Why should you give “Shinjū” a chance? In recent years, there has been a growing trend to revisit the classics of the ’70s and ’80s and the atmosphere of the era. 2018 brought a sequel to the original 1978 Halloween. In 2016, Netflix’s popular sci-fi series Stranger Things brought the atmosphere of the 80s back to the town of Hawkins and our screens. Five years earlier, the now iconic American thriller-drama Drive recreated the neon-lit, synthpop-soaked atmosphere of the ’70s and ’80s! Young Medicine is one of the up-and-coming representatives of this resurgent evocation of the past. The American synth rock band doesn’t hide the fact that they want to follow this path in the future. Just looking at their music videos alone, we might involuntarily drop an “ah, those were the ’80s”. And listening to their songs, you can hear familiar melodies! The beginning of Winter Soldier, for example, features the chorus rhythm of In The Air Tonight, with a different lyric. Of course, as the title suggests, a small Captain America easter egg was not left out of Winter Soldier. The line “You said I’m with you til the end of the line” recalls Bucky’s promise to Steve. However, when mentioning Young Medicine, Not Human, Living Fiction and Shinjū are inevitable, as these are without a doubt the band’s most successful tracks, and the ones that laid the ground for the success of their debut album, Interlinked. From the trio listed, we now focus on Shinjū. Let’s dive into the deep!
The first reasonable question is: what does Shinjū mean? Shinjū, 心中, is a combination of two characters. The first denotes the mind, while the second denotes the centre. Together they give the Japanese equivalent of double suicide. This term is not new to the Japanese language. It was used by the famous dramatist Chikamatsu Monzaemon in one of his most famous works, “The Love Suicides in Amijima” (Shinjū Ten no Amijima). The story was filmed in 1978 and 1981, so there is a link to the decades already mentioned. But which cases can be classified as double suicides? In Japanese culture, the word Shinjū is primarily used to describe the suicide of couples in love, but it also includes suicides involving parent-child or whole families. Although it may come as a surprise, the occurrence of double suicide has not been uncommon in Japanese history and thus Shinjū as a term has a special meaning. For example, the representation of fatal love affairs is a recurrent element in marionette theatres.
This is not the only reason why Shinjū is associated with Japan. The Japanese-style synthesizer and the song’s anime-inspired sound have brought the Far Eastern ties even closer. The tragic title goes hand in hand with a melancholic lyric. But this is only halfway to reality. The verse is dominated by hopelessness and inevitable suffering, while the chorus is dominated by hope. The synthesizer creates a bizarre but pleasant atmosphere that makes us feel both exhilarated and tortured. It’s also due to the variations in style, as synth-pop, post-hardcore and alternative rock all pop up in some way throughout Shinjū. You can hear lighter, poppier singing, more shouty, soulful vocals, intimate and vibrant drumming, and some atmospheric guitar playing. The simpler intro-verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure makes the song completely digestible. We don’t even notice and we get to the end of the song. All in all, Shinjū is an ideal choice if you’re looking for an ’80s-inspired song that doesn’t skimp on occasionally stepping out of the synth-pop medley to let a dash of post-hardcore or even alternative rock break through.
Genre: Synth Rock
Band: Young Medicine (USA)
Album: Interlinked (2019)
When your hopes are falling Unite behind a safe bet A killer in a slick dress Shed your skin and regress Your queen of static is a hot mess Don't fight you'll have to take it Sink lower into apathy Suffer that it's meant to be Embrace it, deface it all Embrace it, deface it all Would you fight Would you die To project the change you've buried deep inside I'll take your pain and make it mine When your hopes are falling Unite behind a safe bet A killer in a slick dress Shed your skin and regress Your queen of static is a hot mess We're all fucking falling Would you fight Would you die To project the change you've buried deep inside Would you fight Would you die To project the change you've buried deep inside I'll take your pain and make it mine When your hopes are falling When your hopes are falling
What should you know about Young Medicine? Young Medicine is an American synth rock band from Kansas. The band was originally formed as Bella Muerte by singer-keyboardist Bret Liber and guitarist-vocalist Josh Hurst. Over time, they decided to change their style and started something completely new, influenced by synth rock, alternative rock, post-hardcore, synth pop, electronic music, metalcore and even metal in some spots. The flame of Bella Muerte was finally extinguished in 2014, while Young Medicine was launched with great success in the alternative music community. Following a series of member changes, the group was completed with the addition of drummer Michael McEvoy. In 2019, they released their very first album, Interlinked. Since the release of the album, the Kansas band has released several singles (Winter Soldier, A Lesson in Futility, Hot Chocolate).
Young Medicine (Facebook): https://www.facebook.com/youngmedicine