Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Music: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu » Nanda Collection

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu released her hit new album "Nanda Collection" in the US today!! Finally! I've been dying for the album to become available here since it's Japan release, and as such I took a trip to Little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles to my favorite bookstore to pick up my copy...which of course ended with every single album being already sold out.(;≧皿≦) I should have known, considering Kyary's popularity, but I drove home and reluctantly downloaded it from iTunes (there's no way I was waiting two more weeks to order from Japan).

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu: Japan's Kawaii Fashion Icon

If you're into J-pop or kawaii fashion and haven't heard of Kyary, then you have been sorely missing out, my friend. Kyary started as a fashion blogger in high school as a means to express herself despite being pressured from strict parents not to stand out. One day, she was hanging around the streets of Harajuku when a photographer asked if he could take a street snap of her. A tiny picture of her was placed in Kera magazine and got so much attention that the magazine asked her back as a reader's model.
She started to gain popularity and appeared regularly in Tokyo fashion magazines from then on. Later, she became a DJ as her interest in music grew and the rest was history. Here, she met Yasutaka Nakata, the mastermind behind all of Kyary's songs. Nakata always wanted to create a kawaii J-pop artist and Kyary was the perfect choice. He is responsible for writing all of the music and lyrics for Kyary, a member and creator of the band Capsule, as well as the writer and creator behind Perfume, another famous J-pop group.
In 2011, Kyary released her first hit single "PonPonPon" on YouTube, which went viral and quickly garnered her world renowned fame. She has grown to become the symbol of kawaii culture in Japan and worldwide. She's even written a book, an autobiography titled, "Oh My God Harajuku Girl". She continues to promote Japan around the world and hopes that one day more people will become interested in Japanese language and culture.

Why Kyary Is the Best and Why I Love "Nanda Collection"

I get so bored with American pop culture sometimes. Not because American pop culture is bad, but just because I'm so bombarded with it on a daily basis and I'm so used to it that it's usually nothing new or exciting. So, Kyary was like a breath of fresh air to me. I won't lie, my very first encounter with her was through her "PonPonPon" music video, which is rather ridiculous. At first, she was a little too much to take in and I had no idea what she saying, as I don't speak Japanese, so I kinda just said "well, that was weird..." and forgot about her.
I don't remember how long it took exactly, but some time later I suddenly had the urge to re-watch the video. On second look, I was amazed! I realized how catchy the song is and how creative and entertaining the video is. I mean, who doesn't like floating eyeballs, dancing faceless fat ladies, brains, slices of bread, pogo sticks and cheesy graphics? Haha, yes it is bizarre, but in such a good way!

I assumed all of her videos would be smothered in pink and artificiality, but I was happy to discover that there is much variety within her videos as well as musical diversity in her songs. Of course, all of her songs contain similar characteristics like strong beats, major keys, and danceability for the most part, but they are different enough to keep me from never ever getting bored.

Many Americans don't like cutesy things and find them to be childish. I, on the other hand, love kawaii and I personally find Kyary's style to be extremely fun! I love that she doesn't try to look sexy all the time to garner interest and she isn't afraid to be goofy or strange. She is responsible for taking grotesque or scary things and making them look kawaii which is something I find quite intriguing.
I can't get enough of her music, and "Nanda Collection" is no exception. The album title roughly translates to "What in the world is this? Collection", which I think is rather perfect. It's basically the question I asked when I first heard her music, but also the idea behind why I love her so much! The album contains plenty of great singles including "Furisodeshon", an awesome coming of age song, "Invader Invader", a song about taking over the world, and the ninja themed "Ninjari Bang Bang".

Even though I only know a few words in Japanese, I still love her music despite being unable to understand the lyrics. After all, music is a universal language. I went to her concert here in LA not too long ago and it was absolutely one of the most fun concerts I've been to. Overall, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is the best because her music and charming personality and style are always uplifting. Don't get me wrong, I love a good sad song and enjoy plenty of different musical genres, but Kyary's music always puts a smile on my face even when I'm having the worst day ever!

To conclude, here are some of her videos that I love from "Nanda Collection" and her first album "Pamyu Pamyu Revolution":

One of my favorite Kyary songs, "Candy Candy".

"Fashion Monster"!

J-pop dubstep, anyone? "Invader Invader"

Last, but not least, "PonPonPon".


*I do not own any of the pictures or videos of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu in this blog post. Thanks.

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