It’s hard to be a bigger hit than Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is right now, who became an Internet sensation when her video for PonPonPon went viral. The innocent-looking, quirky young woman with the crazy yet creative videos has been compared to Lady Gaga, Madonna, and any other bizarrely innovative artist of this decade. With radical music videos, a unique voice, and an ability to blend the bizarre with the bizarrely beautiful, Kyary earned her spot amongst the top idols of 2013.
But with a less hyperactive, over the top single as this, does Kyary retain her charms or does it feel like she’s playing it too safe?
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (Kyary for short) is Takemura Kiriko, one of the biggest budding J-Pop idols to hit the market in a while. Her official singles have all hit in the top 5 of the Oricon Daily Pop Charts, and have sold millions world-wide. To many people who know little about the J-Pop world, Kyary is their image of what the genre is – bizarre, funky costumes, strange high-pitched vocals, and an overall quirky sensibility. I will be honest, when I first saw her, I was annoyed and a little put that she came off as “Look at how quirky me and my culture are!” But after a while, and seeing more of her work and some of her interviews, I am genuinely now a fan. That’s not to say that sometimes her videos don’t scare the living crap out of me, but it is a sign of her creativity and willingness to break the mold which I can always appreciate.
Here’s the official video with a rough translation of the lyrics here:
The lyrics of the song are pretty simple. The song is a celebration of Kyary’s 20th birthday and her Coming of Age ceremony. In Japan, when young men and women turn 20, they are considered adults and go through a ceremony to celebrate their new freedoms and responsibilities. While celebrations can vary by region, it is celebrated universally across Japan on the second Monday of January. Women usually wear furisode, long sleeved ornate kimonos, as a way to signify adulthood. This is where the title comes – a cross of furisode and the English ending “-tion.” Kyary’s lyrics express her gratitude towards family and friends now that she’s an adult, as well as discussing her hopes and fears as she moves forward in life. While this is something many youths go through in Japan, its the first song I’ve ever heard on the topic and it’s a pretty refreshing change from the typical fare of love and boyfriends.
In terms of the video, this is one of the most tame I’ve seen from this artist, though is still very creative is comparison to other artists’ MVs. The entire video is done in red and white, colors which are considered auspicious, and shows Kyary partaking in a big feast, as well as drinking (which she can now do, as 20 is the age limit in Japan) which a bunch of pyramid-haired dancers. Also there’s this creepy looking creature roaming around poking apples with forks. There’s really not much of a plot to the video itself.
The video is much like the song itself – cute and high energy, but not overly complex or with lots of frills. That doesn’t make it any less entertaining – in fact, I feel its sort of a welcome change. Not every video she makes needs to be completely off-the-walls to be enjoyable. It gets the point across well and that’s all a video really needs to accomplish.
Kyary’s videos are always known for their intricate dance moves, but this time the dance falls a little short. That’s not to say it’s a bad dance – it’s fine. Full of energy, constantly moving, the typical standards of a good J-Pop dance. However, for the majority of the song, the dance itself is pretty relaxed and not as difficult as many of her others. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does feel like a step down in term of expectations Still, they do manage to make the chair portions look well put together and energetic.
The song can sound a little monotonous after a while, but still retains a lot of energy and charm. The beat is catchy, using synth-beats and a soft piano-like orchestration in the verses which adds a sweet, rounded out sound to the song. Kyary’s voice is as high as it always is, but it adds an element of excitement rather than grating annoyance, or childishness. The song does reflect on a celebration of this type, as it is jubilant but also somewhat restrained out of fear of the future.
Overall, Furisodeshon is a lot less explosively strange than most of her other single, it holds up really well. Sometimes simplicity can give a song a stronger, more well-balanced effect than over-the-top insanity. Personally, with its catchy upbeat tempo, heartfelt lyrics, and that quirky charm one can expect from Kyary, it’s become one of my new favorite songs.
– Great song overall.
– Unique theme.
– Good music video.
– Video overall is a little lack-luster.
– Somewhat simplistic dance.