If you happened to watch "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" all the way to the end last night (April 5), you probably saw the following beautiful nonsense: a trio of Japanese teenagers dressed in pigtails and poofy goth dresses, dancing expertly choreographed routines in time to the most intense sounding guitar wails and heavy metal riffs that you've probably ever heard.
We are happy to report that you are not hallucinating: this is BABYMETAL, and they are the greatest Japanese pop culture export to hit the western hemisphere since "Pokémon." Bold words, I know, but check out that "Late Show" performance (again, for some of you) and tell me I'm wrong:
BABYMETAL is primarily an idol group, which are popular in Japan and South Korea and consist of young, cute pop stars with tightly-controlled public personas. The current roster (idols are often required by their managers to "graduate" after they reach a certain age, kind of like Menudo) features 18-year-old Suzuka Nakamoto as the lead singer, with 16-year-olds Yui Mizuno and Moa Kikuchi as back-up — along with a live band of real musicians, of course.
While the group officially started in 2010, they've only recently taken the world by storm thanks to their 2014 debut album and their popular YouTube channel, where their videos routinely reach millions of viewers. Last night's rendition of "Gimme Chocolate!" marked their very first live television debut in the United States, and man was it a banger. Sure, they might rely on a gimmick, but it's also clear that both the idols and the band can back it up with some incredible talent.
Gotten bit by the BABYMETAL bug and want more? Here's the music video from their latest single, "Karate:"
Their most recent album, "Metal Resistance," was just released on April 1, 2016 (no, really) and can be downloaded on iTunes.