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Single Review: Ron McElroy – ‘Japanese Song’

2 min read

Japanese Song is the second single to be released from Ron McElroy’s upcoming album, All Her Kisses. The song departs from the hard rock sound heard in his previous release, World At War, instead revealing an earthier side to his songwriting. I appreciate, and I support, what McElroy is trying to do with this song; in most cases I would much rather hear a grainy voice and simple, naturalistic guitar than vocal gymnastics and Van Halen. However, I find Japanese Song wanting in a number of ways.

RonMcElroyFirstly, the lyrics are rather banal. Sometimes a song’s message or feeling is best conveyed through the use of simple language, which seems to be the objective with this track, but all we are really provided with in Japanese Song are some vague statements and trite imagery. It is also melodically simple, which is something I don’t necessarily object to – I actually find the vocal melody pleasant enough – however, there isn’t enough variation to hold attention, especially since the tempo is rather leisurely. The guitar part falls into a similar trap; McElroy is clearly proficient, but as the same pattern is repeated throughout the whole four minutes, his playing gets a bit tiresome.

With the layered female voices that feature most heavily towards the end, the song begins to take on an actual character, and when you combine this with the low-key production method and the warmth of McElroy’s voice, you get the sense that he has vision for what great tunes should feel like. It’s just a shame that Japanese Song lacks the musical substance to match its texture.