even families turn up in their fox masks and flash fox signs.😆
《There are fans from everywhere》
An American fan says once he saw Babymetal, he was addicted. He says it will be his 4th time to see them. A Japanese fan says their dance moves are cute and cool. An Australian fan says it’s like a blending of 2 different music genres, and he doesn’t think anyone else has done it before. A Japanese fan says they’re the best, and they’re her treasure.
As well as dancing, the trio all perform vocals. Su-metal is the main vocalist, credited on Babymetal’s official site with vocals and dancing, while Moametal and Yuimetal are credited with scream and dance.
Babymetal’s costumes take a variety of cues from the popular Japanese Gothic and Punk Lolita styles, with an emphasis on red and black. Since 2014, the trio has usually worn a variation of their now trademark costumes, first introduced in their Ijime, Dame, Zettai music video.🙂
Su-metal, the tallest of the three, is typically choreographed in the center, with the other two members positioned either side. In addition, Yuimetal and Moametal make up a sub-group called “Black Babymetal” (stylized as BLACK BABYMETAL).
Instead of the sign of the horns, the band uses the hand gesture of the fox (or more accurately the kitsune) to symbolise the band’s divine inspiration. When asked about this divinity (the ‘Fox God’) they replied, “We’ve actually never met the Fox God, but because of his blessing, we were able to become Babymetal.”😌
In their concerts, Babymetal are accompanied by a backing band. Originally, a pretend band called “Babybone”, dressed in black-and-white skeleton outfits, mimed playing instruments to playback.
From mid-2012, a live band called Kami Band (also known as Full Metal Band or the Gods of Metal) progressively took over accompaniment duties and now perform all music live at every concert.😏
Su-Metal says they’ve learned a lot from their US and Europe tour, and they want to do their best to show fans how far they’ve come. She says they do their best at live shows, and they want to establish their band as one of a kind, making music to share with more people, and performing in ways that only they can.
It was awesome! Babymetal changed my perspective of what metal music could be.
Can they attract true metal fans? or end up just a one hit …