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Aiko Tomi throws shade at blinding lights in “Some Lights Need to be Dimmed”

Aiko Tomi
Aiko Tomi will play Jade Music Fest in Asia, which is on April 27 and 28 in Taipei. Photo by Phil Garstka.

Toronto musician Aiko Tomi refers to her latest single as an “alt-pop anti-anthem”. In “Some Lights Need to be Dimmed”, she throws shade at an over-stimulating world obsessed with shine.

“Most people who are active on socials are trying to chase a certain degree of fame,” Tomi tells Pancouver over Zoom. “And because platforms often favour sensationalist and… more spicy content to get views and reactions, that kind of thing gets pushed forward. What ends up happening is it becomes this weird rat race of who can be more outrageous and who can be more in your face.”

Her cutting lyrics are offset by swirling, textured electronic music, resulting in an uplifting-sounding pop song with considerable bite. That’s reflected in the chorus:

It’s a nice thought to let everybody shine 

But some nights, it gets too bright

It’s a nice thought to let everybody win

But some lights need to be dimmed

In her earlier projects, Tomi often came to the production process with song demos. This time, however, she only had the concept—“Some Lights Need to be Dimmed”— in mind when she began working on it with producer, Andrew Rasmussen.

“He started messing around with some instrumentals, and I just started singing over it,” Tomi says.

She opened with: “They say there are no bad ideas, but there are”, which turned out to be the opening lyrics in the final version. “We pretty much wrote the first half of the song, and went for a coffee break feeling excited about how it might turn out.” Tomi says.

Rasmussen’s pounding bass synths and beats complement Tomi’s distorted calls to “shut the fuck up” in a punkish closing crescendo. This encapsulates Tomi’s belief that when there’s too much noise on social media, those who truly have something important or interesting to say can be drowned out.

“If I had to sum up the song quickly,” Tomi explains, “I’d say … where there’s light pollution, you can’t see the stars.”

The Taipei-born musician acknowledges the irony of calling for lights to be dimmed as she is building an audience as an independent artist, sometimes with the help of social media.

“I think many artists wonder ‘How do I stand out in this sea of other people each trying to be seen?’ I try to do things in way that reflect my real preferences, inspiration and energy,” she notes.

The classically trained Tomi gravitated to writing eclectic, danceable pop songs because that’s her aesthetic preference. And she enjoys marrying this music to thought-provoking lyrics in original compositions such as “Monolids”, “Animal’s Awake”, and “Handful”, which are part of her recently created Spotify playlist.

The playlist also includes “Some Lights Need to be Dimmed”. Check out the lyrics below.

“Some Lights Need to be Dimmed”

They say there are no bad ideas, but there are

Half the neighbourhood judging you by your car

And no one ever said life wouldn’t be hard

Half the time I’m throwing long shots in the dark

 

Love me love me love me

Shiny shiny shiny

There’s my silver lining

Crawling out of hiding

 

Dark mode

I’m Incognito

Light comes through the window

I gotta fix the leaks though

Summertime in Tokyo

My life giving you FOMO

Clean ass thanks to TOTO

Check check check that ego

 

It’s a nice thought to let everybody shine 

But some nights, it gets too bright 

It’s a nice thought to let everybody win

But some lights need to be dimmed

 

They say there are no bad ideas but there are

Half the time I’m guilty but I still deny the charge

Wave a million in the air and you can be a star

Half the city surfing on a deck of credit cards

 

Love me love me love me

Shiny shiny shiny

There’s my silver lining

Crawling out of hiding

 

Dark mode

I’m incognito

Gurakawa angel

Writing up my sequel

Finger on the keynote

Automatic reload

Stuck on salty sweet mode

Sugar rush no keto

 

It’s a nice thought to let everybody shine 

But some nights, it gets too bright

It’s a nice thought to let everybody win

But some lights need to be dimmed

 

It’s a nice thought to let everybody shine 

But some nights, it gets too bright

It’s a nice thought to let everybody win

But some lights need to be dimmed

 

It’s a nice thought to let everybody shine 

But some nights, it gets too bright

It’s a nice thought to let everybody win

But some lights need to be dimmed

 

It’s a nice thought to let everybody shine 

But some nights, it gets too bright

It’s a nice thought to let everybody win

But some lights need to be dimmed

 

Shut the fuck up!

Shut the fuck up!

Aiko Tomi will perform at Jade Music Fest in Asia. It takes place on April 27 and 28 at Huashan 1914 Creative Park in Taipei. Admission is free. Follow Aiko Tomi on Instagram @aikotomic. Follow Pancouver on Instagram @PancouverMedia.

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Charlie Smith

Charlie Smith

Pancouver editor Charlie Smith has worked as a Vancouver journalist in print, radio, and television for more than three decades.

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We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. With this acknowledgement, we thank the Indigenous peoples who still live on and care for this land.