During the second decade of the twenty-first century, the phenomenon of ‘kawaii metal’ has garnered significant attention in English-language mainstream press alongside more limited discussion in metal journalism. An ostensible fusion of metal and Japanese aidoru ‘idol’ music, kawaii metal artists frequently juxtapose the traditional aesthetics of kawaii ‘cuteness’ with those of metal, emphasising a combination of influences distinctly Eastern and Western. Prominent among kawaii metal artists, Babymetal have generated substantial press coverage in the Anglophone world. Despite emanating from the Japanese idol industry and singing almost exclusively in Japanese, touring the United States, and Europe (producing live CDs and DVDs recorded in the United States and United Kingdom) have made Babymetal one of the most visible Japanese bands in Anglo-America. This chapter explores Babymetal's fusion of idol and metal by analysing the lyrics for the band's first two albums, Babymetal (2014) and Metal Resistance (2016). Following an introduction to kawaii metal through the lens of Anglo-American press, the author elucidates Babymetal's origins as a sub-unit of the idol group Sakura Gakuin. With this background established, the author investigates the use of wordplay and themes relating to childishness and adolescence in the lyrics on Babymetal's debut album. Examining the lyrics of the band's second album illuminates a more thorough integration of idol and metal tropes, including more English-language lyrics, seemingly designed to align Babymetal with a more global metal audience, managing the interplay of Western and Eastern influences.
Kennedy, L.F. (2020), "Is
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