Brit and Japanese Pop Collide in Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s ‘Crazy Crazy’
When costume-wearing electropop star Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (pronounced as Carrie Pon Pon, sans Japanese phonetics) announced a collaboration with Brit pop sensation Charli XCX, fans have anticipated a fusion of music and cultures. Sure enough, their song delivered — “Crazy Crazy” is a bouncy, sugary electropop laced with twinkling beats courtesy of Japanese DJ Yasutaka Nakata. There are no Japanese lyrics this time; the song is completely in English, with both girls singing, in a cheerleader-like manner:
“Up down and running round / I’m going crazy with you
Feet lifting off the ground / I’m going crazy with you”
Their music video, set in an attic, stars a twin-tailed blonde Japanese schoolgirl dancing to the beat of a pianist, and oddly, a two-piece-wearing electro-drummer. And if that’s not weird enough, wait until you see their face-swapping spree, as well as the colorful texts and warped digital conundrums coming out of their faces. That’s what a Kyary Pamyu Pamyu track is all about: playful, eccentric, and unexpectedly crazy.
Perhaps it is safe to say that this is Kyary’s first foray into pure English songs. The singer, who debuted as a fashion blogger and kawaii model, was discovered in 2009 by the same guy who produced Japan's favorite electropop group, Perfume: Yasutaka Nakata. He debuts Kyary as a singer as well as a quirky fashion icon, producing saccharine, psychedelic music paired with over-the-top outfits. In her live performances, Kyary would be wearing colorful wigs, gigantic ribbons, googly eyes, fluffy gowns and glittery shoes evident of her strong Harajuku roots.
It was her creative image that the music world took interest in. To date, Kyary is one of the most internationally visible Japanese acts, thanks to her weird costumes and adorably cute persona. It is ironic that she loves grotesque things; pairing her pastel-colored clothing with big eyeballs, brains and monsters to which she says she does to "balance out the cuteness." Most often, she is alluded to as the Japanese version of Lady Gaga (who, by the way, is one of her favorite artists, along with similarly fashionable music icons Gwen Stefani and Katy Perry).
Despite being a niche act, Kyary has developed a fanbase out of Japanese pop lovers and eccentric fashion worshippers. This gave her an opportunity to tour around the world including America, breaking language barriers and style choices with her quirky, eccentric style and lyrics. Her bubblegum dance music may be overtaken by her imaginative aesthetics, but one cannot take away the complexity of making her EDM tracks as lively and as colorful as her brand.
Kyary’s newest collaboration with Charli XCX removed her Wonderland-inspired costumey side and gave a chance for the song to shine on this own. Who knows? Maybe this is her first step in creating a solid image for her music other than her fashion choices.