Thursday, January 30, 2014

I can't in good conscience buy Ging Nang Boyz new album

So Ging Nang Boyz have a new album released  I would have been super excited for this.  I really like their screaming breaking the speakers punk rock.  I love it when they got it the fuck together and made the Boys on the Run single.  I think the Boys on the Run "video" is heartbreaking and beautiful.

There other videos are all very and beautiful in this shame and teenage sexuality and how weird is to be that public about it when you are 15 or in your 30s.  Bomb The Music Industry's Jeff Rosenstock likes them enough to cover one of their songs in Japanese, "I don't wanna die."

So first we have a video which is very cute and almost a counterpoint Boys on the Run.  It is 12 minutes of cute girls blowing kisses at the camera.  The song is called "paadamu" which I'm not going to pretend I know what it means with even a dictionary.  I'm also not going to pretend what the lyrics means but will try by having it play in the background over and over as I write this.

Paadamu is almost a counterpoint to BotR.  BotR goes out of it's way to humanize and break down walls of the boys/men that are presented.  It shows them all in a very vunerable light.  I'm not sure what they were told to draw on the white board, but you have an incredible wave of stuff from "I don't want to disappointment my parents anymore", "I want a girlfriend", "I want to have sex with this AV Idol", or just "Frank Zappa."  They interview a huge range of guys.  You're given a brief chance to relate to a hundred+ people.  And you give hundred+ a voice.  Ging Nang Boyz based on youtube views have more fame than you'd expect them to have as a screaming punk rock band.  Then again I didn't know this band (warning creepy clown mask) until I saw their video with a billion views or this band that literally has cocksucker in their name.  So don't trust me to know what's popular in Japanese rock music.

Asside: Sekai no Owari is so イメージ it hurts.  I actually really like that song despite me wanting to hate it.

So the female counterpart is full of male gaze.  We do have a woman saying some words at the beginning of the song.  Who is speaking or why?  I don't know.  Let's assume the band wrote the words that were spoken.  "Do you see this beautiful world?"  "You are my beginning and end."  Then the not bad song plays and we return to the most male gazey part of a very male gaze filled video of a girl trying to not look at the camera.  I can't decide whether we're supposed to assume she's looking at the camera or at the person the camera is supposed to represent.  Most of these girls submitted the videos themselves (I hope! Not someone submitted videos of them without knowledge) There was an ad on their website a while back.  But these girls are not presented to show that they are people (if you prick them do they not bleed).  The Boys/men were.  We are just to sit here and enjoy all the pretty girls.  Which I definitely did, but contrasted with Boys on the Run it's probablmatic.

That's not the only problem.  BotR was an old song, for a movie (which I also think is very good for humanizing the loser males of Japanese society, aka my favorite film of 2010.)  The problem is the 42 minute other video used to ?promote? the new album.


 Tokyo's Last Story

I do not recommend watching that video.  It contains rape.  I'm going to describe the video in as simple but complete detail.

It starts innocently and awkwardly enough for Ging Nang Boyz.  A guy wants his girlfriend to fart in his face.  That's not far off from their weird sensibilities and whatever grown adults want to do.  There's definitely the weird submissiveness from the girl that I don't know how to process but that's a much much larger Japanese culture issue.  10 minutes into the video Yakuza thugs show up beat up the guy, throw the girl by her hair, and hawl them into their van.  We then get the music portion of the MV as the yakuza drive them into the countryside.  We get plenty of shots of Tokyo, an exhausted and fearful guy and girl, and the Yakuza laughing.  There are also lingering pantyshots on the girl.   Then rape on both the man and attempted rape on the woman.  The car crashes as a result of the girl trying to not be raped.  We then see the man trying to carry the woman through the woods. 

The man stands over the woman and comes to the conclusion that she texted the men who did this to them and was compliant in it.  He cuts off her head with a mysterious available shovel and carries her head through the forest.  The end.

The man is raped with a large dildo.  Through out the forest scenes we keep being told he still has the dildo in his ass as he travels through the forest.  I assume it is supposed to be funny.  Except it isn't at all because it's the result of a graphic rape we just saw.  And for the man's conclusion that his girlfriend was in on it, she is beaten and ducttaped and humiliated.   So in talking about "the art and interpretation" I'm pretty sure he was wrong about the conclusion (his reasoning was while he was trying to smell her farts (HAHAAH) she was looking through the window as they approached.)


So the video is a very bad time.  It left me with a sick taste in my mouth. Then a good friend who had not watched it but had watched the pretty girl video made a really good comment.  "Wonder what the pretty girls think of that video?"  That's a really good question.  They aren't presented in the 42 minute video.  But they are presented as the campaign piece in hype for the new album. 

To go to my own morals, I went from being excited about the new album to boycotting it.  As an adult I'm pretty against any entertainment or media that's a bad time.  That is entirely bad things or bad times.  There's enough very real evil and bad in the world that my media that is supposed to escapism from that.  There's no artistic statement to the video.  There's just this video where terrible things happen.  One of the worst things happens.  Then it is over.  And it theoretically is supposed to get me excited about spending money on music.  But I'm not.  I feel betrayed because my good time expectations turned out to be very wrong. 

It's paired with a video about looking at pretty girls, which i also have to have trouble with.  I love looking at pretty girls, but I have to compare it with BotR and suddenly I'm upset about what the video is not.  A band I really like I have to almost revile.  I'm not sure it has tainted their music before this, but it might have a little bit.  They made the worst thing they could then a bad album.  You can forget a bad album.  I can't just exorcise this video.  If I link Boys on the Run in the future to a friend I have to give them a huge warning if they go look at other videos they might find you know, terrible stuff. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014