Friday, July 6, 2012

Jpop Album Review- Koda Kumi- Kingdom

Koda Kumi is one of the current divas of jpop and Kingdom was her comeback album after a controversy. After Kingdom, her sales has been continuosly declining but Kingdom was the high point in her post million seller era. Koda Kumi has a unique, sandpapery voice that gives life to her songs.

Introduction to kindgdom- A nice instrumental and random vocal intro. Kods Kumi is good at making intros. Many intros to her albums shine more than album tracks.

Last Angel feat Tohoshinki- Not the greatest album or single track but a good follow up to the introduction. The chorus is especially weak but Tohoshinki and Koda Kumi's vocals compensate for it.

Amai Wana- Amai wana is quite an interesting album track that has an arabian vibe to it. Something new from Koda Kumi in this album. It stands out especially after the mediocre Last Angel and Introduction.

Himitsu- This would've qualified for a filler track in one of her other albums but does quite well on this one. Himitsu is sugary and cute- something that Koda Kumi likes to do once in a while.

Ai no uta- A powerful ballad with touching lyrics. Ai no uta is a 'beautiful' song as Koda Kumi herself described on music station. It has power, emotion, good lyrics and good vocals- everything. Being one of the few ballads in this album, it is a great track.

Anytime- A cheerful pop song. Anytime is acoustic guitar led and offers something new to this album. Koda Kumi tries her best to be cute and cheerful, sometimes being too 'over the top'. She did a nice live of this on on the tour in a red dress, sitting on a swing.

Under- Under stands out, being the first heavy R&B track on the album. Under has persistent backvocals and a strong beat that add to its catchiness. A very strong track with Koda Kumi's autotuned vocals and high 'coolness' factor.

BUT- Compared to Under, BUT seems a little bland. It is quite similar to Under in melody and arrangement but has a more electronic vibe. Koda Kumi's vocals are again, fabulous and burst in the chorus.

Koi no mahou- Himitsu's estranged sister. It is easily comparable to himistu in tone, melody, vibe and placing. Its good placing saved it from becoming another filler track. The airy vocals in the beginning remind me of Namie Amuro.

Aisho- Aisho is one of the most powerful and unique tracks on this album. Koda Kumi's sultry vocals carry off the song well, complementing the chorus with power and emotion. It has a japanese vibe that make it a rather unique rock track that borders on ballad.

Anata no shite kureta koro- A filler track that follows the footsteps of himitsu and koi no mahou but does not get the lucky placement. Too sugary and cutesy for Koda Kumi.

Wonderland- Wonderland is kawaii and pinku diva done right. It has an artificial/computer arrangement that sounds like a video game song. Koda Kumi manages to be quite kawaii here and makes this a successful track instead of a wannabe kawaii track.

FREAKY- The strong vocals and beat carry of this song well. The chorus is dominated by backvocals and there quite a lot of autotuning. Koda Kumi's voice has an edge and attitude that makes this song worthwhile.

MORE- More is a jazzy tracks with Koda Kumi's powerful vocals trying quite a bit of sliding and style. MORE has a catchy chorus (I want you more, everything more) and laid back beat that stands out after the demanding Freaky. The jazz adds another dimension to this album. Sounds a lot like an english song.

Black Cherry- Black Cherry is a strong R&B track though not the greatest ending to the album. The signals in the background can become distracting after a while.

Kingdom is a very strong studio album from Koda Kumi and as good as it gets. It would've sold over a million easily if it hadn't been released amidst controversy. Koda Kumi's vocals shine and the album is filled with much needed variety. Japanese, jazz, rock, pop, kawaii, ballads, R&B and arabian- it has it all. I have bought so many of her albums hoping that this would be the best one with minimal 'filler' tracks but they always dissapoint. Kingdom however, is quite good considering the low number of filler tracks. If you're trying out Koda Kumi, start here. It shows all that she can do.

Overall- 4.5/5


Vocals are powerful and consistent
Few filler tracks


Too many 'cutesy' songs where she seems to be trying a little too hard

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