My good friend, James Santagata, a top-of-the-line professional business consultant, often posts comments that make people squeamish. He has posted another outlandish one today. As always, James is concerned with cost-performance. Actually, it seems he (nor I) try to entertain, nor deal with subjective morality or reasoning.... I think some people get mad at his posts. I usually laugh. Today he posted: "Border Wall? Why are so many pushing for such an expensive solution? I'd settle for concertina wires and landmines. Cost effective and still superior to the watering stations that exist now. But that's just me." Chuckle. I can see the PC crowd getting into a major huff on that one. He isn't talking about anything excepting cost-performance.... Immigration is not the issue here. Not being a guy to take this sort of inflammatory rhetoric lying down, I responded: "An exploding landmine that doesn't kill but blows off a leg or two, or sends a 1/8 inch piece of shrapnel rocketing through a left eye, leaving some guy screaming to high hell is a very effective method of "getting the word out" and promoting your product to other people around you. My dad, who fought in Korea, once told me that he thought it might have been an early method of Buzz Marketing." I wonder if a big wall between North and South Korea in 1950 would have prevented the Korean War? Just thinking from a different perspective, or at least, showing dear reader how most successful businessmen and entrepreneurs think. That's all.
Baby Metal is not a "Metal Band" in the way we think of most metal bands; High school dropouts in need of a shower and haircut who listened to too much Metallica and AC/DC in school and then one day got together in their dad's garage to make head-banging screaming noise. No. Baby Metal is better. Baby Metal is three girls, who never listened to metal music, who were put together as the result of a Japanese record label business meeting where executives plotted in a smoky backroom to decide what kind new Japanese Idol group they were going to create and sell. And they would do so attempting to emulate the quality production evident in many Korean Pop projects.
In my most probably confused opinion, there is not much difference between your average Japanese Idol group and the next. I also don't think there is much difference between Baby Metal and the more immensely popular (at least in Japan) Japanese Idol group AKB48 excepting uniforms, dance steps and that decision by those back room executives as to the "type" of music that would accompany these projects. Of course I wasn't at any of these Baby Metal meetings but I can guess that: 1) None of the 3 girls in Baby Metal had any input as to the musical direction of this project; 2) None of the Baby Metal girls write or compose any of the songs. Generally, speaking, I think many music fans in Japan don't care if their favorite artist writes their own music or not; the average Japanese music fan likes image over substance any day. Then there are those negative nellies who like it when artists write and perform their own music. They claim that an artist making their own songs is more "real." Can you imagine? I wish Justin Bieber would get someone else to write his songs for him; that would make him even better than he is now! Alas, Japanese Idol singers don't write their own music... So does that make their music "fake"? Perhaps. But it's not any more or less fake than 99% of the other crap you hear on your standard run-of-the-mill FM radio Hit Parade of Hell countdown program. "The Japanese Pop Music industry is all that the pop music industry in the west aspires to be: Conveyor belt produced corporate schlock shoved down the throats of the unsuspecting masses." - Me It really astounds me that people in the west like Baby Metal. I don't know any music fans in Japan who like them (there must be some.) I do know many so-called "serious" music fans in Japan (folks who work at record stores, "Music is my life" types, etc.) who absolutely hate Baby Metal. I think most of us in Japan scratch our heads when we hear that people in the west like Baby Metal. I don't really care for Baby Metal just like I basically don't really care for all Japanese pop idol groups; I think they are the same thing. Just like I think Justin Bieber and New Direction are the same thing; but most of the fans of one or the other will surely protest. Baby Metal is a Japanese Idol Pop outfit. It is "metal" with some Japanese "schoolgirls" "singing" over the top (Lolita Complex is strong in this one) with plenty of autotune, all created artificially by some record company so they can flog it to the Western version of "otaku." NOTE: ("Otaku" translates into "geeks" or "nerds" but there is a fundamental difference between Japanese otaku and geeks or nerds in the west. Japanese otaku are generally perceived as overweight guys, with a zero love life who read too many comic books and watch too many anime and spend far too much time gaming. Western geeks and nerds, might play games and watch too many anime too, but geeks and nerds in the west are generally considered intelligent. I mean, geeks and nerds in the west are the types who are president of the science or math club in high school... In Japan? otaku, well, otaku play too many games and read/watch too many cartoons and comics.) Classic Baby Metal lyrics such as these are sure to invoke strong emotions:
NEVER! NEVER! NEVER!
C! I! O! Chocolate! Chocolate!
Cho, cho, cho,
Is it OK?
But, you know, recently I worry about my weight
Deep! Bobby Dy----lan! Move over! You've met your match! It don't get much better than this! Some might say the lyrics are atrociously bad. Not me. Baby Metal and AKB48 are all a sales pitch. And the public are buying, right? So what's the problem? Perfect! But, really, western music fan, if you are going to go bananas over Baby Metal, then you should be a hardcore fan of AKB48 too. They are, de facto, the same thing (excepting AKB48 videos are more akin to softcore porn). Check it out. Here's an AKB48 video that has almost 100 million views: (You must watch for at least 1 minute or you get penalized!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFf4AgBNR1E
This is the same thing as Baby Metal, excepting, as I said, dance steps, uniforms (and the AKB48 girls are much prettier and much more famous) and the style of music that was decided in the backroom of some record company by some cigar smoking executives.... a decision, of which, these girls played absolutely no part in. Cool, eh? A perfect pop formula. Baby Metal and AKB48 are manufactured music projects from the get go. I think I can say in the defense of Baby Metal is that (if you do consider them metal - I don't) is that "Metal" has always been absurd, over the top pretentious and ridiculous....That is what Heavy Metal has always been. Just ask Spinal Tap… And finally, one last thing in their defense: the success and acceptance of Baby Metal by westerners shows us one thing if nothing else: The Monkees were waaaay ahead of their time. Pop music really is just one big joke. So is metal music.... But I figured in the case of metal music, westerners had always known that.... Maybe not, eh?