Koda Kumi – affection

April 6, 2012 at 11:03 AM | Posted in Koda Kumi | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Koda Kumi – affection

1. atomic energy
2. Trust Your Love
3. Go Together
4. Your Song
5. feel me
6. COLOR OF SOUL
7. Best Friend Of Mine
8. My Dream
9. So Into You
10. Till Morning Comes feat VERBAL (m-flo)
11. come back
12. TAKE BACK
13. Can’t Lose
14. walk

♦ ♦ ♦

affection is the debut album by Japanese singer Koda Kumi, released on March 27, 2002. The album reached #12 on the Oricon charts and charted for 6 weeks, selling 91,360 copies.

atomic energy is but an introduction, but it’s a pretty hot one with an amazing beat to it and it’s something that gives a bit of a preview of the next song, which is in the same style.

So Trust Your Love opens with the same little  bells that were heard in atomic energy as well, and it features the same R&B beat. I think it was a great idea to put this song somewhere between the first five songs, because it has a great sense of energy and it really kicks ass. I like the dynamic synth arrangements in this song and how everything comes together in the second part of the chorus, including Kuu’s solid vocals.

Go Together is the first of the new (full length) songs, and in my opinion it is heavily influenced by 90s music. The synths and the funky guitar riffs are very nice, but the song is a bit on the slow side, there isn’t really a climax in the track and although I love her vocals, Kuu is a bit screaming in this one. Such a shame, because she can control her voice really well in the verses but the chorus is not really her thing.

Luckily Kumi sets the record straight again with her lovely ballad Your Song. I still like the water drops in the background (it reminds me of ‘月と太陽’ off her album ‘Black Cherry’), but the weird sounds right before the verses still make no sense to me after a couple of listens. I do like Kuu’s sultry vocals and how they work with the smoothness of the beat and guitar. This song is the first hint at Kuu becoming great at singing ballads.

feel me is a very interesting song! It’s a bit more aggressive when it comes to the synths, especially in the pre-chorus, and I like the little loops. It’s not a track you can actually dance to, but still it’s kind of a club ready song which is pretty unusual for Kuu as far as I know. Not my favorites but I can dig this.

Then ofcourse COLOR OF SOUL, which I love love LOVE for its groovy style, ever since I saw the PV. I especially like her adlibs in the parts between the verses and chorus and the catchy synths and strings arrangements. True, Kuu’s voice gets a little pitchy in the chorus, but overall I can look (hear?) past that and enjoy this song all the way.

Best Friend Of Mine basically is an acapella interlude with Kuu singing harmony with background vocals, done (mostly) by herself ofcourse. I don’t really know the use of this track but it’s pretty and it definitely shows her creativity and musicality.

There are a couple of pretty aggressive songs on this album that use a lot of synths, and My Dream has to be one of them because it’s a very dominant track right from the start. I must say it doesn’t really impress me because it sounds a bit empty and too much like a filler track. It reminds me too much of another track on this album, although I like the electric guitar riffs.

So Into You was one of the singles and I must say I even like this more after My Dream. The thing that characterizes this song most is the creative use of the synths in the instrumental parts. The beat is pretty smooth and solid, as well as Kumi’s vocals (even in the chorus). It took me a while to get to know this song and to remember how it went but now it’s stuck in my head for the entire day.

Ofcourse there’s VERBAL again, the guy that works with, well… anyone. Till Morning Comes feat VERBAL (m-flo) isn’t the best track on this album but it’s a guilty pleasure of mine because I have a weak spot for collaborations with rap artists. That’s probably what gives this song more of an R&B quality, and I think it’s really smooth and sexy.

come back starts off with a beautiful piano melody, after which a soft beat drops in. It’s obviously a ballad, but in my opinion one of the best Kumi ever made. For this album, it’s also the track with her best vocals: deep in the verses and emotional in the chorus. The piano stays throughout the song and is accompanied by lovely strings arrangements to emphasize the drama even more. I love this track so much, you don’t even know.

It’s a bit weird TAKE BACK comes in as track #12 when it was the first single, but I guess it works here as well. I still think this is the strongest track on the entire album because she stepped into the scene with a bang! The arabian sounding synths are really catchy, and the beat works very well to make it a bit more urban too. Kuu’s vocals are very strong and solid here, although she does sound a bit nasal in the chorus.

A great time for a track like Can’t Lose which has a huge sound to it, and I love how the synths and electric guitars provide those little musical explosions every now and then. Especially when the guitar solo in the bridge comes along, I’m completely sold. I never gave this song a chance, but now I think it’s actually one of the best and strongest songs on the album.

The last track is walk, another pretty ballad and one I already knew before she released a new version somewhere in 2010. The original is a little more urban and I like the acoustic guitar riffs that play throughout the track. I do think her vocals are way too loud, she should’ve kept it for the chorus only, but I admire her belting though. The melody the strings play make the song a little more on the emotional side. Overall I like it pretty much.

I’m that kind of person that avoids older era’s from artists and then ‘reforms’ after giving them a good listen. It was that way with Ayu, and now we have the same old story with Kuu’s affection. This was such a good album, and it really came as a surprise for me. For her debut album, it’s a really good one to show herself to the world as what a great singer she is. Her vocals have become stronger in the 1,5 year span between her first single and this album, and it definitely shows some great creativity as well. There are some things she needed to work on at this point, but the flaws were minor. A good debut album.

Favorite tracks: Trust Your Love | Your Song | COLOR OF SOUL | come back | TAKE BACK | Can’t Lose | walk

OVERALL RATING

4½ stars

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