New Songs Alert: Ashura + The Life Journey
Let’s start with Life Journey, just because their songs were added most recently. They have two new songs out: Marry and 小南 (xiǎo nán). They were released days before the Chinese New Year holiday and came with an adorable New Years message video on Youku (embedded below the cut). These songs aren’t exactly different from your standard Life Journey fare — they still sound like lullabies that you should listen to with a cup of English Breakfast tea while wearing your favorite grey cardigan — but they’re new, and that’s the most important thing for a band that hasn’t had new tracks in nearly a year.
I definitely like 小南 the best: it’s a bit more catchy in its lullaby-ness. It was inspired by memories of their childhood town, and you can definitely hear that influence in the music as well as the lyrics. The lilting melody and the gentle xylophone playing in the background behind the acoustic guitar remind me of children’s music, and the style really matches Yann’s voice. Marry is appropriate for the song it is, but it moves a little too slowly for me. It definitely feels like a wedding waltz — with a bit of a rock breakdown with the electric guitar at the end — and the chorus sung in adorable English is great. It’s a very sentimental song, but it’s cute. If only they’d up the tempo…
Ashura’s new songs also aren’t exactly a departure from their previous sound, but they’re definitely further steps in the “pop punk” direction and away from their metal roots. You can still hear it very slightly at the end of Come On Sing This Song, but it’s practically non-existant in U R The Only One. The two tracks also sound pretty similar to each other, but that’s not really much surprise. While I love pop punk most days, and Ashura is a great pop punk group, I have to say that it’s not a genre that lends itself to musical diversity. I do love these tracks, though. They’re very upbeat and will be so much fun performed live.
The third song they uploaded on the same day definitely different, though. You can hear the echoes of their metal past in the bass and drums, and it’s a slower song. From the acoustic guitar intro, you can tell that it’s going to be a different sounding song. It’s not an uplifting song. The refrain of “tell me why” running throughout, especially when coupled with the sound of people crying, is quite haunting. It’s obviously an emotional song, and sounds like a bit of a whinier version of Evanescence. It’s not the type of pop punk I like, but I’ll definitely take a new Ashura song where I can get it!