Ironic Clown


KOKIA – AKIKO∞KOKIA ~balance~

KOKIA – AKIKO∞KOKIA ~balance~

 Track list:
1. Wasure Mono
2. Ooki na Senaka
3. Obaa-chan
4.Crape-myyrtle no Yureru Koro
5. HOME
6. vintage love
7. brige
8. Hajimari
9. infinity
10. Sekia no Owari ni
11. Tsumihoroboshi no Uta

AKIKO∞KOKIA ~balance~ is KOKIA’s 9th studio album. It was released on the 18th of March, 2009 and reached number 51 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and charted for a total of three weeks. It was released on the same day as her OTHER album KOKIA∞AKIKO ~balance~.

Less than six months after the release of her Christmas themed album Christmas gift KOKIA is back! If anyone knows how to make albums efficiently it’s KOKIA. Considering it took less than six months to make, I didn’t have my hopes too high… but man was I surprised!

All eleven tracks on the album are soft laidback songs, with a unique alternative edge. Much like The VOICE, AKIKO∞KOKIA ~balance~ shies away from KOKIA’s pop/folk past and goes for something a little more original. The beginning of the album starts off with Wasure Mono a relaxed track with outstanding vocals. With Wasure Mono being almost seven minutes in length, one would think that this song quickly get boring, however like previous albums KOKIA’s vocals are outstanding and never get tiresome.

AKIKO∞KOKIA ~balance~ shows the use of piano quite frequently. In vintage love, Obaa-chan and Hajimari the piano is the only instrument that can be heard. This adds to the unfeigned feel of the song, and makes KOKIA’s vocals the main attraction. AKIKO∞KOKIA ~balance~ is balanced out with guitar to add a light touch to the album. Ooki na Senaka, Crape-myrtle no Yureru Koro and bridge have guitar as the main and at times only instrument of the piece. The way that KOKIA can make a song that sounds so raw, yet so interesting is very intriguing and she has mastered a very fine art.

Unlike The VOICE, KOKIA’s latest album has lost the European edge and as far as I know has not been scheduled for a European release, unlike her previous album. This is understandable though because compared to previous albums AKIKO∞KOKIA ~balance~ has little English. Most of the English throughout the entire album can be heard on bridge. KOKIA’s English is as good as they are on previous albums and at times the English can be hard to understand, but that’s mainly because the vocals are rather soft on bridge. I think that it’s a good thing that AKIKO∞KOKIA ~balance~ doesn’t have all that much English on it, because even though KOKIA’s English vocals are cute an all, they can sometimes sound as though they were sung by a four year old. When listening to her English works it becomes quite evident that her Japanese voice is much nicer.

Lots of songs have similar arrangements so that’s a plus when it comes to the flow of the album. I would like to see KOKIA vary her songs, but at the same time I believe that KOKIA performs soft tracks the best and I would be quite happy for her to sing songs like this for the rest of her career… yes, I did just commit doublethink.

KOKIA’s vocals on AKIKO∞KOKIA ~balance~ are varied. In songs such as Obaa-chan KOKIA’s vocals are thin, but strong. In Hajimari KOKIA’s vocals are fuller and she holds her notes for a longer amounts of time, which can sometimes tend to resemble opera. In all of these circumstances KOKIA seems to be able to sing with ease and her lyrics are smooth and flow well. KOKIA’s vocals are melodic she uses the right arrangements to match her voice. Most of the songs on the album could be used as a lullaby to drift me off to sleep, especially vintage love which is one of the simplest but best songs on the album.

KOKIA is a truly unique Japanese artist and really can’t compare to anyone in the Japanese music industry. In an industry plagued by same-sounding generic pop tracks KOKIA comes along and balances the music industry out with some much needed peaceful and lightly produced music. Add a sprinkle of guitar, piano and even panpipe to match wonderful and diverse vocals and you’ve got AKIKO∞KOKIA ~balance~ which truly is a gem to treasure in any music collection.

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Hits:
Wasure Mono | Ooki na Senka | Obaa-chan | Crape-myrtle no Yureru Koro | HOME | vintage love | bridge | Hajimari | infinity | Sekai no Owari ni | Tsumihoroboshi no Uta

So-so:
N/A

Misses:
N/A
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Overall Rating:5 Stars5 stars

KOKIA - AKIKO∞KOKIA ~balance~

Joshua



KOKIA – The VOICE

 

KOKIA - The VOICE

Track list:
1. Odoyaka na Shizukesa
2. Follow the Nightingale
3. Ave Maria
4. Todokimasu You ni
5. song of pocchong ~Shizuku no Uta~
6. Gomen ne.
7. Lacrima
8. Nani mo Kamo ga Hoshi ni Natte
9. il mare dei suoni
10. everlasting
11. Chiisana Uta
12. Watashi ni Dekiru Koto

The VOICE is KOKIA’S 6th studio album and was released on the 20th of the February, 2008. It reached number 42 on the Oricon Weekly charts and sold a total of 7, 765 copies.

It seems like KOKIA has finally found the genre that she belongs to. KOKIA was never destined for the pop roots of her past. Her previous albums Remember Me was decent, however it never felt like she truly belonged, because KOKIA was just a bit too alternative for the “pop” genre.

Then KOKIA comes along with The VOICE that begins with anKOKIA - The VOICE experimental song Odoyaka na Shizukesa which sounds natural and organic, KOKIA’s voice is better than ever before, and that’s evident from the beginning note of the album, which is adlibbing. KOKIA carries on this experimental edge with possibly her best single yet Follow The Nightingale which starts out as a peaceful song, but soon becomes a full blown forte, experimental song.

After the first burst of energy KOKIA decides to take a softer approach with Ave Maria, the cover of a famous well known song. The first two energetic songs on the album have been a success, but does KOKIA deliver on softer songs? You bet! Ave Maria is a fantastic cover. KOKIA varies her amazing voice this time and uses an operatic voice. Things stay laidback in the gentle and carefree song Tokdokimasu You ni. Besides song of pocchong ~Shizuku no Uta~ and il mare dei sunoi songs are soft throughout the rest of the album. Where others would get boring KOKIA succeeds. Why? Well because of her amazing voice. I have already stated many times throughout this review KOKIA has a truly amazing voice and she uses every bit of it to assist her in her songs.

KOKIA - The VOICESoft arrangements suit KOKIA, and unlike a lot of artists she does not have to rely on the arrangement of the song to make the atmosphere interesting. KOKIA’s vocals have improved immensely since the beginning of her music career and even since her previous album Remember Me. KOKIA has chosen soft, European arrangements to compliment her voice, which is a clear success. And it seems that KOKIA likes the European edge, because she even released a European version for fans in Europe.

KOKIA’s English is improving too. This is evident in everlasting which is a song that is sung entirely in English. KOKIA loses that cute English pronunciation and this time opts for a more serious voice, however she does come back to her cute English speaking in the bridge where she says heartfelt lines “Our father in heaven, I truly thank you for giving me a feeling of love. From the bottom of my heart, I wish this word to be wrapped with eternal light.”

KOKIA provides a breather from the ballads with a Nani mo Kamo haKOKIA - The VOICE Hoshi ni Natte which is a raw song consisting mainly of percussion and a keyboard. Even though this song has percussion, KOKIA has made the percussion soft and subtle, so it still retains the gentle sound which is present throughout the entire album.

Guitar and piano both share a generous amount throughout the album. In the middle of the album Gomen ne and Lacrima show KOKIA’s guitar arrangements and towards the end we get to hear her piano arrangements. KOKIA gets personal with the last two tracks which is just her the piano, and some percussion thrown in for extra stability. These songs never get boring, because the rawness of the piece really adds an emotional touch to the album and once again KOKIA’s voice never fails to impress. The VOICE starts on an energetic side, and ends showcasing a softer side of KOKIA.

The VOICE is appropriately named, as all of the tracks on the album showcase her strongest gift. Arrangements are minimal compared to her other albums, and lose the pop feel about them and venture into alternative areas, which is perfect for KOKIA as she was never destined to be a pop star, instead she was destined to be an artist who relies on her voice to convey a message. In The VOICE KOKIA finds herself and the music that she was almost meant to make. KOKIA’s voice is showcased amazingly through The VOICE and in my opinion KOKIA has released the perfect 6th album.

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Hits:
Odoyaka na Shizukesa | Follow the Nightingale | Ave Maria | Todokimasu You ni | song of pocchong ~Shizuku no Uta~ | Gomen ne. | Lacrima | Nani mo Kamo ga Hoshi ni Natte | il mare dei suoni | everlasting | Chiisana Uta | Watashi ni Dekiru Koto

So-so:
N/A

Misses:
N/A
_______________

Overall Rating:5 Stars5 stars 

KOKIA - The VOICE

Joshua