Well done Japan, you've done it again. Only the eggheads at Japanese record labels could come up with something so off the wall that it works, when it really, really shouldn't, I almost wish Western record moguls would take a leaf out of your books and stop thrusting the same cardboard cut-out acts every few years!
But let's look realistically at this phenomenon, what is the draw? Is it the fact that it is different? Is it the marketing? Is it the fact it is mid-teens from a J-pop group doing metal? One thing is for sure, it is working, but for how long?
Having grown up being a fan of various exports of Japanese culture, I have enjoyed the likes of the anime boom, along with the ever present JRPG games like "Final Fantasy" and "Kingdom Hearts." By connection, I have listened to a lot of J-pop, and can appreciate it at times. I have always enjoyed its usually happy vibes, and how it's energetic and positive, and BabyMetal bring this into a genre that is usually laden with such bad stigma, a label very often declared terrible devil music, and somehow it works, somehow it reached millions of people worldwide, in both the amount of YouTube views it has gotten, as well as actually reaching into peoples idea of music and tearing it up completely. Quite simply, these girls are big, and quite frankly - they deserve it!
The future is something of great mystery, especially in the business of music. One day your band is huge, selling millions of records and selling out Wembley Arena, and the next you are back down to the small O2 Academy venues, playing to the strong following that stuck with you to the next album because they genuinely enjoy your music. But with BabyMetal, it is quite clear what the future holds for them...
... They won't be around for too much longer.
At least not in the form they are now. At a 14-16 year old age range, they are already near stretching the moniker of their name, they will soon not be children any more, and so the idea of BabyMetal must either be disbanded, or the girls replaced. While I hope it is not the second one, as that would be a sad picture of the music industry, I do foresee that it is a possibility. So, at least soon, BabyMetal will not be what we know it as now.
After this album and a tour of the world, the works will almost certainly be put in place to make a second album, and capitalise on what will soon be a dwindling popularity, and a bad sign for the dollar signs in the producer's eyes. After this the chances are they will be dropped from their label, and the members will have to make a decision.
If they enjoy it, will they continue? This is something that is still different to a lot of what is out there, so they will still have an audience of some kind, they will have to sign to a smaller label and play to their much smaller following, akin to how Maximum The Hormone are functioning now after their "Death Note" title songs fame came to an end, and would probably have to undergo a name change, but they can easily continue with a more J-pop infused metal sound, even maturing it up a little bit to fit the fact they are ageing.
Another option is they don't enjoy it so much, and once BabyMetal is over, they will go back to being J-pop stars, where they will probably find more commercial success. Which, if it happens, then good luck to them, they deserve to do what they enjoy rather then being stuck with something they may not fully understand.
I honestly think that the lead vocalist, the amusingly titled Su-Metal actually has a voice that suits the type of music, it can be light and jovial at times, while powerful and can push a good amount of emotion where necessary, and if she chose to, could have a decent career in J-rock. The other girls are still young and their voices still have a ways to go, so I can't really judge them, but who knows, if they want to, they could probably have their voices coached into the same place.
Whatever the choice is for their future, I say enjoy it while it is here, it breaks all genre conventions, but at the same time uses every single one of them to create something unique, and quite amazing. Hey, if you get a chance, try and see them live if they come to a town near you, I can only imagine it would be a spectacle, and one hell of an atmosphere to be present in.
This is the first piece I have submitted, if you don't like something, please let me know, constructively, I'd actually appreciate it...