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New CHAI: “I’m Me”

One of the driving themes of CHAI’s music thus far — made all the clearer after talking to them — is inclusiveness, of celebrating the unique characteristics we all possess. “I’m Me” isn’t quite a manifesto for the four-piece — that remains the herky-jerky “N.E.O.” — but it’s definitely them at their most direct, avoiding the sudden twists in tempo and shouts (and also opting to not go the more reflective-but-not-really-reflective route of slower songs) in favor of a down-the-middle number that gives them room to share the main lyrical conceit more clearly — which is a smart move, as their next EP is probably going to be a grab at greater mainstream attention in Japan. Still, they work in some cleverness, such as trying to make the Japanese word for “selfish” into something positive, and deliver one of the most subtly cutting lines I’ve heard from any song this year (“you know about the world but you don’t know me” is an incredible cut in the age of “actually….”). And while it lacks any theme-park-ready turns, the music still falls in CHAI’s lane, from the squiggly guitar melody, a really bright and lovely keyboard interlude, and a breakdown that shifts everything but not too suddenly. Listen above.