A couple years ago, dance icon Daichi Miura released the incredible Be Myself. If you haven’t heard that song before, make it your most urgent mission to do so. Since then, none of his music has really hit me the same way. But I’m delighted to report that new single Backwards feels like the Be Myself follow-up I’ve waiting for.
Now, this song isn’t quite as potent or euphoric as its predecessor. But, its sonic landscape is quite similar. I love Daichi’s vocals over this kind of synth-heavy instrumental. The tones meld perfectly together. Being a dancer, he has the innate ability to harness rhythm through his phrasing, and Backwards takes advantage of that skill.
In the age of “three minutes or less” pop songs designed to maximize streaming numbers, it’s disarming to hear a track that deliberately stretches each of its segments. Backwards’ intentionally drawn-out chorus may baffle at first, but it results in a unique sort of tension that works really well. I love the subtle changes in phrasing here, drawing out certain words before accenting them when the key changes. This matches the arpeggio-like appeal of the instrumental, which feels in constant flux. It’s incredibly atmospheric, but never at the expense of forward (or maybe backwards!) momentum. This is the kind of pop music that gets under your skin, buoyed by a series of fantastic hooks. I hope Daichi Miura continues to explore this sound while the retro synth trend is still in full swing.