Kawaii metal (also known as idol metal, cute metal, or kawaiicore) is a musical genre that blends elements of heavy metal and J-pop that was pioneered in Japan in the early 2010s. The genre combines both Eastern and Western influences that appeal to both cultures. A typical kawaii metal composition combines the instrumentation found in various types of heavy metal music with J-pop melodies and a Japanese idol aesthetic. Kawaii metal's lyrical topics often contain kawaii (cute, lovable, kidlike) themes, making them much less hostile than those of other heavy metal genres. The Japanese girl group Babymetal is often credited with the creation and success of kawaii metal. In addition to Babymetal, kawaii metal acts such as Ladybaby have garnered media attention, as well as minor commercial attention, for performing songs of this genre.

History and characteristics

Japanese heavy metal idol group Babymetal are considered the inventors of the kawaii metal genre. The concept of kawaii metal started with Key “Kobametal” Kobayashi, the producer behind the group Babymetal. In an interview conducted by Billboard, Kobayashi explains that he was “just trying to do something no one had heard before”. Kawaii metal gained national popularity in 2014, when the group Babymetal uploaded a song to Youtube called Gimme Chocolate!! As of mid- 2020, the video has received over 120 million views. Angelica Wallingford of ''City Times'' opined that Babymetal's eponymous debut album had pioneered the kawaii metal musical genre. Wallingford also defined the genre, and album, as a "mixture of varying genres including pop, rock, heavy metal, electronic dance music, industrial and symphonic death metal". A guest contributor at ''The Independent'' believed that the genre was a derivative of J-pop and various extreme metal genres, namely "speed metal, power metal, black metal, and industrial metal". While discussing Babymetal, ''The Sydney Morning Herald'''s Rob Nash stated that the genre consisted of "sugary pop melodies over thrash metal": Nash also believed that the group's song, "Awadama Fever" exemplified the genre, saying the song contained "slabs of angry guitar and undanceably fast breakbeats, while the girls abymetalsqueak about 'bubble ball fever' and chewing gum". Babymetal still remains extremely popular. In fact, in 2019, Babymetal became the first Asian artists to top Billboard’s Top Rock Albums chart, with their third studio album, Metal Galaxy. Murray Stassen in ''Music Week'' commented that "Babymetal is, without a doubt, a genuine cross-genre musical phenomenon" and that despite the contradiction of metal and J-pop doesn't seem to make sense on paper, "abymetal hasproved that it can, and does work, and resistance to the Babymetal phenomenon is futile." Discussing Ladybeard, and Ladybaby, Jake Cleland of ''The Sydney Morning Herald'' defined the genre as "saccharine pop with his heavy metal growling". Alex Weiss of ''Paper'' defined the genre as "hard rock with sugary sweet pop hooks". Weiss also used Babymetal's songs "Karate" and "Road of Resistance" as examples to explain the differing lyrical perspective between the kawaii metal and other metal genres, stating that kawaii metal songs "offer a perspective often missing from the hyper-masculine, aggressive lyrics usually present in most of the etalgenre's hits". Felix Clay of Cracked.com also believed that the genre had less aggressive lyricism, citing the genre had lyrics about "pop music topics like kittens, chocolate, and fun". Similar to the ''kaiju'' film genre which features giant fighting monsters, kawaii metal implements a similar engagement of two colliding sound objects, namely conventional metal music and pop vocals, producing a good-versus-evil battle. There are also instances in which kawaii metal may harbor anthemic rock ballad qualities. One example would be the song "Shine" by Babymetal.

See also

* List of kawaii metal musical groups


Tadano, John, and Yu, Yu. OSS! BABYMETAL on the way (English Edition) https://www.amazon.com.br/OSS!-BABYMETAL-way-English-Yu-ebook/dp/B08QZTYKBP https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/oct/11/babymetal-metal-galaxy-review https://www.babymetal.com/en/ https://reprobatepress.com/2016/04/04/feature-the-rise-and-rise-of-kawaii-metal/ https://www.beyondthestagemagazine.com/the-unpredictable-rise-of-kawaiicore/ http://frupoche.com {{Music of Japan Category:Heavy metal genres Category:Japanese styles of music Category:Rock music genres Category:J-pop Category:Fusion music genres Category:2010s in Japanese music