Monday, October 7, 2013

YeYe and "new idol" movement

I wrote about YeYe sometime ago on this blog and introduced her PV from her debut album. I also talked about how awesome it was that she was writing her own songs and producing all the instruments of it. It was the perfect introduction to her music. The video, with shots of her playing one instrument in the song cutting to her playing something else, was a cool concept that also served to sell YeYe as a sort a multi-talented singer-songwriter. What I think sets her apart from most others is that she flushes out her songs with a full array of instruments rather than most in the genre who simply record their vocals, harmonies, and an acoustic guitar. While there are definitely some great singer-songwriters out there that keep things simple in this manner, many times it's quite difficult for me to find some that do something more to set them apart from the droves of copycats singing on street corners, in front of subway stations, or playing as the opening acts at a live house. YeYe was one of those artists that delivered. When a follow up to her first album was finally released I was ecstatic to hear some of the music off of it and a search led me to this new PV for a song called Parade:

I have to admit that the contrast, pastel colors, lighting, etc. make the whole thing just looking like an instagram page...a bit off putting. But more importantly it's the awkward dance/hand movement stuff that really got me thinking. Recently, Ian Martin, who runs the blog Clear and Refreshing has been writing quite a bit about what seems to be a new trend in Japanese music. The whole "idol" concept has been seeping into the cracks of the indie scene giving way to some fairly interesting new images of an "idol". Now we have these anti-idol groups and solo-acts coming out that have a sound as far off from the typical synthesized dribble most amateur idols stand behind and have adopted a more off-beat approach with alternative styles of music...albeit with their image, and certainly how they are marketed as, being very similar to the typical, Akihabara-esque idol.
I follow one of these musicians, Oomori Seiko, who I saw on-stage singing with the vocalist of otori against the thrashing, abrasive onslaught of Emily Likes Tennis. "singing" of course, being just a placeholder for a number of things, like screaming, screaming, and more screaming, although the two of them did have some adorable dialogue in between those. Anyways, Oomori Seiko is kind of like an underground idol. She plays the guitar and writes some pretty strange, grotesque songs, but her image is certainly akin to that of the idols most people are familiar with. She's a big fan of Hello! Project and Morning Musume.

*After typing all of this, I could have done quite the discussion on Lily Chou-chou. This came to mind after seeing Oomori Seiko's homepage. Damn!

 Back to YeYe, though, could it be that this indie-idol culture has also affected her image, too? What happened to the down-to-earth, multi-talented singer-songwriter from before? Certainly in the video we get no notion that she is making all this music(hopefully she still is!) but perhaps the same indie-idol culture has encompassed her. It's like, now that Morning Musume is on the backburner, K-pop has taken a firm hold, and AKB48 seem to be doing god knows what(do people even still listen to them?), idol culture has changed and mutated and found a hold in indie music. Cute, dolled up girls singing music that doesn't grind my ears into a paste is definitely something I look forward to.


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