The past few months my newsfeed was full of Metal Hammer proclaiming Babymetal this, Babymetal that, pictures of three cute Japanese girls with microphones and I ignored it until recently when I saw a picture of the three girls with Slayers Kerry King and I said “Stop the bus! If Kerry King is saying this is cool, this has to be worth a look!”
And what I found was pure gold.
I couldn’t help but love it instantly. This absolute mad mix of metal, pop, dance and (at times) hip-hop and reggae appeals greatly to the metalhead AND pop lover in me. The vocals are so unbelievably sweet, cute, catchy and the music is by contrast evil, dark and heavy- monster riffs and thundering drums- heavy metal music updated with additional synths and electronic elements.
The music itself is only half of it. Babymetal is very much a visual experience- three singing and dancing Japanese girls in co-ordinating outfits performing with a backing-up band.
The self-titled debut album was released in February this year under Toy’s Factory record label and it’s all I’ve been listening to.
You can’t HELP but smile listening to this music, you can’t help but enjoy the chaos, the madness- it seems wrong but it’s definitely right!!!!!
So who is Babymetal?
Sumetal (Suzuka Nakamoto) is the lead-vocalist and the tallest member of the band. She’s 16 years old and a tiny 5 foot 1. She already has enjoyed a career in pop music singing with Karen’s Girl (a female trio who sang theme songs for the anime Zettai Karen Children) until 2009, then founding Sakura Gakuin (an idol group) until 2013 when Nakamoto graduated from junior high school.
Moametal (Moa Kikuchi) is 15 years old and a member of the idol group Sakura Gakuin. She plays guitar.
Yuimetal (Yui Mizuno) is also 15 years old and is a current member of Sakura Gakuin.
I found this blog post which further delves into the creative team behind Babymetal and the music industry of Japan: The Faces Behind Babymetal | Don’t Cross The Streams. Well worth a read. I am an absolute newbie to this part of the music industry, I know very, very little about Japan and its culture (apart from what I experienced when my aunt was married to Japanese man!), I’m just in love with this new musical force!
You must listen to the songs, you must watch the videos- you can’t miss this!
The Full Moon Boogie Band are on the road and are on their way to a town near YOU!
We are a five piece band, made up of passionate, energetic and professional musicians, playing songs from Elvis to Rihanna, Wanda Jackson to Beyoncé, all with a full moon rock n roll flavour.
This Sunday we are playing The Spectacular Vintage Wedding Fair in lovely Corks’ The Imperial Hotel cork with Escape Salon & Spa… There’s gonna be tons of gorgeous vintage style clothing, yummy food and of course bopping’ tunes.. Do come along and if you’re looking for something a little authentic for your Big Day, tis the perfect place for ya!
We are also heading up to Dundalk next Friday the 25th of January for a good old fashioned, rock n roll show at the Spirit Store! We promise to create an awesome party atmosphere with our rockabilly sound! Check out the Facebook event here: Fri 25th January Full Moon Boogie Band Tickets €5.
This week’s blog considers the representation of male sexuality in popular music; androgyny, gender bending and sexual revolution. It also considers the effect of AIDS on the music industry.
Homosexuality is generally quite acceptable in today’s Western society but we must remember that sexual offences laws only started to change in recent times! It was in 1967 that the sexual offences act in the UK (Wales and England) decriminalised homosexuality, 1980 in New York, 1982 in Northern Ireland and as shockingly recent as 1993 in the Republic of Ireland.
In the 1970’s rock artists such as Marc Boland and Bryan Ferry started a counterculture of extravagant costumes, effeminate hairstyles and heavy makeup to go along with their new rock sound. The performance of the music was very theatrical in style. Glam rock was born.
In 1972 Melody Maker made history with an article written by Micheal Watts entitled “Oh You Pretty Thing”. In the article, chart-topper David Bowie admits to being both gay and bisexual. His following album “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” was analysed heavily for it’s lyrical content. “Rebel Rebel” brings the subject of bisexuality straight into the public with lyrics such as “You got your mother in a whirl / She’s not sure if you’re a boy or a girl“.
Just look at the above photograph of David Bowie in character of Ziggy Stardust. The massive patent boots, skin tight, colourful costume with extravagant shoulders, full makeup and sharp, bold haircut. The image of the effeminate man was brand new in the 70’s and became socially acceptable, giving the young gay community a medium to express themselves.
While the UK was becoming more tolerant and openminded regarding homosexuality, it was illegal in New York to even serve alcohol to gay people. Same sex dancing was also illegal. Illegal clubs and bars which did allow such activities were often raided by the police. The most famous of these is Stonewall Inn in Greenwich and this building became famous on a global scale for the riots which took place there. Gays stood up to the police and fought for their rights.
The music of such places in New York was disco which later progressed into Chicago House music (the music of double exclusion-gay black people). Important music figures of this genre were DJ’s Frankie Knuckles and Larry Levan who filled the warehouse, gay nightclub with music to dance to. House music was associated with deviant behaviour such as drug taking, impersonal gay sexual encounters- the losing of self control.
The 1980’s saw the return of the chart topping androgynous male music star. Boy George, Freddie Mercury, Dead or Alive are classic New Romantic examples.
In the mid 1980’s gay and bisexual acceptance took a drastic step backwards. With high profile deaths such as Freddie Mercury, Liberace and actor Rock Hudson, the ‘gay flu’ or AIDS became very, very serious (on that note I’d like to take a minute to acknowledge Freddie as it was this day 21 years that he passed). Gay activities were seen as life threatening and this led to the closure of gay clubs and social intolerance. David Bowie denied his gay sexuality saying that Ziggy Stardust was a fictional character and was never a true representation of himself.
I think it’s a terrible that shame that gay artists were portrayed to be vulgar and something to be ashamed of, I also think it’s terrible that they had to hide their true selves away from the public and media. Though from what I’ve read online, that when the ill celebrities revealed they were sick, their fans were more concerned with their health and well-being rather than the fact they were gay.
I came across this song “Death of the Disco Dancer`” by the Smiths which was released in 1987. Morrissey’s lyrics suggest that he’s singing about AIDS but this remains open to speculation and interpretation. “The death of a disco dancer / well, it happens a lot ’round here/ Well, I’d rather not get involved / I never talk to my neighbour.”
Rock music performers in general did not often talk about AIDS publicly or raise awareness, instead female performers such as Madonna pledged support. Elton John is an exception who pledged money to support AIDS organisations in Europe and the USA and held benefit concerts.
Following the death of Freddie Mercury, a huge concert took place in Wembley which really sparked massive awareness for the AIDS crisis. The concert was successful in raising money for AIDS organisations and research.
Interestingly thebody.com says “Although the fund-raising activities of performers in the entertainment field have been extremely successful in mobilizing public support for AIDS causes, it has also been noted that the media coverage that links AIDS with the arts has actually reinforced with the public the false notion that the disease is confined to certain cultural sectors and lifestyles.” (http://www.thebody.com/content/art14003.html)
What is also interesting that in the time of gay repression, popular music with gay/bisexual lyrical content was being created and released into the mainstream. Heterosexual people were often unaware of the song’s gay origins and went about their daily lives singing these songs. The repressed gay community found comfort and strength in these songs and could relate to them. One of such songs is the Pet Shop Boys hit “It’s a Sin” released in 1987.
“When I look back upon my life / It’s always with a sense of shame / I’ve always been the one to blame / For everything I want to do / No matter what or when or who / Has one thing in common too: It’s a sin.”
“Unlike art forms such as literature or drama, music is often not explicitly tied to diagesis and narrative. In fact, even when music purports to be “about” something, telling a story, or representing an object, the signifiers used to do so are usually more ambiguous and less describable than those used in other forms of expression. As a result, intended meanings in music are more open to subversion, and either listeners or producers can easily insert subtexts or counter-readings.”
I can’t help but feel shocked at the number of views this video has gotten on YouTube (169,005,076)! I find the music a little bit dark and a touch sinister but the lyrics are clearly the draw to young girls (accompanied with the sexy video)- “If I was your boyfriend, never let you go
Keep you on my arm girl, you’d never be alone
I can be a gentleman, anything you want
If I was your boyfriend, I’d never let you go, I’d never let you go”
2. “Call Me Maybe” – Carly Rae Jepsen (2011)
I actually never heard of this girl until a few days ago when I read about her opening show for Justin Bieber online! Am I really that out of touch?! This is a perfect example of that sugary-sweet sound designed to appeal to young girls.
3. “Every Day” – High School Musical 2 (2007)
I’ve noticed that Disney and teen idols go hand-in-hand, Disney creates a world where kids can be kids. High School Musical oozes fun and makes kids want to dance.
4. “The Best of Both Worlds” – Hannah Montana (2006)
Another Disney star. The preteen who’s the new kid in town with an alternative pop star life. With her long blonde hair and funky fashion, what preteen girl wouldn’t want to be Hannah Montana and look up to her?
5. “Sk8er Boi” – Avril Lavigne (2003)
Not as sickly sweet as the afore-mentioned songs, Avril’s got that punk-rock edge without over-doing it. An energetic song with catchy guitar hooks and memorable lyrics about a cute love story, teens instantly identify and relate to it. What’s different about this song though is that Avril actually did write the song herself with her producer The Matrix. Credibility in teeny bop?!
I’m back and I have returned with my off-white Fender Stratocaster playing good old fashioned rock n roll music with the ultimate party band: the Full Moon Boogie Band!
Full Moon Boogie Band, the name says it all – bringing you home to the land of rockabilly and rock and roll with a twist and lots of style!
We are a five piece band,made up of passionate, energetic and professional musicians, playing songs from Elvis to Rihanna, Wanda Jackson to Beyoncé, all with a full moon rock n roll flavour.
We are currently available for bookings. Our show is fantastic entertainment for any event, from weddings to corporate events, we shall bring fun and a bop shoo wop to your event. We come with our own swingin, jivin’ and very alluring Full Moon dancers to add that extra sparkle to the show.
We have a full PA, Sound engineer and DJ that can be included. Also softer ceremony music can be included as part of the package.
For bookings and info, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/fullmoon.boogieband 🙂
A WOP BAM A LU WOP A WOP BAM BOO!!!
NEXT SHOW: THE BURLESQUE AND CABARET SEPTEMBER SHOW!