Time moves so fast, that it already feels like Especia’s “Midnight Confusion” was eons ago. And in the years since, the group’s ability to find the perfect balance between retro kitsch and contemporary curios only feels more ahead of its time — like, the whole first half of this year was spent focusing on bands grazing city pop sounds, yet here was an idol group beating them all to it and doing it a million times better…all while toying around with the sort of vaporwave-adjacent (but justtttt off) imagery that made Tumblr aesthetic hounds roll over. Now, that group is over — Especia carries on in a more straightforward R&B sound, and while it’s fine, it still feels like a moment passed.
This isn’t a proverbial time machine back to the good ol’ days of 2013…wow, remember when that was the worst year ever!? We were so young…but former Especia member Monari Wakita’s debut single “In The City” hits on a lot of points that made that particular idol group so swoon-worthy just a few years back. It draws from honest-to-goodness city pop…none of this half-assed “Get Lucky” junk…with nocturnal night swells and thick bass notes. It’s called “In The City,” c’mon. Wakita carries herself well, and even if the final jump up in tempo is probably not needed, the song as a whole hits the retro vibe nicely, and…let me indulge here…nails several strains of nostalgia nicely. Listen above.