First of all, ignore the band’s name. BABYMETAL was created by a Japanese talent agency, so it is best to think of it as a collection of symbols designed so that English speaking individuals can identify and remember who is being referred to.(1)
There is a huge stigma attached to manufactured bands in the Western world. Though we are familiar with them (Spice Girls, Nsync, The Monkees, Backstreet Boys, New Kids On The Block, The Pussycat Dolls) and have reason to distrust them (your pick from the first group and add Milli Vanilli), they are a huge force in Asia and the record companies have it down to a science.
BABYMETAL is a melding of J-Pop and Metal and, for the typical fan of the later, it would be easy to just pass this by, ‘J-Pop’ **skip**, ‘They are rapping?’ **skip**, but I assure you, you will be missing out on something incredible.
BABYMETAL consists of a three member front group and a masked band performing the music. The left and right sides, Yuimetal and Moametal, are tasked with backing vocals, screams and dancing. The main focus is Su-Metal who handles the vocals and, at 16 years of age, has the potential to become a force to be reckoned with.
Their first single was “Doki Doki Morning” back in 2012:
Definitely J-Pop influenced , but you can see where this is going. I have no idea who the band is or who is writing the music, it may very well be buried on some Japanese message board somewhere, they keep their secrets, but you can see where this is going.
Their next single was “Headbangeeeeerrrrr!!!!!”, here live with the full band:
It is difficult not to be impressed. Though the girls had no idea what Metal was when they were hired, this ensemble has evolved.
Not convinced? BABYMETAL’s third single “Ijime,Damme,Zetaiイジメ、ダメ、ゼッタイ(Absolutely no bullying)” may persuade you:
Wait, do I here some Prog-Rock influence, maybe some Helloween, in there?
I am going to drive this point home with BABYMETAL’s newest single “MEGITSUNE “:
BABYMETAL’s first album was just released within the last month and, currently, is number 2 on iTunes Rock charts in Japan and #1,791 on Amazon U.S. I have had a chance to listen to it a few times now and it still amazes me. “Ii ne!” has some killer keyboards, also the rapping I referred to earlier, and “Akatsuki” as well as “Akumu no Rinbukyoku” showcases Su-Metal’s vocals.
If you are a Metal fan, I highly recommend you break away from your preconceptions and give BABYMETAL a listen. There is a ton of talent here and something is going to come out of this. As their webpage says “BABYMETAL is going on knight-errantry for next stage, and will be back soon” and they co-headlined recently with the Taiwanese Black Metal band Chthonic.
I do not believe we have heard the last from Su-Metal and the rest.
(1) The kanji for BABYMETAL is ベビーメタル, which, apparently, is a play off of the Japanese characters for Heavy Metal, ヘヴィメタル. It may also be an attempt to combine the NuMetal with Newborn….who the hell knows.
I tend to believe it is more than likely an example of Engrish where they were trying to combine ‘metal’ with a term for cute girls who were not old enough to refer to as ‘Babes’ and someone looked online and said “Well, younger ‘babes’ are ‘babies’, so that will work.” Since this is a Pop mix, I also blame the overuse of ‘Baby’ in R&B songs as J-Pop tends to be influenced heavily by that genre.
Whatever the case, we were not taught to interpret and remember non-English alphabets so we have only the American educational system to blame for their name.