A couple of years ago, the pop trio LADYBABY made a big splash in Japan and abroad. Mainly, because the up-tempo pop trio featured Ladybeard; a jacked Australian man sporting twin-tails and kawaii clothes, which he would wear while wrestling, or performing manic pop numbers. Joined by two young Japanese girls named Rie and Rei, LADYBABY broke big with “Nippon Manju,” one part bouncy tourism package, one part death-metal screeching. Few acts could ask for a better start to a career.
Last year Ladybeard left LADYBABY, and Rie and Rei kept performing, now under the new name "The Idol Formerly Known As LADYBABY.” A bold move, going forward without the person most people were drawn to in the first place. Ladybeard himself, recently announced his new group, DEADLIFT LOLITA, which finds the muscular dude paired with an equally muscular Japanese woman named Reika Saiki.
Both groups recently dropped new singles, so now seems like a good time to take stock of the project all the players of the once-mighty LADYBABY are in now.
DEADLIFT LOLITA: “SIX PACK TWINS”
DEADLIFT LOLITA’s debut single “SIX PACK TWINS” establishes that this project is focussed on working out, and celebrating the sculpted bodies that emerge from over-the-top gym sessions. Perhaps that’s inevitable when you put two professional wrestlers into an idol group.
Although it marks a thematic scene for Ladybeard, “SIX PACK TWINS” indicates he’s in no rush to move away from the frantic sound at the heart of his last project. The cute-ness of something like “Nippon Manju” is swapped out for drama, with Saiki delivering lines about weight training being a lonely road with gusto. Ladybeard backs her up to add growling force, and they join together for a fittingly zippy hook. It’s not far off from what LADYBABY was doing, and anyone who really misses that unit should give this a listen, as long as they can relate to the agony of muscle soreness.
The Idol Formerly Known As LADYBABY: “LADY BABY BLUE”
The Idol Formerly Known As LADYBABY has released several songs to this point, but most of them have felt like simple retreads of LADYBABY. Their latest, “Pelo,” demonstrates what would happen if a sugary idol group embraced nu-metal.
The other song included on that single, “LADY BABY BLUE,” shows musical growth for the group, and a big step forward for them establishing their own path forward. It’s a touch slower, and not nearly as overwhelming musically. It features some electric guitar strums, some downtrodden verses, and a big release of a hook.
A lot of this charm can be attributed to the song’s writer, Oomori Seiko, a singer/songwriter who has risen up the J-Pop ranks in recent years via ambitious, at times topsy-turvy numbers. “LADY BABY BLUE” is a bit more reeled in for Oomori, but still a strong piece of songwriting that adds new depth to this duo. Here’s hoping they keep exploring new terrain instead of fall back on sounds they’ve already tackled.
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