Tokyo Gegegay is a band I’m only vaguely aware with (primarily through their collaborative efforts), which is why I didn’t see the video for their song Break The Romance () when it came out two weeks ago. But because a new album was released this week, I immediately got into this track and didn’t look back.
I adore it when a song completely blows me away on first listen. The fact that it no longer occurs frequently just heightens the intensity of the experience. The lack of expectations may have contributed to my first reaction in part, but I’m increasingly looking for music with a unique perspective. Break The Romance is undoubtedly eccentric, but its primary appeal stems from significant pop music touchstones that helped shape my taste in music.
The bizarre song structure and energetic arrangement, for starters, make me think of the daring, cutting-edge sounds that SM Entertainment used to provide its artists throughout the first 20 years of the company’s existence. This groove has a lot of SHINee (and particularly Taemin) traditional elements. But going back even farther, Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation, which also happens to be my favorite album of all time, comes to mind when I hear the sledgehammer, industrial percussion on Break The Romance. So sure, I have a tendency to like this.
Break The Romance is a stunner even with that prejudice set aside. Just take a listen to the chorus’s herky-jerky tune, which is aggressive and belligerent without using yells or chanting. Stay for the piercing guitar solo that drives the song to its conclusion after that. Nothing about this is meek or muffled. This sense of effort and ambition demonstrated by Tokyo Gegegay is quite alluring.