Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021

Yuuri – Dry Flower

Turning on our radio…


Andrew Karpan: A gorgeous, forlorn riff that transcends cheesiness, even when the drums kick in. An autumnal anthem that crunches like the leaves themselves. 

Austin Nguyen: Piano chords that melt like rays of sun through the wind-rustled thicket of guitar strums, leaving light with none of the heat. Yuuri is at times tender and soft-spoken under the falling leaves, elsewhere wrenched with how faded and cold memories have become, wondering where their warm and vivid colors went under water-cup synth stars during the bridge. The instrumental break is perfectly (even if predictably) placed, right before the guitar and drums pummel their way back for final-chorus catharsis — and Yuuri delivers: “Your voice, your face, your awkwardness” are still there, but he puts his hands up to the sky and lets it go for the wind to carry; all the “flowers that have yet to wilt.”

Tim de Reuse: Even for a genre where luxurious production is the price of entry, this is full-fat, buttery, indulgent instrumentation — it’s not trivial to get guitar tone with that magazine-gloss sheen on it! The  measured rise in temperature over the song’s five minutes lets you steep in the melancholy. Such a backdrop could’ve carried most any vocal performance; the one we get doesn’t need to chew the scenery as much as it does, but, hey, why be subtle?

Madi Ballista: “Dry Flower” is a perfectly functional J-rock ballad — which is fine, because I love a good bittersweet ballad — but while Yuuri brings a tremendous amount of emotion to his voice, I still find myself feeling a little underwhelmed. It’s a lovely listen, and the ebb and flow of the rhythm really pulls you along, following his wonderful voice. But the lyrics feel on the functional side, and it wears out its welcome by the four-minute mark. I think if the music were a little less understated and more dynamic, this track might have grabbed me more, but ultimately, it ends up sounding like every other heartfelt J-rock ballad out there.

Jeffrey Brister: There’s something about Japanese pop music — I can’t quite put my finger on it. It’s like the songs, no matter how dated their source idiom, always manage to feel fresh and alive. This song is a perfect example: its sound is pure early-’00s US adult-alternative, but it avoids all of the over-singing or fussy arrangements that could mar songs of that time and place. What’s here is clean, straightforward, and performed with gusto, all without feeling like it’s trying too hard.

Rachel Saywitz: This kind of sappy, acoustic pop ballad has a tendency to elicit a kind of subconscious discomfort from me. Maybe it’s because Yuuri has a voice that stretches out each syllable of his longing, maybe it’s because the melody evokes nostalgic ballads of the past. Whatever it is, I can’t handle the pretty boy sadness right now. Give me something I can actually cry over, like a press release announcing Daft Punk’s breakup. 

Thomas Inskeep: Acoustic-based balladry that, once the drums kick in, sounds oddly like Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated,” melody-wise. I wish it didn’t. I also wish this didn’t remind me of John Mayer at his most keening.

Katherine St Asaph: A ’90s pop-rock radio programmer’s dream: a song like Lisa Loeb’s “Stay,” sung in a rough-ish folk-rocker voice, and all you need to do is chop a minute or two off for the edit. (Though it sounds like you could cut three.)

Samson Savill de Jong: “Wake Me Up When September ends” except with limp instrumentation that doesn’t build to anything and without any emotional resonance. 

Alfred Soto: The plaintive tones compensate for a tune that, I dunno, Uncle Kracker would’ve written in 2003.

John Seroff: Someone somewhere said the words “Ed Sheeran, but in Japanese” and that incantation found life here. More power to all involved but I’ll be ordering off a different menu.

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One Response to “Yuuri – Dry Flower”

  1. Did not think this was gonna be so controversial O_o, but also surprised that no one mentioned Taylor Swift/”We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”? Was it just me who thought the opening guitar chord sounded similar (then again, also a tiny detail that seems difficult to extrapolate into an entire blub)?

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