Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Pika Pika Fantajin Warner Japan
Pika Pika Fantajin roughly translates as “sparkling fantasy person”, yet this record in fact sits among Kyary’s discography as her most comfortable work to date.
In many ways it’s a shame; this has been the year where the decora iconography of the Japanese district of Harajuku has been appropriated by Avril Lavigne in a desperate comeback bid and the science-pop structures of J-Pop artists have become the blueprint for trendier-than-thou artists like SOPHIE and the PC Music roster. Most tellingly, it also features the track Ring A Bell which is Kyary’s first full-length song in the English language. As the genre she sits atop becomes even bigger across the world, Fantajin isn’t quite the stamp of authority it could have been. It does, however, contain some premier demonstrations of her Japanese bubblegum pop at its most infectious, outlandish and, for the most part, impossible to imitate.
The quasi-rock instrumental of Serious Hitomi is juxtaposed brilliantly with her bashful vocal style to create one of the record’s most loveable moments. We’re then treated to the cheerleader chant that opens Kira Kira Killer – perhaps Kyary’s most unforgiving ear worm since 2011’s PonPonPon – which lends itself effortlessly to the traumatic-via-cute aesthetic that she’s become so celebrated for. It’s by no means a travesty that Kyary’s idiosyncratic sound is starting to gain a legacy, but when her outré work stars to become diluted for the sake of global audiences, you can’t help but wonder whether she might end up getting left behind.