Perhaps there is no perfect song. But there is a song that conveys the perfect message.
Yeah, and the latter is not ONE OK ROCK’s latest release – Stand Out Fit In. Because that -song from their 2019 album, Eye of the Storm – That’s actually a perfect song. The former is wrong; Stand Out Fit In stands out as the most perfect song in my playlist, both Japanese and fully English versions.
The first thing that gets me is the solid guitar work, a strong build-up to a verging-on-tribal “chant” of a chorus. A powerful chorus for a powerful song and impactful message – that perhaps we’re all little paper cut-outs blowing in the wind that society deems is most “acceptable”. Since ‘ Lost and Found’ by the band, I haven’t cherished a song that much.
The narrative starts with crisp vocals, and a rising melody to paint a clear picture of an “I” being disliked. There’s a hoarse tint to opening vocals that erupts into sheer, energetic, powerhouse volume that makes every cell in your body become mitochondria (#powerhouse #punintended: not biologically possible but for the sake of this pun and the crashing of symbols, let this slide).
Of course, being me, I need to gush over the lyrics. They are, simply put, beautiful. ONE OK ROCK is extremely clever, aptly creating strong associations with society’s stereotypes of both genders, “Big boys [don’t cry]”/ “Good girls [don’t fight]”. Hi, I’m here for this intelligent use of sign-posting to open up an avenue within their song for clear relations of ideas belonging to gender stereotypes.
But let’s talk about the not-so-normal references, like “Try to live a life by design”/[…]”Eat up, stay thin”. Firstly, listeners need to thank ONE OK ROCK for their ever inventive lyrics that keep our palette for variety satiated. I didn’t catch why they were singing about living life by designs – then I got it. And it conveys a powerful message – perhaps we “have designs” on a certain life we want to lead or character we want to be, but the truth is we live life by society’s apparent ‘perfect’ design. We’re architects of a favoured sculpture, but we can’t all fit into one mould. “Eat up, stay thin” sent out a flurry of emotion in me because it’s in the imperative voice. But secondly, it’s because of the intense juxtaposition of eating and staying thin – we typically view these as contradictory events (a dangerous view; eating doesn’t lead to not being thin in every case and context). The way they string it together here sheds light on the fact that often times, people – particularly girls – may sometimes be held to an odd expectation that we can eat our healthy and suitable amounts and yet must aspire to be an unhealthy size after for aesthetic appeal. Wow, fuck, thank you to the band for draping light-bulbs over over-looked messages with careful and clever arrangement.
Thank you, ONE OK ROCK, for putting together such a masterpiece. I enjoyed listening to Stand Up Fit In for around fifteen times. Listen up, I won’t stop. #ANTHEM!