Over 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.