Review

Song Review: Miyavi – New Gravity

Miyavi - New GravityOver twenty years since his debut, Miyavi is releasing some of the strongest albums of his career. He’s found a great juncture that encompasses solo work, collaborations, Japanese and English lyrics, original songs and covers. His new album Imaginary wraps these facets in his incredible guitar work and knack for a killer melody. K-pop fans will likely be interested in his (very good) collaboration with Kang Daniel, but lead single New Gravity places Miyavi front and center.

There’s something so satisfying about an artist delivering exactly what you want from them. Miyavi experiments with sounds and styles, but he knows where his biggest strengths lie. New Gravity encompasses everything that’s great about his music. Right off the bat, we’re treated to scuzzy guitar and a wind tunnel of vocals. The song hits with hurricane force, swirling with a tactile energy. This opener soon blasts into a rollicking verse. Miyavi’s performance is suitably frantic, underlined by that immense guitar.

But, the song grows even stronger as we launch into its cathartic chorus. I love the structure of the melody here – stretched and desperate until it gathers into a resolute finale. The song releases tension in a gratifying way, but keeps the energy in check with percussive blasts that precede the post-chorus guitar break. New Gravity is wonderfully noisy, kicking up a ruckus while maintaining its pop-minded heart. Even when the track bloodies itself up during a searing climax, the momentum is always funneled in one direction. This streamlined approach heightens New Gravity’s power. There may be stronger songs within Miyavi’s excellent catalog, but it’s hard not to get swept up in the sheer velocity delivered here.

 Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 9

26 thoughts on “Song Review: Miyavi – New Gravity

  1. I SO love this song and album. Really, Warrior, Hush Hush, and so many more highlights. I need about a week to even digest it properly. I’d push up New Gravity’s score by around 0.25 points. Are you going to do a Buried Treasure for the album? I think it totally deserves it. Maybe to make up for you not doing a Buried Treasure for Holy Nights?

    Also, Rolling Stone’s new top 100. About it. Yeah. Apparently Dynamite is an all-time classic. Also, Missy Elliot, and many others are all over the top 500. Smells Like Teenage Spirit did not deserve the bump up. At least Bohemian Rhapsody, Respect, A Change is Gonna Come, and more are getting a bit more love this time. Overall, the list is a mess. It still is like nearly entirely in English. So much for diversity. I would not have an issue if they did not claim this list is perfect, ya-di-da-di, we checked with critics, etc.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I kind of do agree that Dynamite is indeed a classic but critically speaking it obviously isn’t. But I guess I have to take what I can. Well… respectfully.

      I am really interested in the album. I think Miyavi will suprise again, also the kang Daniel collab might be his best song, I mean for Daniel, ever. So I will check that one out. New Gravity is really an amazing song.

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      • I actually am one of the people who really like Dynamite. However, the song is far from classic. A classic is more than an influential cultural hit. It must mean something, musically or conceptually. It must take risks, and fulfill upon them. BTS have a few classics, particularly Blood, Sweat, and Tears. However, Dynamite was little more than a fun attempt to enter the western market.

        Yes, the album is great! I’d say Warrior is my favorite, but it is hard to say just yet. The whole album is fantastic! I hope you love it!

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      • They should have called the list “The 500 Greatest Songs (Catered to American Listeners).” They obviously don’t care to look into music of other cultures.

        I personally can’t imagine calling Dynamite a classic (even within BTS’s discography… let alone within the history of recorded music!), but then again I think it’s silly to call anything a “classic” when it was only released last year. I mean, it’s antithetical to the very definition of the word.

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        • I mean Dynamite definitely did a lot for pushing kpop westward and depending on what the long-term effects of that are (as far as how long and how strong kpop’s popularity in the west continues to be) it’ll definitely be viewed as the defining point. But for right now… it’s definitely not top 500 songs ever cultural impact wise or quality wise

          Liked by 1 person

          • Did it, though? Slotting a K-pop group into a typical Western pop song composed by a couple of white songwriters doesn’t do much to push K-pop forward in the West. If anything, it overlooks K-pop entirely and seeks to mainstream an idol group into Western culture. Ultimately, I think it was actually harmful.

            But… that’s grumpy old me going off! None of this is directed at you, Statickaa 🙂 I’m just in a bit of a mood and choosing to unleash it over this silly pop song.

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            • I’m sorry to distract attention from Miyavi still further! But wearing my heart on my sleeve for a moment…

              I haven’t been an avid Kpop fan for nearly as long as you (only about 18 months). But I’ve been a die-hard Trekkie for a lot longer. And to me, “Dynamite” is the Kpop equivalent of the 2009 JJ Abrams Star Trek movie: Kpop in its most attenuated, thinnest, most American-general-public-pleasing form, stripped of all ambition, intellectual pretense or depth. (In your “Black Swan” review you complained it was pretentious. Well, Columbia Records clearly took that lesson to heart!)

              But. The analogy isn’t wholly negative. The 2009 Star Trek movie isn’t a great movie, or even a great Star Trek movie – and Dynamite isn’t a great song, and it certainly isn’t a great BTS song. But the 2009 Star Trek movie revitalised Trek fandom – it was a first taste for a lot of people, and an entry point to deeper and more meaningful content. A stupid movie was an entry point for a franchise that has been a source of joy and meaning for a lot of people.

              I completely understand your desire to preserve Kpop’s own traditions and uniqueness! And there’s obvious limits to the analogy for a variety of reasons (not least that American success is an adjunct to Kpop’s main base, not home turf). AND one can definitely decry what it has done to BTS’s sound from that point on (although I liked “BE” a lot more than you).

              But “Dynamite” introduced a lot of new people (in America and elsewhere) to BTS, and from there into Kpop; for all that the song itself is not representative of what Kpop has to offer, there ARE people who have been drawn in enough by that stupid song to explore what the industry is truly capable of. And Kpop has been such a source of joy and hope and excitement for me in a truly miserable and painful eighteen months that I find it really hard to regret something that has introduced so many people into this genre.

              That said, Dynamite is about as far from “500 Classic Songs” as Earth is from the Delta Quadrant.

              Liked by 1 person

              • I like the analogy, although it would line up better if “Dynamite” had been followed by “Permission to Dance” and then “Butter”. Even my drastically lowered, “dumb but fun and pretty” expectations coming off of “Dynamite”/JJ-Trek One wasn’t enough to save “PtD”/JJ-Trek Two.

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          • I agree with both you and Nick. Cultural impact, quality, white people writing songs for kpop*, the song doesn’t come across as a shining example of cross-cultural pollination in the music world. It isn’t Mas Que Nada, or Despacito, or Volare, or 99 Luftballons (or Der Kommissar). Or even the Macarena, which is on every wedding reception playlist, still, somehow.

            Hey, Oye Como Va made the list at 479! That was about as far as I scrolled before I skipped to top.

            Also, Marvin Gaye “What’s Going On” at #6. A good choice.

            *It is worth noting the subset of “white people” of Swedes who write or wrote quite a number of kpop hits, in addition to their dominance on American pop charts. Swedes, and one Dane (Thomas Troelsen). It has always seemed to me that the Swedes shuffle(d) their more experimental songs to kpop and kept the blander ones for the US market.

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                • I was thinking about leaving a response along the lines of “well, I think it stands up okay (although I did and still do prefer “Sehnsucht” and “Tier”), but insert-something-tongue-in-cheek-about-my-taste-in-music-here.” And this prompted me to look up your archived “Rating 4” songs and I realized that I’ve got fully half of those songs playlisted and really, really like several of them (I might genuinely love “U Mad” and “Savage” isn’t that far behind it), which I find pretty hilarious. I wasn’t actually familiar with any of the “Rating 3” songs, although I’m thinking really hard about playlisting 24K’s “Bingo”.

                  So, uh, yeah. “Du Hast”. Good(-ish?) song! At least as deserving of being considered a classic as “Dynamite”!

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        • I don’t think Dynamite was the greatest song ever, but it has a special place in my heart because it was what introduced me to Kpop. Before dynamite, I had skimmed a few performances on some Late Night Shows, and my mental definition of Kpop was Gangnam Style (ouch). Dynamite was the kind of sugar pop I never used to listen to, but it was so catchy I looked into other BTS songs and now my English playlist is mostly neglected.
          I someone online saw that Dynamite, Butter, and the horrendous PTD, is like a trojan horse for kpop, and I totally agree with the sentiment. Without Dynamite, I would have continued listening to my recycled American pop songs.

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      • Calling Dynamite one of the best songs of all time, is like calling Baby Shark the best nursery rhyme ever. Yeah sure it is very popular, it is the most viewed video ever on YouTube, there’s basically no one who doesn’t know it, but it completely defeats the purpose of a nursery rhyme – that is, to educate.

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  2. It’s really time for me to finally buckle and get into Miyavi (and J-pop in general) this is a great song. I also peeped the KD song and that’s the best the kid’s ever sounded.

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  3. Damn, this is good. The instrumental in the beginning made me reminisce about some sound that i was very fond of… i tried pinpointing which song it was and why exactly it reminded me but the closest i got was David Guetta’s “The Alphabeat” – which is a fantastic song and probably my favorite EDM of all time – and i guess it was because of the timbres of the final section of it.

    Definitely got some drum and bass vibes from it as well and those vocals still managed to cut cleanly through the heavy production. And that finale, holy moly the energy.

    Guess i have become a fan of him from just one song.

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  4. Somebody tricked me into listening to this when is was pre-released last(?) month, and wow, so far the album is great. I jumped ahead to “Hush Hush” – banger for sure. There are going to be a lot more listens tomorrow, but so far “Warrior” is also a standout, and my inner 90s kid is delighted with the cover of SLTS. So that’s found additions to the bangers playlist and I’ve still got half the album to go. Whew!

    Not going to lie, if I was just in it for the music, I’d be seriously thinking about changing lanes right now.

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  5. I haven’t listen to him in at least 10 years but it really is special to me that he’s continuing to thrive so much. In truth he’s a bit stuck in time for me – back in the early visual kei days – but I really want to try and get to know this adult man him vs. hearing his name and thinking of, say, ‘jingle bell’ lol

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  6. Wait, I take that back: nothing, absolutely NOTHING, could’ve prepared me for the P.O.D. cover. Didn’t expect my lifetime of listening habits to coalesce like this!

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    • My spouse was only allowed to listen to Christian music growing up so I was really excited to tell him about this weird-ass confluence of genres, but it turns out there’ve been a bunch of Baptist missions to Southeast Asia so he wasn’t especially surprised that a Japanese musician would know P.O.D. (although he initially assumed it was a Korean group – apparently the missionaries have had more luck there than in Japan). The More You Know!

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