WACK never sleeps, apparently, and nor does its somewhat eponymous founder have time for your shenanigans or judgment. In fact, he stacked up extremely Watanabe moments for the week and delivered like has never seemed possible — and it’s only Wednesday, good lord.
This is a music website, so the most important news is that the latest flavor of BiS (to which I do refer derisively but actually find myself more in love with all the time) is releasing a new album, and here’s the first track, which you can download until the 10th on the link here, and also listen to in perpetuity:
When the Best of 2019 opens up this week, friends, I fully expect that you’re all going to join me in smashing that vote button for NEO JAPONISM as Best Reboot. They are clearly the best and also recency bias is a brutal fact of our lives, so brutal that you are helpless against it, not to mention helpless before my very persuasive arguments. In fact, the great crime being perpetuated by this year’s voting is that none of these new NEO JAPONISM pieces are in the running for other awards despite their clear superiority to everything. Including this new one that’s technically eligible for all awards because it’s still November for a few hours!
Fight for the Right to what, though
Just listen to that. That’s basically everything good and right in loudol — creative structure, aggressive, pop hook that somehow doesn’t take anything away from the sheer volume, another dang breakdown — and I’m absolutely beside myself that something so good and right exists in my world, a reminder of the peak of what idol can do.
I’ll tell you, if 2019 is remembered as being as bad as it usually feels in real time, I want to be the person who’s all “yeah but did you hear some of the really awesome music that happened anyway AND ESPECIALLY THE NEO JAPONISM THAT SAVED CHRISTMAS?!” After returning to life just over a week ago in what’s rapidly emerging as my favorite event of this otherwise godsforsaken year, NEO JAPONISM has even more jaw-kicking idolcore for us, and friends, I don’t know where they’re going with this, but I’m officially along for the ride:
God damn. God DAMN. I’m not completely sold on marrying that chorus to the verses, but this is the kind of hook to the face that I used to delight in finding back when idol was so new and exciting and nobody had yet invented the word “Codomocore”. FFS, it has a goddamn breakdown in it, albeit one that fits the material more than the occasional wedged-in instances that are often more laughable than laudable.
A week ago, I was loudly demanding that NEO JAPONISM be worked into the Best Of mechanisms and then waving last week’s post in everybody’s face to make sure I was being heard; today, I feel like I’m ready to give them all of the awards (even the ones that don’t pertain!) just so for vindication’s sake. What an absolutely gorgeous return to life they’re giving us.
Everybody’s done the heartbreak thing this year, it seems. Groups and individual idols have dropped like flies, literal icons of the business and the tiniest of unknown chika acts as well closing up shop or undergoing massive changes almost as if they all know something we don’t. I’ve personally had my share of blank-eyed staring into the distance at one bit of news or another, and one that I definitely didn’t make enough hay about when it happened was NEO JAPONISM.
For about a year, they were arguably my favorite thing in the business, this hard-rocking, all-out unit that didn’t pull any punches and seemed to make a mark every time they released something into the world. They were just a really fun group to follow, although harder in a lot of ways to love right because there was so much else going on. But did I miss a chance to lavish praise on them? Absolutely not. And so earlier this year when the ~original~ group disbanded in the kind of mass graduation that has been so typical of 2019, I was kind of floored. Unlike all of the other instances, though, manager-san immediately set the record straight and announced that NEO JAPONISM as a thing wasn’t going anywhere, and there would be a reboot on the near horizon. That gives one hope, which gives one optimism, and when little bits of info started to trickle out, it started to become real.
And that’s where we land now! Here are the members: Continue reading
Once upon a time, I made an editorial decision that this site wouldn’t cover solo idols. The reasoning behind it, while not necessarily sound, did actually have a sensible motivation: I actually used to think that I needed to put definite rails around what was and wasn’t idol in addition to the poorly defined musical boundaries, and I considered solo artists as being too much in a grey area. But then Hanako-san and PSYBOU KANOJO broke that down, and past my own pretenses I could see plenty of unsung solo artists (mikicco, Ophelia 20mg, fucking Lein) doing cool and interesting work and idoling at the same time.
That’s a very long way of saying that I still sometimes get surprised by how much I like certain solo idols even though all logic says that I shouldn’t. And with plenty of solo idols coming out of fairly well-known groups as their relative point of origin, it only stands to reason that good would beget good, etc.
Which is a slightly less long way of saying that Chirimen, formerly of long-term Homicidols Dot Com not-secret crush 969, has in fact made good on that solid background and her own talents to strike out as a solo performer, and this is her first piece and I’m very excited about this: Continue reading
Man, a lot of stuff’s happening today. But you know what? Not a single bit of it can compete with the idiotic grin on my face every time I give this not-new one from SPARK SPEAKER another spin (approaching its dozenth play in the last couple of hours!). Are you feeling up? Listen to it! Are you feeling down? Friend, listen to it like three or four times in a row! Will you want to conquer the entire galaxy after that? Possibly! Will you feel like you can? Almost certainly!
Take it away, punk rock idols who I always wish we could post about more!
What a whirlwind. I thought we were going to do a little bit more of that patented easycore+idol thing that SPARK SPEAKER’s pulled off so well a few times, and I wasn’t completely wrong to think that (those verses!), but if I’d ever thought that they had some Armor Girls-esque moves in them, I wouldn’t have admitted it. And that chorus, of course, that’s pure punk singalong anthem.
And yeah, you know what? Life is beautiful, gang. Life is beautiful as hell. It’s sometimes beautiful in weird ways — for instance, idols — but there’s almost always something worthy of pure, obnoxious celebration right in front of us, and I’m all for embracing it, especially given that recent rough patch. I’m nominating this for Song of the Year just on the strength that we should all get to have this kind of mood as often as possible.
You know, it’s funny in a way that yesterday boasted significant news from arguably the two most important things in idol to me, and the one that I was most likely to have pre-written off completely won my heart back over while the other — the one that I cling to like the last hope in a disaster — got completely washed out in the excitement. I’m talking about BiSH, obviously, and Babymetal, but in reverse order: If not for catching the download tweets out of the corner of my eye, I’d have had no idea that anything was going on, and if D hadn’t brought up this MV, I’d have completely missed it. And why? Because I was too busy playing the (second half of the) new Babymetal album on repeat and getting those good feelings all over again.
If you know me, and you know BiSH, and you’ve paid any attention to anything I’ve written about them in the past, oh, couple of years, you may be predicting where this is going, but I’ll go ahead and give the lede a little swerve here and say: I like this, I really do, and though the single isn’t out-out until November, it’s going to be a good release.
That’s right, friends, I’m talking maybe my favorite idol thing from my favorite idol scene, in reverse order the very intense and/or wild collection of misfits in Osaka, and DAIDAIDAI having emerged from that mess all the way back in 2016, carrying on the very unique sonic+idol legacy of Utena Yuki and PSYBOU KANOJO. This I write in dang near ever post about DAIDAIDAI because, damn it all, the history is important and the relationship between excellent ongoing projects must be acknowledged.
Anyway, DAIDAIDAI had, as once might expect after about three years together, a chunk of the membership graduate recently, and with that a simmering down of the old system while things retooled. Or, at least, as I surmise, because if I hadn’t checked in on them this morning, I’d still be unaware of these goings on because that’s what happens when you’re still afraid of the huge info crush of turning your notifications back on! However, yes, the graduation thing, that was known, and so you connect dots when you check in and OH LOOK A NEW THING!
Promising on the art alone!
Well that’s certainly exciting, and terrifying. And we get a preview version via short lyric video! Continue reading
I had a happy thought this morning, gang, the kind of happy thought that only a person with a fancy idol website who goes on a short hiatus can really have. I was looking through the music I have saved to my phone and saw uijin’s last album there, and I got sad, for they are soon to leave us; then I went through my YouTube subscriptions and saw that their little sister group, raymay, had done a thing the other day, released a new digital single, and I got happy again. The mad brains behind this whole thing will continue to shower us with stuff!
And then, friends … then I listened, and I watched, and I cannot recommend more to you that you give this a few spins in a row, for it is magnificent:
This may not be news for you at this point, but now the second iteration of Candye Syrup will be disbanding next month, their last show at IKU’s birthday party:
Homicidols Dot Com reached out for comment and has, as of press time, received none. For what it’s worth, the members have likewise been all but silent on the issue (safe for RTing the above); the only other topic on any of their channels is the show on Saturday. I won’t speculate as to the reasons why this is happening, but one does wonder if this will be the actual end of the project. It didn’t take long to get this version up and running after the original disbanded immediately after their U.S. appearance last year, so odds are that we’ll know future plans (if any) sooner rather than later.
Update! IKU posted quite a bit on this right around the time that I was scheduling: