1)Is he faking it? Pwrfl power is the recording project of Kazutaka Nomura, a young guitar virtuoso who brings as much jazz and classical to the singer songwriter potluck as he does strumming, broken hearts, and coo-ed vocals. If nothing else, Nomura is a pleasure to listen to play guitar, he is inventive without being showy, never sacrificing the melody for his complex playing. But those lyrics.
Almost every line of Alma Song is either stupid trying to be cute (“your dad has millions of debt. But thats ok, ’cause my dad has some buildings I can have”), stupid trying to be objectifuing (“your boobs are not that gigantic, but thats ok, ’cause I don’t like big girls anyways!”), or somewhere in between. Nomura claims that his lyrics are so simple and blunt because of a limited english vocabulary. And during the song’s chorus, his 3rd grade sentiments actually build to something genuine, if appropriately egotistical: “you say you are leaving the town, because you are sick of here. don’t you care about me? We could be the best in town.” That’s what most of his songs are (“Brush your teeth after eating candy,” he sighs in another song. “I could teach you how to hold chopsticks,” in another) This is not childrens stuff; it is adult trying to be children’s stuff.
But back to Alma Song. The song’s last 40 seconds, its last words, are good enough and goddamn pwrfl enough to make me think Nomura grasps the english language much better than he lets on. The song closes with one phrase, repeated twice, which sounds about as utterly crushed as any sentiment I’ve heard recently. After an entire song of either playfully or seriously begging a girl to stay, the songs last words are “do what ever you want. Do whatever you want.” he sings it as though he’s already lost. The subtleties in that phrasing and delivery make what is a pretty average collection of words into something really meaningful.
2) Does it matter if he is? Honestly, maybe it’s just that Nomura had that beuaitufl closing line, and he wanted every other word to be so-so at best, just to make that closer hit like the car hood slamming down on your head. Maybe the inanities that this song tumbles through are all inside jokes just to make the song squeeze some poor girl who left’s heart to death. Maybe, just maybe (but probably not) Nomura’s telling the truth and he only does have a tenuous grasp of english, and he just got lucky with that last line. The point it, it ultimately doesn’t matter what the justification. By making them so dumb, so occasionally offensive, and so sometimes heartbreaking, Nomura just got me to focus real close on the lyrics to his song, which I was going to tell all of you to ignore in the first place.