Wednesday, December 16th, 2020

Jazmin Bean – Yandere

Amnesty Week continues with the question: do we like HIGH-CONCEPT SONGS referencing ANIME?


Austin Nguyen: I was going to say, “No one told me Melanie Martinez made Murder Metal now,” and leave. But then I scrolled down to the comment section, and apparently, I can’t make that statement because Melanie Martinez has a “vintage” aesthetic while Jazmin Bean has a “twisted Lolita” one (though isn’t Lolita inherently twisted, and Melanie Martinez equally as hair-twirling and Cheshire-cat-grinning? If anything, the former merely tempers herself for the suburbs while the latter goes on their killing spree in the city.) Whether those comparisons are valid (I’m torn; don’t know if Martinez has a heavy-metal screen within her), I wish there was more to the yanderu of the chorus on Bean’s part besides their intoxicated intonation on the word “honest.” Playground feigns and subtlety are fine when you’re deredere on the verses, but unsheathe the knife and stab someone already if you’re going to shoot the music video in a bloodstained bathroom.

Oliver Maier: It’s easy to imagine what “Yandere” might have been. Some things about the song are reminiscent of the desperately provocative stuff that Big Online (particularly the tween realm of TikTok) absolutely devours. There’s the cutesy horror aesthetic that gave us Melanie Martinez and Sub Urban, the additional pinch of anime that spawned Ashnikko and Doki Doki Literature Club, and the metal-indebted guitars of much trendy alt-pop of late. But “Yandere” isn’t beating you over the head or demanding your attention. Bean isn’t front and centre dropping quotables, but lurking behind streetlamps, biding their time. Their patience and delivery, even the way they structure the song, are owed mostly to early Lana, but the mood is nocturnal menace rather than decadent, sun-bleached ennui, the melodies more Hot Fuss than Born to Die. By the time the guitars rev up like chainsaws, it’s obvious that there’s more to “Yandere” than gimmicks. Bean means business.

Alfred Soto: This thing confused me. 

Katie Gill: It’s so interesting how this basically has the same DNA as “Excuse My Rudeness But Could You Please RIP?“: What if we take something cutesy and adorable, but add a super morbid touch? Cute + violence + anime references = winning combination. But while “RIP” charmed me with its sheer balls-to-the-wall ridiculousness, “Yandere” feels like someone tried to do Melanie Martinez again but tossed in some “Bad Guy” for originality. In the edgy swimming pool, it just kind of kicks its feet in the shallow end.

Taylor Alatorre: Though the archetype is widely considered to be played out within the subculture they’re borrowing it from, I can’t exactly fault Jazmin Bean for that. No one was stopping some aspiring alt-pop star from releasing a song with this title five years ago. It would be better, though, if this song aspired to be more than a mere introduction to the concept. Yanderes don’t have to be Henrik Ibsen characters, but if you want the violence to serve as something other than just an edgy signpost, it should be given a more fleshed-out motivation than “I don’t know, I just like you.” The plodding mix of B-movie screams and overprocessed nu-metal guitars only add to the sense that “Yandere” expects to be carried on the strength of its cultural referents.

Katherine St Asaph: Musically (if not image-wise), the exact midpoint of Lana Del Rey and Belle Delphine.

Tim de Reuse: Good things: the weird half-rhyme forced between “in the way, honey” and “stay heavy-hearted, and the little melodic leap that they lay on;” the oppressive fogginess of the synths that burble under the opening bars; the awkward matter-of-factness in the line “this may become a little brutal if I’m honest.” A bad thing: how it blasts the chorus on repeat under muddy reverb and calls it a climax, instead of escalating meaningfully past the initial shock of the song’s premise.

Juana Giaimo: “Yandere” could be considered a horror movie in the form of a song. The dark trap production fits well with the sudden screams, alarms, broken glass and sharp knife noises of the music video. The story it tells is also that of a horror film: a character with has a sweet and childish aesthetic, whose love is actually a toxic and dangerous obsession. But while I know this is just a song, I still feel a certain rejection of Jazmin Bean’s smirks and sense of humor, since I know that in reality many women are going through this and suffering.

Ian Mathers: Look, maybe it’s just bad timing because I’ve just watched someone I love extricate themselves from a years-long abusive relationship none of us realized was happening, or because our COVID bookclub just read the excellent and disturbing My Dark Vanessa, or because I’m just too old to “get it.” But there are so many elements here where the only options are that our artist is either “joking” or sincere, and neither option is acceptable.

Jeffrey Brister: At the age of 34, I can admit that I feel more than a little lost when listening to music located at that weird nexus of trap, early 00’s emo and nu-metal, and goth (For the record, I will state that I really dig “nothing, nowhere“). But I’m also a sucker for cavernous choruses filled with noise. So while “Yandere” isn’t the most compelling or memorable song in the world, it smashes that pleasure button in my brain repeatedly and forcefully.

John Seroff: Jazmin Bean’s Cremaster-chic visuals, kawaii Mr. Bungle lyrics, and Grimes-meets-Cowboy Junkies nightmare-pop sound are certainly painfully of the moment but, underneath all the posturing, “Yandere” is by-the-numbers, sludgy indie-emo fare. Accusing a bougie teenager of contrived aesthetics, especially one who came to prominence through “AM I FREAKING YOU OUT” instafame is both unkind and impatient, but pronouncements of purpose like “I started getting into drag culture but really soon got bored of it” make it awfully tempting, especially when they lag so far behind someone like HUNGRY. I like their cover of “Slave 4 U” tho!

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