For kids in Japan, graduation is right around the corner, and just like we in the English speaking world have our sappy graduation songs, so too is the “graduation song” a genre in and of itself. Artists come out in full force in late winter to early spring to give their own rendition of the cheerful, hopeful sadness that is moving on to the next stage of your life and leaving certain people behind. How does Kyary Pamyu Pamyu put her own spin on this cliche? The result is actually surprising.
Let’s take a listen to Yume no Hajima Ring Ring by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.
Here’s the official music video, with English translation here:
The lyrics are actually the worst part of the single. By worst, mind you, I don’t mean they are terrible, just that they super predictable. All they do is say goodbye to everything the singer once knew and how she’s moving on to something else. There are been plenty of songs like that in all languages, the most recent of which I heard in Japanese was Niigaki Risa’s goodbye single, Thank You Dear My Friends. The sentiment is lovely, but it’s more cliche than I think a song by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu has any right to be.
This is video is decidedly less weird than her other videos, which is actually saying a lot. Basically, the video has Kyary transitioning from elementary school to a striving modeling to promotional single Pon Pon Pon to a full fledged rockstar Fashion Monster to, finally, her final incarnation as a graduating woman in a traditional hakama (which a touch of her own flare, of course). There is, of course, the random polar bear that watches over her, probably a parental-figure, and the faceless backup dancers. Still, the pastel, muted color scheme works well for the nostalgic feel of the video and the physical transition (as well as the subtle hints) of her career was a smart move on the part of the director.
In terms of the song itself, this one reminds me of a more rounded, pop version of a music box melody. It’s paced a little slower, there’s a lilting softness to it that is juxtaposed with the instrumentals, and the singing portions are very melodic due to the cut off after each syllable. It certainly captures the sentiment of the song without relying on the visuals, which makes it all the more powerful. It’s not the most engaging or catchy song I’ve ever heard, but it is a very sweet one that I could easily see played at graduations.
If there’s one word that captures the essence of this whole single it’s “normal.” Mind you, normal isn’t a bad thing — there is only so much you can top yourself, and any strangeness could have detracted from the sincerity of the lyrics. Some people worry that this is her way of saying that she’ll be leaving music, but I think she’s just cashing in on the time of year and also taking a look back on her career as it stands right now. It’s a good song with a sweet video — not her best or her most innovative, but a well-crafted ditty nonetheless.
– Clever video.
– Good song.
– Good single overall.
– Plain in terms of song concept.
– Predictable lyrics.