I've been debating writing something up on two mega-J-Pop acts coming stateside in the fall. I don't know if they'll break through to the mainstream media and I'm kind of dreading if they do. It's an odd feeling since I do want people to like what I like but I've almost given up with explaining Bollywood. People will just see what they see in 3 minute bursts of LOL on youtube. There was an article linked by the NYAFF about the "crazy" world of Bollywood the other day and it was all like "Wacky! Mard! Disco Dancer! OTT!" and… like, I get it. I enjoy crazy stuff, too, but when that's the ONLY depiction it just feels so reductive.
It's the same with J-Pop. There's this GIANT history of give-and-take with the audience but it gets reduced to LOL!
One of my fave idol acts is doing a giant 15th anniversary concert in Hawaii (SO CLOSE YET SO FAR! *cries*) and the I just know that if it gets picked up in the American press, the emotion wrapped up in them (and us) having come so far together is going to be reduced to, "30-something Japanese One Direction-Type Boy Band Plays to Crying Girls in Stadium. LOL! What Will Japan Think Of Next?! They Aren't Even Cute!"
One of their recent hits is "Guts," an inspiring song which features some catchy baseball themed choreography:
GUTS! Mステ140502 by amnos_s
There is almost literally no context for this in the contemporary American pop sphere. The visually catchy dance step that everybody knows, the universal appeal, the non-personal lyrics about trying your best, the earnestness, the lack of cool…
Later this fall Perfume is hitting New York and LA for their first North American tour. I bought my tickets back in June on the first day they were available. Perfume is--going back to my thoughts on Friday--a dance group, first and foremost. Their songs are tied up in their intricate visual choreography but I'm afraid that part won't be clear to the Western arts types trying to write about them.
Perfume are not idols. They are NOT idols and do not trade on their personal lives. Perfume sing but their primary pop appeal is the intricate three-part choreography. They way they use their bodies is pure delight to watch. Again, non-personal lyrics.
The dance is important. One more reason Taylor Swift's recent song and video "Shake it off" (?) pissed me off so much. Why be so proud of FAILING AT EVERY DANCE?! That's the American "autheniticism." Dancing is "fake." Ugh. Well, I was listening to "Palat Tera Hero Idhar Hai" while walking into work yesterday and it took all my self control not to do that pelvic thrust step Varun does… take that, Authenticism Scolds!!