It’s important to continue pushing yourself through life, even once you are comfortable. Whether that be in a personal or professional way, it’s essential that you realize the second you become complacent. Many bands will find success and stick to their sound, eventually burning it out and becoming boring. However, those who realize their comfort and crave artistic creativity will force themselves to change and subvert expectations. A member of the band Fleet Foxes, Skyler Skjelset already has the experience to back up what he is setting out to do. With “Sayoko,” which is a Japanese name as well as the title of this track, Skjelset has managed to both surprise and entertain. By taking inspiration from psychedelic and alternative bands, he has successfully crafted a song which sounds nothing like the music which you would expect from him.
A soundscape of various electronic sounds slowly build until the song is picked up by a drum and bass groove. Shortly after a simple melody begins on a synthesizer, Skyler Skjelset begins singing in a whisper, almost being obscured by the instruments of the track. Reminiscent of something by MGMT, the vocal melody is almost sung in monotone, adding to the song’s low-key feeling. He sings towards Sayoko, “Thoughts of you and the things that make you / Linger on – They’re like glue, adhesive.” Unable to shake the thought of this girl, he makes the comparison of her and adhesive, since she is always on his mind. Continuing on, he explains, “You’ve got an air / A hypnotic shape / Give it to me, let me hold it.” Everything about this girl intrigues him and he wishes she would be his.
After a brief instrumental interlude, Skjelset continues, “Stuck in a dream, but it feels so real / Is this life? / Take me with you.” Continuing the general sentiment of his longing for this girl, he admits to being stuck in his dreams about her. The lyrics then take a turn with a reference to the anime, Neon Genesis Evangelion, “Looking past your shield / Through the A.T. field.” An “A.T. field,” according to Google, is a sort of force-field barrier which can be created by angels. So, by saying he would look through her A.T. field, he is meaning he would overlook her outer shell and any sort of outward energies she is giving off. He continues, I’d swim the Dirac sea, just to get to you.” The Dirac sea is a theoretical model which explains a vacuum as an infinite sea of particles with negative energy. This term is also used in the NGE anime as a sort of unknown/shadow realm. The following lyric, “I’ll love you the most / ‘10,000 years’,” appears to be a biblical reference to Young Earth creationism, which is the belief that Earth was formed roughly 10,000 years ago.
Another brief instrumental interlude passes and then we enter the final section of the song. Continuing the instrumental that has carried through the entire song, along with the same melody, Skjelset echoes the first line of the song, “Thoughts of you and the things that make you / They’ve held on – Forever, immutable.” Mirroring his initial thoughts of her being like adhesive, he repeats here that his thoughts of her are still around. Then, as the song begins to end, he repeats the following line, “Stuck in a dream but it feels so real / Is this life? Take me with you.” The song’s instruments then begin to slowly fade, leaving behind a soundscape identical to what began the song. Taking its time to fade, the song finally comes to an end.