Far East Mention Mannequins (who shall be referred to as FEMM from now on because that is a ridiculous name) are a Japanese duo I have been listening to a lot lately, and it has gotten to the point that I put a song on repeat for a few hours before changing to another one. I am even listening to them while writing this post. It seems appropriate. Now you may think they’re just another weird Japanese electropop band, but they are so much weirder than that.
The premise behind FEMM is that two mannequins, RiRi and LuLa, were saved and got a device implanted into them to make them, uh, alive. So now they are using music to try and create mannequin awareness so that mannequins are treated better. Because RiRi and LuLa can’t talk (even though they can sing?) any interviews are done by their ‘Agents’, Honey-B and W-Trouble. These two ladies are rappers who have been featured in one of FEMM’s songs, and Honey-B seems to do all the social media stuff, going off the facebook and youtube comments.
I found out about them through tumblr, when someone I followed posted one of their videos. Apparently FEMM has gotten some attention recently with their song ‘Fxxk Boys Get Money’, where they are dressed in latex maid outfits and twerking. It’s not really my jam, the vocals are a bit too grating and the twerking kinda puts me off. The point of the song is pretty great though, which is pretty much “yeah boys are ok but I would prefer money to buy stuff”. They seem pretty big on ‘girl power’ type themes in their songs, which I definitely appreciate.
‘Dead Wrong’ is definitely my favourite of their songs so far (I haven’t listened to all the songs they’ve released, because Dead Wrong is so catchy in it’s autotuned glory) but coming 2nd is ‘Wannabe’, which is how I found about FEMM in the first place. The whole thing is a bit bizarre, with two ladies dressed in latex Japanese schoolgirl outfits, singing with deadpan expressions on their faces.But I think that’s part of why I like it.
Ben and I were talking about this and talking about how the mannequins can be seen as a reference to how pop stars put forward a persona, and how RiRi and LuLa are essentially singing dolls while Honey-B and W-Trouble are the ones talking for them, like Agencies do for musicians these days (especially in countries like Japan and Korea where pop music is such a big industry). The more I think about it the more layers I can find, like having FEMM wear the latex outfits could be referring to the fetishism of public figures like pop stars. Obviously we won’t know if this is all intentional and it’s a very complex message, or if we are reading too far into this. We’re not the people behind FEMM, I also haven’t looked that deeply into them as there’s probably a bunch of stuff in Japanese that I can’t read that may or may not even clear things up.
Either way they’re super catchy, have pretty positive messages in their songs, and I may have been obsessing about their songs for a while. I have been listening to them pretty constantly, and I think the main reason I like them so much is that the music sounds like the soundtrack to some sort of Magical Girl Anime fight scene. Check them out, maybe you’ll like them, maybe you won’t! Either way it’s fun to try out new things!