Monday, November 20th, 2017

Aimer – One

Starting the week off with a Japanese number one two single…


Ian Mathers: Like just about any quality you can think of, relentlessness can help or hurt a pop song, but for me this is pretty much a bolt of electricity start to finish. I love both choruses, in both languages; I love that inexorable pound of the drums; I love the sudden and thrilling leap Aimer’s voice takes at a couple of key moments. I love that it feels openhearted and supportive rather than chiding or bullying. I maybe especially love the bits where the backing vocals take over the English chorus. And it’s a sign of my love that I find myself reaching for increasingly disparate sources to trace the way “One” makes me feel, whether to Tove Styrke’s “White Light Moment” or Alcest’s Shelter or Wheat’s ill-fated (but deeply cherished, by a few of us) Per Second, Per Second, Per Second… Every Second. Just like all of those, I’ve been listening to this on repeat since I first heard it and I don’t plan to stop in the immediate future.

Will Adams: My mileage for unabashed, bright uplift varies from day to day; it depends on whether I’m feeling shade-pullingly cynical or ready to give in to giant emotions and bathe in their light. Aimer’s committed performance through the long runtime and its boshy stomp — like a dance-rock remix of “We Found Love” — help pull me toward that light.

Jonathan Bradley: “One” has the energy of pop-punk but the insistence of its dance rhythm locks it into a recursive loop. Crepuscular synths and after-school guitar punch create a propulsive stasis that can build but never peak, like a skyrocket eternally yet to explode. It speaks to possibility — in the night, in the city, just in hope alone. The thrill is palpable.

Iain Mew: It’s not so far from recent versions of full-to-bursting anime film uplift, but she’s also working with a hint of Sakanaction‘s dance rock and grasp of dynamics. The result is a song that just keeps on picking up pleasurable momentum with every new swoop into even more sounds at once.

Tim de Reuse: Built almost entirely on a single ascending bassline, hitting climax after climax after climax from the word go, like a drawn-out finale to a longer song that we didn’t get to hear. It’s effectively exuberant, and it’s certainly catchy, but it’s also exhausting. It would’ve helped if the mix were a little braver, or if it had allowed for any real dynamic build from start to finish — the best efforts of the composition to rear up for a grand final showdown just get smushed into a papery mess.

Ryo Miyauchi: The stuttering guitar riff and thumping drum beat seem as though Aimer might be on to something that shakes up the serene landscapes of her usual moody pop-rock ballads. But the anticipation ends with a soaring chorus that feels pretty familiar: a predictable stacking of rhymes and a gutsy stretch of her vocals for emphasis.

Alex Clifton: The kind of song I’m sad I didn’t hear while I was in high school. There’s something effervescent about “One,” with the way that Aimer’s voice soars and trills; she makes it sound so easy. It’s a tight song overall and makes for a pleasant slice of sunshine in the grey of November.

Sonia Yang: I’ve always likened Aimer’s music to starlight. She debuted with gentle yet passionate ballads befitting of a nighttime fairy tale, and there’s a “childlike old soul” quality in her voice, which ranges from soothing and husky to a whisper-wail. I once feared she’d become a one trick pony singing string-laden lullabies forever, but a string of high profile collaborations — Hiroyuki Sawano, Yoko Kanno, TK from Ling Tosite Sigure, Taka from ONE OK ROCK, Yojiro Noda from RADWIMPS — pushed her out of comfort zone and took her to new heights. “One”, however, is composed by Rui Momota, who has worked with her previously on the lovely but very safe “Anata ni Deawanakereba,” so I was expecting something along those lines. What I got was… interesting. “One” wants to be that big motivational stadium anthem, the type that thrills both the performer and the audience in equal measure, but collapses under the weight of its own arrangement. Everything starts out fine, but by the chorus there is too much going on. It sounds like Momota had about ten different ideas on how to arrange this song (rock? EDM? barnyard stomp?) and used them all at once and the result is a slurry, the worst offender being the oddly tinny synths and awkward melody change at the bridge. To Aimer’s credit, she hangs in there wonderfully and her voice is the sole shining ray in the clusterfuck. By now, she is no stranger to rock and puts what she learned working with TK and Taka to good use, hinting coyly during the build-ups and letting out triumphant shrills in the chorus. Aimer takes Momota’s fairly decent hook and turns it into something warm, something rejoicing, something hinting at the desire to chase our dreams burning within all of us. 

Reader average: [7] (2 votes)

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3 Responses to “Aimer – One”

  1. I hear what y’all are saying about the production, but I love that part too (and the maximalist, throw-everything-at-the-wall quality it has reminds me I forgot to mention Andrew WK in my blurb).

  2. I do love maximalist production in a lot of cases (cough, most of Yasutaka Nakata’s writing for Perfume) but it felt a bit off here?

    That being said, I’m so glad Iain mentioned RADWIMPS’ “Zen Zen Zense” (I almost linked it in my blurb but decided not to overwhelm with too many links) – it was definitely a comparison I felt strongly as well.

  3. Strangely this reminds me of the Japanese band with the worst name of all times: Glim Spanky. This might sound a bit maximalist but it still has the kind of focus that I sometimes miss from J-Rock, and her voice really works for me too.