One band that is slowly rising in popularity in Japan right now is The Winking Owl. Recently, more bands have come out of Japan that are using a style similar to that of Paramore. They have melodic female lead vocalists with rock music that is a combination of hard rock, metal, punk, and pop. The Winking Owl is one band that is in that category. While they are not one of the more famous bands in Japan at the moment, they are gaining momentum and their single "Open Up My Heart" paved the way.
While there are things that make this band similar to Paramore, one thing that separates them from Paramore it that they are more melodic and heavy, musically. This song starts off with a good melodic solo that really sets up the tone of the song effectively and hooks you immediately. The verse gets a little bit softer but continues the melodic theme. Then the pre chorus sets up a chorus that has very high energy. This set up is executed very well and flows very smoothly to create a great listening experience. The vocal work is impressive as well. The female singer in this band has a great voice that fits the music and carries the song very well. I also got to give this singer credit for singing English very well. I have heard a lot of Japanese singers sing in English and many of them have an accent that really stands out at times. However, this singer sings English very well to the point that if there was no Japanese words in the song I could have mistaken them for an American band. The one minor issue I have with this song is the chorus. It is a little repetitive for my liking and I feel it could have been written a little better. However, it is a very minor issue that doesn't kill the song for me, or the chorus for that matter.
Lyrically, this is a pretty standard song. It is a song about being in a complex relationship and wanting it to be better. This is obviously nothing new, we have heard this message many times before. However, they lyrics are written very well. The phrases are good, they are catchy and they keep your attention. I also have to say, I can tell this band has been working on their English because the fact that they wrote the English lyrics this well is very impressive. While this is becoming more common in the Japanese music scene today, a lot of the musicians who write in English are having a hard time. You can tell because of how simple the English is in the songs and how some bands have a hard time singing it. This is a problem that The Winking Owl doesn't have. While there are Japanese lyrics in this song, it is clearly dominated by English and the English is written very well.
I see a bright future for this band. They have clearly shown they have potential and this song shows that. If I am being honest I actually prefer this band over Paramore. As much as I like Paramore, this band has the better singer and better musicians. If The Winking Owl writes more English songs like this, I can see them having a future in America. With a great vocalist, great guitar player, and well written lyrics, I give Open Up My Heart a 4.5 out of 5.