J-pop gets a bad rap. Overpopulated with cutesy girls and herbivorous young men, the pop world in this country has the reputation of being sickeningly innocent and entirely inoffensive (unless you want to get into the whole “sexy children” discussion, which I’ll save that for another day). LiSA might fall into the Jpop category, but at her core, she’s more than just a nasal voice and a frilly skirt.
LiSA began her career in the music universe on the indie circuit, writing her own songs and doing her own promotion. She has since been picked up as the singing voice of Yui in the popular anime Angel Beats! I know what you’re thinking, and yes, her audience at Hibiya Yagai Ongakudou on April 30 did consist mostly of high school to college age, slightly geeky and gawky boys. After all, any artist whose claim to fame is based in otakudom has to expect a certain boys’ dorm atmosphere (and odor) to their shows.
But the music thankfully contained much more than the overly synthesized, squeaky-voices we’ve come to expect from anime songs. LiSA emerged draped in a black Merlin cloak with a fur hood over her head. Her voice initially came out sweet and bashful, like she was surprised so many people showed up for little ol’ her. But once the guitars revved up for“Rock Mode,” something magical happened. Perhaps it was the star wands her fans wielded or maybe that demure thing at the beginning was just an act, but within moments, she became an energetic rocker in a tutu, prancing and bouncing with all the quirk of a young Cindi Lauper.
That’s also when I started to notice the stage set up and props. On either side, there were red platforms with bizarre, typically adorable animals in cartoon form. A bunny with a melted face and a blue cyclops cat gawked out at the audience like a trip to Kiddy Land mixed with a trip on acid. There was also something a little voyeuristic about the way she brought out an oversized, pink camera. She pointed the camera at the crowd, smiling mischievously as if she planned on using those shots to blackmail some of her fans on Facebook.
It’s these visual touches that helped separate LiSA from the conventional female pop-rock chick. Songs like “Escape Game” and “Oath Sign” were more or less the standard in her genre, but the way she bopped about, instructing the audience when to applaud, was cute and flirtatiously coy. She may have the youthfully high register of a Hilary Duff via Disney, but in songs like “Namida Ryuuseigun,” LiSA knows how to belt like an old soul. For “Mushoku Toumei,” her backup band got quiet as she dropped the mic and screamed out the last chorus. Considering Hibiya Yagai Ongakudou is outside, that was a bold move that indeed paid off as her voice reverberated off the trees.
LiSA breaks not only j-pop molds, but also anime music stereotypes with a wink and an acapella note or two. It’ll be interesting to hear how this 24-year-old will mature and morph in the next few years, hopefully dropping the hesitation at the beginning and sticking with the naughty little rocker we all know she really is.LiSA Official website – http://www.lxixsxa.com/ Buy LiSA albums @ Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/lisa/e/B004O3SBZU/ref=ntt_mp3_rdr_glnc?_encoding=UTF8&sn=d Buy LiSA albums @ iTunes – http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/lover-s-mile/id519947937****