22.05.18 / MASH A&R
Airride has found moderate success among YAJICO GIRL fans, but failed to capture the ears of many new listeners. And I think I have an idea as to why: the song is kinda just meh.
This is a case of a band doing everything a little bit too by-the-book. They’ve got a nice guitar hook, a good overall arrangement, and some interesting rhythm in the melody, but none of it is memorable or unique. The vocals just kind of float around the chords. The chorus is weak, relying too heavily on repetition with no real payoff. And the song structure is just cut and paste from the pop musicians handbook. I did enjoy the extended bridge section being turned into the outro, but I think I was just tired of the chorus by the end of the song.
All the parts are well played, but everything seems emotionless. I think they were going for a “chill” vibe, but it all just comes off flat. Nothing bad to say about the playing, but nothing remarkable here either.
The whole song is based around the concept of an “airride”, which seems to be some weird term for reminiscing about past love. Sadly the memories aren’t interesting, just things like going to a restaurant, going to a bread shop, sleeping next to someone, getting yelled at. Liberally self-referenced as poetry in the chorus, they have remarkably little to say.
This focus on writing a feeling rather than a message is common in Japanese music, particularly in younger indie bands. And while it can be used to great effect, here it’s just boring.
The production of this tracks is where they hit the mark. Everything is super clean, and clearly recorded in a high quality studio. Given the band’s breakout success on earlier tracks, I’d guess someone dropped some money on this recording session in the hopes of riding the wave to fame. The mixing is also superb. Great balance overall. If I had to nitpick the bass is a bit too boomy for my taste, and the vocals come off a bit isolated. But the track sounds great. Hopefully they got some other songs recorded in that session.
The cover for this digital single doesn’t really convey anything about the track beyond air imagery. And they’ve also released a “ticket shirt” or something along with the album. So they really went hard on the flying aspect of the song, which really has nothing to do with flying. Being super literal on a figurative message just does not seem like the right choice to me. The color palette and ink style of the album art also seem at odds with the era of the music and lyrics. I mean, they sing about going to a convenience store, what’s with the cool stamps and brush work?
Not YAJICO GIRL’s best work but current fans will like it.
Reviewed: 22.05.20 / Reviewer: EB