Kaela Kimura slows things down on new single “Chocolate,” a potentially deceiving single working as a, gulp, ballad. How could she be pulling the wool over our eyes, you ask? Well, watch the above video and note how strange everything sounds. Kaela’s voice sounds almost recorded to camera, as the toybox electronics making up the actual music sounds quite low in the mix. A little bit of music-video trickery meant to emphasize how good her “real” singing voice is? Or is this how it will actually sound on her new album? If it’s the first, then this piece of “Chocolate” (sorry) is just a pleasant bit of marketing that really shouldn’t be judged all that heavily.
YET if this actually is the final product, Kaela Kimura’s done a swell job of rope-swinging over the usual J-Pop ballad trap. The musical arrangements sound like they were recorded on a Fischer-Price My First Boombox…and it’s gorgeous in the same way Lullatone’s early hyper-minimalist recordings were (similarly, China’s The Marshmallow Kisses). This playroom-atmosphere also allows her vocals to really shine, Kimura choosing not to oversell like Ayumi Hamasaki but rather to softly sing them as if she were humming a tune while putting together a grocery list. For a ballad this seems a bit too good to be true…which is why we will hold out final judgement until that album slides through our mail slot. Regardless, this version is quite the treat. Click the pic to see it, or the video link at the top.