Music has always been a passion of mine. I can find something I love in pretty much every music genre, from Top 40 Pop to Rap, from EDM to Country, from Alternative Rock to Classical. There is one genre of music, however, that I can say without hesitation that I cannot find any song I love. That genre is Heavy Metal. The shredding guitars and screaming vocals always seemed to strike a negative chord in my brain. Simply put, my brain interprets Heavy Metal as just loud, grating noise.
Enter Babymetal, a trio of Japanese teenage girls who have created their own niche of Heavy Metal fused with J-Pop. The end result is, unsurprisingly, odd. What is striking, however, is that after listening to the same song a few times, instead of revulsion I found myself more intrigued than anything else. It’s almost as if the sugary sweet J-Pop makes the Heavy Metal palatable to usually un-picky music taste.
Babymetal is comprised of 16-year-old Suzuka Nakamoto and 15-year-olds Yui Mizuno and Moa Kikuchi. Suzuka, known as Su-metal, is the lead singer with Yui-metal and Moa-metal serving as background vocalists and dancers. The teenage trio was originally a part of a teenage girl pop group called Sakura Gakuin, and their manager created a subgroup devoted to Heavy Metal fused with J-Pop.
Surprisingly, the three girls have told interviewers that they had never really heard much Heavy Metal before Babymetal was formed. The girls describe their unique sound as “kawaii metal,” with the word “kawaii” meaning “cute.” Their on-stage style reflects their sound, with matching outfits of black leather, metal spikes, red and black lace tutus, and ribbons.
Babymetal’s full album debuted worldwide in February 2014 and they were a smashing hit in the metal world. The trio has played in metal festivals alongside such bands as Iron Maiden, Metallica, and Avenged Sevenfold, as well as performing as openers for a part of Lady Gaga’s most recent tour.
Music reviews posted on iTunes and throughout the Internet seem to have the same underlying theme: people like Babymetal, but aren’t entirely sure if they’re okay with the strange music concept. Examples of comments include, “I want to hate it…but I can’t,” “It feels like Hello Kitty just bashed my face in,” and, “It doesn’t make sense, but you just have to listen to it to understand it.”
All in all, Babymetal is a listening experience that can only be described as weird, but good. But you’ll have to listen to it yourself, and probably over and over again, because I’m still not sure I’ve completely wrapped my head around Babymetal quite yet.