MEISHI SMILE is an electronic project that derives influence from genres both equally pop and experimental, taking note from the cathartic afterglow of harsh noise, mixed with the joyful idealism of Japanese Pop and hazed out by the meditative sentiment of shoegaze. Together these range of influences present a sense of musicality that is oddly warm in its static disconnection.
A “meishi” is a Japanese business card. A formality masquerading as emotion. Mixed with the word “smile,” the two together form a meaning that aims to explore the very dual nature of the human experience as filtered through the digital divide.
MEISHI SMILE’s first album LUST sets out to explore the cycle of human heartbreak. An existential question of what it means to feel guilt, love and loss. A sentimental, yet obsessively sad piece of work that struggles to find acceptance and redemption throughout its own realized chaos.
“…Belong” is the 2nd full length album by Meishi Smile.
“…Belong” is about representation of the you. A coming of age metamorphism. The indentation signifies hesitance when attempting to speak on behalf of your inner most self. The intrusive thoughts, the broken feelings. The half-hearted, yet overwhelming pain within. The idealism of fitting into a world that welcomes, yet ultimately rejects you. Wishing your whole life to be apart of something - reaching for it, yet when arriving there you realize the same people who accept you are everything that you hate. Thus you begin to hate yourself. To look inward is the only true change you wish to invoke- the only thing you truly belong to is your own.
The album in lighter moments draws inspiration from the mechanical, yet emotionally crafted tone of ’80s synthpop such as OMD, the melancholic shoegaze of The Radio Dept. the bubbling ambiance of Susumu Yokota and the EDM of Japan’s Yasutaka Nakata.
In bleaker moments, “…Belong” takes a nod from harsh noise acts such as Prurient, the melodically driven power electronics of Elite Gymnastics and the most reflective moments of 808’s era Kanye West.
Ultimately, the album addresses a narrative of duality, switching back and forth between the dichotomy of light and dark while retaining a sense of pop that is simultaneously introverted.
Lyrically, the album explores subjects of guilt (“Star”), romantic disconnection experienced through the digital divide (“Today, Again”), impressionable youth and suicide (“Blank Ocean”), gender identity and depression (“Dysphoria”), the coping of death (“Pastel”), abortion (“Fetus”) and societal violence (“Belong”). Isolated struggles and feelings that are faced in a myriad of ways through the individual experience.
Official Videos Off “…Belong”
Dir: Mel Nguyen, Brian Vu, Christopher Vu