this is the weirdest thing. it was around this time last year that i first heard of babymetal so i guess the cold and gloomy weather reminded me of it and had me listening to them even more than usual for the last week. then i thought i should write a blog post about how i feel about babymetal one year in, to see if the novelty had worn off or anything like that. i started and wrote, “i got into babymetal almost exactly a year ago.” then i wondered, what was the exact date i got into them? i knew that i had emailed peter, slayer dave, ben, and dylan (my super elite casual metal conversation bros) when i first learned about babymetal so i searched my email for that particular correspondence.
i found it, and guess what date that was. november 29th, 1 year ago to the day. if that’s not spooky, i don’t know what is. it certainly makes me feel like something is telling me, “yes david, babymetal is awesome.” anyway, this is what i emailed to the SECMC guys one year ago:
i’ve seen this name mentioned on blabbermouth several times recently, sounded stupid, didn’t care. finally wore me down and i checked it out. in typical japanese style, it’s fucking weird. so it’s a teenage girl and two pre-teen girls essentially singing japanese pop and dancing to very competent metal. i actually like the dancing, silly japanese girl shouts, and pop aspects more than the metal but overall it’s pretty neat.
i clearly remember feeling like “i’m going to be annoyed by this any second now…any second now…” but after a week of repeated listens, i tucked my tail between my legs, admitted defeat, and realized i actually really liked babymetal. and now here i am, a year later, and i still love em for all the same reasons. there’s one particular live video of them from the metrock 2013 festival that i really like. the japanese crowd is going nuts, you can see crowd surfers and circle pits. it’s with the skeleton band who don’t actually play their instruments but they are so much fun to watch, jumping around and acting goofy. even though the music is canned in this vid, su performs all of her vocals live, and you can tell by how pitch-y she gets that it was a really exciting show. she’s obviously really pumped from the crowd and over-performing just a little bit, getting a little sharp here and out of breath there, but combined with the crazy crowd, fun skeleton band, and super fun dance moves, the little vocal imperfections make the performance riveting to me.
(babymetal’s management keeps taking down every fuck live vid they don’t approve and it sucks because the early live vids with the skeleton band are my favourite. so here’s doki doki morning because it’s still one of my fave babymetal tunes. such a great blend of j-pop and metal.)
watching and listening to this particular live vid reminded me of the depression i spiraled into after getting into babymetal. it was really weird, and tough for me to figure out. here’s what happened, in a nutshell. basically, a lot of babymetal’s music reminds me of being a teenager in shawnigan lake, of endless sunny days and driving around with friends and going to beaches or gigs or parties and camping on mount baldy and late nights. it gives me the same feeling that i experienced in those happy times, those times in my life that may as well be a silent grainy 8 mm film from the 60’s, or an episode of the wonder years. life was pretty much non-stop fun and good times then. i didn’t worry about plastic bags in the ocean, re-injuring my back, making sound but green-friendly financial investments, widespread corruption in government and business, the impending extinction of countless animals, glaciers melting at astounding rates, and racial issues. so it felt really bittersweet and beautiful to listen to babymetal and be clearly reminded of that simple, wonderful, long-past time.
then i started feeling shitty, and i couldn’t figure out why. it lasted two or three weeks. finally i went for a walk with dana and talked about it with him. after a little while and some good chatting with a good bud, we figured it out: i was depressed because i could remember carefree times of my life and relate when other people experienced them, but felt like that period had passed for me and i could only ever now view it as an outsider. i felt like i could look through a window and see people inside, experiencing the same joy i used to when i was a kid, and say, “yup, i remember feeling like that. it sure was great.” but due to adult life and my bitter outlook on the world in general, i could no longer be in there with those happy folks and actually feel that joy myself anymore. i felt relegated to a grey adult life of worries and concerns, and that sucked.
as soon as i understood why i had been feeling so shitty, i actually felt pretty much fine again. i guess just understanding the root of my problem gave me a lot of comfort. i also realized that i was being a huge baby and still had lots of description-defying fantastic times in my life, like the first time i went to burning man with jenn. they may be a bit harder to find now but those moments are still around. i also learned that those moments happen more if i actively seek them, by just going out, partying with friends, doing cool stuff. perhaps not by mere coincidence, the summer following this depression was the best one i’ve had since i was a teenager, full of old-fashioned, carefree joyous moments and tons of fun with friends. how about that, life isn’t always so goddamned bad after all. amazing.
and that deep personal insight babymetal gave me is only icing on the cake. even disregarding my profound experience brought on by their music, i still love babymetal. i still think their whole package is fun, heavy, professional, smart, and well-executed. i still listen to them on a regular basis and don’t think of it as a gimmick or novelty. to me, it’s just a new, crazy, legit thing.
conclusion: after one year, i still think babymetal is just as awesome.