We’re glad to feature indie pop artist Yui Stonewell and her brother Tak in another genuinely precious synthpop melody with her newest release, Not So Hard. It is a melancholy summer breakup tune, but still captures an uptick of optimism in defining what a good relationship might entail – a somewhat uplifting electronic pop piece that just asks if it was so hard to be a little bit better?
Not So Hard basks in its cutesy air, yet a more acoustic and morose endeavour than we saw her in Invitation (which I also reviewed!). While it punctures its moody electropop rhythms with the occasional percussion or rock guitar samples, it feels like a passionate yet tired yearning for simpler happiness. It’s got the quintessential summer sound, accompanied by its music video in a bright and lovely park – perfect for a summer playlist. Not So Hard also dabbles in creating intricate rippling layers of sounds, a unique electronic feel amidst its 90s nostalgia and an impressive production to boot.
Yui dedicates this one to the ‘bad boys’, but the song is resonant because of how little it asks – don’t just look at your phone the whole time and be cool. Once you get involved in the routine of a relationship, it becomes so much easier to normalise and accept shitty behaviour – and its only in hindsight that you can put all the red flags together even if your friends and family already had. It doesn’t even have to be outright mean, but even the negligence can ache – ‘he didn’t want to keep me but didn’t want to lose me still.’
“Why couldn’t they have been nicer?” “Would it have been that hard?” Little phrases that cross our mind when the dust settles. We may never get answers, but we can totally sing and dance about it.
Not so Hard is thus a tribute to self worth, in finding some catharsis in identifying what would make a good relationship carved out of its negatives. A delightfully melancholy letter to a past love that is so full of self realisation that it never needed to be sent – Yui continues on her journey to wrap intimately human experiences of the soul in charming pop tracks. Don’t miss her!
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