Many thank to Stefan Weber who autorise us to link his text from Sonisphere Discussion.
Since April 2014, when I first heard about Babymetal via the reaction video from TheFineBros “Youtubers react to Babymetal”, I’ve been fascinated with the pure inimitable genius that is Babymetal.
Now, there are some people who have issues with the concept of Babymetal, and these people appear all over the internet writing negative comments about Babymetal. I would thusly like to offer my own positive opinion on Babymetal. Here therefore are my Top 10 reasons why I love BABYMETAL.
1. Babymetal is new. It is something that hasn’t been done before. There really isn’t anything that can be compared with Babymetal.
A long time ago someone claimed that “there is no new thing under the sun”. Surely this must have been written by someone who did not know Babymetal :).
Through the years of listening to Metal, I’ve grown tired towards having to listen to and watch the same old patterns in every new album, single, CD and DVD which the established & undisputed Masters of Metal have released: some fe/male singer trying to be super-cool singing/shouting/growling/screeching/burping/screaming. Then there are the mega-cool instrumentalists showcasing their awesome skills. Every CD – same old songs as in the previous CD.
Every concert / gig – same old routines. Honestly, I’ve gotten fed up with this situation years ago and stopped attending the shows of these mega-metal bands and stopped buying their albums. Take for instance the super band … (insert your favorite metal band here). Musically, this band is a pure studio band. Only their studio albums are awesome. Their concerts lack entertainment quality. It’s the same old thing in every concert: you know exactly on which song the band’s mascot will appear, you know which song the band will use for audience interactions (“lemme hear y’all on the left side scream”), you know exactly on which song the band will make a social/political introductory statement to the overall cheer of the audience. Their current album, just like the 10 or so albums preceding it, is a complete waste of everything: same old song-writing, with the same old dark destructive negative depressing lyrics, combined with a singer who evidently since the early 1980s has refused to engage the services of a vocal trainer.
When Babymetal landed on the scene, their appearance and presence was like soothing oil on a painful burning wound. The pure innocent sound of Babymetal songs with their new & innovative style of combining two and more different musical genres all within one song (e.g. Iine, 4 no uta, Doki Doki Morning) has outplayed everything which the music industry has released in the 21st century world-wide. Babymetal’s unusual non-metal way of acting, dancing and presenting their songs on stage is unlike anything that the music industry has come out with. Take for instance the live performance of Babymetal’s song “Catch me if you can”. The song starts out with the live Kami “God” Band displaying their excellent mastery of their instruments which catapults them onto the same level as musicians like Michael Romeo Batio, Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen. Then the 3 Babymetal girls jump-dance to the stage, completely ignoring the evil sounding demonic growling voice of the background growler. The girls proceed to do their own Japanese Idol thing with a perfectly orchestrated dance choreography coupled with crystal clear positive non-shouting/non-screeming/non-screeching/non-growling/non-burping vocal voices that serve as an equilibrium to the dark gloomy negative growls. This is new. This has not been done before. It has fascinated me from the very moment I heard and saw it. “There is no new thing under the sun”? Come on King Solomon, you outta know better. 🙂
2. Babymetal are spreading a positive message in their songs.
As a child, teenager and young adult I thought lyrics like “I powdered my nose in Alabama”, “You take my life but I’ll take yours too”, “Blow up the world – I don’t give a damn”, “She was so beautiful – I had to kill her” and “I’m gonna take you to hell – I’m gonna get ya, Satan gets ya” were what Metal music was all about. Today, as I’m in my early 40s, I look at these lyrics with concern, because I now realize that I have been feeding my mind with negative, dark and unacceptable lyrics nearly throughout my teenage and young adulthood years. Today I resent and reject such lyrics. “You take my life but I’ll take yours too”? Who says nonsense like this? “Blow up the world – I don’t give a damn”? Really? Seriously? Are you guys for real? I don’t even want to further comment on the irresponsible lyrics from Slade, Cannibal Corpse and Ac/Dc. Common sense and a healthy sound mind will automatically reject such unacceptable thrash.
Not so with Babymetal. Babymetal lyrics are totally different. Babymetal in all of their songs, consistently present a shiningly positive message. Please kindly allow me to highlight this with Babymetal’s power metal song “Ijime Dame Zettai”. A good translation of Ijime Dame Zettai would be “Absolutely no mobbing”. The lyrics of that song condemn mobbing and offer a strong rebuke to all those who participate in mobbing. When was the last time you heard a metal band, or any other band for that matter, strongly condemn mobbing in an excellently composed, written and recorded song such as Babymetal’s “Ijime Dame Zettai”? Japan, like many other countries around the world, has some issues with mobbing, especially mobbing in schools and educational facilities. It is therefore no wonder that “Ijime Dame Zettai” entered at No.6 of the official Oricon charts of Japan and remained there for six weeks. It is my opinion that Babymetal should be invited to schools all across the globe as Ambassadors of Peace to present their song “Ijime Dame Zettai” in front of pupils, students, teachers and lecturers.
3. Babymetal is not just a musical band. Babymetal is entertainment at its best.
Entertainment in general consists of several parts, e.g. comedy, acting, choreographed dancing, pantomime, reading of texts/poetry, storytelling and yes, musical performance. Generally, a musical concert is merely just one part of entertainment. Most popular bands out there only showcase musical performance in their concerts. There’s no acting, no dancing (ever seen your favorite metal band perform a choreographed dance routine on stage?). With Babymetal you get a complete, comprehensive entertainment package: the musical mastery of the Kami God Band (for a taste of this, please kindly check Babymetal’s World Tour 2014 trailer , real fire exploding on stage in a professional pyrotechnics presentation, stage acting by the 3 girls especially Yui and Moa, excellent new dance steps and routines by the 3 girls, phantasy storytelling at the beginning of their songs, unique combination of choreographed dancing and singing, funny dudes dressed in skeleton costumes mimicking on stage (watch the skeleton band go all crazy at a Babymetal show at Metrock,). If established bands want me to attend their shows, it is because they will add more elements of entertainment into their concerts. I’m getting tired of standing on my feet just watching some dude play the guitar for 2 complete hours. That’s just boring. Thank heavens for Babymetal for giving us the full entertainment package.
4. Babymetal follows the example of great classical composers such as Händel, Bach, Pachelbel, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven.
Babymetal’s songs are not performed by the composers but by professional musicians who usually do not have any influence in the composition process. Now, if you’re ignorant of composers such as Händel or Beethoven you will fall prey into dismissing this concept. Allow me to elaborate: a classical composer such as Händel merely composed his awesome operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Händel himself never publicly performed his own compositions. This part was handled by professionally trained musicians who also were superstars during their time (e.g. Farinelli, Caffarelli). So you have on the one side the master composer composing great operas, concertos and oratorios, and on the other side you have the performing musicians publicly performing the compositions while the creator of the compositions kept himself out of the public spotlight. This is the tradition of the great composers such as Beethoven, Bach and Händel. This is the same system which Babymetal has decided to adopt: the composers of Babymetal’s awesome songs (e.g. Nakametal, Tsubometal, KxBxMetal, Edometal, Narasaki, Narametal, Norimetal, MK-Metal, Nakata Chaos, Mish-Mosh, Norizo, Murakawa Motonari, Ryu-Metal, Fuji-Metal, Yuyoyuppe and Takeshi Ueda) are not in the public spotlight. (I am well aware of composers such as Paganini, Liszt or Mozart who presented their own compositions themselves, but generally classical composers usually never perform/ed on stage).
5. Babymetal teaches us how to properly bang our heads to metal music, starting with the correct & proper pronunciation of the word “headbang”.
It is not pronounced “headbang”. The proper pronunciation is “headobang”. Did you notice the letter “o” in there (O as in Oh my God it’s Babymetal)? Now repeat after me: “Headoban – Headobang – Headobang – Headobang – Headobang – Headobang”. There you go, that wasn’t too difficult, was it now? 🙂
To get a full understanding of Babymetal’s Headobang, please kindly watch any live performance of the song “Headbanger” from Babymetal, and check out the various ways of headobanging which Babymetal present in their shows (including prostrating down on your knees with your forehead down on the ground, shaking your head wildly in this position – have you ever headobanged like this before?).
6. Babymetal consists of professional artists (musicians, dancers, actresses & actors).
* Each of the 3 Babymetal idol girls started attending talent shows at a very early age, winning the first positions of the talent contests which earned them the attention of one of Japan’s oldest and most successful talent agency, Amuse Incorporated. Please note that Japanese Idols have nothing whatsoever to do with the Idol-contest shows in the EU, America and Africa. Japanese idols are prepared for their idol career from the earliest childhood, thusly ensuring that the Idols will be able to operate on the highest level of artistic professionalism. It’s like Boris Becker starting to play tennis as from age 6, or Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart starting to compose songs and play the violin at age 5 (five). Su-Metal, Yuimetal and Moametal are well trained in the Japanese idol tradition having appeared in tv shows, theater musicals, tv commercials, studio recordings etc. prior to Babymetal. These girls know exactly how to professionally act, behave, dance and sing in front of cameras, on stage and in the recording studio. These are not some noobs or amateurs who merely won a talent show and who have never stood on stage before, like most winners of idol-shows from Western countries. This is why a Babymetal show always guarantees highest artistic performance.
* Babymetal’s Live Kami God Band consists of musicians who master their instruments at the highest possible level: Takayoshi Ohmura, Boh, Hideki Aoyama, Mikio Fujioka, Leda, Shuntarou Kado etc. This Live band will proudly and flawlessly present Babymetal’s music in any live concert.
7. Babymetal brings people from different nations together, and thusly contributes immensely towards international peace.
Scores of non-Japanese Babymetal fans are now interested in Japan, in Japanese culture, and have started to pick up bits and pieces of the Japanese language. As the world started to learn a bit of Korean language because of the huge success of Park Jae-sang’s (a.k.a PSY) Gangnam Style, now people in many countries are starting to understand Japanese words because of Babymetal. As you know we human beings have the awful habit of fighting that which we do not know. However, the moment we are acquainted with things we no longer seem to reject them, but we embrace them.
Involving ourselves with the Japanese culture and Japanese language, even if it’s just in the context of a musical entertainment band like Babymetal, serves the general purpose of understanding other nations, other cultures. As a final result we no longer follow the natural tendency of fighting each other since we now have knowledge of ourselves, even if that knowledge is limited to the lyrics of a song. Honestly, if it were not for Babymetal would I involve myself looking up Japanese dictionaries in order to translate Japanese songs thereby not only receiving the translation but also lots of information about Japan and Japanese culture (e.g. from this excellent translator of Babymetal songs: http://du-metal.blogspot.com)? Probably not.
8. Babymetal pay tribute to the great Metal Master bands in their songs and in their entertainment shows (like Iron Maiden, Metallica, X-Japan, Labyrinth, Slayer etc).
During the live performance of “Headbanger” for instance, Yuimetal & Moametal pay tribute to Iron Maiden’s mascot “Eddie the Head” by shooting off smoke / fog to the audience with a large smoke shooting gun. The very first appearance of Iron Maiden’s mascot Eddie in the late 1970s was not an oversized large robot, but a man dressed in jeans, black t-shirt, jacket and with his face covered with a mask of the original Eddie (as he appeared on the front cover of Iron Maiden’s first 3 albums) holding a smoke gun shooting smoke and fog at the audience.
9. Babymetal sing their songs in Japanese. The Japanese language has lots of Ü Umlaute, thusly it sounds very pleasant in the ears of Germans, because the German language also employs Umlaute such as Ü, Ö and Ä. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germanic_umlaut)
10. Babymetal apparently listens to and likes Cannibal Corpse. In late 2011 Moametal, in reply to the question which other heavy metal bands Babymetal likes and which other groups have an influence on the Babymetal sound, simply said: “Cannibal Corpse”. Yes, she probably has never heard Cannibal Corpse songs before and even if she did she might not have any clue what the lyrics say. But just for her to mention it makes the whole situation totally comical and funny. It’s good for entertainment. It’s good for the show.
So, these are my top 10 reasons why I love Babymetal.
What remains for me now is to simply offer my gratitude to all those who are involved in the Babymetal entertainment project:
Thank you Suzuka Nakamoto, a.k.a. Su-Metal, thank you Yui Mizuno a.k.a. Yuimetal, and thank you Moa Kikuchi a.k.a. Moametal.
Thank you to the parents of Su-Metal, Yuimetal and Moametal for allowing their girls to participate in creating this awesome new musical genre.
Thank you to the Amuse Inc. agency for creating Babymetal and Sakura Gakuin (google it).
Thank you to Kobametal, the producer of Babymetal and to the musicians playing on the album & the concerts.
Thank you to the composers and arrangers of Babymetal’s songs.
Thank you Babymetal for the entertainment & thank you for the music.
All hail Babymetal \,,/
Short info on the author of this text:
male, 43 years, german, it-systemadministrator, hobbymusician (guitar, drums, bass), likes melodic music (e.g. smooth jazz, classical music, gospel, metal, rock, roots reggae, pop, folk, schlager, trance, house), listens to metal bands such as maiden, priest, zeppelin, acdc, slayer, sweet, slade, cannibal corpse, king kobra, saxon, the rods, dio, sabbath, rainbow, nile, colosseum, nephasth, last days of humanity, bolt thrower, kalmah, labyrinth, falconer, edguy, unleashed, exumer, giant, artillery, stryper, petra, narnia, haste the day, leviticus, m.a.r.s., leppard, queensryche, savatage, satriani, malmsteen, michael angelo batio, vai, doro etc.
BABYMETAL’s live backing band is called “Kami Band”. Before the concert ‘Legend “I”‘ (2012 Oct. 6), BABYMETAL performed all with the playbacked music and the fake band dressed in bone suit.
In Legend “I” & “Z”, Kami Band appeared on the encore and played only 2 or 3 tunes. In 2013 May-Nov., BABYMETAL held more concerts performing all with Kami Band than all without Kami Band. In their first arena solo concert (2013 Dec.), the fans expected BABYMETAL would perform all with Kami Band, but Kami Band played only 4 tunes in the encore.
The members of Kami Band are Takayoshi Ohmura (guitar), Leda (guitar), BOH (bass) and Aoyama Hideki (drum). In the latter half of 2013, the members are roughly fixed but some were absent in some concerts because some belongs to other band, and others are skillful musicians hired for other sessions. And almost of the recording musicians were not credited in the CD singles (some kami may have played in them).
Takayoshi Ohmura (guitar)