I came across this adorable music video for a song called “I Will Go Meet You” where this girl goes into a haunted house and snaps pictures of ghosts that looked like the Jack in the Box’s long lost cousins. It was like Fatal Frame
meets Yo Gabba Gabba!
, though the song playing was pretty sweet and down-to-earth. It subtly reminded me of the Birthday Massacre
, though it was more like your standard non-mainstream Japanese pop with a cute nasally accent carrying it all through. The thing that made it so awesome though, was the girl herself; she was wearing nothing more than a modest little pink dress and didn’t have any hypnotizing, robotic dances choreographed, yet she was still clumped together with artists like Perfume
and Aira Mitsuki
who go all-out with the whole android-songstress thing. So I decided I had to check the whole album out.
After the fact, I found out Sawa was something like a less flamboyant, more transparent version of her electro J-pop peers. Instead of drinking gallons and gallons of auto-tune and slave-working that little turquoise Vocaloid girl to godless ends, she opts for the purer route for bringing her angelic melodies out of her heart. Electronic effects and melodies are used very tastefully on Welcome To Sa-World
, with nothing sounding like it’s suffering organic deprivation, and it’s all for the better. Actually, synthesizer and friends are handled so modestly and so well that they can go full blast on songs like “Swimming Dancing” without burning out the album or coming across as gimmicky. No, Sawa doesn’t write music that celebrates electro-pop, electro-pop celebrates her music, and she knows just when to strike and when to relent. The end result is a finely-tuned J-pop album, with a theme based on celebration and music that can back it up.
It is worth mentioning that this album doesn’t quite “bring the boys out”, ala Girls’ Generation
. This is a plus because Sawa is a pleasantly humble change of pace for a genre full of models and “me love you long time” sex icons, though there will surely be some who’s attention won’t be caught by Sa-World
’s disposition. Typically girls from this scene opt for cutesy “kawaii” or sexiness, though Sawa achieves a little bit of both without even trying. No porn-pitch squeals or Utada-isms to be found here, just an adorably nasal, charming voice with a heart so far in the right place you can’t help but sit with a bag of popcorn waiting her next move, though you’ll probably do that because she’s so damn cute anyway. Unless you’re allergic to J-pop girls who don’t summon toast with the clap of her hands and worship goggle-eyed onion kings, take a ride on this merry-go-round.