It’s December, gang, and in fact we’re inside of two weeks til Christmas and three til the new year, and the Homicidols Best of 2019 has drawn to a close, the year is basically done let’s all just pack it in and enjoy all the photos of idols in their Santa outfits and — oh, right, BiS3 has a record on the way, and they’d like to remind us of that fact and get us excited about it by giving it away for free in little pieces. This is from yesterday:
Got ’em? Good. Let’s play them together! Continue reading
This time last week, while we were putting the final organizational touches on this year’s Best Of crop, two things occurred to me. The first was that this year, for various reasons, seemed to have the lowest high points out of the whole dang run of Homicidols Voting Things (probably because of all the soul-murdering graduations); the second was that Codomomental units were, on the whole, involved in the proceedings but without the same degree of they-could-win-so-much-hardware-you-guys as in past year. And on that second point, yeah, I get it, there’s actually been a good amount of turmoil in my favorite company for the last however long, and it’s unfortunately sort of stifled their mental and emotional presence for folks outside of Japan. I think so, anyway, but I’m also not as elbow-deep in the scene nowadays, so maybe I’m missing things.
Now, on Saturday, while I was taking a few minutes to just cruise around and check out things that I might want to pick up later in the week, I ran head-long into a preview clip for this MV. I didn’t read the tweet, and I didn’t play the clip with audio on, but I remembered that what has turned out to be one of the greatest chika loudol groups of all, Zenbu Kimi no Sei Da, did indeed have an album on the way, and that album was going to be a special one, and you know, I got excited. And I took that tweet and I slapped it into a draft post and I was going to publish for Monday a piece on how excited I was about this album and you should be too.
And then I didn’t do it because that’s reality these days. But I actually remembered to come back to it, and my girl Yotsu was doing what idols do and re-sharing the thing that had already been shared and then it all came together for me, the power and the glory amen: Continue reading
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.
MERRY BAD END dropped their very first MV, “Diamond Ain’t Break Down”, over the weekend. It’s quite the introduction:
I love a good fusion, and this tune has it combining metal-core with euro-pop harmonies and 80’s era hip-hop (think Run DMC meets Ace of Base at Lamb of God’s house). The whole package works, but where they really win me over is with the clean harmonies. This trio sounds dreamy together.
If this is the beginning, I can’t for what comes next. Nice to meet you MERRY BAD END!!
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.