Released: May 23, 2012
In recent J-Pop history, I don’t think there is any other superlative to Japanese Kawaii fashion and music than the J-Pop Princess herself, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. That’s because it’s pretty clear that her debut studio album Pamyu Pamyu Revolution, which was released back in 2012, focuses more on Kawaii-realness and Japanese fashion than it does on the actual music. I’d take no surprise to see if anyone who purchases music by Kyary actually focuses on the music itself, mainly because it’s Kyary and her Kawaii image that we are all interested about. She would wear multi-colored wigs, larger-than-life outfits, and oversize shoes, and still we consumers will be interested in purchasing her music. A marketing strategy? Well it could be.
Whatever the result may be, it doesn’t beat that fact that Pamyu Pamyu Revolution is a bad album in any way. In fact, it’s a bit of a trailblazer to the J-Pop scene, mainly due to the mastermind of Yasutaka Nakata, Japan’s most kawaii-induced pop producer. Unlike many J-pop idols and their releases (even some of Nataka’s previous albums from other artists such as Perfume), Pamyu Pamyu Revolution focuses on agile electronic synths and happy-go-lucky instrumentation including chimes, bells, keyboards, and cute little glockenspiels. On here, Kyary’s voice isn’t the main attraction, neither is the depthless songwriting or generic production; it’s the fact that her image, alongside some pretty nice sounds and beats, manage to sell the album itself.
Opening with a sparkly introduction that could easily fit into a kid’s program theme, the album progresses with the singles first; the eyelash–fetish anthem “Tsukema Tsukeru”, the viral and infectious hooks of “PonPonPon”, or the pop-friendly “Candy Candy”. Alongside these tracks are some little gems hidden on the album that, unfortunately, didn’t get enough radio time in the Japan to achieve the same height as “PonPonPon”; these include the drum-driven “Drinker”, the Perfume-esque “Suki Sugite Kire Sou”, and the breezy fluffy-ness of “Girigiri Safe”. However, a familiar trait through Nakata’s work is ofcourse the very bland and messy placement of the tracks, but even this isn’t the reason that tracks like “Minna no Uta” and “Chan Chaka Chan Chan” sound bad, or even the child-ish rhythms of “Oyasumi” and “Kyary ANAN” sound a bit too much. However, in par with the album and with Kyary’s kawaii-ness behind her, these tracks are able to stay quite safe and flow quite well.
Overall, Pamyu Pamyu Revolution is an original. Just as the J-Pop rise came upon us during the early 2010s, Pamyu Pamyu Revolution offered some fresh sounds and, dare I say it, slightly inventive and interesting elements. The album can never bore someone of such fatigue from contemporary music, and even if your interest is far off the land from Japanese music, consider Pamyu Pamyu Revolution is a first taster and experience.
Track list (Bold means best track)
- Pamyupamyu Revolution
- Tsukema Tsukeru
- Minna no Uta
- Kyary ANAN
- CANDY CANDY
- Onedari 44oC
- Suki Sugite Kire Sou ~Liam’s favorite~
- Girigiri Safe
- Chan Chaka Chan Chan