With or without you, he’s moving forward.
I’m going to make a lot of Kimeru fans happy with this next statement: If what they say about retro in fashion applies to music, Kimeru will clearly be the next big thing, with original songs produced for him by both Asakura Daisuke and Komuro Tetsuya, the two hitmakers of the 90’s.
Now I’m going to be hurt by a lot of Kimeru fans: In being the next big thing, Kimeru may become the next T.M.Revolution. *ducks rotten tomatoes*
I don’t mean any of the above in a bad way – the same could be said of Tamaki Nami, who covered T.M.Network’s Get Wild (produced by Komuro) and had Asakura write CROSS SEASON for her. But in her case, she could either go the way of Amuro Namie (who got a second wind after getting past her girl idol image) or Kimura Yuki (who ultimately flopped and never resurfaced).
Kimeru, despite being signed to superface Gackt’s label (Nippon Crown), is stuck with one course – T.M.Revolution. If you’re about to argue, name one male produced by Komuro who succeeded – oh wait, that’s right. There were none. Because Komuro wasn’t gay. And Japanese popstar males of the 90’s were pretty ugly. And okay, on Asakura’s side there’s someone much closer to him in roots – Kotani Kinya – but let’s try to look on the positive side, y’know? Especially since T.M.Revolution has been put aside for abingdon boys school, and the latter is looking up in terms of success so the former needs something to fill up its gap. And not only does Kimeru have the vocal power, he’s got the feminine snappy movements too!
His latest single (Kimeru, not Nishikawa), with you, was the one produced by Komuro, and it’s a light-hearted synth-pop dance track that follows in the line of TRF’s releases. It’s more than a bit different from the power synth-rock that he was doing, even back on his indies label, but his voice works just as well with the music and handles the fluctuations in tone and power almost ridiculously well. I especially like the sudden “DON!” at the end of a line in the second set of stanzas. That he continues singing without much of a break is an achievement, though the song does have a whiny tone to it that may not please everyone.
regret, the B-side to the single, is a sweet piano-led piece where Kimeru sounds both smooth and wistful – fitting the sad mood of the song. He has a few problems with the quieter and lower notes, but most people do. And for a piano-led song, I really like this piece. The opening is gorgeous but simple, the stanzas are layered for some interest, the chorus works in the electric guitars without going overboard – and the only problem I have is that the bridge sounds a bit generic.
There is also a remix of the titular track under the name of with you (summer time memories remix) – and the added beat and synth melodies sound summery in nature. Or rather, upbeat with a bit of island feel. “Summer” seems to equate with “island” when it comes to remixers. Unfortunately, if you didn’t like the vocals in the original track, you’re not going to get much better here because they haven’t been touched all too much. The filter on them was already in the original song – but it doesn’t sound so bad as compared to a certain AAA remix track.
But my favorite part of the single is definitely the cover. Kimeru’s looking a lot better than he did back when he started with his indies label, and while his videos still don’t have much in the way of budgeting, the man looks good and that’s all that matters. And hey, free fanservice for the yaoi fangirls – of which there are likely plenty. (Though I confess that his teeth still scare me. Kimeru fans, your teeth aren’t a pretty sight either.)
Kimeru undeniably has a lot of potential to be a well-loved star, and a lot of major labels clearly saw that when the war to sign him on began. But though he’s chosen Nippon Crown to produce him, the path they take him down seems to be less of a star and more of a clone. Here’s hoping he’ll find a way to still inject his own flair into things.