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CHAI - WINK Music Album Reviews

CHAI - WINK Music Album Reviews
The omnivorous Japanese band’s Sub Pop debut exudes a newfound sense of serenity, even as they remain committed to exuberant self-love.

The Japanese quartet CHAI excavate joy from every crevice of life: a ping pong match, a box of donuts, the moles on your face—nothing is spared from their ecstatic gaze. Their first two releases, 2019’s PUNK and 2017’s PINK, radiated positivity and playfulness, while also challenging the pressure they felt as young Japanese women to be seen as cute all the time. At their live performances, they wore avante-garde matching outfits and performed effusive, blocky choreography, and their songs channeled the same energy: loud affirmations and saccharine hooks that erupted from hectic arrangements and kinetic riffs.

But last year, when the pandemic forced them to stop touring and stay in, CHAI slowed down, adopted new hobbies like pottery and a dog-themed Instagram account, and decided to make the kind of music they enjoy listening to at home. The band members exchanged music via Zoom, worked for the first time with outside producers (Mndsgn and YMCK), and listened to a lot of rap and R&B. They’ve cited Mac Miller’s gingerly optimistic song “Good News” as inspiration for their songwriting, and the influence is clear: WINK exudes a newfound sense of confident serenity, even as the band remains committed to exuberant self-love.

Compared to past CHAI songs, these sound less like mandates or inspirational anthems than daydreams, light-filled messages of sweetness and support. “Donuts Mind If I Do” opens the album in a haze of synth and layered vocals that convey an immediate sense of ease. The way the band sings, “Hello, hello, would you like/Any donuts, sugar?” feels casual, as if they’d simply stumbled upon a tray of free desserts. On “Nobody Knows We Are Fun,” CHAI chant, “Go! Go! Go! Everybody wake up now! Have fun!” On past albums, they would have shouted the words over a caffeinated drumline, yelling in the face of anyone who dared to doubt their capacity for a good time. Here, the

View my Flipboard Magazine. vocals sound transmitted from the bottom of the ocean. The album even includes a lullaby, “Wish Upon a Star,” a slinky, minimalist ballad written as a sleep balm for band member Kana.

Though their delivery has mellowed, CHAI maintain the unwavering commitment to self-love and community that makes their music so endearing. On PUNK, they celebrated the virtues of curly hair, having lots of friends, and eating lollipops, dumplings, and beef. On WINK, food—a symbol of beauty, desire, and more abstract concepts like longing and confidence—is the primary motif of their joy. The body becomes a site of pleasure and curiosity on “Maybe Chocolate Chips,” where moles decorate the skin not as flaws but as sugary treasures. The sensual love song “Karaage” envisions the members of the band as a meal of fried chicken waiting to be eaten. On “It’s Vitamin C,” CHAI ask, “What’s good for you? What’s good for me?” and find their answer in “yummy kiwi fruit/yummy orange juice.” Consume enough healthy fruit, they say, and no mistake can hold you back. In domestic spaces, women are often expected to cook as a means of caring for others, but rarely are they encouraged to take the same pleasure in eating. It’s affirming to see these four women so explicitly link the love they feel for themselves to the foods they enjoy.

The mood on WINK is more consistently pleasant than memorable, and it’s hard not to miss the frenetic energy of CHAI’s first two albums. When the hazy mood occasionally breaks—like the rage punctuated by slippery synth blips in “END” and the 8-bit video game sounds of “PING PONG!”—it’s a welcome change of pace. Still, there is something thrillingly strange about hearing a band find fulfillment in the sheen of a glazed donut, or longing in the salty succulence of a salmon ball. It’s easy to get protective over your happiness, especially when it feels fleeting or hard-earned. But CHAI generously extend their wonder-filled perspective to anyone who will listen. In turn, they ask us to find our own joy, wherever and whenever we can.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
CHAI - WINK Music Album Reviews CHAI - WINK Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Monday, May 31, 2021 Rating: 5

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