Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s ‘Fantajin’ aims to dazzle

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s ‘Fantajin’ aims to dazzle

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's new album "Pika Pika Fantajin" (Warner) went on sale earlier this month.

The 21-year-old singer, a global icon of Japan's "kawaii" culture, has also just wrapped up her second world tour, which was a success on all counts.

The new album is an overturned toy box of musical diversity, exploding with colour. The lead-off track sounds like a cheerleading chant; later in the album come techno-flavored "Tokyo Highway," and "Koi Koi Koi," built around a traditional Japanese-sounding melody.

"It's not like I had all this in my head from the beginning," she said during a recent interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun.

"Once production got rolling, I felt like I wanted to make a work expressing the radiance of people chasing after their dreams.

To me, 'pika pika' [flashy or shiny] sounds more dazzling than 'kira kira' [sparkling or gleaming], so that's the word I put in the title," she said.

Producer Yasutaka Nakata, with whom she has collaborated to great effect since her debut, wrote all the music and lyrics for the album.

"He makes songs that bring out my distinct personality," said the singer, who places immense trust in Nakata.

The songs reflect conversations between them during meetings or when they get together for dinner.

One case in point on the new album is "Serious Hitomi," a song expressing the frustrations of a woman who struggles to express her feelings to the man she has a crush on. Nakata got his inspiration for the song when Kyary said, "To tell you the truth, I'm shy with people I've just met."

While she was in high school, Kyary began working for a fashion magazine as a reader-turned-model, before launching her singing career in earnest in 2011.

The playful use of language in "PONPONPON," one of her early songs, is typical of her work, as is its energetic, happy tone. Her distinctive sense of style has also drawn a great deal of attention.

"I want to be a person who can express a fantasy world through and through-someone who makes people say, 'I wouldn't think such a person really exists,'" she said. "In that sense, I'm aiming to become otherworldly."

Since her debut, she has been keen to go international. She set out on her first world tour in 2013, and her second world tour hit 14 cities across the globe.

The latest album includes "Ring a Bell," an English-language song.

"When I think of my activities overseas, it would get across better if I sang in English," she said.

"But the soft sound and nice ring of the Japanese language are an important part of my songs, so I'll keep giving Japanese a high priority."

She will kick off a national tour on Sunday.

"On tours I feel like I can give a clear shape to the world of an album," she said.

Her concerts in the past have been visual extravaganzas reminiscent of a circus or amusement park. So what does she have in store for fans this time?

"It's the story of Kyary being pierced by Cupid's arrow, then rising up to heaven and guiding the audience into the afterworld. I want to make it a live show where people can feel that 'pika pika,'" she said.

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