Release Date: Feb 24, 2015
Record label: Arts & Crafts
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock
After making a strong comeback album in 2011, singer/songwriter Andy Kim returns in 2015 with another album, It's Decided, destined to show that people who have him pegged as a one-hit wonder don't know the whole story. Yes, "Rock Me Gently" was a big, big deal, but there's always been more to Andy Kim than just that. The guy also wrote "Sugar Sugar," after all! This chapter features the songwriter working with his good friend Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene on a set of songs about wisdom, getting older, living a good life, and other heady topics, capped by a dreamlike cover of his 1968 bubblegum classic "Shoot 'Em Up.
It's Decided is not technically a comeback for Andy Kim — the 62-year-old singer who went into semi-retirement in the 1990s released Happen Again in 2011 — but the album, which features contributions from members of Broken Social Scene, Do Make Say Think and Tortoise, is arguably his highest-profile release since "Rock Me Gently" topped the charts in 1974. To collaborate with Kevin Drew instead of a more conventional big-name producer like Don Was, T-Bone Burnett or Rick Rubin is an admirable, albeit risky gambit on Kim's part, but it's arguable, listening to the exceedingly polite It's Decided, whether the pairing truly pays off. Listeners looking for the AM-radio ear candy of "Baby, I Love You" or "Sugar, Sugar" will not find it on It's Decided, which mostly sticks to stately atmospheric ballads; even 1968's bouncy "Shoot 'Em Up, Baby" is reconfigured as a Spectorian dirge awash in strings and horns.
The pairing of pop-rock singer-songwriter Andy Kim and Broken Social Scene's Kevin Drew is so obviously peculiar that David Letterman wasted precious intro seconds making an "Odd Couple" joke when he presented Kim and Drew's live performance. You can forgive yourself if Kim's name isn't familiar: He was a minor but persistent radio presence during the late '60s and early '70s, and he's most known for co-writing the Archies' novelty hit "Sugar Sugar" and for "Rock Me Gently", the type of innocuous AM trifles you're most likely in 2015 to hear as comedic relief in a Judd Apatow movie (or in a commercial trading on that same aesthetic). Kim had several lesser, similar hits before going dark for several years, releasing some music as Baron Longfellow, and finally returning under his own name in 2004.
If Andy Kim's new album is a comeback attempt, it's one that's been gathering steam for close to 20 years, starting when Kim emerged from a long period of seclusion and began involving himself in the Toronto singer/songwriter community. As the teenage songwriting prodigy behind bubblegum hits like the Archies' Sugar, Sugar, Kim enjoyed success in the 60s and early 70s and then withdrew from the music industry. The Toronto scene was a safe space for him to slowly reinvent himself and find like-minded musicians, which led to this unexpected collaboration with Broken Social Scene's Kevin Drew.