January 23, 2019 Playlist

KYARY PAMYU PAMYU (Kiriko Takemura)

"Nanda Collection" by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (2013)
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu "Nanda Collection"  2013 (Japan)
This week's classic album is the greatest and most gonzo pop album of the 21st century, if not in the entire history of the human race! How's that for a pretentious opening sentence? "Kyary Pamyu Pamyu", the alter ego invented by Kiriko Takemura (who will celebrate her 26th birthday this week), is a J-Pop superstar who takes the very concept of "pop star" to new heights of post-irony. For KPP is not just a pop star, she's a real live magical girl who inhabits her own world! In the "PamyuPamyuLand" depicted in her videos she cavorts with monsters and ghosts, while hers is the only normal human face you'll ever see. Well, her face isn't normal - she's incredibly cute (a fashion model since high school), but is also known for clowny face-pulling, fake moustaches, and incongruous gross-out touches in her music videos (weapons and disembodied body parts, putting her finger up her nose, poop and puke jokes) Also check out the "monster mouth" makeup she is wearing on the cover of the album to the left - she's basically a cartoon character come to life. She called her early style "traumatic cuteness", which is a brilliant idea, but we're just getting started; next there's the "race question." Her school friends called her "Carrie" because her blonde wigs and spacey demeanor made her seem like a Western tourist; she changed the spelling and added "Pamyu Pamyu" which is nonsense apparently meant to sound like a Westerner's idea of Japanese. And when she's not making fun of white folks, she also engages in extremely kitschy "orientalism" - singing her hit song about ninjas while doing a dance made up of karate poses. Her videos and concerts are a sensory overload of campy girliness resulting in something very close to psychedelia (flashing lights and dancing teddy bears, just like a Dead concert!) Her incredibly catchy songs and wacky "Japenglish" lyrics wouldn't make sense if anyone else sang them, yet she has no part in writing the words or music (that's Yasutaka Nakata's job) and as far as I can tell most of her live performances are lip-synched. I don't think her fans could care less - another level is that though she portrays a magically talented superbeing in her songs and videos (On Stage KPP), she's also a beloved Japanese celebrity (Off Stage KPP) who does talk shows and interviews where she refers to her On Stage persona in the third person. Everybody knows what she does is "fake", most especially herself, but everyone also gets it that the best entertainment usually is "fake." Then there is at least one more verion of KPP: "in real life" the mastermind Kiriko is an adorkable bespectacled nerd who favors baggy monochrome t-shirts, giving her the aura of being extremely normal and approachable in spite of also being a magical beloved celebrity fashion icon. (Kyary is also a skilled unicyclist who did a concert tour with acrobats and magicians - if she hadn't met Nakata, she probably would have made an excellent circus clown!) Finally, there is a message behind all this wackiness, or really two messages: 1) the ecstatic joy of KAWAII (Kyary loves you and wants you to be happy), and 2) encouraging non-conformity (Kyary knows she is different from other people and doesn't care what they think - don't you feel the same? That's actually a somewhat subversive thought in notoriously conformist Japan.) Nanda Collection was her second album and shot to #1 on the Japanese pop charts, proving that her appeal was based on more than just a brief fashion trend (i.e., the "Harajuku Girl" fad of which she was the most famous proponent). This album features two of her three most iconic hit singles, "Ninja Ri Bang Bang" and "Fashion Monster"; her other signature song "Pon Pon Pon" was released as a single in 2011 when she was just 18 years old.
(N) = New Release
Artist Song Album Year Country
The Captain & Tennille
(Daryl Dragon R.I.P.)
Muskrat LoveSong Of Joy1977USA
Yoko OnoHirake (Open Your Box)Fly1971Japan
Big Brother & The Holding CompanyBall And Chain (Big Mama Thornton)Cheap Thrills1968USA
Jefferson AirplaneEat Starch MomLong John Silver1972USA
Royal TruxLaw Man (Jefferson Airplane)Singles, Live & Unreleased1995USA
Haru NemuriTokyo CallingAtom Heart Mother EP2017Japan
Kero Kero Bonito Only Acting
   / Flyway
Time 'n' Place2018 (Polyvinyl)UK
Guerilla TossSkull PopGT Ultra2017USA
Superorganism Nobody CaresSuperorganism (N)2018 (Domino)UK
The Callas with Lee Ranaldo Acid BooksTrouble And Desire (N)2018 (Inner Ear/Dirty Water)Greece/USA
Tropical Fuck Storm Two AfternoonsA Laughing Death In Meatspace (N)2018 (Joyful Noise)Australia
All Them Witches Fishbelly 86 OnionsATW (N)2018 (New West)USA
Judas Priest Traitors GateFirepower (N)2018 (Epic)UK
Marijuana Deathsquads Where That Wild Thing IsTuff Guy Electronics (N)2018 (Pioneer Works Press)USA
Kurt Vile Cold Was The WindBottle It In (N)2018 (Matador)USA
Charles Bradley (I Hope You Find) The Good LifeBlack Velvet (N)2018 (Daptone)USA
Nina HagenT.V. SnoozeFearless1984Germany
Kate BushThem Heavy PeopleThe Kick Inside1978UK
Os MutantesO RelogioOs Mutantes1968Brazil
NicoThe End (The Doors)The End1974Germany
Scott WalkerRosemaryScott 31969USA/UK
Tom JonesProud Mary (Creedence Clearwater Revival)Tom1970UK (Wales)
Unknown Mortal Orchestra Hanoi 6IC-01 Hanoi (N)2018 (Jagjaguwar)New Zealand
Kyary Pamyu PamyuNinja Ri Bang Bang ("Covert Assassin Ri-Bang-Bang")Nanda Collection ("What's This Collection")
Kyary Pamyu PamyuFashion MonsterNanda Collection ("What's This Collection")
Kyary Pamyu PamyuKira Kira Killer ("Glitter Killer")Pika Pika Fantajin ("Sparkly Fantasy People")2014Japan
Kyary Pamyu PamyuCherry Bon BonMoshi Moshi Harajuku EP ("Hello Harajuku")2011Japan
Capsule (Yasutaka Nakata)Do Do Pi Do (remade by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu)L.D.K. Lounge Designers Killer2005Japan
DAOKO Bokura No Network ("Our Network")
(written & produced by Yasutaka Nakata)
Shiteki Ryokou ("Welcome") (N)2018 (Toy's Factory)Japan
Poppy Fashion After AllAm I A Girl? (N)2018 (Mad Decent/I'm Poppy)USA
Yonin-Bayashi ("Four Person Band")Omatsuri ("Festivals")Ishoku-Sokuhatsu ("Touch Promptly")1974Japan
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