It’s been over five years since I last wrote about a single from Japanese trio (now duo) w-inds. They’re an act I check in with from time to time, because at their best they produce fantastic pop material. The guys got their start as pre-teens, debuting all the way back in 2001 with the kind of sugary pop that dominated that era. This makes 2021 their twentieth (!) anniversary. A new album is on the horizon, and Strip is our latest taste. If this song is any indication, we have a lot to look forward to.
In our current pop climate, everybody’s doing disco. The songs that are most effective are those that best capture the energy of the late seventies. Dua Lipa has been able to merge this with modern production, resulting in instant classics like Levitating and Don’t Start Now. I’d argue that Strip has similar success. Though we’ve heard the likes of its funky, bass-driven chorus countless times this year, w-inds bring that extra oomph to round it out.
Though Strip’s hook is incredibly fun, its best moments arrive during its pre-chorus. This segment hits us with a quartet of unexpected power notes, instantly raising interest as the instrumental fills in behind them. The production brings just enough orchestration to deliver a satisfying swell as it transitions seamlessly into the groovy chorus. Strip also pulls off an effective second-verse switch-up. The percussion changes in a way that benefits the track, maintaining energy in an off-kilter way. And as we move toward the finale, the song lets loose. All of its elements collide in a brilliant mix of drama and dancefloor. It’s a tight little thrill, delivering an ultra-satisfying experience in just under three minutes.