I started running (instead of spin cycling) last November. I realized at some point that I needed a nice rockin’ playlist to run to, so I could run faster and make it up the many hills in my town. So, of course I included lots of JRock and I figured, hey, maybe someone would be interested in seeing it? It’s quite a collection, LOL. So here goes:
1. Clocks by Coldplay
2. Evanescent by Vamps (with Hyde of course!)
3. D-techno Life by UVERworld
4. My Heart Draws a Dream by L’Arc en Ciel
5. Dear My Friend by Miyavi
6.Ready Steady Go by L’Arc en Ciel (this song kicks my ass;) )
7. Aoi Hana by Color Bottle
8. Radioactive by Imagine Dragons
Anyone else out there listen to JRock while they work out? Or am I the only one?
Okay, so I live in the desert and it’s like, 115 degrees today. I get it. It’s hot. But so what? We have air conditioning. Yoshiki’s hair will not go limp.
So everytime I see that one of my favorite JRock groups are on a “World Tour” it seems they never make it to the center of the USA. Sure, they make stops in New York and Los Angeles (lucky bastards), but never come to Phoenix, Arizona or God forbid, Nebraska. We interior folks like our JRock, too. Right? I mean, when X Japan played Chicago at the Lollapalooza last year all the headlines were that X Japan stunned and awed the fans. Think of how many new fans they’d make if they simply went a little further inside America, like to Phoenix, where I live:)
I have a theory. Maybe they’re afraid. Yes, Afraid. Maybe they know about our conservative, speak English or die, wear your USA t-shirt and jeans with your cowboy hat types who spit chew and still call the Japanese all those terrible slang names that I can’t bring myself to write. Maybe Mana thinks if he comes over here and plays somewhere in the interior US in his Lolita outfit someone will beat the crap out of him. You know? He may be right. But… don’t they have body guards, LOL?
I’ll tell you a funny story. So my boyfriend is in this rock band and they play at all these clubs in the Phoenix metro area. Of course, they play your typical Lynerd Skynerd and Rolling Stones, but they also, thank God (not a big fan of hearing those songs over and over and over…) play some newer music like Matchbox 20. Anyway, the guitar player for the band is a big metal head. You know the type, Metallica all the way. Death metal. Lots of thumping guitars. He asked over Facebook if anyone had any new rock bands they could send his way because he was looking for new music to add to his iPod. So I did. You know what I sent him *snicker, snicker*. I sent him Dir en Gray and X Japan and D’espairs Ray. You know what he said? Great music, but they don’t speak English. He’s the speak English or die type, I guess. Think of all the world-wide music you miss out on when you say, “but they don’t speak English.” Wow.
So today I found out about X Japan’s new single, Jade, which is in freaking English. I sent this guy the YouTube link via Facebook and he liked it. He also said, “those chicks can rock.” WTF??? They may be pretty and dress in the kind of clothes American rock stars should be wearing (see my other blog on that), but they do not look like chicks (okay, Mana in his Lolita outfit does, I guess – but he was NOT in the video!).
So what do you think? Why don’t they come farther into the interior? And should they? I know I wish they did…
And here’s the video – Jade by X Japan. It’s awesome!
If we’re going to have a quick discussion on Lolita and how it pertains to JRock, I suppose we have to talk about what it is first. Historically, the term Lolita can be referenced back to a book. Wikipedia says, “Lolita is a novel by Vladimir Nabokov, first written in English and published in 1955 in Paris and 1958 in New York, and later translated by the author into Russian. The book is internationally famous for its innovative style and infamous for its controversial subject: the protagonist and unreliable narrator, middle-aged Humbert Humbert, who becomes obsessed and sexually involved with a 12-year-old girl named Dolores Haze.”
Okay, so the first “Lolita” was a fictitious, 12-year-old, sexually active girl who had a thing for much older men. Got it.
Anyone who knows anything about JRock and anime culture knows that “Lolita” is a term for a certain type of fashion – frilly, lacey dresses that are similar to something you’d see in “Gone with the Wind”, but have a decided sexually provocative and sometimes Gothic flare to them and we’ve seen some of our favorite JRockers sporting these dresses on stage. It sprung up amongst the Visual Kei (Visual Style, translated) thing back in the late 1980s, when all rock stars at least wore make-up. Except, the Japanese took this to an extreme.
I’ve personally seen many a woman wearing a Lolita outfit at an anime/yaoi con and I must say I’ve investigated getting one for myself to wear on Halloween, my favorite holiday. A forty-something mother of two wearing a Gothic Lolita outfit for anything but Halloween seems a bit strange, dont’ you think? Not that I’m above that, LOL. There are also many an anime in which boys are forced to wear princess outfits that look suspiciously similar to Lolita outfits. Hmmm…
So how did this 12-year-old-girl named Dolores inspire a fashion culture in Japan that culimnated in cross-dressing Japanese rock musicians? I have no idea. But I do know one thing, it’s both intriguing and just plain silly, at least in my opinion. I have to say, I find these Japanese cross-dressing rock stars courageous. There is no way any respectable American rock musician would have the balls to prance around onstage with his guitar in a Lolita dress. Okay, maybe Marilyn Manson… but do you really want to see that? I think the closest we did get to seeing something like that was Boy George in the 80s, LOL.
My main question here becomes: what’s up with Lolita fashion and male JRockers? Are the Japanese really insane? Are they just doing these things to make us say, “What the fuck?” I’m laughing to myself on that one. I’d love to hear your comments and views on the subject. Do you like it, hate it, want to be it?