Track Review: Meadows in Japan // Serena Isioma

Months of isolation have challenged relationships and have, in many cases, given us the space to question who we are. Serena Isioma’s new single ‘Meadows in Japan’ is a track of two-halves, expressing complicated feelings many of us are experiencing right now.

To date, Isioma’s music has been embedded into the alternative R&B scene, blending hip-hop, indie and low-fi sounds. The Chicago based musician fuses a dreamy lo-fi opening soundscape with a gentle trap beat conclusion to highlight the mood changes in the song. ‘Meadows in Japan’ is the latest track from Isioma’s The Leo Sun Sets EP.

The opening is honey-toned with a retro easy-listening vibe. The lyrics are a love letter as the singer talks about learning to trust, let her guard down and “love in every way”. The heartfelt emotion gently patters down above the dreamy instrumentation as we reach the chorus: “ I want to run through meadows in Japan with you”. It is a real Sunday-morning-coffee-and-newspapers track.

Then, the bridge. The sound of a telephone signals a mood change and a genre switch. A slow percussive beat replaces the swooning ambience. In spoken words, Isioma explains: “I can’t be in your world anymore not like this”. What started as a declaration of love ends with a break-up as the singer now declares “I’m gonna go back to doing me”. 

Yet, bitterness hasn’t replaced love. She has realised that something has changed in herself. Time alone has given her the space to decide what she wants for herself. She may no longer see a world where she wants to run through meadows in Japan with her lover but she does tell them “You deserve the world”.

Isioma recognises, especially in these times, that feelings change. The musical mood changes and switches in vocal style convey those emotions in a three-minute journey.

Words by Andrew Butcher

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