It’s nice to know that, no matter where you go in the world, the local music scene is peopled with weird/annoying/colorful characters. Just a different kind of weird/annoying/colorful character than what you’re used to in your neck of the woods. Whenever I’m in Tokyo, I’m endlessly amused and, occasionally, mystified by the hot group/singer du jour. Now I’m no expert on J-pop (Japanese pop) and am admittedly not at all familiar with the Japanese music scene, but I know enough to know what I like. And, more importantly, what I find kinDA strange…
What I find strange about Exile is the fact that the “group’s leader” isn’t the lead vocalist. Or lead guitarist. Or xylophonist. He doesn’t even play an instrument. He’s the 14-man group’s lead dancer.
“Not dancer,”Akemi corrected me this afternoon. ”Performer.”
“Oh, what else does he do?”I asked her. ”Play guitar? The drums? Do magic tricks?”
KYARY PAMYU PAMYU
In a world of Lady Gaga imitators, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is a breath of refreshingly bizarre air. The former fashion blogger, Harajuku model, and entrepreneur (launching a successful line of fake eyelashes), hit it big when the video for her first single, PonPonPon, went viral. She followed up with her next big single, Candy Candy – the video for which I saw for the first time, appropriately enough, at a candy store in Vegas. If you wanted to sing along to the chorus, the lyrics go: “Candy, Candy, Candy, Candy, Candy, Sweetie, Sweetie, Girls Love. Chewing, Chewing, Chewing, Chewing, Chewing, Cutie, Cutie, Chew-Chew-Chew-Chewing Love!”
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is her first name by the way.
Not to be confused with AK47, this all-girl group is made up of…well…a hell of a lot of members.
“Oh, a lot more than forty-eight,”Akemi assured me.
As it turns out, more like 67 (They apparently hold the world record), split into three “teams” backstopped by a minor league system of young trainees (kenkyusei).
According to Akemi (who knows about such things), the girls are selected for various big events (ie. the recording of a new single) by a popular vote. The purchase of every new single allows every fan the opportunity to vote for their favorite. And vote they do, to the tune of over one million after their 2011 single, Everyday Katyusha. ”But that’s not fair to the unpopular girls!”I’m sure you’re saying to yourself. Well, fear not. To ensure the unpopular girls get their fair shot as well, the participants on a second single is determined by a Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament involving all 67 members.
It’s finally come to this and, honestly, are you that surprised? A 3D hologram plays to packed stadiums. The brainchild of Cyrpton Future Media, Hatsune is a digital avatar and singing synthesizer voice application that has apparently taken the software (and music) industry by storm. The whole Milli Vanilli scandal seems to unjust in retrospect.
Is “bawdies” the Japanese word for “beatles”? Just wondering.