Ironic Clown


Koda Kumi – TRICK
April 21, 2009, 11:36 am
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Koda Kumi - TRICK

Track list:
1. INTRODUCTION FOR TRICK
2. TABOO
3. show girl
4. Your Love
5. stay with me
6. This is not a love song
7. Driving
8. Bling Bling Bling [Featuring AK-69]
9. That Ain’t Cool [Featuring Fergie]
10. Hurry Up!
11. Moon Crying
12. JUST THE WAY YOU ARE
13. Joyful
14. Ai no Kotaba
15. Venus -Bonus Track-

TRICK is Koda Kumi’s 6th studio album. It was released on the 29th of January, 2009 and reached number one on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 380,334 copies.

With an opening as good as INTRODUCTION FOR TRICK my expectations on Kuu’s new album were high. Kuu has taken the circus theme approach, and no doubt it was inspired by western artists such as Britney Spears and P!nk. TABOO and showgirl delivered and I had my hopes high that this was going to be a great album, however like many artists Kuu has shall we say saved the best for first and showcased her best tracks at the beginning of the album. Track four (Your Love) is the turning point, as it displays a weak and mediocre attempt at a ballad, Kuu lacks emotion in herKoda Kumi - TRICK voice which brings a ballad to life. stay with me is a better attempt at a ballad however it still lacks oomph that is much needed. Kuu’s vocals aren’t bad; however they don’t work well with ballads. Even though her English, or Engrish has improved it still leaves more to be desired. Things get more redeeming with This is not a love song where Kuu pleads her listeners that this song is not a love song, and indeed it’s not. It’s a dance track which Kuu executes with style and I think it’s safe to say the Kuu should stick to these type of dance tracks rather than her sappy ballads seen earlier on the album. Driving is another upbeat fast dance track which is what Kuu was designed to sing. Without her producers we can assume Kuu would not be the Britney Spears of Japan like she is today. Driving is the perfect example of songs that Kuu should stick to. Bling Bling Bling is just laughable with lines like “Baby all I want is a bling bling bling and a car car car…” What are you talking about Kuu? You’re one of Japan’s biggest J-Pop artists you’ve already got enough money to buy some bling and a car, and you don’t need to write a song with poorly pronounced English and make a fool of yourself! Nonetheless it does provide an entertaining listen, however in the wrong way. Hurry Up! was somewhat corny, but it did have some interesting elements however ironically by the end of the song I really was wishing that it would hurry up!

Kuu manages to just pull through with Moon Crying, which is an okay ballad, however having said this there is way too many ballads and as I have said before Kuu should stick to what she does best sexy dance tracks. Just The Way You Are is a decent track, much thanks to the interesting arrangements. Her vocals don’t aren’t too hard on the ears either and the “I like you, you’re my best friend” lines seem to be easily said by Kuu. And just when all was looking joyful for the albums progress Joyful started playing, and left me feeling extremely indifferent. However once again she manages to pull through with the only truely great ballad on the album Ai no Katoba a piano driven ballad that is easy on the ears. Koda Kumi - TRICKOnce again Kuu’s vocas aren’t anything stellar however they are full and Kuu seems to be able to reach low notes with ease. The album ends on a… decent note with the remake of Venus, however whenever I hear this song I can’t help to think of the shaving razor brand with the same name and the same theme song. This is Kuu’s first attempt at a song fully in English and she actually does a decent job, however as some reviews have already stated, there is a definite “B” sound instead of a “V” sound for Venus however that’s because of the Japanese language and the fact the B’s and V’s sound exactly the same according to native speakers.

An interlude would have been nice for TRICK as it seemed that tracks were placed here and there, we had ballads next to each other, which could have easily been separated, as this would have evened out the good and the bad bits of the album rather than having them all in one spot. Dance tracks such as TABOO, show girl, This is not a love song and Driving were brilliant and gives us a clear indication of where Kuu really excels at. While That Ain’t Cool wouldn’t necessarily be described as a dance track, but it still ticked all the boxes, even though the majority of it was sung by Fergie, JUST THE WAY YOU ARE could also be described as a semi-dance track and Kuu performed it semi-brilliantly. Some of the ballads presented on the album weren’t all that fun to listen to (mainly Your Love) however stay with me and Moon Crying were acceptable and Ai no Katoba was above average – for Kuu anyway. Venus was an example of an above average sugar coated pop whereas Bling Bling Bling was an example of a listenable one (mainly because of the humorous and stupidly funny English lyrics). However Joyful was just a pain on the ears.

TRICK lacks the flow of Kingdom and in terms of transitions reminds me of Black Cherry, however it manages to pull through. Kuu may not be the most talented girl in the industry, however she matches the criteria when performing upbeat songs and seems to be able to perform these with such ease, which is why she should stick to this kind of stuff. To be quite honest I would love a Koda Kumi album with dance tracks invading the album and maybe one or two ballads to check on her progress, however in the mean time she has given us TRICK which is an acceptable album with awesome dance tracks, acceptable cutesy songs and a few nice ballads. So above all I think Kuu has made some progress and I commend her for that.

_______________

Hits:
INTRODUCTION FOR TRICK | TABOO | show girl | This is not a love song | Driving | That Ain’t Cool | Ai no Katoba wa

So-so:
stay with me | Bling Bling Bling | Hurry Up! | Moon Crying | JUST THE WAY YOU ARE | Venus -Bonus Track-

Misses:
Your Love | Joyful
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Overall Rating:
3.5 Stars
3½ Stars

Koda Kumi - TRICK

Joshua



Koda Kumi – stay with me
January 31, 2009, 4:23 am
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Koda Kumi -stay with me Tracklist:
1. stay with me
2. Winter Bell
3. stay with me (Orgel Version)
4. stay with me (Instrumental)
5. Winter Bell (Instrumental)

stay with me is Koda Kumi’s 42nd single. It was released on the 24th of December, 2008. It reached number 1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts selling 58, 108 copies. It is her last single during the TRICK era.

stay with me is a winter love, string based ballad, however it does feature some piano, although it is not a prominent instrument, as it is in Moon Crying. When it opens it has a really enchanting sound to it. Before Kuu sings there is some R&B beats added to even out the song. Kumi’s vocals are nice, and I really liked the choir that was heard throughout the chorus. It is a nice ballad, however not her best.

I liked the B-side Winter Bell a-bit better. It had a really Christmassy feel to it, because of the bells, and the church bell ringing throughout. It is a sugary pop song similar to her song Always, seen on the single TABOO. It is upbeat and has a happy feel to it. I liked the chorus when she adlibs “do do do do do.

stay with me (Orgel Version) is pretty much the same as any other Orgel Version of a song. For an orgel song it’s pretty long being almost three minutes in length. It’s a nice, but somewhat pointless addition to the single.

stay with me was a great Christmas themed single from Kuu and was a great way to end her TRICK era. It featured nice arrangements, and featured Koda’s voice at her best. It was a strong single

Rating
4 Stars
4 stars



Koda Kumi – MOON
January 28, 2009, 5:30 am
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Koda Kumi - MOON

Tracklist:
1. Moon Crying
2. That Ain’t Cool [Feat. Fergie]
3. Once Again
4. Lady Go!
5. Moon Crying (Instrumental)
6. That Ain’t Cool (Instrumental)
7. Once Again (Instrumental)
8. Lady Go! (Instrumental)

Moon is Koda Kumi’s 40th sinle and reached 2nd on the Oricon Weekly Charts. It was released on 11th of June, 2008 and sold 138,446 copies. Moon Crying was used the themesong for ABC  TV drama Puzzle.

I admit some of Koda Kumi’s ballads get on the boring side for me, but MoonKoda Kumi - MOON promo Crying is different. I absolutely love it. It begins with some beautiful piano, and the Kuu starts singing. Her voice is really nice in this song, especially when it reaches the chorus and Kumi belts out. The arrangement while being simple is exceptional and really matches the atmosphere of the song.

I don’t get why That Ain’t Cool is advertised as featuring Fergie, when the fact of the matter is that Fergie pretty much sings the whole song, but I guess that’s not necessarily a bad thing, seeing as Fergie is a talented singer. The lyrics are mostly in English, and while being a bit stupid, some of the lyrics are quite amusing too, such as when Koda says cheekily “I’m not your mummy, so say sayonara.” It’s a pretty good collaboration.

I’ll be quite frank about Once Again, while it is a nice song, I do find it to be extremely boring, and bland. Nothing really stands out in this song, and everything is rather forgettable.

I think the opening of Lady Go! is catchy, when it is gradually getting louder, however when I heard Kumi’s voice soon after I was rather disappointed, she is using a vocoder when she clearly doesn’t need to. The vacouder makes her voice sound fake and is annoying. I though this song would have been much better if she just sang normally, however I did find the instrumental bridge three quarters of the way through interesting.

MOON wasn’t Koda Kumi’s best single, Moon Crying and That Ain’t Cool being the only above average songs, however she continues to have nice arrangements and has a nice voice without a vocoder.

Rating
3 Stars3 stars



Koda Kumi – TABOO
January 27, 2009, 6:50 am
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Koda Kumi - TABOO

Tracklist:
1. TABOO
2. Always
3. TABOO -HOUSE NATION Sunset In Ibiza Remix-
4. TABOO (Instrumental)
5. Always (Instrumental)

TABOO is Koda Kumi’s 41st single and her first single to reach number one on the Oricon Weekly Charts, since FREAKY. It was released on the 8th of October, 2008 and sold over 84, 967 copies

“Baby, come with me, I’m gonna show you something you’ve never seen before.” Kumi’s back and hotter than ever with TABOO, and this time she really is showing us something we’ve never seen before! After her rather conservative single MOON, I was pleased to see that Kumi is back in the game. This song is a first for Koda as it explores a new genre of dance, that Kumi has never graced us with. Kumi executes this song excellently; her vocals match the overall sexy tone of the song, and the beat is quite simply infectious. It would have to be her best single since BUT, or since well… EVER!

Always is sugary pop at its best. It song similar to many of Kumi’s others, but nonetheless is crafted extremely well. While not being as energetic or as exciting as TABOO – which blew everyone away – it still makes an excellent B-side for anyone’s standards.

TABOO -HOUSE NATION Sunset In Ibiza Remix- is immediately louder with explosion like sound at the beginning, and then being carried on through thumping bass, which will make anyone who listens to it want to tap their feet. It is not as quick as the original version with the only words appearing before the 30 second mark being “I know it’s our secret, gotta keep it to yourself tonight.” While not being nearly as infectious as the original version it’s still above average for a remix.

TABOO was an utter surprise to me, we all know that Kumi’s Avex scandal knocked her confidence and career quite substantially, but I think it’s safe to say that the Kuu we love and know is back and better than ever.

Rating4 Stars4 stars

Koda Kumi - TABOO promo