Playing with irony is a dangerous game…one wrong move, and suddenly what sounded like a good joke transforms into something legitimately off-putting. Idol-duo Vanilla Beans have always tip-toed on the edge just fine, their winking brand of J-Pop managing to deliver catchy tunes alongside the smirks. New single “Non Section,” though, comes close to tumbling over. The video has moments of the old Vanilla Beans – the still shots look sorta thrift store, while every part of the video involving the group eating/touching food comes off like a nice parody of AKB48 – but it also tends to leave the camera focused on Vanilla Beans’ legs too long, or focus a little too much on the two of them laying on a bed together. It’s not as clever as previous clips.
The music, meanwhile, is also hit or miss. The emphasis on cheesy guitars early on takes the air out of this song quickly, although the pre-chorus singing saves the song a bit thanks to how the group vocally zig-zag their lines. The chorus isn’t one of the duo’s knockout hooks – “Nicola” this ain’t – but rather one of their serviceable ones, the type that isn’t bad but also the sort that play it a little safe. Overall, pretty middle-of-the-road music from a duo capable of something much more subversive. Here’s hoping the rest of 2012 is spent getting that grin back.