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Kyary Pamyu Pamyu & Tsukematsukeru

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.

About wdydfae

Parasitizing YouTube and guest posting on BoFN for more than a decade.

12 responses to “Kyary Pamyu Pamyu & Tsukematsukeru

  1. Kyary is an imaginative fashionista.

  2. wdydfae

    Thanks for the comment!

    It may formally qualify as understatement of the year.

    But the year is young.

  3. I love her songs to be honest; but I find her style of video to pander to the otaku crowd too heavily.

  4. wdydfae

    I too have to confess, I keep going back especially to “Furisodeshon” and “Fashion Monster” and saying to myself, “I shouldn’t be liking these songs as much as I do.” But darn it, the flow of the compositions and the arrangements are really decent and the songs do rather original things, with unique sounds. She doesn’t have a singing voice, but a lot of great singers also didn’t, and her voice has character. You’re probably right about the videos, but “Furisodeshon” is an amazing visual presentation.

  5. “Tsukema tsukeru” probably translates into “boobie eyelashes.”

    This video was not nearly as bizarre and hallucinogenic as her other ones. I was disappointed. Even when her stomach opened up for the floating mouth to sing, I was thinking Star Trek did this 20 years ago, and better, when Data had a dream and his torso was ringing, and he opened it up to take a phone call through his gut.

    It was still better than most of the crap coming out nowadays though. Very stylish, at least.

  6. wdydfae

    Well, yeah if Next Generation is the standard, but that’s setting the bar pretty darn high . . .

  7. Pingback: Caroline Charonplop Kyary Pamyu Pamyu | What Do You Do for an Encore?

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  9. Pingback: Caroline Charonplop Kyary Pamyu Pamyu | The Blog of Funny Names

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  11. Nyasha

    Hey there, I was wondering if you could change the link added to my blog name to please? Now that I have a new site link, I think it would be best and I’d really appreciate it.

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