Saturday, August 13, 2011
Ponomenon? Wei~ Wei!
We all know that when it comes to pop culture, it's all about trends. In more then one of the "circles" I like to frequent, Kyarypamyupamyu (no really) is the newest trend. Or at least leading it. When her debut was first announced, more than a few people were skeptical. Sure, she was working with Yasutaka Nakata, but it's not like he hasn't produced generic music for generic models before. At some point, skeptical turned into interested, and interested turned into full out fan. 40% of my tumblr dashboard and twitter timeline are now made up of Pons and Weis. I'm not so sold. I won't go too deep into Kyary's background right now (Yoshimi has a great post explaining it here), but basically she's an 18 year old KERA and Zipper model, with the style and a silly stage name that goes along with it. Usually, that's enough for me to at least be interested in a superficial way, and at first I was. After hearing PON PON PON...Well for one it's a terrible song. Horrible horrible song. But besides that, the gimmick was so contrived, and so over the top that there was no way that I could ever see myself taking Kyary seriously as a leader of any sort of revolution, musically or otherwise. Kyary isn't really doing anything no one has seen before. We've been seeing quirky Harajuku/Shibuya/Akihabara girls of all manner for years, in many outlets. From cosplay, to lolita to electro-VK mash up groups. Usually, the whole thing just ends in doing a stint on the US anime convention circuit, getting a few copies of KERA or Fruits in Hot Topic stores and calling it a day.
That made me wonder, is it the Nakata factor ? Or the "she models in a magazine I like" factor? Is it that people feel the need to support YSTK in anything he does, to the point of disregarding quality all together? (See some of Ami Suzuki's later work) Perhaps so. As a rule, the gal community supports most model---> musician endeavors, and the J-Tek community supports whoever Nakata happens to be producing. Or is pulling silly faces in pink body paint really that innovative?!
Perhaps if Kyary wasn't such a mystery as a person, the whole thing might seem more genuine to me. Unlike Kitade Nana, who we knew was a pretty out there type of girl, even in her more pop days, before she started making the death and doom inspired rock music in goth lolita, Kyary, while I don't doubt any of her love of fashion, or electro pop for that matter, strikes me as someone going with the flow of what works. She's got a quirky sense of humor for sure, but as also pointed out in Yoshimi's post, a reserved nature. This is not to say that I dislike her. From the bit of what I've seen, I actually, really like her. I like that she isn't crazy and bouncing all over the place, just because. And it's also very possible that this is how she expresses that side of her. Nakata obviously saw some potential in her, so I'm not ready to write her off just yet. I just don't see where her draw is. She doesn't sing that well, her lyrics (I think they're hers) aren't great, and there are so many pretty gal mag models in clubs DJing that she just doesn't stand out to me as someone to make an artist. Why her and not Alisa Ueno?
I guess I just don't know where I stand on her for now, and I'm hoping her book will help to clear some things up. I do want to like her, and I hope her next release (if there is a next release) is less "look at me doing crazy things! Pay attention" and more "Now that I've got your attention, I'm going to do something truly unique." Or at least something I don't have to turn off after the 30 second mark.