The Queen of Hip-Pop, Namie Amuro, has returned.
Not that she’s ever left, obviously: For those unfamiliar with the prolific songstress (and/or the J-Pop landscape as a whole), the 35-year-old superstar has been churning out smash hit singles every year for two decades straight. In J-Pop years, that’s sort of like the equivalent to Cher.
This year’s no different: Having dropped her lead single, the weirdly peppy “Big Boys Cry” in March, Amuro’s back this summer with a brand new offering from her upoming eleventh studio album Feel: “Hands On Me” — and this one’s a serious scorcher. Like, f’real.
“Hands On Me” was produced by Fredro, responsible for cuts with Jessica Mauboy, Shontelle, The Sugababes, Holly Valance and several tracks with one of MuuMuse’s favorite up-and-comers, Moxiie.
It’s a slick electronic banger, and totally nuts in all the best ways possible: Chaotic alarms, catchy chants, pounding drum bursts, stinging synthesizers and about a half-dozen dance floor breakdowns that sound like a broken electronic alarm clock being thrown into a washing machine. Then again, Namie always performs best against a heavy electronic beat (see also: 2008’s unbelievably amazing “What A Feeling.”) And as Jacques, the blogger formerly known as The Prophet, pointed out on PopDust, it’s a little like a synth-ier take on Beyoncé‘s sorta-kinda-never-gonna-see-it-on-iTunes new non-buzz single, “Grown Woman.”
The video follows suit with the electro-madness, as Namie and her friends party up high in the sky for a colorful rooftop pool party jubilee, complete with bikers, skaters, roller derby girls, trampolines, bubbles and…TLC.
The legendary R&B trio’s appearance in the clip is brief but blissful, as the three women get down to the DJ sound together for just a few seconds.
It might look like an odd pairing from the outside, but the Namie-TLC meet-up’s actually been a long time coming: Namie worked with TLC’s constant collaborator Dallas Austin for years, including 2003’s impeccable Style. The “Hands On Me” cameo isn’t all they’ve been up to together, either: Namie recently returned the favor, contributing a verse to the special re-recorded version of “Waterfalls” on the group’s Japan-only 20th anniversary release, TLC: 20th Anniversary Hits. (Namie’s English has never been stellar, but it’s still cute.)
Of course, when she’s not too busy breaking it down with Chilli and T-Boz, Namie’s busting moves that would make any other pop princess break a sweat — all while serving her signature, stony-faced “zero fucks given” expression. Hysterical and ferocious.
Put ya hands on me!