First things first – Kaela Kimura’s had an absolutely bananas 2010. She rang in the year by releasing a best-of album stacked with excellent J-Pop. That retrospective also featured a new song, “You Bet!!,” that subtly tweaked her rock-side into a more aggressive but still entirely catchy beast that remains one of the year’s best singles. Later, she dropped the insanely catchy “Ring A Ding Dong,” a song where Kimura imitated one of the most annoying sounds known to man (a ringing telephone) and made it great. Not to mention, it resulted in one of the most stupid cute videos I’ve ever seen. Oh, and to cap it all off, Kimura is now pregnant and will be taking a vacation from music for a bit.
I bust out her impressive 2010 resume because her new single “Deep Beep” reeks of “meh”-ness. It’s not a bad song…really, fans who prefer her more straightforward J-Rock days probably flipped out when this one came across their speakers…but has a few huge factors going against it. Like the other great singles she has already released, one of which showed how much more she can do with the “rock” template “Deep Beep” clings to like barnacles to the underside of a pier. Yet beyond that, “Deep Beep” is a retreat to familiar ground by a performer constantly changing masks and dabbling in different sounds…after all the directions she pushed in, coming back to a sound she mastered long ago fails to excite. Most damning of all though is this isn’t even a good imitation of her rock-centric days. It lacks the urgency of something like “Yellow” or the pure force of “Tree Climbers.” It’s just there.
Still, as Kaela Kimura steps away from the spotlight for a bit, she can certainly lay claim to being one of 2010’s premier J-Pop artists. “Deep Beep” might sit at the bottom of her mountainous 2010 output, but that’s a hell of a sight to be part of.
In older Kimura news…a friend showed me this video of her shilling for popular food magazine Hot Pepper this weekend. It’s not remotely current, but does include Snoopy wildin’ out and other Peanuts’ characters killing the decks. Oh and the Hot Pepper song might as well be “Ring A Ding Dong” in pupa phase, at least in terms of the “annoying vs. catchy” dynamic.