There are few things more frustrating than the Japanese music industry’s insistence on posting “short” music videos online. I get the fact that videos usually come packaged with physical albums and singles, and that throwing them up for free might discourage sales. But, it’s a total buzzkill when a song fades out just as it’s reaching its climax — and you realize you’ve got to wait weeks to hear the full thing.
Such is the case with Daichi Miura’s Be Myself, which I’ve been itching to write about since its short MV premiered at the beginning of this month. The song is an absolute stunner — like, top musical moments of the year stunner. Miura has already amassed a very solid discography over the course of his thirteen-year solo career, but he’s never impressed me quite like this.
Be Myself kicks off with an atmospheric slow burn, as inverted synths echo Miura’s rhythmic phrasing. But as we enter the anthemic pre-chorus, it’s clear we’re in for a very different track than might have been expected. Drenched in lush electronics and galvanizing percussion, Be Myself makes a quick ascent towards its showstopper of a chorus. From here on out, the song fully embraces 80’s synthpop as the melody moves from measured to soaring in the space of a few moments. It’s easily one of the year’s most spectacular choruses, and culminates in an irresistibly cathartic power note. As if this wasn’t enough, Be Myself’s militant post-chorus drops most of the instrumental to shine full focus on its impressive bassline and titular refrain. Miura’s unconventional looks have been the subject of way too much criticism over the years, which makes his confident delivery of the “be myself” chant all the more potent. But even beyond that, “potent” is a great word to describe the song. After so many sound-alike, trend-following releases this year, it’s incredibly invigorating when it feels like a track is laying it all on the line.