Artist: Asobi Seksu
Why I’ve been saving this, I don’t know. I liked it when I first heard and it while living in New York in 2006, when the album came out, but evidently I was too lazy or shy to pick up or even sample the album, even though I went to music shops all the time there. Four years and many missed shows later, I finally made a move. A lamentably belated move.
A shame that for most people who even have heard of them, this is likely all they know. Often, the first thing one hears that they like becomes the ne plus ultra by which to judge in perpetuity, which is unfair, but as this is one of the most beautiful, satisfying things mankind has ever produced, it’s understandable in this case. I have come to love their other stuff as much, but this still might be my favorite of theirs, top 3 at the very least. Its appeal has not diminished– my ardor still smolders, flames even. Though by mere accident of chronology, this is quintessential Asobi Seksu– dreamy, expansive, ethereal, atmospheric, and, aside from Yuki’s deceptively light soprano, not at all delicate or gentle. Aside from the airy and almost haunting opening (I love hearing it when my music is on shuffle, it signals excitement), the rest of the song charges ahead, from the bass that gives so much and asks so little, to the beefy drum fill at the very end. (Start out simmering, then raise the stakes dramatically on the second verse– hmm, sounds familiar…) First I get to enjoy the poetic, gorgeous things like the guitar tone in the second verse and how each individual note of the heavenly melody sparkles (and even then, the rhythm is jumpin’), and then I get to throw my head about when the second, pumped-up iteration of the chorus slams down. It even comes across an a smaller scale, in between the first chorus and second verse, when the drum is thumping at the single guitar notes chime in off beat. I love that part. The songs bounces and rocks and just moves, refusing to be merely pretty. The end of the song, aside from being a sea of sound you could drown in over and over, is such a generous embarrassment of riches. Let’s see, what hook to follow, the bass line, the first melody (“whistle through your window…”), or the backing melody (“la da”)? It’s too difficult, I usually end up switching from one to another every few bars. And I’m never satisfied.
Like “Strings”, the song that follows “Thursday”, this is immaculately written, arranged, performed, and produced. The way every small musical passage leads into the next one makes it impossible to identify a favorite section or moment. As a matter of fact, I’m going to go ahead and put these two together, sequenced as they are on the album. A wondrous and magical ten minutes:
For whatever reason, a few bars (equaling about 18 seconds) at the end of the song were edited out for the video. It’s not like it was on commercial radio and they had to pare it down, it’s an indie video, leaves those bars in!
(Not 726,000 views in almost six years? And yet Neon Indian in the corner there is pushing 3 mil. Interesting…)