(l-r, Ainyan, Hinachuu, Suu, Yukarun)
So, I've figured out my new year blogging resolution: when I find something awesome, I need to post about it right then and NOT HOG IT ALL TO MY BAD SELF!
I was scrolling through the new releases section on CDJapan last year because reasons, and I came across a mini-album release by a group with an interesting name: Silent Siren. When I looked their newest indie single up on YouTube, I was quite impressed, as I am equally so with their second major release: stella☆.
Silent Siren (SaiSai) is a 4-member girl band. The two founding members, Suu and Hinachu, are CUTiE magazine models, and they came up with the idea for the band during photoshoots. Originally, their friends Aina and Yana joined the group, but Yana dropped out in July, after the release of their second indie single, and was replaced by Yukarun. Yukarun had approximately no keyboard experience beyond school music classes, but has been studying night and day to catch up with the rest of the group.
I'm rather fascinated by Silent Siren. While they are definitely a legitimate band, they also seem like they could fit in with the idol scene. In a way, they remind me more of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu than SCANDAL, if only in the sense that they are a group of stylish model girls with tons of charisma, and they have a very wota-friendly (*twitch*) vibe to them.
It is possible in the future, that they could become media/advertisement darlings (also like Kyary, and also Perfume) simply because of their modeling roots. While the rah-rah-solidarity-fist part of me wants to pooh-pooh that possibility and root for them to become stylish, independent girl power icons, the part of me that wants to bump fists with Taku "Jpop SUCKS" Takahashi thinks it could be great if they became widely known in Japan's consumer culture.
There are two reasons I think consumer media exposure for these girls would be great. First of all, it would help chip away at the idol group hegemony in popular culture. Specifically, the more popular ***48 (and a certain ex-48) idols are some of the highest-earning celebrities in Japan, partly because of all their endorsement/CM deals. But their exposure does not bring attention to innovation in music. It brings attention to pretty girls, some of whom just so happen to have a modicum of talent.
Which brings me to the second reason I would love to see SaiSai reach SCANDAL levels of popularity: reinforcing women's presence in non-idol music. I love my idols as much as the next person, and there is a lot of real creativity and innovation coming out of the idol world these days in the form of fun themes (e.g. Steamgirls, PASSPO), genre-bending (BABYMETAL, Naaboudoufu@Nana), and aural time-travel (SanMyu, Nogizaka46). However, we all know the members don't have a hand in the creation of their performance material, and that's not good for establishing an authentic female presence in the music industry.
While I've still not heard word on whether SaiSai writes their own songs, they still formed on their own, play their instruments on their own, and are genuinely, openly invested in what they do. I like to think of SaiSai as being part of a new movement in the music industry. Thinkers like them, and like BiS, AeLL, SCANDAL, exist†trace, Ono Erena and Ieiri Leo are creating a new niche for female musicians. Whether they are naturally talented, or just have a really great vision for something they would like to make happen, the fact that they are out and doing it is great for the music industry and for re-inventing female space in Japanese popular culture.
So without further delay, meet the members of Silent Siren:
Yamauchi Aina (Ainyan)
Harajuku Kawaii Style model
Umemura Hinako (Hinachuu)
CUTiE exclusive model
Yoshida Sumire (Suu)
CUTiE exclusive model
Kurosaka Yukako (Yukarun)
Ray exclusive model
You can also check out their Kawaii Girl Japan interview from last summer here.
CDJapan links (their newest single comes out on 2/20):
Check out the PVs for their two major singles and *gasp* THEIR B-SIDES *heart* below. My personal favorite is the b-side to "stella☆:" "Filter (フィルター)":