Is POP Fucking with Us?

Currently, I’ve been at least temporarily proven wrong on this, but I reserve the right to yet be proven correct! But for real, if POP has gone denpacore, that’s also okey dokey.

I discussed in POP’s profile that their whole business with Saki was obviously a worked shoot from the beginning, and that point was driven home over time with the 100k thing and then photos and official Twitter … and today, Nov. 24, 2015, when this fun little video dropped:

The puppets!

Under ordinary circumstances, given what this site is all about, I wouldn’t include this video, and I’d start to look at POP with some serious side-eye, but:

I have a weird feeling that this is similar to BiS’s “Idol” video moment.

For the uninitiated, BiS was sort of a rising tide at the time that they were between the ashes of BiS 1.0 and the rise of BiS 2.0, and between the Brand-new Idol Society and IDOL iS DEAD albums. They were a trio, just Pour Lui and Non-chan and Yuffy, and there was a single coming! Yay a new single! And they released the video and …

This is how you troll people, people. BiS wasn’t going idol; they literally just wanted their fans to feel betrayed and enraged, and they wanted to create the kind of stir that they excelled at making. Sure enough, within days (if the Internet is to be believed), they’d deleted that sweet little ditty up above and replaced it with:

Much better

And “Idol” went on to be one of their most affirmative and defining songs. Because it’s great. (That video still scares the crap out of me.)

Is that what I think that POP is doing now? I don’t want to show my ass too much, nor commit, but I wouldn’t be surpised. “Oh, we just decided to go in a seriously denpa direction from now on.” I mean, seriously. As a denpa fan, I do like the song, though I think it’s a little derivative and way off base for what Pla2me/POP have done before. Since when has Saki in particular sung like that? And the outfits? And puppets? Try to be a little less on the nose, guys.

Given how easily a lot of fans were led around by the nose by WACK so far, this fits right into that playbook. The Pour Lui/Watanabe combo was always good for … not quite disdain for fans, but for making the fans kind of the butt of the joke, an additional meta-criticism of idol culture and the wotas who fuel it.

So it wouldn’t be the least bit surprising to see this video last right up until POP’s new single drops on Dec. 8, then disappear into the ether, and for that single to be like “Pretty Pretty Good” on amphetamines (in a good way).

Keep on doing you, POP.

What Is Kamen Joshi Trying to Tell Us?

Hot off the heels of their big performance at Saitama Super Arena, the Alice Project’s Kamen Joshi is apparently ready to conquer the damn world:

I love love LOVE these hokey videos

I never thought I’d be a tiny bit afraid of Tachibana Anna, but there you go. Does anybody have any insight into what this is all about? Will I be able to buy tickets to their stadium show in a city near me?

New BiSH, PassCode on a Friday

When you rely on Twitter to get your idol news, waking up in the morning can be a little bit of a chore. “Ugh, this looks like some kind of actual announcement,” you say as you tap the Bing translator to get the English-ish jumble of text that might make sense. “Oh, it’s just another promo for a thing that happened four months ago/won’t happen for four months.” And then you go on with your life.

But then there are days like today!

Yes, on Nov. 20, 2015, not one but two significant videos were dropped by groups dear to my homicidol heart.

PassCode’s “Never Sleep Again” had been teased for a little while as their official third single, and I’m very happy to finally get it; it’s right in their wheelhouse (more so than “Now I Know,” I think) and seems to feature the current post-Yuri lineup exclusively, which isn’t terribly important but does give you some idea of when the final vocals and video were recorded.

(And if this song is what she was referring to when she mentioned her dissatisfaction with the group’s musical direction … I guess because it’s closer to their EDM side than their digital hardcore side? I don’t quite get it.)

Anyway, it’s a very good tune, and it’s definitely being added to the Ultimate Homicidol Playlist.

So is BiSH’s “All You Need Is Love,” which pretty much came out of nowhere. I don’t go over their tweets with a fine-toothed comb these days, but AFAIK none of the other websites had an inkling that this was coming, either. (The song starts at about 4:58.)

On their profile page, I make a lot of the fact that, at least to the point that the profile was written, BiSH seemed to mostly be following in BiS’s spiritual footsteps much more than their musical ones. So of course, literally while that profile was being completed, they release a video (which is, I believe, not technically a single) for a song that’s a direct callback to BiS’s “primal,” from sound to subject matter to visuals.

Is this the BiSH that we’ll hear more of on their upcoming second album?

I kind of like that these releases happened at the same time, too, because Twitter makes it look like BiSH and PassCode are very good friends, and I like when friends can succeed together.

What do you think of these newest entries? Sound off!

Who’s the Next to Break Through Here?

I’ll be really liberal in what “here” means — I think it’s pretty much everything outside of traditional J-pop markets, so pretty much all of the Americas, Europe, Africa, Australia … even most of Asia.

Anyway, music dissimilarities aside, who’s the next Babymetal? Who has the right combination of sound, production, look and management to genuinely crack the non-otaku market and find themselves with a viral video hit or buzz-worthy festival appearance?

The only other qualifiers for this discussion are:

  • Must be idol. The no-bands rule that applies to the site still applies here.
  • Must be homicidol. Alt groups are fine. Idols that did one kinda-rock song are not.

Here are my personal nominees. Feel free to add your own in the comments among all the rest of the arguing, and we’ll work up a nice pool to vote from.

  • PassCode — Given the success of Skrillex and Prodigy, there’s room for a heavier version of EDM. Plus, PassCode is on a pretty steep uphill trajectory right now, so they could catch on with more of the post-Babymetal-curious crowd and have a single take off. I have to think that regular J-pop fans would give them a lot of support, too.
  • Ladybaby — They’ve already done standalone U.S. shows, and the “Nippon Manjyu” video was kind of a thing there for a while. I think they’re much more likely to burn out than make it, but stranger things have happened, and they’re practically tailor-made for certain people in the hipster set to pretend to like for a minute.
  • BiSH — Just name association gives them a leg up, as they immediately got hold of the ex-BiS fans and aren’t a complete unknown among the non-Japanese. Their sound and rather curious visual presentation would make them a surprise hit at a lot of festivals. It also helps that a few comments I’ve picked up from/through them make me think that WACK does have an eye on at least North America.
  • Fruitpochette — They already got a little bit of attention in the Great Babymetal Excitement of 2014, with Metal Injection and Metal Sucks throwing some blog action their way, but it’s kind of amazing that they haven’t broken through yet on the strength of The Crest of Evil, and they never may. Possibly seen as too weird just by name; what if they went back to Frupoche and let everybody think they were French-Canadian? And, just for what it’s worth, they do that tour-relentlessly thing that can give legs to a small breakthrough.
  • Mugen Regina / Haloperi Doll–I could see either of the Life Is Sweet Music sister groups catch on in Europe in particular, where symphonic/melodic/progressive metal with female vocals are more welcome. Haloperi Doll stands a puncher’s chance in the thrash-and-growl Americas.
  • Osaka Shunkashuto — There’s just something about this all-rock, all-fun group. They dance their asses off, Maina sings like Joan Jett gone idol and they have a ridiculous sense of cinematic drama to help drive the point home; if only Americans weren’t averse to rock music anymore …

As a disclaimer, I had POP as a possibility at first, because “pretty pretty good” struck me as the kind of song that could catch on in clubs and eventually find its way onto the airwaves, even without the raw virality that something like “Gangnam Style” had, but now they’re showing signs of going in a seriously denpacore direction, and while that’s cool, it’s not likely to catch on in the West.

So there are seven nominees! To make the process even more scientific, please begin to argue in the comments or on Facebook, invite your friends to share their ill-informed opinions, and tell me all about why I’m missing the boat on Band Ja Naimon! or UnderBeasty or something. I’ll put together a real-deal voting poll after we get some good results.

Introducing the Ultimate Homicidol Playlist

Still a little uncertain about what homicidol music is all about? Just want something to leave on during work so you can rock out?

The Ultimate Homicidol Playlist is a collection of (YouTube) videos that includes most of the best available from groups that are doing it different, doing it hard, doing it harder than the rest of the idol scene. This is metal. This is punk. This is hardcore. This is idol.

Don’t see your favorite song? Don’t see your favorite group? Say so! This is meant to be a representative and substantial list. If you think that a group or a song should be included (and they’re on YouTube), make the case in the comments.

PassCode Has a Roster Change, and Then Another Roster Change

This website is a supporter of PassCode. That being said, while developing their profile page, the group … well, it did something that happens pretty often in the idol scene.

Membership turnover is a very common occurrence among idol groups. Given all of the variables — young people dealing with school and, later, jobs; management looking for an edge in a cutthroat business; the performance schedules; the occasionally too-rabid fans — it’s not a surprise that members go and come.

PassCode had been through a few overlapping iterations since they started in 2013, but the 2014 lineup that was involved in the All Is Vanity release and videos seemed stable, with burgeoning success.

And then I caught their video from TIF and was surprised to see that PassCode had a new, fifth member!

Also, yes, that’s a circle pit.

Now, that was a couple of weeks ago. So then color me surprised to see right before Halloween that Kurohara Yu-ri, the final inaugural PassCode member, a legit contributor to the group, was immediately leaving (fittingly, on the eve of their tour, The Trial of PassCode).

This is sad news. Good luck to Yu-ri!

Here’s video of PassCode’s updated lineup performing live. If you can’t get excited about Yuna’s screams, you’re dead inside.

The roster on PassCode’s profile page has been updated to reflect these changes.