This review is for all the people looking into Japanese music but don’t know where to start. The song ‘Hard to love’ is one of my favourite songs by One OK Rock, which is entirely in English and different from their usual sound. Although compared to One OK Rock’s older music, this is more folk sounding than the rock music they are known for. They tend to do an English album and a Japanese album for each one they have produced (circa 2017). ‘Hard to Love’ is one of their songs that shows a glimpse into experiences they have been through and is relatable to many.
Before going into the song of choice, we should start with the band. The band consists of Takahiro Moriuchi (vocalist), Toru Yamashita (Guitarist, Bandleader), Ryota Kohama (Bassist) and Tomoya Kanki (Drummer). They’re a band from Tokyo and have been active since 2005, though they debuted in 2007 under Amuse Inc. In 2017, the band signed with Fueled by Ramen, and this was the start of the full English albums. Most of their music is described as Alternative-Rock or Pop-Punk, like many bands in these genres they like to experiment with acoustic songs.
The softness of the acoustic guitar gives an insight that the song could have you in your feels. Although this song is a drastic change from One OK Rock’s usual rock tones, the relaxed, folk vibes in the song will play with the heartstrings of the listener. The song was written to express Taka’s (the lead vocalist) feelings towards his father. Still, when listening to this piece of music, people can relate it to their own personal situations. This song is for the people that help us grow in life and love us through the hard times. It also explains something we all go through as a child, wanting to grow up fast and live the adult life; the lyric ‘Tried walking in your shoes but couldn’t even tie them up’ portrays what many children think, I want to be grown up just like you. Breaking away from the restrictions of those helping us to grow into better people. Yet when we become adults, we realise that they were shaping us to show us we are all ‘diamonds in the rough.’ Another lyric that stands out is ‘so I got a job that barely paid, you said you did the same thing at my age.’ This is a vast change from the parents attitude towards him earlier in the song where they told him he’d fail at life if he drop out of school; further showing us that people try to shape us by stopping us from making the same mistakes as they once did. However, after everything he’d been through, Taka’s message is, ‘I hope I’ve made you proud enough, you make it look easy even when I’m hard to love.’ If you are looking for songs similar to this by One OK Rock, I suggest ‘Wherever you are,’ (this piece has more Japanese in it) and ‘Notes’n’Words ’ which is entirely in English, but all keep that Folk vibe.