Not our first or even our second Kyary post but our first Kyary music video. I’m still not ready for the definitive Kyary Pamyu Pamyu post, where I will try to tackle the significance of Kyary and give her the “Blog of Funny Names” treatment. So, this could be considered further groundwork.
This video is now approaching 30 million views. From the comments in a previous post (thanks, NyNy) I found out that Kyary is currently on a world tour.
Getting into Kyary’s videos has been a process of accomodation, starting with “wtf?” then proceeding slowly to “How could anybody come up with that?” and finally leading inexorably–I confess, sometimes unwillingly–to the stunning but unavoidable conclusion: “Great Scott, this is the greatest pop artist since Andy Warhol, a visual genius whose work stands shoulder to shoulder with the surrealism of Dali and Rousseau, a soaring visionary whose poetry of form scales the architectural heights of Antoni Gaudi, a literary master whose hypnotic wordplay and dreamlike vision rivals that of Lewis Carroll, a, a musical prodigy whose, whose . . . whose . . .”
OK, I’m just kidding. Especially on the music. To say that this is not my kind of music would be an understatement, but the videos are so visually fascinating that I actually started getting used to the music and (gasp) even liking it to some extent. I don’t know the technical name for this kind of music but I would describe it as “bouncy techno buzz-like melodies with layers of ostinato piled on to achieve a hypnotic, trance-like effect.”
Every Kyary video seems to follow the pattern of already surreal opening premises getting progressively unmoored from any identifiable reality until the visual experience is hallucinogenic and extremely disorienting. The comparison with Dali and Gaudi and Carroll was not totally in jest. A good way to describe Kyary might be exactly that: Warhol meets Dali meets Gaudi meets Lewis Carrol meets Gwen Stefani meets Hello Kitty, with massive doses of Harajuku street culture thrown in. (There are a whole lot of Buddhist and Hindu tropes in this particular video as well.) The Carrollean element extends to the lyrics, which are full of nonsense neologisms that are lost in translation in English (admirable translation here by Hanjadream). To be blunt, the songs come off as extremely inane in English, but in Japanese, though the topics remain inane, the wordplay throws nouns and verbs together into freakish hybrid forms and bends meaning in the same way that the visuals bend reality. “Tsukema tsukeru” plays on the word “tsukematsuge” (false eyelashes, of which Kyary has her own brand, called Harajuku Doll Eyelashes by Eyemazing x Kyary) and “tsukeru” (to put on). (See Sean and Alice for the Japanese lyrics usefully set together with Hanjadream’s translation.)
So, in the end, what is Kyary? I’m still not sure. For now, I’ll just have to leave it at “significant phenomenon”, and pick up the subject again later. There’s a whole lot of Kyary out there.