22.06.24 / Junya Narita
There are a lot of these cityscape covers in the J-Indie scene, but this has to be one of the better ones I’ve seen. The colors are really well done and the soft text of ‘Hold On’ at the top is definitely a mood. Let’s find out a little about the artist before jumping into the track.
It’s hard to find info on Junya Narita in the usual places, but all his social pics point to him being a solo singer/songwriter based in Tokyo who’s had a lot of success on streaming platforms, but is still on his way up. His style is very mature, very ‘cool’ colors and fashion. Before I even hit play I’m guessing this will be a light J-Pop love song. It also seems like he’s joined by other musicians on this track, so maybe a three piece for this recording? I didn’t see many pictures of him playing with a live band though. OK, let’s get to the music.
Scariest opening lyrics I’ve heard in awhile! show me your skin Stalker-vibes aside, that was almost exactly what I was expecting, although less J-Pop and more alternative indie. Hold On is a pretty plain love song overall. The lyrics are stereotypical and the music has been done better before by thousands of other artists, which means that his voice is really the only thing unique about the song. And, luckily for Mr. Narita, he’s really pleasant to listen to. Bad English aside, the tone is fresh yet developed and gives the music some much needed emotion. I imagine that if he was singing in Japanese it would have more depth, but even here his skill is clear.
The harmony work is kind of a miss, and the overall arrangement is definitely simple. It sounds like he had some good ideas that just didn’t work out. Some sweeps and some solo melodic lines that just suffered from bad instrument choices and bad mixing. The mix itself is super boring and there are a lot of missed opportunities. The distance between this and The Fray isn’t as big as it would seem, mostly the scope of the song’s dynamics. So I hope he finds someone with a better ear and imagination to work with in the future.
Hold On is a very solid, yet entirely average love song. Junya Narita’s singing is the only thing that stands out here, but his voice just might be worth the listen.
Reviewed: 22.07.11 / Reviewer: EB