After falling for the temptation of a sinister, mysterious witch and sacrificing one of their own to obtain their wings, Pixy have been reborn as badass antiheroines in their new album Reborn. It follows the conclusion of their Wings/Fairy Forest album series and is the first episode in a new “Dark City” series.
The title track “Villain” characterizes this shift in plot best by portraying the members as crimefighting baddies willing to go to any lengths for what they believe in (though it is unclear what that is exactly). The sinister witch remains prevalent in the members’ lives, made clear through Dia’s lyrics in the first verse: “She’s callin’ me/time to wake up/don’t forget me/I’m still right here with you.” Also, the lyrics make references to their “new life,” “life [they] used to have,” and “who’s the real me?” These lines suggest that not only is Reborn a new beginning of sorts, but that they only remember their previous life in pieces, having lost themselves and their memories as a result of being bewitched.
The music that accompanies the MV is layered with synth bass, hypnotic vocal melodies, and evocative vocal chops. One of the most notable features of the music is the addictive use of the same note for entire phrases in the chorus against the intimate, nearly whispered verses. The chorus and verses serve as effective complements, and while the outro is catchy, it ultimately sticks out from the texture and structure of the rest of the song.
The MV features the members in chic street clothes rather than the dark fairy-esque styling they have been sporting up until now. Retaining their signature purple and black colors, Pixy are seen with leather jackets, piercings, and combat boots. In addition to being visually eye-catching, the shift in styling mirrors the death of the members’ old lives and subsequent rebirth. The scenes shift rapidly between settings, and the members are seen with guns, posing for paparazzi, and fighting men in helmets, showing what they are capable of doing in order to fight “the bad guys” as it were. The alignment of the Pixy members as “villains” is an interesting one in some ways. The members seem to be engaging in reckless behavior, touting guns, and generally doing whatever they want, but perhaps in more of a “fight fire with fire” way rather than a villainous one.
The most similar songs to the title track are “Deja vu” and “Swan Song.” While both are intense, they highlight two totally different stages of transformation or rebirth. The former, “Deja vu,” exemplifies a longing for someone like “an illusion of [themselves] [they] saw in the mirror.” The repeated “come into my” and heavy, distorted bass add to the insistent and urging slant of the song and contrasts the hesitant acceptance in “Swan Song.”
By definition, a swan song is a final performance or gesture before someone’s retirement or death. However, rather than a sweet, sorrowful song one might expect (especially from a swan), Pixy’s “Swan Song” is “the end of the last story” where “in the last fairy tale” even “fairies must die.” Confident vocals are complemented by low tone, spitfire raps, and driving electric guitar riffs. The bass is prevalent throughout the whole album, but here it fades into the background of the mix a bit in order to bring out the members’ vocals and the more rock-driven instrumentation of the backing track. It serves as an effective and fitting song to end the album by subverting expectations and ending with a bang.
The most distinct song on the album is “Greetings.” With soft vocals, layers of harmony, and melodic rapping, this track is a heart-wrenching ballad. Here, greetings serve as a metaphor for missing someone and wondering when you might greet them again. Lyrics like “I hope this rain stops soon” and “How are you doing? Do you miss me?” highlight the members’ desire to reconnect with a lost love (or perhaps their lost former self).
“Breath” and “Natural” are the two most understated and evocative tracks on the album. The first, “Breath,” is a siren song beckoning the listener to “come closer” and “breathe in the fragrant breath lingering next to [them].” Love is compared to breathing in the way it envelops everything one does and can become essential for survival. Breathy, intoxicating vocals are supported by wet-sounding reverberating bass, midi drums, and synth embellishments.
“Natural” is similar in its production but with sustained chords underneath a funky bassline. The sound shifts from a smooth groove in the verses to a more upbeat funk bass melody in the chorus. Listeners are left with a sensuous and feel-good listening experience. One especially interesting production choice is a fleeting vocal chop at the end of the bridge. The spoken words “You’re thе only one who’s ever told mе the truth… They’ve all made a fool of me” can be heard before the buildup to the last chorus. The line is well-known for being sampled in “Spirit Walk” by Rameses B in the album Reborn, but was originally from the 1935 film Texas Terror. The movie seems inconsequential, but its use in an album of the same name is a clever parallel to Pixy’s concept that likely would go unnoticed otherwise.
Pixy’s Reborn is an interesting new story arc for the group and features some interesting and evocative production and visual elements. It only loosely gives nods to the group’s lore and overall concept, but enough to brand the album as sonically and conceptually consistent with previous releases. It will be interesting to see how this subplot progresses as the mysterious witchy antagonist continues to wreak havoc on Pixy’s lives and relationships with each other.