CMU Approved

Approved: Oomori Seiko

By | Published on Thursday 4 December 2014

 Seiko Oomori

One of the most interesting artists to emerge into the Japanese pop mainstream this year, Oomori Seiko began her career performing alone with an acoustic guitar in Tokyo’s more underground venues. Since then, she’s signed a major label deal (with Japanese company Avex) and flourished into what appears to be a fully-fledged popstar. Well, more than appears to be really, she is a fully-fledged popstar. But one with a self-awareness about what she’s become that allows her to play with it.

Her debut album, ‘Sennou’ (brainwashing), was released globally through iTunes this week, and sees her run through all of the current tropes of J-pop with both a love and distrust for them. The result is a sound she recently described as “Disneyland in hell”.

So, there’s the brostep that bizarrely keeps creeping into the Japanese mainstream on ‘Imitation Girl’, which then leads into the bluntly-titled ‘Nostalgic J-pop’, showcasing the more saccharin end of the genre but with (so I’m told) some pretty dark lyrics. But her real power comes across in more rock-leaning tracks like album opener ‘Zettai Zetsubo Zekkoucho’ and ‘Watashi Ha Omoshiroi Zettai Omoshiroi Tabun’.

Her clearest statement of intent, though, is the lead single from ‘Sennou’, ‘Kyuru Kyuru’, a clattering guitar-driven track that manically flits between sweet and ferocious, twisting through so many different musical ideas it’s hard to keep up. The video for the song, which you can see below, features Oomori attempting to perform in the back of a moving truck, surrounded by ‘kawaii’ imagery while wrapping gaffer tape round her head, smashing a guitar and, er, having stretchy arms.