Simply Sparse: Otogi Banashi’s “Thank You”

“Thank You” stands in sharp contrast to the overwrought J-Ballads constantly parachuting into the Japanese mainstream music consciousness. Those songs, packed with string sections and pixie-dusted sections to the point where Walt Disney would choke on all the pure sugar, try to sound “emotional” the same way Will Smith tried to act “poor” in The Pursuit Of Happyness…a noble effort, but it’s Will Smith, he’s loaded! Otogi Banashi, on the other hand, sort of luck into something good courtesy of pretty raw recording techniques, sounding like they recorded “Thank You” in someone’s living room and then plopped it right onto SoundCloud. Maybe Otogi Banashi wish they could drown this song in orchestra flourishes, but they can’t so they have to settle for a lo-fi sound. And thank goodness for that.

“Thank You” does feature plenty of thanks, along with plenty of mentions of “music” and “songs.” Yet this is the sorta of acoustic-guitar-slow-dance that transcends language barriers (something most J-Pop ballads fail spectacularly at) thanks to the mood the lonely-but-upbeat strumming projects. The singing, always a bit more froggy than it should be but perfectly fine in this situation, goes from appreciate creak to more defeated wimper. The actual music never eyes anything more ambitious than the child-like guitar line introduced from the beginning, though a few touches of drum and twangy guitar come in. Yet “Thank You” never approaches release, a thank-you hug, instead the sort of gratitude you never express to a person directly. “Thank You” ends up sounding like nothing special – but also surprisingly direct.

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