New Japanese Vibes (2) – SEKAI NO OWARI ‘SOS’

SEKAI NO OWARI drift away from their recent beat-driven infectious dance numbers with their new song ‘SOS’, a beautiful ballad with an overriding acoustic backdrop with subtle electronic flavours (e.g. faint vocoder touches and reversed samples).

From the first verse, the piano that supports Fukase’s vocals brings to mind influences of Bach-like clavier works, setting a fine pulse to begin with. The addition of lush strings and lovely acoustic guitar sonorities brightens up the chorus, while sustaining the delicate atmosphere of the tune with the help of Fukase’s hazy falsetto range. Although there is not much to describe in terms of variation in textures or pivotal musical moments, the intricate touches the band instills in the song is equally powerful and emotional.

The unusual video that accompanies the song is set around a black-and-white lifeless environment, while a peculiar rainbow-coloured creature roams around freely. Despite the ambiguous narrative of the video, the stirring end when the creature restores life and colour into the world perhaps conveys the key message SEKAI NO OWARI is trying to express:

“Saving someone else means saving yourself,

It’s true, and I’m sure you know it too”

Overall, this song is interesting in the sense that it conveys a different angle of SEKAI NO OWARI’s musical interests. It’s refreshing to hear them deviate from their trademark up-tempo blasts to something that feels as though there’s been a lot of careful thought in the way music can be a narrative, a medium in which to communicate personal reflections.

It’s music that is delicately epic.

Other Info/Context

  • This is the theme song for Attack on Titan: End of the World (the second part of the Attack on Titan film series). The band also provided the theme song for Part 1 with ‘ANTI-HERO’.
  • For more insight into SEKAI NO OWARI check out my blog post here.

© Isaku Takahashi