Terrace House spoilers ahead, somehow, but you’ve been warned.
Enon Kawatani lives for drama. The mind behind groups such as indigo la End and Gesu No Kiwami Otome has courted mainstream attention thanks to songs spiked by emotional turmoil. Whether over driving rock or more intricate forays into pop, he has found a way to pen some of the most sad-sack lyrics in recent Japanese music history. He’s also capable of getting himself into all kinds of real-world controversies, from his affair with talent Becky to drinking with women under the legal age for alcohol consumption.
Naturally, Kawatani appeared on the last season of Terrace House on Netflix. He wasn’t actually staying in the titular dwelling but popped up frequently to help Gesu bass play Masao Wada navigate the world of calming reality TV. Even when he’s not directly involved, dude finds a way to trip into it!
“Hanikande Shimatta Natsu” is the first single from a Kawatani project post-Terrace House, but the opportunity to reach a vastly larger audience after appearing on one of the most popular Japanese TV shows internationally hasn’t stopped him from letting the drama flow through his music. Watch the video below.
This vibe comes through both musically and visually — he puts himself in a glass cage at one point! Maybe slightly more subtle than when he was in a cage or a puppet, but not by much. The song itself is all about unrequited love in the summer, and Kawatani matches the aching contained in the words with his voice, which goes from straight ahead to far more pained throughout the number’s run.
His whole deal would probably be exhausting if he and his bands weren’t so good at turning misery into hooky gold. “Hanikande Shimatta Natsu” really gets good when indigo la End break into a dash, a move that makes the tempo and Kawatani’s vocal dramatics land way better. The slower verses help up the tension and make the moment when they just take off all the better. And sometimes we all need to wallow in bad vibes. As long as Kawatani can keep that up, he’s going to find space in the Japanese rock industry.