Archive for the 'Koda Kumi' Category

Koda Kumi: TRICK

Trick, Koda Kumi

Introduction for TRICK

TABOO

show girl

Your Love

stay with me

This is not a love song

Driving

Bling Bling Bling (feat. AK-69)

That Ain’t Cool (feat. Fergie)

Hurry Up!

Moon Crying

JUST THE WAY YOU ARE

Joyful

Ai no Kotoba

Venus (Bonus Track)

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Songs in bold are previously released singles. Songs in blue (with a link) have already been reviewed. Those songs will, however, be reviewed in context of the album once more.

*****

TRICK is Koda Kumi’s seventh album, released on January 28th, 2009. It reached #1 on Oricon. I wonder if she knows the “fitting” connotation to the title of her album…

INTRODUCTION FOR TRICK is meant to blow your brains out so that you don’t realize all the mistakes that are made after the first three tracks of this album. It’s a powerful, aggressive track, and I’m sort of in the middle about this track because it’s catchy but all the power put into the beats tends to ruin the whole.

The transition from INTRODUCTION FOR TRICK to TABOO is a little less than smooth, although that’s easy to forget considering this is the hottest song of 2008 and one of the best Koda Kumi songs ever. It’s infectious, entrancing, and Koda’s vocal performance is quite amazing. Along with the previous track and the next track, TABOO‘s purpose at the beginning of the album is to overwhelm you so much that you’ll have a stroke which will have serious repercussions on your musical taste and you won’t notice the major blemishes other tracks do to this album.

While I wasn’t too fond of it when I first heard it, the cuteness and just the plain catchiness of the chorus have made me love show girl. Somewhat of a self-parody, show girl is nothing particularly new, but Koda Kumi performs very well on it. The chorus sounds glamorous and the verses seem to highlight the personal life or the mistakes stars sometimes make (amniotic fluid, anyone?). And the line bounce me and dance me makes me laugh.

Before we get to another great song which is supposed to erase the bad stuff on this album, Koda serves us two distasteful ballads, the first being Your Love. Compared to the next one, Your Love is absolutely nothing original and there’s no emotion in it, which makes this song a complete flop.

stay with me‘s only positive attribute would be the warm feeling I get from it. Otherwise, as I explained in my review of the single, I think that Koda really doesn’t control her voice very well in this song because it ends up sounding too powerful and sort of overpowers the beauty of an otherwise perfectly average ballad.

So, now we’re back to the good songs. This is not a love song definitely isn’t a love song with its powerful beats and its aggressive character. It still bears the Kuu sexiness, although I like the fact that she doesn’t drive it too far. It’s a really addictive song that’s definitely worth the time; even though it’s under three and a half minutes.

Driving is the best album song, by far. While the beginning didn’t exactly turn me on, the chorus blew me away. I don’t know exactly what it is, but I suppose it’s the fun atmosphere and the adventure of the chorus that makes me like this song, besides the fact that it’s absolutely and completely amazing.

Ugh. Bling Bling Bling pisses me off. Musically, it’s worth absolutely nothing. There are barely any instruments, instead there are confusing lines of synth in the very back, and really out-of-place R&B beats. I guess you could say that this song is rap; and I loathe rap.

I’ve gotten over my gripes with That Ain’t Cool and I can now enjoy the song a lot more. The verses still annoy me a little bit, but the chorus is quite amusing. I just think that Koda’s lines sound really bad.

We get another pretty hardcore track this time, Hurry Up!, which features guitars and reminds me a lot of some of the punk stuff we have in North America during the verses. But don’t get me wrong; I may like punk and pop-rock, I still think this song is a blemish to the face of the album.

I don’t know about placing Hurry Up! before Moon Crying, which is probably the only ballad I can actually listen to without dying of boredom before the end of the song. I guess the only excuse for its placement would be the next song.

The second promotional track on this album, JUST THE WAY YOU ARE, is quite good, and second only to Driving. The strings and the R&B beats create an interesting texture, and Koda’s vocals are quite nice.

Joyful is way too… well, joyful, for me to like it. The guitars are OK, but the feel of this song just doesn’t catch me. It sounds like one of the better H!P pop songs, but because Koda Kumi is a the queen of prostitutes and not the queen of H!P, I can’t exactly call this song “good”.

Ai no Kotoba (words of love) closes the album in a bad way. It may be a ballad, but (I’m not going to go through the same routine again, you know how I feel about Koda ballads). It’s acceptable as a closing song, but I think she could’ve done better.

Koda Kumi’s cover of Venus is quite good… until she says “venus”. Beside the fact her Engrish makes this song a joke, I think she did quite well for the overall presentation of the song and she’s got the right tone for it.

Alright, TRICK was better than Kingdom… but that wasn’t that hard a feat, was it? Frankly, this album has too many flaws for it to be enjoyable, despite the few excellent songs that were here and there. She really has to deal with her ballads, because they’re a bad joke, and hurt the ranking of her album. There are three major blemishes to this album: Your Love, the lame ballad which killed me, Bling Bling Bling, the horrible rap song, and finally Joyful, which was too joyful. The album had its good songs, I won’t deny it; it’s just that they’re overshadowed by all of the bad filler tracks. It’s a mind-numbingly boring album in the overall, and I’m quite disappointed.

Koda Kumi: stay with me

stay with me, Koda Kumi1. stay with me

2. Winter Bells

3. stay with me (Orgel Version)

stay with me is Koda Kumi’s single, released on December 24th, 2008. It reached #2 on Oricon.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks that Koda Kumi’s ballads are pretty bad. Her voice is pretty good, but I think it suits sexy songs like TABOO better than stay with me. Her voice is a powerhouse of emotion, but she can’t control it to make it smoother when she sings ballads, and that digs a massive ditch between the gentle and beautiful instruments and her voice. Otherwise, it’s a pretty good song. Just not something I would put on a best winter A-Sides.

Winter Bells, on the other hand, is a lot happier. It’s a gentle R&B-influenced ballad that, like the A-Side, offers nothing special and would definitely not make it to a list of most interesting B-Sides. But it has the potential to be a good song. She just doesn’t drive it far enough.

stay with me (Orgel Version) puts you to sleep with its gentle melody, but in a good way. I find this version a lot more moving that the original, because the instrumentals are unobstructed by Koda’s voice.

Koda Kumi: TABOO

1. TABOO

2. Always

3. TABOO (HOUSE NATION Sunset In Ibiza Remix)

TABOO is Koda Kumi’s 41st single, released on October 8th, 2008. It reached #1 on Oricon and has sold 75 808 copies.

Koda Kumi has never been my style, but TABOO is a really addictive dance track, and a massive step up from the previous quadruple A-Side “MOON”. I won’t comment on the music video, which I’m surprised the Japanese public didn’t make into a taboo because of its racy and denotative lesbian content (I think Raid from Raid My Minibar made a pretty good analysis of the PV), but this song is just so catchy. She sounds hazy and sexy at the right spots, which is the only thing I like about Koda Kumi in the overall, her vocals.

Always is the contrary of TABOO, more on the cute an innocent side, with R&B influences. It’s not catchy or particularly beautiful, but it’s not bad, either, decent for a B-Side.

TABOO (HOUSE NATION Sunset in Ibiza Remix) is really nice, pretty catchy, although the vocals should’ve been worked on more here. It’s not all as bad as I thought it would be, because remixes of awesome songs are usually pretty bad, but I still prefer the original.

Koda Kumi: MOON

MOON, Koda Kumi1. Moon Crying

2. That Ain’t Cool (feat. Fergie)

3. Once Again

4. Lady Go!

MOON is Koda Kumi’s fortieth single, released on June 11th, 2008. It reached #2 on Oricon and has sold 135 442 copies. Moon Crying was used as the theme for the drama Puzzle.

As much as I genuinely hate Koda Kumi’s ballads, Moon Crying isn’t all that bad. The song itself, as usual with Kuu ballads, is nothing special, but her vocal performance in this song is quite nice. She knows how to put emotion into her voice, she just can’t keep the tone down. Compared to the rest of the stuff on this quadruple A-Side, this song shines very brightly.

That Ain’t Cool doesn’t feature Fergie, it’s Fergie feat. Koda Kumi. The lyrics are repetitive, not exactly great, and Koda Kumi’s Engrish really sucks. The song itself is quite catchy, but I think the vocals and certain annoying bits of the song ruin it as a whole.

Once Again is an island-inspired R&B track. Yawn. This song is deadly boring because of the monotonous feel of the song. The chorus is not much of a highlight and the verses are… lame, to say the least. It definitely needs a lot more flavor, and I’m not a fan of the island sound.

Closing the single is the pop track Lady Go!, which isn’t as bad as the gruesome title may have implied. Let’s just say it’s better than the previous song, but still quite average. Here again, the song really needs some flavor.