Babymetal have a new video and one less singer

Babymetal-Starlight

A band like Babymetal isn’t really built to last. Three adorable teen Japanese girls fronting a metal band only works as long as the girls stay young and adorable. Four years after they blew up internationally, those girls are now young women — and as of Friday, there’s one less of them, as the band announced that Mizuno Yui, aka Yuimetal, has left the group, apparently due to a combination of health reasons and a desire to pursue her own solo career. (You can read statements from the band and Yuimetal here.)

Su-Metal and Moametal are carrying on without their former bandmate — and judging from the new single they released Friday, “Starlight,” they’re taking their music and image in a more mature, less kawaii (cute) direction. Which makes sense — Moametal is 19 and Su-Metal is 20, so it would be weird if they were still traipsing around in matching tutus and singing about the joys of chocolate over blast beats. Then again, being weird was what Babymetal was about from the jump — and now they’re, well, less weird. So I’m feeling a little conflicted about this new, less gimmicky direction for the band.

That being said, “Starlight” is a solid slab of pop-tinged power metal, with a catchy chorus and some genuinely heavy instrumental passages. (Even in their early, super-kawaii days, Babymetal’s backing band was always legit.) The video (embedded below) is kind of “meh” in my opinion, but it’s apparently setting up a narrative that will continue in future videos about something called the Chosen Seven that we get a glimpse of at the very end. And that part sounds like it could be really cool. So I’ll withhold judgment until they’ve revealed the full storyline.

Speaking of storylines, Babymetal are also gearing up for the release of their first graphic novel, Apocrypha: The Legend of Babymetal, which looks awesome. It’s due out Oct. 30 and supposedly will explain the story behind the Fox God, a mythical deity the group often cites in interviews as the creator of Babymetal. So hey, they haven’t completely abandoned their weird roots.

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Babymetal update: They’re all OK (we think) and ready for those Lady Gaga dates

Babymetal

Yesterday we took a break from bitching about missing Babymetal’s first U.S. show to tell you that at said show, one of the kawaii metal girls apparently got carted off in an ambulance. Well, today, a Babymetal fan named Benjamin Hill tweeted us a link to the following post on the group’s unofficial fan site. We’re not sure of the source, so for all we know it’s completely made up. But given that it doesn’t flat-out deny the ambulance rumors, and chalks the whole thing up to heat exhaustion (and it was indeed brutally hot here in Los Angeles on Sunday), it seems plausible.

babymetal-update

For the record, the full post was slightly cut off. The end actually specifies that Babymetal will rock unsuspecting Gaga fans’ faces “off like a hurricane!” (You can read the full text of the post here.)

So for now, let’s assume the girls are all fine and ready to rock Phoenix tomorrow night. Where there will hopefully be better air-conditioning.

One of the members of Babymetal might have just left their first U.S. show in an ambulance

Babymetal

[Update: Today we received unconfirmed word that all three Babymetal girls are fine. If there are further developments in this story, we’ll let you know.]

We woke up this morning more hungover than usual, because we spent last night trying to drink away the pain of missing a Babymetal show that was 10 fucking minutes from my house. It was the cute-metal trio’s first U.S. show and since some genius decided to book the most popular band on the Internet into a venue the size of my living room, it sold out in about three seconds. I’m sure we could have donated kidneys for tickets or something, but since Andy and I are both marginally employed at the moment, we decided to be responsible adults and sit this one out.

Well, it turns out that not only did we miss an absolute rager of a show, according to this review…we also missed some serious post-show drama. Although it hasn’t been confirmed by the band, several eyewitnesses saw an ambulance leaving right after the concert that was apparently carrying one of Babymetal’s two younger members, Moa and Yui. A detailed post on Reddit would seem to confirm that it was one of the girls. Hopefully it was just a little exhaustion or dehydration or headbanger’s whiplash and not something more serious.

Assuming all three Babymetallers are recuperated in time from last night’s show, they’re scheduled to continue their conquest of America with five dates salvaging the career of opening for Lady Gaga. Which makes it almost worth paying good money to go see Lady Gaga. Almost.

The Gaga/Babymetal dates are below, but first watch this promotional tour video, which is pretty much the new gold standard against which all future promotional tour videos will be judged.

Babymetal at Lady Gaga’s artRAVE : the ARTPOP ball

7/30 Phoenix, AZ US Airways Arena
8/01 Las Vegas, NV MGM Grand Garden Arena
8/02 Stateline, NV Harveys Lake Tahoe
8/04 Salt Lake City, UT Energy Solutions Arena
8/06 Denver, CO Pepsi Center

USA Today really isn’t sure what to make of the new Babymetal video

Babymetal

Don’t look now, but the American media has discovered Babymetal. Just a few weeks after we made them a Weird Band of the Week. Coincidence? You decide. But whatever the reason, Babymetal are suddenly more popular with the journos than Justin Bieber’s jail pics.

First the pseudo-feminist website Jezebel did a little drive-by blurb about Babymetal’s new video “Gimme Choco!!” They called the girls the “world’s best (and probably only) half-pop/half-metal entertainment sensation,” which seems like a bit of stretch. Ever hear of My Chemical Romance, guys? Or, I dunno…the ’80s? But they also  described Babymetal’s songs as “insane. And then really catchy. And then insane again.” Which sounds about right, actually. So OK, Jezebel, we’ll give you a pass.

But then USA Today tried to jump on the Babymetal bandwagon and immediately was all like, “Eh, I don’t know about this, guys! Can we get off again now? This music confuses me!”

“Babymetal’s video is the greatest ever — or the worst” reads the USA Today headline, in no way shamelessly trolling for clicks. (For the record, “Gimme Choco!!” is not even the greatest Babymetal video…clearly, this one is. And as we keep pointing out, the worst video of all time remains Brokencyde’s “Freaxxx.” On this point there can be no debate.) And then, in their “Story Highlights” sidebar…because yes, USA Today has “Story Highlights” now, because what kind of asshole actually reads an entire USA Today article?…they write this: “Babymetal is a J-pop/death-metal girl-group trio. Yep, that’s what it is, all right.” Yep, that’s what passes for music journalism nowadays, all right.

Let’s see, who else got in on the Babymetal action this week? Vice’s Noisey music blog. GlobalPost. Huffington Post, which actually has an entire section dedicated to weird news, which we really wanna hate but is actually kind of awesome. How else would I have known to put “Putin butt plug” on my Pinterest “Gift Ideas” board? But I digress.

Anyhow, here’s the video that started this whole thing. Depending on who you believe, the song is either called “Gimme Choco!!”, “Give Me Chocolate!!”, “Gimme Chocolate!!” or possibly “Give Me Choco!!” All I know is that it has two exclamation points at the end. And in the video, they appear to be dancing in front of a giant statue of the Virgin Mary and throwing kawaii metal gang signs. Yep, that’s what happens, all right.

Babymetal are all grown up and releasing their first album

Babymetal

Question for all you young’ns out there: Do you guys even still buy albums anymore? Isn’t it all just YouTube and Spotify and the occasional one-off Katy Perry download? If that’s the case, then I guess the forthcoming debut album from “cute metal” future legends Babymetal is specifically aimed at the creepy-old-dudes-who-like-gothed-out-Japanese-schoolgirls demographic. To which I say: Thanks for thinking of us, Babymetal!

I just assumed that Babymetal had already released an album by now, since they’ve been around for at least a couple years and put out about half a dozen singles and a concert DVD. Turns out I was wrong. Their debut album, BABYMETAL (in all caps, cuz it’s gonna be LOUD AS FUCK), comes out later this month. So far it looks like it’ll be a Japan-only release, but hopefully us American creepy old dudes can score us a legit copy soon, too. [Update: A kindly reader just informed us that the album will be available to non-Japanese buyers via CDJapan.co.jp.]

Ready for the staggeringly epic album trailer? No, you’re not. You just think you are.

Babymetal

Babymetal

Look, Japan, I get it, OK? You’re a strange country. You don’t have to keep proving it to me. I know all about your jam bands who dress like giant shrimp and creepy singing robots and game shows where you have to play a harmonica inside a dead fish’s mouth. So you can relax already. You got this weird shit on lock.

But no…every time I open my inbox, I’m greeted with more “what the fuck is going on?” moments from the Land of the Rising Sun. The latest is a band called Babymetal that is, in fact, made up of babies who sing metal. Well, OK, they’re not babies; I think the oldest one is like 14 or something. But the point is, they’re sweet little Japanese schoolgirls who should probably not be allowed to watch any Dir En Grey videos for at least another four years…and yet, they kinda sound like Dir En Grey. Japan strikes again!

Apparently Babymetal is the metal-themed spinoff of another kiddie J-pop group called Sakura Gakuin. They call their music “kawaii metal,” which sounds like metal for surfers but actually translates to “cute metal,” which actually sums this stuff up pretty well. There are definite elements of pop and EDM and even the occasional hip-hop and dubstep…but it all comes back to the double kick drums and drop-D guitar riffs, which are played by a scary-looking masked backing band while the girls dance around in their Hot Topic finery. Never before has the devil’s music been this adorable.

Do I even need to tell you that this shit is huge in Japan? Here’s a link (embedding disabled…fuckers) to a video of them playing a song called “Headbanger!!” for approximately one zillion people at the Inazuma Rock Festival this past September. I believe this is part of a DVD they released last month called Babymetal Apocalypse, which I guess if you’re a metal purist is probably the most accurately named concert DVD of all time. Personally I can’t get enough of this shit, though. It’s like watching a Metallica show inside a Hello Kitty store.

I’ll leave you with one last video because it’s awesome. Spoiler alert: Her microphone houses a tiny samurai sword. In your face, Marilyn Manson!

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