Get Into Sway Emotions Slightly, You Guys. It’s Rewarding.

So Sway Emotions Slightly, who you may recall as kicking enormous amounts of ass, released a new MV last week. I in my perpetual sloth wanted to write it up over the weekend, didn’t get a chance to, and then got waylaid but other things that kick enormous amounts of ass, so I apologize — to you, dear reader, and also to Sway Emotions Slightly, and in addition to them the hidden forces in the universe that misalign every time I don’t Do the Thing, please don’t let the air out of my tires again — and please allow me to rectify by sharing this with you. And then, while you’re buzzing over the immensity of it, let’s have a nice long post about awesomeness and feelings and stuff.

Gawd but I love everything about that. I’m usually the first person to complain about a boring MV, but “boring” and “not action-packed” are not synonyms, and in fact this MV is anything but boring. Its stillness is a virtue and amplifies the song so well, and I feel gives the idols themselves as much personality as anything else they’re done so far … just, like, quietly. But the MV isn’t what I want to talk about.

If idol has taught me anything, it’s that its flexibility as a means of performance has an equivalent influence on much of the music that gets written for it. There’s no shortage of cheerful pop songs in the world, for instance, but you can tell an idol song apart from the work of non-idol artists pretty readily (or, at least, I think I can). The same holds here: There’s plenty of rock music in the world, but only rock music written for idols sounds like this — it’s emotional without the emo, fuzzy without the -gaze, distorted and guitar-centered and even a little funky without really giving itself over too much to any one set of genre norms except as a momentary device — and so it’s distinctly idol rock.

And of course there are tons and tons of “rock” idol units that actually rock at all to varying degrees, but I have to hand it to Sway Emotions Slightly for finding that almost indescribable sweet spot at the edge of “this is actually just awesome rock music, thanks” and “this is rock music made just good enough that people will buy it to support idols”; a grossly attenuated Venn diagram of idol groups (called, say, “the idolrock continuum”) that fall into the two camps called “idol rock” and “awesome rock” would look hilarious because not only would the latter circle be far larger than the former, but there’d be only the barest sliver of overlap between them. So small you can’t read the text, even! And then you complain to OP who’s like, look, don’t you think I’m very clever by using this motif to actually doubly prove my point? Exactly. But yeah, there are like five groups ever in that overlap, and three of them are dead and one of the remainders is Sway Emotions Slightly.

Am I begin taken back to 2016? I am, and the debut of a well-pedigreed group rocking a fresh artistic style with music at a quality that recursively can only be described in superlatives in terms that hadn’t previously been set in idol. I called Sway Emotions Slightly my new favorite thing the same way that I called Yanakoto Sotto Mute the perfect modern idols, and even though there’s really stiff competition for Best Debut in the upcoming Best Of voting, I’ll be happy to stand by this soul-warming trio.