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Genre Bending Pop-Punk: BABYMETAL and its Influence

Photo courtesy of Baby Metal

Few bands have the ability to combine both ear-piercing metal and bubbly Japanese pop. However, with two full-length albums and fans all over the world, the Japanese heavy-metal and pop hybrid band BABYMETAL is able to combine these musical genres with ease. The trend-setting band will be coming to Atlanta soon, and it won’t be something to miss.

 

Formed in 2010, BABYMETAL has taken the Western world by storm. The band consists of the duo Su-metal and Moametal, who rock ponytails and outfits resembling Kiss-era rock ’n’ roll. 

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When BABYMETAL started becoming popular, many people were drawn by their unique style that set them apart from other rock bands, especially people who had a fascination with Japanese pop culture.

 

“I found them at some point in high school during my minor ‘weeb’ phase freshman year,” Divine Ikpe said, using a term used to describe Westerners who love Japanese culture.  “I had a thing in high school which I still have now where I listened to music from all parts of the world. So I was into Japanese rock, and they were basically representing that. I thought they were cool.”

 

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Others found out about the band through other forms of media. One of them was a popular YouTube video published in 2014 which consisted of YouTubers reacting to BABYMETAL’s music. The video gathered over 19 million views and helped introduce the band’s uniqueness to some people.

 

“I found out about them when I watched a YouTuber’s react video about them, like, two years ago. They are very cute and badass,” Gia Mehdiof said.

 

BABYMETAL’s unique style sticks out, especially to younger people looking to expand their music taste. They have the ability to fluidly combine two completely different genres of music and make it one.

 

“It’s interesting that they’re a kawaii-metal band, essentially. The instrumentation is cool and the vocals sound really good. They combine both styles perfectly,” Ikpe said.

 

The clothes they wear and their overall style are also indicative of this mix of musical genres and make for a unique fashion sense that isn’t typical of metal bands.

 

“I really like their style. The clothes they wear are really cool because they are these cute little Japanese girls in ponytails wearing leather jackets and spikes. It doesn’t make sense at all, but it does at the same time. It works really well,” Javier Muñoz-Perez said.

 

Not only does this make the band unique from all other heavy-metal groups, but it makes them genuine. The band very much seems to be passionate about what they do, and intend to set themselves apart from other metal bands.

 

“I don’t know much about the artists themselves, but they seem to be very authentic. I think they really own the style they created for themselves,” Ikpe said.

 

By introducing something fresh to the world of heavy metal and music overall, BABYMETAL’s style has changed the game. They opened heavy metal music up to more people and showed it to be a versatile genre.

 

“I was already being exposed to heavy metal bands, such as Five Finger Death Punch, but never really appreciated it at the time. BABYMETAL was a nice combination of both Japanese culture and heavy metal. It was a fusion of one thing I already appreciated and another of something I wasn’t that familiar with. In a sense, they eased me into the heavy metal genre,” Muñoz-Perez said.

 

After setting themselves up as one of the most unique metal bands in the world, the band itself has slowly broken the mold of metal music entirely. 

 

“It kind of shows a different demographic. In America, most metal here is kind of the same, so it’s a nice contrast to that,” Ikpe said.

 

Most American metal is dominated by bands composed of male members, so two Japanese girls are definitely not who you’d expect to see screaming into a microphone and headbanging on stage. However, this serves as a breath of fresh air for female fans of metal music. 

 

Their music makes me feel empowered, and I appreciate them as a group of cute, stylish, femme women who are also badass and are changing the male-dominated narrative of metal as a genre,” Mehdiof said. “I really like traditional metal and punk, and I like their interruption of it. They are changing the game.”

 

Fans at Georgia State are ecstatic about BABYMETAL’s show in September.

 

“That’s a concert I’d love to go to. I heard their live performances are really fun to be at because of how crazy the music is. It’d be really cool to see the girls start mosh pits,” Muñoz-Perez said. 

Atlanta itself has a vibrant scene full of many different types of art and music styles, so the BABYMETAL show fits right in to the culture.

“I would definitely see them live. I think they would especially have a great show. I think their music should be respected. We’re a pretty diverse campus, so I think it could appeal to a lot of people,” Ikpe said.

Catch BABYMETAL at the Coca-Cola Roxy Theatre on September 6th at 9 p.m. with all of their kawaii-metal energy.

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