Ryuji Imaichi, from Exile Tribe’s Sandaime J Soul Brothers, has a flourishing solo career that’s largely passed me by. Depending on the song, I either love the unique tone of his voice or find it quite piercing. But when I stumbled upon the futuristic cover of his new mini album Chaos City, I knew I had to give the music a chance. I’m glad I checked out Future Lovers, because the song’s synthwave sound is right up my alley.
After The Weeknd’s Blinding Lights dominated global music charts, I hoped we would hear many more big pop songs in this style. A few have emerged within various music markets, but my synthwave hunger remains ravenous. Future Lovers satiates this craving right from the start, as the track punches us with a massive synth riff. In this way, the song feels like the sonic sequel to last year’s Rising Soul, which was (of course) powered by Ryuji’s vocal as well.
Future Lovers pulses on a more laidback groove, but its atmospheric production remains sharp. The instrumental is gorgeous and cinematic, dripping with icy electronics and powered by an insistent beat. This soundscape is a perfect match for Ryuji’s high-pitched tone. Taken together, the two create an almost otherworldly quality. The verses build plenty of tension, but Future Lovers’ chorus is where we hear the real action. I love the call-and-response nature of this hook – especially the layered brush of vocals that caps off each line. It’s such an ethereal texture, perfect for a song of this genre.