Happy (slightly late) TIFriday!
Pretty sure I said this last year, but Vanilla Beans is kind of the epitome of the act I feel I should be a fan of but I just don’t follow. They’re a two member idol unit that are self-described as a “next generation” idol unit; however, their style is stylized and retro-feeling. Formed in 2007, they’ve since released three albums, ten singles, plenty of download-exclusive songs, a mini album, a best of album, and even collaborated with Tokyo Girls’ Style. The first time I became aware of Vanilla Beans was watching Music Japan’s female idol special in 2010, and since they’ve kept up a pretty steady stream of stuff.
The best way I’d describe Vanilla Beans is as a niche idol unit. They aren’t necessarily the most popular idol unit, but I don’t think that’s what they’re going for. Instead, they have a unique style that I don’t think I’ve seen in other idol groups. I’d imagine if you’re a huge Vanilla Beans fan, you love Vanilla Beans and they fill something that no other idol group can really fill.
Personally, while I really like their visual style, I’ve yet to have one of their songs grab me. It’s the type of song where I recognize why others might enjoy it, but they’re not a group I feel very compelled to visit more than once a year for my TIF posts. Still, I feel like Vanilla Beans is a group you have to experience to decide on if you’re going to follow them or not. If I was to hazard a guess, I’d guess that the majority of you aren’t going to be diehard Vanilla Beans fans. However, one or two of you might find them very compelling.
An act I’m not so familiar with! However, they did perform at last year’s TIF. From what I can see from the limited information about them, they’re a four member unit (though recent performances feature five members, so maybe they didn’t update their picture?) with an average age of 18 (so not a really young unit). The earliest I can see from them is 2012. They’ve so far been on a compilation album, an anime song album, and have released one single, Wonderland. So this is another group that might be a tough one to follow. I think they are from the same company as Usa Usa Shoujo Club or they have some relation, because Barbee shows up on the same channel as them a lot on YouTube. Or they just perform together a lot. I’m not entirely sure.
The point is, this is a really difficult act to find much on if you’re not in Japan and you’re not able to go to their live events. Your interaction is mainly going to be watching performances on YouTube. There’s nothing wrong with that; that’s how I follow rev.from DVL. However, this is the type of thing you’re going to have to live with, so you should probably be really into the group.
As for Barbee, I really like Wonderland and they seem like solid performers. There’s nothing with the group that immediately compels me to follow them, but I like them well enough.
Remember last post in which I talked about Passpo? Guess who’s the little sister group?
Palet is a now-six member idol unit formed of girls who failed in the audition to join Passpo. The unit was formed in 2012 and originally had seven members, but one graduated this March. One of the things that I think is very interesting is that Palet is very album-based. They’ve put out two albums so far and have another one scheduled. This is all before their major debut single, which comes out in November. So even though each album only had seven songs, they have a decent amount of music for a group that hasn’t put out a single yet.
Another thing to note is that Palet, while a sister group to Passpo, is not a big rock-focused group. Instead, they really seem to be more of a standard idol group, with every member having an image color and all of them doing more pop-y songs. They also don’t have the airline gimmick going on. So if those are the reasons that you like Passpo, Palet might not be your cup of tea.
That said, they seem like a very solid group; the members are all cute and this seems like a good group to follow. If you are into this formula of a pretty standard idol group, you should definitely check them out. I don’t know if I’ll become a huge Palet fan, but I really like them so far.
Power Spot is another Spiral Music group, the company behind Negaigoto and Takokusekigun. It’s a six member unit with girls between 16 and 21 that has so far put out five singles, the latest being Sweet Darling. Their name references their goal, which is to give power to their fans. Pretty typical idol goal, but it’s cute nonetheless. While I wouldn’t classify them as a rock unit, they do have a bit of power to their songs, I’ve noticed, which has further justified their name. The group was formed in 2011 but put out their debut single in 2012.
Watching some of their PVs, they seem like a group that has a really nice energy. Nothing about them is really revolutionary or stands out, but the girls themselves really seem like they’re having fun. They’re a happy bunch, and their PVs are very pleasant. Not necessarily the most interesting, mind you, but they’re cute and fun. If you have room for another pretty standard idol group in your life, you could do much worse than Power Spot.
Band Ja Nai mon!
Band Ja Nai Mon! is an idol group that was formed in 2012. Initially it was two girls, Misako and Kacchan, whose thing was playing drums on stage. However, this year they added 3 girls to the group making it a three member group. So far they’ve put out two singles and one mini-album.
While having two girls play drums is kind of a gimmick, the thing that stands out is just how interesting their music is. They have a definite rock influence, but some of the music I’ve heard feels very indie/alternative. Some of it feels really idol-y, too. However, it’s generally unique music. These girls don’t just play the drums a little; the music feels influenced by this. Which is good.
I really like these girls. If music is something you care about with idols, you should check them out. Not saying you’ll like it, necessarily, but it’s just interesting music. The vocals aren’t the greatest ever, and not everything is perfect, but it’s just interesting. Which I find to be better than perfect, personally.