Kurayami Monogatari

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Koda Kumi – Shhh! April 13, 2016

Filed under: Koda Kumi — solarblade @ 3:50 pm

shhh

Track Listing

  1. Shhh!
  2. Kimi Omoi

1. Shhh!

Wow, talk about opening differently than normal, it sounds like a song that belongs on “JAPONESQUE” and yet it has a sound that’s more akin to sounds from “Bon Voyage”, but I appreciate the kind of upbeat and fun atmosphere the tune brings.  Also Kuu sounds so good when she belts like she does.  It’s a funky song and it stuck to me quite nicely…impressive track, I just hope it makes the next album!

2. Kimi Omoi

The B-side however is something that isn’t new (actually it’s an older song from her “FEVER” live special release she released during “WALK OF MY LIFE”.  It seems that this song was actually edited a bit with some arrangement changes.  While I never thought the song stuck out because of how many other similar sounding songs she has, but I really like Kuu’s vocals here.  The changes didn’t exactly sway me and if I hadn’t read otherwise (and compare the two versions) I wouldn’t have even noticed.  Still it’s OK though.

 

 

Being a mu-mo/venue only single, I thought it was an interesting single.  While I know Kuu has released new songs since “WALK OF MY LIFE” with the “____ OF LOVE” compilations, it feels like forever since Kuu released something on a single.  Shhh! is a good song and I hope it makes her next album because it’s just that memorable.  Seeing Kimi Omoi again is just filler, but the small changes didn’t change my opinion of it in anyway sadly…let’s just hope she’ll actually release a full-on single!

 

Koda Kumi – WALK OF MY LIFE March 23, 2015

Filed under: Koda Kumi — solarblade @ 3:17 am

walkofmylife

Track Listing

  1. Introduction ~WALK OF MY LIFE~
  2. Dance In The Rain
  3. Lippy
  4. Mercedes
  5. Like It
  6. House Party
  7. Interlude ~Dance~
  8. HOTEL
  9. Gimme U
  10. You can keep up with me
  11. MONEY IN MY BAG
  12. PIECE OF THE PUZZLE
  13. Fake Tongue
  14. Sometimes Dreams Come True
  15. LIFE so GOOD!!
  16. WALK OF MY LIFE

1. Introduction ~WALK OF MY LIFE~

What is up with this intro?  That deep bass voice sounds so weird and muddled along the beat.  At least it doesn’t last very long before Kuu comes in and sings quite with a sass that I slightly enjoyed.  Weird that it’s just an intro piece, would’ve loved to see it stretched a bit more.

2. Dance In The Rain

At least it moves into something familiar, as the 2nd of the two singles she released for the album, Dance In The Rain is still a pretty awesome song and coming first on the album was going to try to set a tone for the album (which didn’t happen) but this song is still full of a lot of emotion and reminds me of Kuu in her early days.  Pretty much, awesome way to kick things off.

3. Lippy

I figured that this song could’ve came after the intro since the beat is a little more urban and Kuu is once again a sassy gal.  The arrangement is a bit too messy for my tastes with the laser-grinding synths that kind of just give you a headache.  Certain parts sound like something I’ve heard before, but hey what can I say.  Kumi doesn’t sound bad though, it’s the music that’s bothering me here.

4. Mercedes

Next up, Mercedes has a pretty cool old-fashioned kind of groove with the addition of brass and the style of attitude is just written all over it.  I will say it could’ve used a bit more of a foundation so I could feel as if it was full and awesome.  Still for what we got here, it wasn’t too reckless.

5. Like It

Didn’t I just listen to “Lippy?” why am I hearing something similar here with Like It?  Actually after the initial couple of seconds, I hear some interesting brass moments (like something Mexican?).  The bass is once again feeling slightly subdued like in “Mercedes”…wait…it’s basically the previous two tracks just meshed into one.  It’s a tad bit barren…especially for being one of the two promotional songs.

6. House Party

At least the bass really comes in with House Party and I’m already sighing for relief because this song has a lot of energy and Kuu is once showing a lot of this sassy attitude that I’m loving so far from her in the album.  I would’ve loved to have seen a PV from this instead of the last track since it’s so much fun.  Well, I could use less of the male rapper/singer here and the cheesiness of the ~the roof, the roof, the roof is on fire~ line.  Still, the song is probably the best so far of the new songs.

7. Interlude ~Dance~

So we reached the middle of the album and of course we get a minute break from the interlude and once again, it makes sense because it has the same kind of flow as the first half of the album.  The beat is pretty solid though and Kuu sounds good too…short though as expected.

8. HOTEL

With the album sounding so Western, HOTEL makes sense now, the low trumpet synths fills the headphones nicely, but I’m still not exactly feeling Kuu’s speak-singing the verses (felt flat to me) but the chorus is pretty nice and it melds so nicely as a package there, it’s just the verses that felt lackluster to me.  You can say I grew into liking this, but it still doesn’t beat out “Dance In The Rain”.

9. Gimme U

I kind of smiled that our next song felt like a continuation of “HOTEL” with less mmph to it.  I will say that even without that, the song still kind of sounds similar for some reason.  It’s a cuter song though overall which is nice, but I find VERY little that’s memorable because I instantly think of the previous track.

10. You can keep up with me

The next track is actually another short track (2:40).  You can keep up with me is pretty upbeat and has a bit more edge than a couple other songs from the album.  Kuu really pushes herself here where she’s yelling and having that aggressive punch to her vocals too.  It’s a solid song even if it is quite short overall.

11. MONEY IN MY BAG

As the only B-side to make the cut, I was surprised she chose this AND it’s shorter than “You can keep up with me” by a good 6 seconds.  Really, being from “HOTEL”, I really didn’t care for it then and its placement here on the album doesn’t really help its case because it’s still short and the smoky/slyness of the tune is already lost to other similar songs.

12. PIECE OF THE PUZZLE

Back to the new songs that fill the rest of the album, PIECE OF THE PUZZLE has a killer beat actually that I don’t feel that’s so overdone and cheap.  It could possibly because that this could’ve been a cool rock song.  Plus, all of the tongue rolling and everything from Kumi is just badass in the song.  Definitely a strong contender as favorite song from the album!

13. Fake Tongue

Sadly, that wall comes back and we’re back to reusing stuff to get by.  I will say at least Kuu’s vocal performance is really surprising on this album because it’s so gritty and powerful.  I do love how the chorus is so in your face and then it just cools off quickly and we’re back into the verses.  Edgy song overall, one of the standouts.

14. Sometimes Dreams Come True

I’m wondering if this was the kind of “WIND” we were going to get because it does sound happy, but it has beats and guitars so it’s not as girly as the aforementioned song.  I mean beyond that, the song is another that just flies over my head due to its forgetful chorus and the feeling that it’s all one-note (even though it isn’t).  Just not my kind of track.

15. LIFE so GOOD!!

The intro of the next track is so annoying haha!  If “Sometimes Dreams Come True” was to be the cute -in love- song, LIFE so GOOD!! feels like the summer song that would’ve worked moreso than “HOTEL” did to be honest.  The guitars are free-spirited as Kuu is also.  Why do I feel like it would’ve fit “3 SPLASH”? because it’s actually not so bad…one of the fun songs that isn’t too trite.

16. WALK OF MY LIFE

So the album ends with the other promotional song of the album and surprisingly enough it’s the ONLY ballad from this album which is a bit surprising.  Actually it’s not really a pure-ballad because the beats that prevail over all of the album is here too.  It’s a bit odd as the final track and the arrangement is trying to be upbeat but trying not to at the same time and it leaves me confused in the long run…odd.

Tracks Recommended

  • Dance In The Rain
  • PIECE OF THE PUZZLE
  • House Party
  • LIFE so GOOD!!
  • Fake Tongue

Song of Avoidance

  • Sometimes Dreams Come True

I loved “JAPONESQUE” and “Bon Voyage” that is for certain, but coming into WALK OF MY LIFE, all I came out with was a bit over-saturation here.  I’m not sure why, but this album was trying to be upbeat and fun, but I feel like she’s done SO MUCH BETTER without needing to over-use urban beats and such here.  Generic isn’t the word I’d use, but it felt like Kuu was phoning this album in.

 

Koda Kumi – Dance In The Rain February 19, 2015

Filed under: Koda Kumi — solarblade @ 6:07 pm

danceintherain

Track Listing

  1. Dance In The Rain
  2. Dance In The Rain (Instrumental)

1. Dance In The Rain

Being a Kuu fan has had its ups and downs, but luckily she really stepped it up for Dance In The Rain.  Initially I did think it was going to be an R&B ballad of sorts but I was quite wrong there!  The tune is something nice and Kumi really sounds amazing in this track for sure!  The arrangement has a nice solemn sound to it and with Kumi using a lot of her deeper tones to add that emotional spark was just impressive.  The chorus though is so catchy and really strong for sure…Yeah, impressed with this one a lot more than anything from “HOTEL” that’s for sure.

 

 

Releasing this single as a fanclub single (something avex has been doing recently) and I was sad that the single would be lacking in content, but Dance In The Rain is an impressive song for Kumi, just because it is something different and not stretching her genres thin like she sometimes does.  I am happy it’ll be on her upcoming album at least!

 

Koda Kumi – FEVER KODA KUMI LEGEND LIVE September 2, 2014

Filed under: Koda Kumi — solarblade @ 5:48 am

fever

Track Listing

  1. SO FEVER
  2. Cutie Honey
  3. Butterfly
  4. Kimi Omoi
  5. you
  6. Koishikute
  7. NEVER GIVE IT UP

1. SO FEVER

This mini, opens with a song that eerilly reminds me of one of Kuu’s older songs, “Get It On” with the kind of Indian vibe mixed in with her ero-kakkoi style.  I kind of dug it because Kuu sounds into it and exudes such a sexy atmosphere and the arrangement is just as slithering and sexy.  Though for some reason, I thought there’d be more to it and a stronger arrangement, but I still liked the feel the track brought.  Maybe a little more bass would’ve made it a stronger song, but it’s solid overall.

2. Cutie Honey

Man, how many time do I have to review this song?  From her “LOVE & HONEY” single, Cutie Honey is a cover of course of a classic theme and she brought a groovy style to the tune that I instantly fell in love with.  Of course this was like the second song that I fell in love with (“real Emotion” was the first”).  This song is just a cool song and it’s easy to see why it’s one of her most popular songs even to this day (figures why it’s on the mini in the first place).

3. Butterfly

Funny that this is after since they were released around the same time frame.  It also has a certain jazzy tone and almost sounds like a clone to “Cutie Honey” with the string bass love and almost similar melody.  This one definitely caught my attention because of Kuu’s smoky alto vocals that just wooed me throughout.  Still, there’s just no way that people couldn’t say this sounds like the previous track in SOME way.  Cool song though, has a lot of cool elements to it.

4. Kimi Omoi

Then the mini goes into straight ballads starting with the only new one, Kimi Omoi.  I’ve said this MANY, MANY times, but once you heard one Kuu ballad, you’ve heard majority of them and this one is no different.  It’s a pretty basic ballad from her utilizing the typical instrumentation.  Also, Kuu sounds really pleasant so there’s really not much else to say, but it you’re a fan of her slower works then you’ll be fine.

5. you

At least you isn’t a total snoozefest.  It’s more in the range of her R&B ballads which does set itself apart from “Kimi Omoi” and “Koishikute” at the least.  It’s still the normal shtick with extra bass synths and more piano involved.  There’s not much to really say here, but I did enjoy this song quite a bit back then and even now.

6. Koishikute

One of her more recent ballads, Koishikute comes in with a more dramatic arrangement than either of the previous two tracks and I liked that about this song.  Being the lone ballad from the “Bon Voyage” era, I think it managed to stick on me in a good way because the arrangement is beautiful and Kuu sounds really good here.  Definitely the best of the three ballads on the mini-album.

7. NEVER GIVE IT UP

Closing out the mini is the final new track.  It’s funny because it doesn’t sound like a dance track nor a ballad XD.  Actually it’s an upbeat rock track and Kuu’s past endeavors in the genre have been met with mixed opinions.  With NEVER GIVE IT UP actually sounds great and Kuu sounds right pulling this off…that’s a first!  My only qualm is that it is shorter than 3 minutes and honestly it could’ve been better longer.  Not bad!

 

 

This was such a random release!  Being a special CD release (some say the new songs were tied to Pachinko) makes this such an odd release.  Even at that, the new tracks got PVs too!  To be honest, for the most part I actually enjoyed these songs more than the stuff from “HOTEL”.  NEVER GIVE IT UP is probably my favorite of the single with SO FEVER behind and Kimi Omoi in the back.  I’m not sure why the other 4 songs were included (especially 3/4 were around the “BEST ~second session~” time…not sure what the meaning of this was…I wonder if the 3 will be included on her next album as well…

 

Koda Kumi – HOTEL August 6, 2014

Filed under: Koda Kumi — solarblade @ 8:27 am

hotel

Track Listing

  1. Introduction ~Check IN~
  2. HOTEL
  3. Interlude ~Secret Room~
  4. MONEY IN MY BAG
  5. Interlude ~Last Night Dream~
  6. TURN AROUND

1. Introduction ~Check IN~

So kicking off Kuu’s annual summer single, we get an introduction with a cheesy ass hotel manager bringing us to “Kumi’s hotel” and telling us to enjoy our time and all that typical stuff.  Plus showing to us our room and calling us perfect…lord Kuu, why do you keep doing this?

2. HOTEL

As the leading song, HOTEL was such an odd song for me to get into.  It seems to have this Western groove going on and has such an interesting sound to it which sounds quite original to me.  A lot of the time Kuu isn’t really singing in the verses as she’s kind of speak-singing it through otherwise she gives a pretty good vocal performance.  I’m not entirely sure how this song stacks because while it’s upbeat there’s not much of a melody to remember IMO.  Let’s hope the other songs fare better!

3. Interlude ~Secret Room~

So the interlude of the single has a cool beat to it and it sounds like people just chillin around before the beat takes over and gets pretty cool before money is dropped and we’re shoved off to our next song…

4. MONEY IN MY BAG

Funny that the money dropping led into our first B-side, MONEY IN MY BAG and it’s another heavy track that kind of takes from “HOTEL’s” book.  Being a little more edgy, this song brings back Kuu’s unshamefully use of the ~bring bring~ fail.  I also wasn’t expecting the song to be a little under 2:30 in length…feels like it was just thrown in one sitting.  At least I can say I remember the chorus of the song…definitely catchy.

5. Interlude ~Last Night Dream~

The final interlude begins with knocking and there’s room service and saying that Kuu personally sent champagne before the guy wishes for the listener to come back and wishing for a good last night…meh…

6. TURN AROUND

Leading into our final track, TURN AROUND is surprisingly the ballad of the single, but something familiar to older Kuu fans as it reminds me of her early days.  As in this is an R&B track!  Ironically, it’s the best track from the single as Kuu sounds pleasant and the tune is refreshing.  Might not be the BEST of these kind of tracks, but with how unimpressed I am with this single.

 

 

I really am getting tired of these summer singles with these unnecessary interlude tracks…they really cheese things up for the singles.  HOTEL is pretty meh of a single because I just couldn’t get into HOTEL and MONEY IN MY BAG.  The only relatively good song is TURN AROUND, but it’s because it’s just the oddball song of the single and Kuu is actually fully singing.  I don’t know, but I’m not into this single.

 

Koda Kumi – Bon Voyage February 25, 2014

Filed under: Koda Kumi — solarblade @ 8:27 pm

bonvoyage

Track Listing

  1. Introduction ~Bon Voyage~
  2. SHOW ME YOUR HOLLA
  3. LOADED feat. Sean Paul
  4. Winner Girls
  5. Imagine
  6. Koishikute
  7. LALALALALA
  8. Let’s show tonight
  9. Interlude ~Bon Voyage~
  10. TOUCH DOWN
  11. Crank Tha Bass feat. OVDS
  12. LOL
  13. Go to the top
  14. Dreaming Now!
  15. On Your Side
  16. U KNOW

1. Introduction ~Bon Voyage~

Kuu’s album opens up with motif of the album, the cries of seagulls…though I was surprised how fast she left it for a more darker sound.  It’s been a while since I’ve said I wanted an introduction to be its own song and the one for Bon Voyage is quite up there…that bass line and the attitude Kuu brings just brought a fire here that I enjoyed.

2. SHOW ME YOUR HOLLA

Chosen as one of two promotional videos for the album, SHOW ME YOUR HOLLA had a lot to live up for and the title was just giggity enough to make me focus lol.  I did lulz with the Engrish opening, but the song quickly rushes in and it’s a bopper!  I like the fact Kuu just sounds so excited and into this song to give a cool song.  I like the saxes and horns as well.  Reminded me of “show girl” but with a little more ass bouncing lol.  Good song!

3. LOADED feat. Sean Paul

Oh, I guess Kuu is going to make this a thing for every album, collaborate with an artist that’s more well known in the West.  The song is just as heavy on the beat as the previous tracks but Kuu sounds a little auto-tuned in some places.  I was worried because with Sean Paul, he’s almost near impossible to understand, but he sounds a bit more clearer than normal so it worked out.  Though there’s parts where they both sing different parts and I’m like…what??  Still, this song is just so much fun to listen to and despite Sean Paul’s goofy voice, I liked it!

4. Winner Girls

I can’t help but say the intro annoyed me lol.  At least it’s not the chorus which would’ve drove me insane.  The tune kind of fits with Kuu’s more up-tempo dance tracks which is nice and all, but the song felt repetitive especially how many times she repeated the title here.  I think it could’ve been handled better, but this was just forgettable.

5. Imagine

We slow down a bit with our next track, Imagine.  She had a come a long way when it comes to mid-tempos and I actually quite dug Imagine with a nice arrangement and a glowing chorus.  It’s a surprise for me to jsut enjoy this song a lot.  Kuu just sounds great throughout!

6. Koishikute

I was wondering when we’d hit some A-sides and it’s the ballad of the era!  Though it’s the only ballad the album has to offer so it kind of sticks out in an odd way.  The things I said about “Imagine” also applies to this song, but with a slower tempo.  It wasn’t my favorite of the era, but I liked it nonetheless.

7. LALALALALA

Kuu really needs to work on finding someone who can put her songs on the album to flow because this was random as hell hearing LALALALALA come after “Koishikute” because they’re so different from one another.  As one of the 3 leading tumes from her “Summer Trip” single, I wasn’t into this one, too much and I still feel like the song was meant for Ayu more than Kuu.  I mean for a summer rock tune, it’s nice but yeah.

8. Let’s show tonight

It’s weird that we get a short song and a interlude back to back.  Let’s show tonight is another one of those burlesque songs (that would’ve fit “TRICK”).  Being only 1:21 in length the song definitely screamed missed opportunity because it had a good thing going, but before it could really take off it just ends.  *sigh*

9. Interlude ~Bon Voyage~

The interlude sounds like the intro, but a little more beats and the vocals are heavily filtered out throughout.  Kuu has some moans and some shouts…but there really isn’t much else that really goes on.  I mean…I’m not sure why it was made for the album since it doesn’t fit after how short the previous track was, although it suits our next track.

10. TOUCH DOWN

I was surprised that she chose this over “IS THIS TRAP?” as I loved it more than this one, but this really worked with the interlude.  There’s something so edgy and cool about the arrangement from this song and coming back to it since the “Summer Trip” single has got me jamming to it once again.  Maybe it’s the beat and low synth and guitars just got me interested in it.  Did feel a bit long, but I enjoyed this a lot!

11. Crank Tha Bass feat. OVDS

You might be asking, who is OVDS?  It seems they are a Taiwanese Hip-Hop/Rock band so hearing Kuu collaborating sounded so strange.  I found it funny when Kuu said the title like ~clonk the vase~.  This is a pretty gritty song and one of the more intriguing songs on the album.  This song is just funny to listen to and hearing Kuu give that extra sass was great…though I have to say the rapper from OVDS is pretty good and liked his lines more XD.  The other odd thing is the whole ~put your hands up, put your, put your hands up was strange XD.  I’m so unsure how to feel because it’s so feisty but the engrish is just laughable.  It’s definitely a memorable song on the album, I can’t deny.

12. LOL

The other song chosen to promote the album, LOL sounded like it’d be a fun and quirky tune.  It started like a dance track which is a win already…but then she did the whole ~hahaha, laughing out loud~ in such a weird nasally tone and I was off my seat cracking up.  After that, the song brought Kuu back down to Earth and the song was cool, but the chorus kind of just threw me for a loop.  I would’ve liked it if it weren’t Kuu’s nasal tones thrown here (lord is this the first time I complained about Kuu’s tone?).

13. Go to the top

Wow it’s been a long time since I’ve listened to this!  As the oldest A-side represented here, Go to the top starts with some 8-bit hits before turning into a rock track with some of the 8-bit playing in the background.  I was worried how it’d fit on the album, but it fit quite nicely.  It’s a fun song to listen to and she gave a pretty rad performance.  Definitely raised my interest after “LOL” to be honest.

14. Dreaming Now!

Going from the oldest A-side to the last single before the album, Dreaming Now! kind of brought back the basic, fun Kuu back to us.  I like the sound of the song and it has a nice beat going for it.  I do think the song mixes dance with a little of reggaeton and funnily enough it worked.  It’s a pretty good song and one of the best from the album.

15. On Your Side

Rounding out the album are the final new track starting with On Your Side.  I was surprised how much bass is in this song as it’s one of the more mid-tempo songs.  It’s like they fused “Dreaming Now!” and “Imagine” and popped this song out from it.  I don’t know why, but this tune struggles to leave an impression on me…I think it’s lacking in comparison to a lot of the tracks here.

16. U KNOW

I was surprised Kuu once again ended the album with an upbeat song and ironically, it’s the best saved for last.  It has a similar feel like “Go to the top” by having some 8-bit, but instead of a edgy sound, the tune goes towards more of a dance tone and Kuu sounds quite strong and the chorus is just catchy!  Definitely a cool song to end the album with a crowd applauding.  Overall sweet tune!

Tracks Recommended

  • U KNOW
  • Dreaming Now!
  • Imagine
  • Go to the top
  • LOADED feat. Sean Paul

Song of Avoidance

  • On Your Side

It’s been a while since Kuu released a studio album hasn’t it?  Bon Voyage has a long time to make since Kuu released a lot of odd stuff and 4 singles.  For the time off between this and “JAPONESQUE”, Kuu didn’t seem to take as many risks here and this time left all the cutesy songs behind and I thought it was great!  The album itself isn’t bad and for the most part stands high, but there were some issues, but they were mostly on Kuu lol. Repetition, tone issues in one, and just boredom in another.  Those aren’t total issues though…overall not bad!

 

Koda Kumi – Dreaming Now! November 13, 2013

Filed under: Koda Kumi — solarblade @ 8:51 am

dreamingnow

Track Listing

  1. Dreaming Now!
  2. XXX
  3. Ai no Uta (Live @ a-nation statdium fes.2013) (First Press only)
  4. LALALALALA (Live @ Yaon) (CD Live only)
  5. All for you (LIVE @ KODA KUMI Premium Night ~Love&Songs ver.) (Fanclub Edition only)

1. Dreaming Now!

It’s been a while since a Kuu song has impressed me a lot and I’m happy it’s Dreaming Now! which is kind of a mix of dance pop and a LIGHT reggaeton feel.  Add in that Kuu sounds lively and the song itself sounds quite active and has a great party vibe to it.  I just love the chorus and the afterchorus as well…though the mid8 section was a bit odd being that typical dubstep breakdown…but minus that, the song is a nice surprise and one of Kuu’s best songs in a while!

2. XXX

Not to be confused with “XXX” which was a SOULHEAD feat. Kuu song, the B-side is already looking scandalous! ~Who’s the bad girl?~ kicks things off and I’m already loving the pounding beat and the more raw sound Kuu is throwing off.  I actually was surprised this was just a B-side because this is badass and I’m loving the grittier feel and just overall style.  Great song!

3. Ai no Uta (Live @ a-nation stadium fes.2013)

The last song on first press releases is a live version of Ai no Uta (which is a song I haven’t listened to in a long time).  I actually will say that she performed the song quite nicely live but it seems that she rarely doesn’t sound bad live XD.  Not much else to say, I still kind of forget this song as it’s one of Kuu’s many forgetful ballads.

 

 

*will review the other two lives, if they leak*.  I don’t know why, but Kuu has been steadily going into my forgetful list but at least I know she’s still able to put out good single like Dreaming Now! (even though the covers are so bad).  Both main tracks are REALLY good and upbeat songs and makes up for the forgetfulness of “Koishikute” and “Summer Trip” to be honest.  The live of Ai no Uta is solid…the only eh thing was the yelling, twas’ a bit loud…makes me wonder how she made the other two songs live.