The lyrics might not be the most impactful, but Djinn City’s sound is universally enjoyable.
Approximately 20 percent of the world’s population speaks English, making it one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. That pretty much explains why so many international artists opt to drop songs in the English language, either primarily or secondarily, to capitalise on the market share and reach more potential fans.
So when you get an act like Djinn City, hailing from Russia, there’s an expectation that the lyrics might not necessarily be the most emotionally impactful due to the language barriers. As such, you’ll forgive the band’s latest single Now Or Never for not being a work of lyrical genius in the English tongue.
However, Djinn City is an example of a band that knows the importance of powerful instrumentation and rhythms in swaying international audiences. Now Or Never’s indie vibe is underpinned by a sun-kissed, cheerful indie guitar riff that is almost 90s baggy (think: first album Blur, Charlatans, Soup Dragons) in its euphoric pleasure. The guitar tone is flawless, blending late night euphoria with chilled out bliss for a sound that truly makes an impact.
But this is part of what makes Djinn City’s song so special. This riff is inspired by the pentatonic guitar style popular in Russian Tatar music, which means that this riff of cultural homage inevitably incites cultural appreciation from international listeners. It wouldn’t be surprising if those who heard the infectious riff didn’t subsequently embark on a journey of discovery into the wider Tatar scene. And the single is rich in other cultural references too.
The song closes out with a non-English closing refrain delivered by Russian indie outfit Harajiev Smokes Virginia!, and even the single’s artwork is based on a traditional Tatar instrument. These small inclusions make an otherwise simply enjoyable indie track into one of deep cultural significance, and one worth listening to.