A Sweet Summer in April
by Melody Niv
Jakob Ogawa’s latest song, April, brings to light images of sleepy afternoons in late August, the cool breeze reminiscent of the slow end of summer, responsibilities lacking yet emotional angst making up for it. Ogawa is known for his enchanting musical pieces, receiving much acclaim for songs Let it Pass, characterized by its incandescent guitar riff, and synth-heavy, sweet All Your Love. This latest song lulls you into a bittersweet respite, its lyrics bringing vestiges of sweet, summer nostalgia. Although the lyrics are seemingly sweet and adoring -- I often dream of you -- it is infused with touches of melancholy, as seen by
Sometimes i'm all alone
Even when you hold my hand
I think you understand
Sometimes you’re all alone
Even when I hold your hand
You know I understand
in a later verse. The switch in perspective demonstrates the nuance of the purported relationship -- both parties are there for each other, supporting one another, yet the narrator of the story is definitive in their partner’s ability to know how much they care, while the narrator is unsure of their partner’s ability to understand their feelings -- “I think you understand” juxtaposing against “You know I understand”. The uncertainty is heartbreaking and relatable, a shared experience most can relate to, or at least understand the tragedy of.
Ogawa’s latest song carries influence from many other sources, ranging from childhood television shows to black female artists from the ‘50s. The initial beats of the song are reminiscent of Elton John’s Benny and the Jets, but with a psychedelic groove element morphed within it. The underlying beat throughout the song is also reminiscent of Alone Again by Gilbert O’Sullivan. Neo-jazz influence can be seen within the song, its emergence ubiquitous in popular music today, as seen in artists like Homeshake, Crumb, and the like. Specifically, neo-jazz influence is heard through Ogawa’s soothing voice over the hypnotizing, funk-inspired track. Neo-jazz is further propagated by the resemblance to Billie Holiday’s Crazy He Calls Me, her tonal shift when singing the words of “the way” in the first verse of “and I’ll move the mountains out of the way”, echoed by Ogawa’s shift when he sings “my hand” in the first verse. April’s enchanting chorus, da da da, simplistic yet captivating, is reminiscent of childhood chorales, carrying a simplistic, highly enjoyable and catchy melody. The entirety of the song brings nostalgia to the brink, but the chorus does so in an even more magical way, its childlike euphony mirroring the endlessly and mindlessly happy tunes of Elmo from Sesame Street and other childhood phenomena.
Sweet and sentimental, Jakob Ogawa’s April is an enchanting, euphonious song that will trap your unsuspecting heart as you drift away, carried by Ogawa’s soothing voice. The lyrics don’t vary much in range, lending strength to its simple, yet emotionally-charged narrative. Mellifluous in nature, the melancholic cadence of the song will leave you wistful over experiences you may not even have had, but can still relate to nevertheless. Listen to Jakob Ogawa’s latest song April -- you’ll be left in a dream state.