Partially, the charm of “Reborn” comes from how it bucks current movie trailer trends in Japan. Following Radwimps massive success with the Your Name. soundtrack, a slew of similar songs have shown up alongside coming attractions, ranging from Bump Of Chicken, Sekai No Owari (who, let it be noted, totally had their lunch eaten when Radwimps got the nod for an existential teen drama anime over them…that’s their whole thing!) and most recently Daoko and Kenshi Yonezu, which is turning into Daoko’s mainstream breakout moment. Quality for each is all over the place, but a definite sameness is emerging. Tatsuro Yamashita’s contribution to a new flick set in the ’80s moves away from this trend, opting for a more skeletal, glowing number that isn’t all sonic fireworks, but something more subtle. The time period of the movie obviously shaped this a bit — those drums! — but it’s nice hearing something different.
The other reason this is so welcome is because Yamashita is among Japan’s top musical carpenters, making sure every drum machine salvo and word fits just right, wasting no space. What could have been melodramatic cliche — this is for a Japanese drama film, after all — turns into something more melancholy and ultimately hopeful under his watch. He’s just damn reliable in every form. Listen above.