Just in time for summer, Japanese-Danish musician Atusji crafts an irresistible anthem perfect for the season in "Everything’s Not Broken".
According to Atusji, this might be the first 'truly' optimistic song he’s ever written – and boy, you’ll know it. From the opening chords, "Everything’s Not Broken" wastes no time grabbing the listener’s attention with its piercing, lively tune.
A bedrock of serene percussion, dreamy synths, and sparkly bell-like notes in the background come together to build a soundscape as delectable as ice cream under the blazing sun. In his previous work, Atusji favours his dark-toned lower register. Here, however, he utilises a light, honeyed vocal configuration, complementing the luminous instrumentals.
The singer, born Terkel Atsushi Røjle Christensen, studied songwriting and film composition in Copenhagen. He’s an ardent admirer of Bright Eyes, Elliott Smith, Frank Ocean, and the artists at 88rising, a US record label with an eye for Asian talent. Passionate about representation too, collaborating with fellow East and Southeast Asian creatives and running the podcast Denmāku, Atusji is keen to shine a spotlight on diaspora experiences in Denmark.
His background and inspirations heavily inform his usual fashion, which you can hear across previous EPs and LPs (like his Soapbox trilogy). He often puts out broody songs that take cues from emo, R&B, hip-hop, and the diverse assortment of styles from the Asian continent.
Although "Everything’s Not Broken" strays from that approach, Atusji’s signature melancholy is still present, lurking in the ever-meaningful lyrics. The track doesn’t try to persuade you that nothing is broken. Rather, it simply reminds you that not everything is. There’s heartache but hope as well.
“No matter how your heart is broken, it’s not the end of the world,” he shares. “The song is a plea to share whatever you’re dealing with and to feel no shame about reaching out. Everything’s not broken.”
Naming Billy Joel as one of this track’s influences, like Joel’s discography, "Everything’s Not Broken" possesses duality: the vibrant cadence feels nostalgic and fresh at the same time; the lyrics universal and personal at the same time. It’s an experiment, a change, but also a classic slice of orchestral pop that gets everyone bopping and tapping their foot to the melody.
"Everything’s Not Broken" encourages the listener to look forward to the future. We’re looking forward to his future too. Atusji’s compelling lyricism, the versatility of his voice, and dynamic approach to song-crafting make him an artist worthy of your time and attention, much like the message of his new mental health anthem.