I remember, back when I was first stepping my whole foot into this idol business, how people would always hand-wave poor performances and uphold chika almost as a principle with the canard about idol really being about watching the performers develop over time, it’s why you support them after all, ain’t they cute, etc. I never quite bought it all the way, not from Western people at least, but I can cop to a certain amount of definitely enjoying seeing groups start off raggedy as all hell (relatively) and grow into something impressive.
At least just as interesting, though, is watching a quality, well-managed, talented project evolve over time, regardless of their respective level of success or popularity. It’s one thing to really stick to your conceptual guns straight from the jump and only move around within a limited musical space; it’s another to use the concept of the group as the creative boundaries and, within that, consider different presentations or musical styles over time. NECRONOMIDOL, for instance, is great at this — you know it’s Necroma by its darkness, not by their always doing a certain kind of musical thing, and in fact oftentimes by the gamut of musical things that they’re able to put into a single record while retaining that core chilly dread.
Another example, and more on the side of bright and shiny idol, is long-time personal guilty pleasure of mine, Devil ANTHEM, who are now four years into the idol game and have grown and changed quite a bit over time, so I invite you to first take a swing through this first time that I got to write them up, and then to enjoy perhaps this more recent collection of theirs, and then to settle into this new demo:
For those of you currently scrunching up your face and rolling your eyes skyward and doing that same high-pitched exaggerated sigh thing that I do at least thrice per afternoon at Day Job, it’s fine, you don’t need to say it. I know that this isn’t a “rock song” per se! Much of it isn’t, and that’s the lesson — look at what all this group, this group that started off not too subtly taking advantage of certain popular viral things within idol in 2014, and has since changed and updated and blended and covered really so many angles, look at how they’ve matured. It’s really something.
Also, are you listening to that bass line? Have mercy.
I wondered why this had popped up online — single preview, at least? — and I suppose that it’s really just for their upcoming one-man in a couple of Sundays:
【12/16（日）開催ワンマンライブ「Enter awake mode」チケット一般販売開始】
Devil ANTHEM. ONE MAN LIVE
Enter awake mode
時間：open 14:30 start 15:30
— Devil ANTHEM. (@devilanthem) November 21, 2018
A fourthiversary party, maybe!
I’m really stoked and supportive when it comes to Devil ANTHEM. May have they have at least four more years to go.