REI AMI - RUNAWAY
Seoul, South Korea-by-way-of-Maryland's Rei Ami gets dark, demented on "Runaway"!
Rei Ami's music has always been about dualities. Her production name is a nod to two different Sailor Moon characters, Sailor Mars (Rei) and Sailor Mercury (Ami). This alone suggests that the Seoul-born, Maryland-based bedroom pop producer is explosive and hot-tempered, on one hand, and introspective and studious on the other. Her music - given its own genre on social media, #reipop - inhabits a similar dichotomy. On one hand, it's removed, distant, as can be heard on last year's "Dictator," with its laid back, chilled-out swaying guitar licks. Even that song, for all of its sweetness, owns up to this range, going from "the baddest b*tch" to "the saddest b*tch" in the span of just three minutes.
On "Runaway," there's less of this cognitive dissonance, as Rei Ami leans into the aggression and madness. For all of the darkness, it's still a wild romp and fun ride, even if it is through the darkside.
REI AMI - RUNAWAY
"Runaway" starts off with a depth charge beat, ominous and plodding as the monsters in Stephen King's The Mist. Rei Ami doesn't default to some faux-horrorcore vocal style, thank the dark Gods, instead favoring a demented little girl voice, made even more twisted with some children's birthday party recordings. It's like some twisted little girl's birthday party, where they descend upon a pinata like the Bacchae and rip it apart with their taloned fingers.
"Runaway" is going to be a sight for sore ears for those wishing Grimes' Miss Anthropocene had fulfilled its apocalyptic art angel prophecies; for those who miss the true eccentricity of early Poppy; for those who dug Birds Of Prey but wished it would've portrayed Harley Quinn's deranged violence a bit more. We Are: The Guard are stoked about it! Here's to more darkside Pop, please!
J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.