released 2018, unBORDE/Warner Music Japan.
I won’t lie, I’ve largely disregarded Kyary Pamyu Pamyu as a fad on her way out, as her initial impact on the japanese pop scene was meteoric, but after a decent run of releases, she ended up releasing trite bullshit single after trite bullshit single and her sales started to reflect the decrease in quality.
After a Best album that I predicted would be her career’s death knell, Kyary released a single (Kimi no Mikata) that gave me a bit of hope that she (and her producer, the polarizing king of both innovation and mediocrity, Yasutaka Nakata) was on the upswing. What did I think of the latest Kyary album though? I’ll tell ya after the jump!
I can happily say that the Pamyu Pamyu machine’s got a little bit of gas left to keep pumping on, as fourth album “Japamyu” is a solid return to form for Kyary, featuring infectiously sweet pop songs (Kizunami, Kimi no Mikata) and also treading new ground (Enka Natrium and Oto no Kuni are two songs that present fresh directions for Kyary’s sound).
Nakata gets off his lazy ass and takes his job seriously on this album for the most part, while also paying respect to his earlier styles (with the self-cover “Koi no Hana” from his debut 2001 record as capsule, and the intro track “Virtual Pamyu Pamyu” that almost sounds like a self-cover of capsule’s “Samurai Logic”), and it’s nice to hear since I’d virtually given up on him producing a worthwhile album in 2018.
Notably missing from “Japamyu” is the single “Easta”, which honestly marked Kyary’s absolute low point as an artist. It’s a 0/10 track with no memorable or redeeming qualities whatsoever, and reeked of laziness. I’m bringing it up because its coupling track “Todoke Punch” is featured on this album, and I think they made a great choice in leaving “Easta” off, as it would have only hurt this album.
Maybe it’s because I’ve not listened to Kyary’s music regularly for some time now, but she seemed a bit more nasally on this album than in past releases and it did bother me at times (it could also be the layering, sasuga Nakata!), but the production usually makes up for any of Kyary’s vocal shortcomings. I can’t say i’ve ever considered her a vocal powerhouse anyway.
In closing, “Japamyu” is both a serviceable pop record with a few moments of brilliance and a record that accomplishes its mission of revitalizing Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s fading relevancy and musical quality. I hope she can hit her stride again.
- Virtual Pamyu Pamyu (N/A)
- Kizunami ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Harajuku Iyahoi ⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Oto no Kuni ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Kimi no Mikata ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Chami Chami Charming ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Enka Natrium ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Koi no Hana ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Todoke Punch ⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Sai & Co (Japamyu Edit) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Must-Listen : Enka Natrium, Kimi no Mikata, Chami Chami Charming
Skip : Harajuku Iyahoi, Todoke Punch (these aren’t bad songs, but may prove jarring for some.)