Ashita – Sofi Maeda (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Even before we get to talking about the intricacies and sonic charms of the music, Sofi Maeda’s Ashita has lots to say about the modern world. The first thing it reminds us is that the world today is a very small place indeed, particularly artistically and culturally speaking. That there is no reason why artists making music in Russia can’t write songs which sound like they are straight out of the western pop-punk songbook; geography, distance and cultural divides are no longer barriers in the modern, connected world.

It also tells us that language isn’t a barrier either. Although sung in Japanese, the song is accessible and infectious to any who hear it and when you throw in a fantastic video, as happens here, you realise that the Ashita is a universal and relatable story about school bullying and not fitting in.

More importantly it reminds us that we all dream of being a superhero from, time to time.

Sofi Maeda’s latest single is a joyous and charming slice perky, punked-out pop, a song blending enough rock and roll weight to appeal to the more discerning fan yet with the pop chops to make it a favourite in the younger market too. Perfect for the chart market but also with the required musical charm and deftness to last long into the future too.

And if there is a lot to love to be found in the song’s mass appeal, there is even more in the video which accompanies it. Bullied at school, our protagonist tuns into a superhero to take on her oppressor in night time duels under the neon lights and shadowed rooms of an alternate world. Fact or fantasy? You will have to make your own mind up but we all know that we want it to be real, we always want the underdog to be victorious, the outsider to turn the tables on the bad guys…or in this case bad girl.

Everything about it is great. It’s relatable yet also escapist, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy…or perhaps dreams. It is slick and sassy blending rock maturity with pop innocence. It speaks of the modern world but also of age old tales of revenge and retribution. It is fun yet laced with a serious issue. It is universal in every sense of the world. Fantastic.

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