WARNING: This post may contain content inappropriate for some readers. I will not require you to confirm your age before reading the insights of a jaded Visualist and their opinions about the feisty side of Visual Kei, but I would like to make it clear that you read at your own risk, and I will not be held responsible for your corruption in any way.
Today I was surfing Youtube and went to watch the newly released PV for VAMPS‘ Devil Side single that’s coming out next month. As I clicked on the link, it seriously took me to a page that said something along the lines of “this video has been flagged inappropriate for some viewing audiences by the Youtube community. Please confirm your age to continue.”
Being a long time viewer of Visual Kei and Jrock PVs and live footage, and having enough comprehension of Japanese to understand lyrics, I’m no stranger to the casual trashiness of some Visual Kei and Jrock. It can be kind of shocking if you’re not used to it, probably because the Japanese don’t have the serious hang-ups around sexuality that Puritan-based western cultures do, so in order to be really trashy and shocking, you have to get kind of ridiculous. Blatant raciness became standard fare in Visual Kei in the late ’80s and early ’90s, with leaders like BUCK-TICK, who filled their live performances with all the sensuality and raunchiness of the lyrics– with that in mind, however, it was all in good taste. At least, I don’t think that’s my visualist dementia speaking for me. Fan-service was usually enacted by vocalist Atsushi, the god-father of on-stage sensuality, who romped around the stage drawing on monitors with crimson lipstick, and pole-dancing with his microphone stand bound with roses. It didn’t stop there, though. The late ’90s and early ’00s saw the rise of GACKT and his solo shockers.
Any standard GACKT fans will probably be at least relatively familiar with his long line of major-hit-atrocities such as Vanilla, Papa Lapped a Pap Lopped, Dispar and Koakuma Heaven. The earlier pieces like Vanilla and Papa Lapped created the friction that set off a spark in J-music genre-wide, but which particularly set fire to the edgier Visual Kei groups. I think every self-respecting Jrock fan has witnessed his 2004 live footage of the hip-thrusting classic, Vanilla.
And that was the tame version.
Within Western music we have raunchiness, yes, but it has such a profoundly different feeling. It’s practically seething shock-value; if so-and-so can have a more inappropriate video than who-and-who, then they’ll most likely have a greater sales spike. In Jrock the same applies, I think, but there’s also a different attitude around sexually themed music. As I already mentioned, there aren’t the same hang-ups around sexuality in general that there are in our so-easily-shocked culture.
There’s also a bit of a misconception about the lyrical content, though. Many of the above-mentioned GACKT songs have pretty dirty lyrics when translated, but actually have a wide range of innuendo and implication involved in the word-choice and kanji use. His Koakuma Heaven, which deals with the theme of host-girls, is packed with the female innuendo that trickles out of the Japanese “water-trade”. Therefore a lot of it isn’t as brutally obvious as the translations sound.
In any case, now that we’ve had “the talk”, today I want to showcase some of the trashiest PVs in Jrock and Visual Kei. These videos may offend you.
DIRTIEST PV: 19sai (Ju-Kyuu-Sai)/ Suga Shikao
I give this award to Suga Shikao’s [スガ シカオ] 19-sai [１９才], which was used as the opening theme to the anime XXXHOLIC (which actually wasn’t XXX at all, except for maybe the theme song). Although there are plenty of trashier songs lyrically, it takes a lot of guts to actually show enough that the video has to be censored. Plus, the whole energy of the song and the characters is so depressing, it’s all a bit disturbing. Awesome song, though.
MOST BLATANTLY XXX: Gather Roses / SCREW
Pretty self-explanatory, really. One of the raunchiest VK PVs on the ‘net.
Rated PG for Thematic Content and Some Sexuality…except I don’t actually recommend you have ‘parental guidance’ for this one. I wouldn’t show it to my parents, and probably, neither should you: Devil Side /VAMPS
And despite the two above, I actually had to confirm my age before viewing. Hyde is really turning into a horrible influence on Visualists. Setting the stage for your PV in a nightclub complete with scantily clad poledancers is sort of inappropriate, I guess, but VAMPS never pretended to be tame. Probably this was flagged by a frustrated fangirl when she got to there scene where…well, I won’t spoil it for you.