It’s a song! Called “Message”! Delivered via live video!
You may have noticed that ol’ Maniac’s been a busy boy lately. Part of that busy-ness has been doing a lot of talking with people, walking them through some things that might be of benefit to them. After a while, if the conversation gets comfortable and there’s a rapport between us, I’ll bring up ye olde Homicidols.com*, which in about 20 percent of cases leads to a further conversation about what that all is. I avoid the bigger questions about “the hell is idol” and stuff by choosing my words carefully, and instead will refer people either to the site itself or (the majority of cases, frankly) to idols by name. Babymetal, obviously, as they’re an obvious entry point. BiSH, Necroma, YMM, TTTs, — depending on a person’s taste, I try to think of something notable, with existing fan support, for them to check out.
I say all of this because I’ve found myself increasingly bringing up BBTS in these contexts. Sometimes it’s because my conversation partner will have an interest in metal kinds of things; sometimes it’s because I’ll mention metal units, and the question about Cookie Monster etc. vocals will come up; sometimes it’s because I’ve had a favorite track of theirs playing while I was in transit, and they’re top of mind. Either way, the fact that I keep bringing them up as an example feels weighty.
And now I’m sitting here, playing “Message” through a few times, and thinking about the state of metal in idol at the moment. In 2015, when my gaze really started to drift toward idol in a bigger way than letting YouTube playlists dictate when I was going to find, the metal idols seemed like they were the biggest of deals. That certainly hasn’t panned out, and even the mighty Babymetal feels very vulnerable right now. Enter, then, a unit of older performers dressed in jackets and t-shirts and shorts and boots, sometimes just absolutely letting it rip and sometimes almost inexplicably pairing off normal vocals with harshes (as in the above!). They aren’t as infectiously fun as the Fox God’s wavering disciples, but they bring sounds that could easily position them well among those sections of the international metalheadariat that disdains Babymetal for dumb reasons — harsh vocals! less cute stuff! less choreography in general!
And with that, I wonder. I’d like for the “message” in this case to that BBTS is charging hard and here to stay and all of that, and it might be true, but the fact of the matter is that they’re still growing, feeling things out, finding ways forward. I have even heard, from a pretty reliable source, that they may follow in BM’s footsteps and ditch the normal idol modes of operation to be more of a song-and-dance unit. What are they going to try for? What’s their ceiling, even?
*Not, like, by name; people think I’m weird enough that I don’t need to give off the impression that I celebrate mass murder