Thursday, December 5th, 2019

Sasami – Take Care

Today in Amnesty, we just wanna go back, back to 1999… or is it 2019?


Nortey Dowuona: A gentle, sweeping coo by Sasami, blankets the sandy and nearly invisible guitar, thins, stuck on bass and flat, limp drums.

Alex Clifton: I saw Sasami open for Snail Mail earlier this year, and I was kind of terrified of her. She’s super-intense on stage and I felt my heart pounding during her entire set, so even though I wasn’t crazy about the music I certainly remembered her. “Take Care” is toned down and chill, but it ends up fading into a background of Generic Dreamy Women’s Indie Rock. I do wish she’d do more material like this, but having seen her give a very engaging show I’m less impressed with this.

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: Bathed in sunlit, warm guitar strums and weightless, angelic wooing, Sasami proves herself an effective Mitski disciple. 

Alfred Soto: With the buzzing, brooding po-facedness of good Mitski, “Take Care” has a sound or voice to catch the ear every bar: multi-tracked harmonies, rifflets, the care with which Sasami enunciates “fake explore the neighborhood.”

Iain Mew: The sighing background vocals are beautiful and set up the mood, one of distance and pushing through an emotional haze as thick as the musical one on the guitars. The alternating two-note hook at the end of each verse is stuck in place while moving, just like Sasami. “I don’t leave my house anymore/Except to fake explore the neighborhood” but maybe faking it to make it is okay, an imitation of life as a step back to life. There’s nothing so clear as a resolution or answer in “Take Care,” but the song makes it feel like that’s okay too.

Michael Hong: Underneath the lush, textured arrangements of Sasami’s tracks is her voice, that soft hum that imbues each track with a sort melancholic sadness. Her voice is a softly resigned murmur, accepting of the circumstances and unchanging, but on loose single “Take Care,” Sasami is no longer a wistful voice buried in the mix but fully embracing the forefront of the track. The hint of resignation is still on her voice, but Sasami sounds so clear that as the arrangement chips away, “I could take care of you” sounds like a gentle bout of confidence rather than poorly-timed wishful thinking.

Oliver Maier: “Take Care” heaves towards its climaxes and bursts at the seams. When Sasami’s voice explodes into angelic chorus a little past the two minute mark, you can hear her breathe in, and you can hear the vocal layers fray the edges of the recording. It’s a sighing daydream, but it’s not optimistic enough to shrug off banal reality; it’s gorgeous in a way that feels larger than its DIY trappings — crummy synthesizers and stiff drums — but still dependant on them. Sasami’s lyrics tread the line between genuine despair and comical pathos (“being alone is such a chore“) with a levity reflected in the arrangement, as when the lead guitar on the bridge seems to wail in mocking response to her vocals. (The video is equally sheepish: a dramatic series of close-up shots where she wrecks a car with a bat is interrupted by a sped-up bystander viewpoint that foregrounds the slapstick side). In a weaker song all of this self-consciousness would risk undermining the sincerity, but “Take Care” never loses its tenderness. Sasami’s murmur is shy and delicately poised, like a glass sculpture a breath away from toppling and shattering, and the cheeky touches in song and video alike only bring the earnestness at the centre into sharper, more affecting focus. Feeling like your world will literally fucking disintegrate if you don’t fall in love NOW is melodramatic but it’s also how one feels sometimes, and there’s some peace in acknowledging that it’s the silly, embarrassing way that we’re wired. I don’t get the sense that the song is really addressing a particular “you” as much as an anybody, grappling with the raw need rather than a specific subject (though I’m fond of the reading that the “you” in the final chorus is self-directed too). It’s a fantasy that rolls its eyes and embraces itself at the same time.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: “Take Care” exudes a ’90s slacker-sadness that’s paralyzing in its ambling pace. Circuitous guitar motifs, simple organ chords, multipart harmonies–their sluggishness constructs a suffocating, uncomfortable atmosphere. A quietly harrowing lyric cuts to the core of Sasami’s woes: “being alone is such a chore.” With every patiently-sung vocal melody, she forces herself to speak as a way to process emotions; you can sense the discomfort in her voice, the stuffiness of a young life still unfulfilled.

Katherine St Asaph: By the end of the decade it’s possible that every ’90s alternative singer-songwriter — even the ones that haven’t gotten the full #rememberthe90s press treatment — will have a counterpart in a currently hyped indie-rock act that sounds just like them. “Take Care,” in its crunchy-but-not-sharp guitar, loping pace, scratchy voice, and sadsack lyric, would take care of Mary Lou Lord, maybe early Lisa Germano or Big Sir. It’s a sector of music that’s both distinct and underrated — but one that I, personally, bounce off pretty often, wanting the arrangements to be tenser, more dynamic. “Take Care” is not an exception.

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