Justin’s J-Pop Jukebox #3

PonPonPon by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

The Artist: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is a big deal in Japan. I risk saying she’s the Lady Gaga of that country – and in fact, most of her concert appearances in the US have been opening for Gaga herself. Kyary innovative as much for her visual style as her musical stylings. Her beginnings were as a Harajuku model and fashion blogger, so that makes sense.

She appears in more commercials and ad campaigns than just about anyone else. You’ll see her hocking everything from Nintendo to candy to smartphones. And oddly, the commercial almost always fits her image. In an age where MTV is nowhere near as relevant musically, I wonder if lending her songs to ads has proved a viable way to drive music sales.

I own a handful of Kyary songs, but haven’t picked up any full albums. Finding them used in Japan is all but impossible, which speaks to her popularity.

The Song: PonPonPon is Kyary’s debut single, released on July 20, 2011. It’s amassed over 80 million YouTube views! The MV (music video) throws everything at the viewers’ eyeballs, constantly bordering on overstimulation. As Kyary is the only artist, you’re given so many other things to look at to inspire rewatching. It’s like a little girl’s fantasy of ponies, stuffed animals and candy. But large, faceless nanny backup dancers and spontaneous CG skulls keep you from getting too comfortable. By the time she vomits out shadow ducks that then fly circles around her, you’re pretty well hooked. Don’t miss her spearing an apple midair with a sword. Even if you’re not into the song, the video is well worth watching a few times.

However, the song itself holds up well without the visual assault, in my opinion. Admittedly, it’s a bit on the repetitive side. The tempo is lighthearted but still makes you feel like moving your body. The clapping segment arrives just as you may be losing interest musically. I don’t often keep it in my workout mix, but it’s a really good cardio song.

The Video:

iTunes Link:

J-Pop Jukebox #1: One – Two – Three by Morning Musume
J-Pop Jukebox #2: Yattaruchan by S/mileage


6 thoughts on “Justin’s J-Pop Jukebox #3

  1. You know you’ve listened to this song too much when you can get all the “pon”s and “way”s in the right spots. Actually I guess that’s one of the things in general I enjoy about Kyary’s songs–the weird simple repetitions give even people with low or no Japanese skills something to latch on to.

    • No foolin’. You know I got em down!
      I passed on seeing Kyary for pretty cheap in LA a year or two ago. Kinda wish I would have gone.
      Reading up on her, I guess she doesn’t know much English. Could have fooled me with her “Every day is PON” line.

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