When you look back on them later in life, one’s early 20s don’t seem all that dramatic. In the moment, though, even the smallest things can feel like the end of the world. The latest single from rising singer-songwriter iri explores this exact age range, touching on both the defeats that pop up and the hope springing up when the bad times start to recede. Watch the video for the song below.
iri has been leveling up over the last few years, reaching a new peak in early 2019 when her song “Wonderland” became her first big breakout, at least online. Stylistically, she’s settled into a sound building up from funk and electronic dance, anchored by a delivery that can hop between rapping and a more laid-back singing style. “24-25” places these elements right up front, with verses playing out in short bursts and a more stretched-out hook allowing iri to show off her voice without letting up on the song’s tempo. While she’s never shied away from populist sonic details in her previous songs, “24-25” features a lot more touches that give this one an extra come-together energy. Check the handclap-like percussion scattered throughout, or the little jazzy flair weaved in. Or the literal chorus closing the song out.
It’s also a reminder of the current race going on in J-pop to establish artists representing Reiwa, or more accurately the kids of today who will be the first to come of age in this new era. While I’d argue this position has already been well staked out — it’s Kenshi Yonezu and Aimyon, at least for the moment — iri joins a lot of other young creators in trying to find their own corner allowing them to reflect their vision of life in Tokyo. That’s where the song’s lyrics about being young — and how that isn’t always so easy — and a video in the capital featuring a diverse cast of people going about their day (albeit in a more musical way) come in. She’s been stepping up, and “24-25” offers another chance to go up a level for her on all fronts.