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New Daoko And Yasutaka Nakata: “Bokura No Network”

Wherein two artists having very strange 2018’s come together. Daoko fronted the biggest song of 2017, bursting onto a huge stage all of a sudden. The downside of that — and especially of said arrival being a ballad not really representing how you’ve sounded up until that point — is it becomes really tough to follow it all up. And so Daoko has tried out all sorts of things since “Uchiage Hanabi,” some hitting and some missing. Overall, she’s doing well — got that Kohaku nod this year — but still is exploring.

Yasutaka Nakata, meanwhile…well, he’s been all over the place this year too, trying out new things for himself, for Perfume, and for Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. I’d argue the last thing he needs right now is more music work, but now he’s teamed up with Daoko for “Bokura No Network.” And as an update on where both acts are at in their career, it doesn’t make much clearer. Nakata provides a pastiche of what he’s done with Kyary, Capsule and Perfume via the blend of twinkly playroom details and crushing electro-pop elements. Daoko ends up sounding…kind of like she’s making a Perfume song, especially come the digi-glazed hook. In terms of offering a clear path either is going on, it doesn’t add much.

But it is a decently catchy number, and one that does place Daoko in new sonic backdrops, wherein she bounces over it fine. She’s become a J-pop chameleon, and here’s another backdrop for her to do her thing against. But really, people longing for older Nakata should probably be happiest. This is a throwback to a bunch of his styles all at once, the end mix being both familiar and new. Not a road forward, but something with a bit of nostalgic charm to it. Listen above.