Every now and again, I enjoy taking a break from reading literature for class about the tragedy of the human condition to listen to some catchy, fun, sunshiny synth pop.
I’ve been a fan of Anthony Fantano ( a.k.a.The Needle Drop) on YouTube for a while now, and when I saw his review for Kero Kero Bonito’s new record “Bonito Generation,” it called to mind a song of theirs I’d heard a few years ago called “Sick Beat.”
I remember being drawn to the song’s use of synthesized beats, video game noises as instruments and the frontwoman’s Japanese lyrics that she sang and rapped in a delightful British accent. Partially by how catchy it was, and partially by how bizarre it was yet managed to work as a coherent song, I wanted to learn more about this pop group.
Thankfully, “Bonito Generation” is indeed on Spotify and I spent an evening recently listening and was positively charmed by the carefree attitude and upbeat melodies of the just over a half hour record.
This record is, in a word, adorable. Just how simple, yet how creative, the lyricism is instantly makes me smile. Kero Kero Bonito follows in the songwriting vein of taking mundane occurrences in life and making them into something exciting and enjoyable to sing about, like hitting the snooze button in the morning or feeling lost while walking around a huge city.
It also has some more emotional moments, my personal favourite being the song “Hey Parents.” In it, frontwoman Sarah Midori Perry sings about going over to visit her parents after graduation, finding her place in her family’s extensive tree and trying to make her parents proud by finding “something to do/Something I want to, so they can relax.”
The song has surprising depth to it, as Sarah ponders what she’ll do in life to make an impact in her family history, but keeps a sense of humour with lines about her parents like “I sure don’t know if making me was part of the plan/But that’s what happened, and I’m cool with that.”
I also admire the group’s ability to incorporate sounds to their music without it sounding immature. The use of yawns and dialogue on “Waking Up,” the first song on the record, instantly give the listener a sense that this band knows how to make authentic, genuine and creative music without taking themselves too seriously.
Even the album artwork fits the record perfectly. Sarah in a colorful rendition of a graduation gown and mortarboard, holding a diploma tied in a lacy pink ribbon, reflects the balance of fun and seriousness incorporated throughout the record. It especially reminds me of one of the record’s more serious (yet still quite amusing, especially to a student like me) tracks, “Graduation.”
In it, Sarah sings about being fed up with the dreariness of grades and taking classes she doesn’t enjoy, yet still being scared to leave school and make a name for herself in the world. On the chorus she sings,”Today’s my graduation, I’ve done my dissertation/Even got a hat I can throw/Today’s my graduation, so long to education/Didn’t learn a thing anyway.” During the first verse, she sarcastically remarks, “These are the best days of our lives/That’s what the grown ups told us, right?”
All in all, this is a wonderful record that combines the production talent of Gus Lobban and Jamie Bulled with Sarah’s witty lyricism. I look forward to what this trio tackles next, and hope that one day I’ll be able to see one of their live shows.
What did you think of “Bonito Generation”?
Thanks for reading, and God bless.