The Love of Life
If you're a pop music addict, sometimes you're bound to think "This must be it. Surely all the great pop songs have been written by now. There's only so much you can do with four chords and eight notes, and we must be just about at the bottom of the barrel now." Then a band like Watashi Wa comes along, and gives you twelve songs that make you realize there's still more to do with those four chords, and that maybe we won't ever run out of songs after all. It's not that they break any boundaries or create any exciting new fusions or really do anything particularly new at all. It's just that they can take all the familiar elements that by all rights ought to be completely worn out by now and make you excited to hear them again. Combining the bizarro semantics ("You dream of time like that to always stay/But no soon day would ever stay") and the wide-eyed, heart-on-your-sleeve attitude of emo with most of the tight, focused energy of power pop, Watashi Wa makes music that it is almost impossible to listen to without grinning like a fool and flapping your arms. Fill in the grammatical blanks (definite articles, guys, you need more definite articles) and you'll find lyrics that gleefully conflate romantic love and spiritual consecration ("With Love From Me to You,") or simultaneously confess both romantic fear and an inability to dance ("Joanna"). Ignore the lyrics and you'll be lifted effortlessly on waves of cathartic chord progressions that the Smithereens would have shaved their goatees for. Apart from the overly precious piano coda, there's not a weak track anywhere on this album. And this is only their second album, folks.