To many, Japanese singer songwriter Eir Aoi would be known thanks to her work on the soundtrack for the popular anime, Sword Art Online. Songs like Ignite and especially Innocence were both cultural sensations within community and till this day remain two of my favourite songs by her. And although it’s been 6-7 years since those songs came out, Aoi has maintained her artistry and has consistently come back with strong material. New single Unreal Trip is one of the more experimental entries into her discography and it’s one that mostly works.
Your enjoyment of Unreal Trip will heavily depend on your tolerance for jarring instrumental and tonal shifts. This is a song that will traverse through multiple musical territories with little to no transitions between them. Some of these work better than others but there’s no denying that the final result is quite interesting. The track opens with its most invigorating moment, a pulsing electronic club beat that remains ever present throughout most of the track. It acts as a great through line and honestly manages to hold the track together through its more divisive moments. Most notably of which is that hard shift into trap during the pre-chorus. It’s a very abrasive moment and honestly the first time around I thought it was going completely ruin the tracks flow and momentum. But somehow this entire segment feels perfectly natural. I don’t know how the producers managed to do this but before you know it you’re thrown back into another, this time more dramatic edm backdrop before it launches into its chorus.
Well, calling it a chorus is pushing it. Unreal Trip‘s chorus is more electronic breakdown than melody but it works thanks to its sheer energy. After a brief scare with that blustering big room sound that’s characterised some of this years most uninspired tracks, Trip launches into its immensely satisfying distorted instrumental drop. It’s got something that many drops of this kind don’t. And that is a sense of drive. It genuinely feels like it’s moving forward with a great sense of momentum. It’s a moment that genuinely lives up to the tracks title and would probably sound pretty interesting if listened to while tripping. (Not that I’m endorsing it!) And while it does incorporate some modern trends, Unreal Trip manages to transform even the most annoying of trends into something enjoyable.
Final Rating: 8.5 / 10