Chou Chou Musubi by Aimer // Single Review

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The moment I found out Yojiro Noda of Radwimps was going to create a song for Aimer, I knew it was going to be something else. His style of writing is ideal for her voice. The soft instrumentals would really bring out the warmth, raspiness, and richness of her voice. Compared to Taka from ONE OK ROCK or TK from Ling Tosite Sigure, I believed that Noda would produce a piece similar to her older sound.

The result was Chou Chou Musubi. It's a strong single, very slow and building in its pace yet very simple and complex in its construction. Opening the track are pleasant sound distortions, flicks of notes, vocal practices. It sounds as if the instruments are being tuned and vocals are being prepped before the main performance. Then, Aimer comes in against the light piano accompaniment. The soft cracks and breaks in her voice appear like gentle waves crashing in periodically.  With a quiet strength, she swirls around the listener in a whirlwind of warm tones, dragging them in the eye of the storm. There they stay, captivated. Unable to move. Only there to enjoy the beauty and scenery of the world the song has transported you to.

The simplicity of tying a knot in contrast to the formation of a relationship is such a plain idea but so straightforward in its narration, it feels like anyone could relate to it. Whatever type of relationship the two people in the song have formed, I believe that any listener can relate to the difficulties of forming a relationship with another person.  When you find a connection with someone -whether it be romantic or platonic or something entirely else, it's a special one. The fact that both of you found a common ground, chose to put effort into learning to understand one another. In spite of how easy it may seem to make a butterfly knot, it's harder to make one that lasts. Maybe relationships are the same way. They are as easy to form just as they can become undone.

Natsukusa ni Kimi wo Omou (briefly translated to Summer Grass Reminds Me of You) was going to be the best song on the single. That's what I thought when I heard the preview featuring the chorus. The melody was amazingly and vividly beautiful. The chorus was warm and inviting but had a dark, lonely aftertaste to it, as if the summer sun was occasionally being covered by bypassing clouds. I felt the chorus came in a bit too quickly; I would have liked the verses to repeat once more to create a build up. However, I do enjoy this kind of song from Aimer.

September-San is a cover of Radwimps'. It's a fun song full of cheery beats. Yet its electric energy has a softness to it that it never really quite overwhelms your ears with too much. Compared to the original, the backtrack has more layers. The strings smooth out the edgy electronic elements. The stringing of the guitar and the ever-present kick blend nicely along with the piano in the backdrop. However, the melody is so distinctly Radwimps' it never really feels like Aimer's song.

Chou Chou Musubi is an important single. Not only because the single is so strong, not only because it did really well in sales. Along with her previous single insane dream/us, it signifies a turning point for Aimer. She showcases how much she changed. Her vocals have become better, her techniques sharper. She is no longer this small little indie artist. She always had her fan base and she was always relatively successful. But I think her upcoming album, daydream, will emphasize her growth as an artist and her change in her image.  She is no longer this mysterious figure behind this incredible voice. With strategic publicity choices such as appearing on Music Station and collaborating with famous artists such as Radwimps, I can only believe bigger things are on the road for this lovely singer.

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