Had you told me that Ladybaby would have gone on one of the stranger routes in recent J-pop memory, I wouldn’t have believed you. What started as a dippy meme in the wake of viral success via the likes of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and Babymetal became a surprisingly dramatic divorce, wherein the hulking Australian wrestler that gave them their identity left the group. While he went off to see how far one idea could be stretched, the two Japanese women became The Idol Formerly Known As Ladybaby, which shouldn’t have worked…but kind of did? It at least resulted in one of 2017’s best songs, which came out of nowhere but retains a drama few idols…or any J-pop artists…can pull off. Naturally, that group also fell apart, possibly in equally twisty ways.
So now one half of that group, Rie Kaneko, has started a new project called Trolleattroll. And if first song “Lost” is any indication, she’s going off in a more left-of-center style quite detached from her former existence as an idol. To really drive that point home, she worked with Foodman and Shuichi Mabe, who produced the track. That easily explains the foggy atmosphere surrounding the song and the off-kilter percussion. It all works in tandem with Kaneko’s singing, a touch muted but fitting for a song about saying farewell to her teenage years (“19” being a repeated lyric, the age she just moved on from). Coupled with the unsteady music, “Lost” captures the unease of leaving the safety of the past behind for an uncertain way forward. Listen above.