Koda Kumi – TRICK

August 21, 2010 at 6:11 PM | Posted in Koda Kumi | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Koda Kumi – TRICK

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 feat AK-69
9. That Ain’t Cool feat Fergie
10. Hurry Up!
11. Moon Crying
12. JUST THE WAY YOU ARE
13. Joyful
14. 愛のことば (Ai no Kotoba)
15. Venus

♦ ♦ ♦

TRICK is Japanese singer Koda Kumi’s seventh studio album. It was released on January 28, 2009 and debuted at #1 on the Oricon Daily Charts with 100,000 sold copies on the first day. TRICK sold 253,000 copies in it’s first week, earning Kumi her 3rd #1 album after Kingdom and Black Cherry.

INTRODUCTION FOR TRICK immediatly introduces an anticipating crowd. The sound builds up and then the music explodes like BAM! Here she comes! The low synths in combination with some fierce percussion set up a strong introduction for this album, and Kumi’s pronunciation of the word trick (‘tlick’ or ‘twick’) makes me laugh my ass off xD

The next track TABOO is just as uptempo as the introduction, even though this is more of a dance track. A mix of synthesizers, vocoders and percussion drags you through this song, and I can tell Kumi knows how to sport these sexy upbeat songs. In the verses, a sort of xylophone is more prominent, while in the chorus and synthesizer takes over the entire ambience. Even though I usually don’t like most dance tracks, I can actually listen to this easily.

I always love show girl, which could fit in the Moulin Rouge because of it’s brassy elements. The synths may appear a little repetitive after a while, but it’s Kumi’s flawless vocals that keeps things on track. I like the fact she introduces a dance break after three and a half minutes with a trumpet solo and a sudden ending while Kumi modestly says ‘Thank you’.

The piano, guitar and cute synth melody instantly make me fall in love with Your Love, a typical cute ballad with a little R&B beat in it. The emotion Kumi lays in her vocals draws my attention, and so does the percussion (I have a thing for beats, yeah). This song reminds me a bit of an older song by American singer Christina Aguilera, ‘Blessed’. Kumi’s adlibbing is very pretty and never unnecessary.

stay with me is a real winter ballad. Strings, soft percussion, bells, a piano and some pretty vocals represent that special winter ambience. The musical arrangement is very beautiful, and the transition between verse and chorus makes me think of Christmas. Kumi uses the dynamic in her voice pretty well, but she has to struggle to tone the stress in it down a bit. Doesn’t stop me from liking this song ofcourse.

This is not a love song is quite boring in my opinion. It’s very repetitive and there’s very little variety in the way Kumi uses her voice, the musical instruments or the melody. This typical urban track has more of a dark theme all over, and though there’s a little variation in the bridge thorugh the use of strings and a piano, this track mostly relies on it’s bland elements.

Everyone is so enthousiastic about Driving, so back off! This is indeed a nice and catchy upbeat track, that ‘drives along’ on a fast beat and catchy synthesizer melodies, and Kumi’s own backing vocals are very nice and obvious this time. The bridge keeps things neat after a little repetition in the parts before it, and a nice addition is an altered male vocal in the background. Kinda like this!

Oh. My. Goooood. That’s all I can think of whenever I hear Bling Bling Bling feat AK-69. The synth melodies and Kumi’s vocal pitch don’t blend at all, her pronunctiation is worse than ever (‘bring bring bring’) and her voice is almost whiny! I’m not exaggerating, she’s really whining. AK-69 ruines a part of the song as well, with even a worse pronunciation. What is this? xD

The second single off this album is an unexpected collaboration: That Ain’t Cool feat Fergie. Actually it should be the other way around, since Fergie is more dominantly featured in this song. The music is good and unique alright, but sometimes the overall arrangement relies a little more on repetition. Still, it’s true an urban track fits both girls nicely!

Hurry Up! scared me a little at the beginning, because it’s quite an aggressive song on this album. Kumi uses many handclaps and a lot of strong electric guitars this time. Her vocals are very energetic and the bridge puts some urban on me by synth echoes. The song as a whole may not be very interesting, but it’s fun to give it a listen.

One of the best power ballads ever is next: Moon Crying. It’s a big emotional track, and the piano stands out of the instruments most of all. It shows the drama and emotion the track needs to get through to me. Kumi’s voice sounds a lot better and less stressful as in stay with me, and the musical arrangement gets some orchestral influences and more of a beat when it flows into the instrumental bridge.

JUST THE WAY YOU ARE has a very interesting introduction to say the least, and the strings give me this happy feeling all over. In the verses, it seems like the strings come from a radio. For a person that doesn’t dig repetition, this song is quite appealing. It’s a very cute and catchy pop song with some good vocals in it.

What kind of lyrics are ‘Joyful, joyful, lalalalala’?? Well… it kinda sucks xD Joyful sounds a lot better when she sings this song live on stage, how weird it may seem, but when the electric guitar shows up after that horrible introduction, the whole thing gets back to something that sounds alright. It develops into another cute pop song that you can listen to, but all the while it’s not that interesting. I like the chorus most of all, it’s all happy so it’s kinda joyful after all.

Another ballad, and the piano melody that leads into 愛のことば (Ai no Kotoba) is very beautiful. Kumi starts to sing very suddenly, but what she does, doesn’t sound bad at all. The strings bring some emotion into the track and in the second verse I like the electric guitar. It adds something to a track that, without it, would’ve sounded bland, but this develops into one of the prettiest songs on this album.

Venus is, in one word, hilarious! Kumi’s singing all English lyrics this time, need I say more (it seems Japanese)? The arrangement of synths and a funky electric guitar make the music the high of this song, but I have to admit that, though her English is very bad, Kumi sings the lyrics with a sense of fiyaaah!

TRICK was a reasonable album by Koda Kumi, Kingdom (2008) was better, but not much better though. She gave her music another twist: she went from R&B with a hince of hiphop to synth pop/dance with a little urban. A nice change in her carreer, and in the case of a few tracks is a darn good change indeed! She does have to work on that bit of stress in her voice (or overexaggerated emotion), and some English lessons may be of use as well. Nonetheless, it’s a nice album.

Favorite tracks: TABOO | show girl | Your Love | Moon Crying | JUST THE WAY YOU ARE | Ai no Kotoba

OVERALL RATING

4 stars

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