Koda Kumi – Color The Cover

February 24, 2013 at 11:04 AM | Posted in Koda Kumi | 1 Comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Koda Kumi – Color The Cover

1. Pink Spider
2. Shake Hip!
3. Lovely
4. Jounetsu
5. One more time, One more chance
6. Alone
7. Blue Velvet
8. “Otoko”
9. Dou ni mo Tomaranai
10. Koyoi no Tsuki no You ni
11. Ua wa Waga Inochi

♦ ♦ ♦

Color The Cover is the second cover album by Japanese singer Koda Kumi, released on February 27, 2013. The album was released in four editions: a CD+DVD+Photobooklet edition containing a special photobook plus a DVD with documentary, music videos and making of; a CD+DVD edition containing the same DVD except the documentary, a CD-only edition and a LAWSON MUSIC CARD edition.

First of all, I wanna let you know that I don’t know any of the original versions of these songs. Kumi opens the album with Pink Spider, and it’s such a contemporary dance/dubstep song with lots of energy and attitude. I was surprised by how strong it came out with all the heavy synths and Kuu’s altered vocals, and I was even more surprised by how much I liked this. The way the overall song was put together may be a little bit iffy, but the feel and arrangement make things turn out right eventually.

Shake Hip! is another song that shows off a more contemporary feel, but this time the dance genre got a more funky feel. Apparently the original was released back in 1986, but this Kuu version made it very 2013-worthy. Okay, she pronounces the title words like “Shake Heeep“, but that’s the only minor flaw and hardly even worth mentioning. Even though this song and Pink Spider are about the sam length, this song comes off as way too short and I loved it.

I get nostalgic feels from Lovely, it has this very cute and bubbly jazz sound and it’s just completely different from the previous two tracks. I don’t think I can compare this to anything she has done before, and even better, I think it’s one of her better tracks ever released. It sounds very uplifting and cute with the little bells and Kuu’s softer and slightly higher pitched vocals. Picture perfect track.

Jounetsu just drops in just like that, and it continues the non-dance tracks section. It has a mellow and funky approach, slightly influenced by both soft rock and jazz music apparently. It really fits Kuu as she made this totally her own, and I loved how this song again mixed nice guitar riffs with funky brass instruments. The jazzy arrangement eventually takes over and becomes more and more present throughout the song. Not much variation in the track, but the ‘improv’ attitude makes it deserve a couple more points.

I remember BENI covered this song for her own cover album, and now it’s time for Kuu to take the stage with One more time, One more chance. Obviously Kuu does the Japanese version and the arrangement has a slightly different sound than BENI’s version, but okay let’s stop comparing. I’ve always loved the melody in this song, but it feels a little more bland in Kuu’s version. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good song, but I’ve heard better and (one last comparison), I really think I like BENI’s version slightly better although Kuu’s wasn’t bad. At least her vocals were really solid!

Alone was featured as the B-side on her latest single ‘Koishikute’, and I already thought it would be nice material for this cover album (just read the review and you’ll see). It’s very simple and I thought it would sound less impressive when placed after another ballad like One more time, One more chance, but it doesn’t seem to be the case. What I liked so much about this ballad is that it’s very intimate and it has been kept quite small, Kuu doesn’t get the chance to let her emotions overflow here which can be good sometimes. Very satisfied with this track.

It’s about time to bring back some more energy onto the album, and Blue Velvet does exactly that (and so much more). From the very first moment I had the feeling that this rock track would be one of the album’s best, and it definitely is, especially when it comes to the style of the track. The chorus doesn’t give me the feeling that it’s the highlight of the song, but still I think the album needed this track to add a little rock to the album.

“Okoto” is another rock song that is a bit more on the heavier and edgier side. I always thought that Kuu’s rock songs were a little underrated (like the ones on her album ‘Black Cherry’), and this is another example of a song that should get some attention for at least its significant style. It’s very fast and energetic and I just loved how Kuu herself fueled that energy with her great vocals. Simple, yet very effective.

Dou ni mo Tomaranai brings back that one style that Kuu does best of all: dance. Her vocals are very altered and distorted, but in some way it fits her vocals and the attitude they have. This song is very short, but it totally kicks ass with its synths that are just literally all over the place. With a little bit of dubstep music hidden in the arrangement, it’s another one of those contemporary approaches that Kuu nailed.

At first I thought Koyoi no Tsuki no You ni would be a ballad track, but it appears to be a little bit more than that. It’s more of a midtempo track that’s stuck somewhere between being mellow and being a kick-ass song. Either way, it has a great chorus melody and I loved the use of strings in this song (not many of the songs on this album have strings in their arrangements!).

Uta wa Waga Inochi is actually a bonus track on the album and it appears to be a live track! It’s very jazzy with a saxophone solo opening the song, and when Kuu starts to sing, she sings in such a low voice! It’s incredible how she pulls it off and still remains to sing clearly and in tune. I don’t really get much of the arrangement and patterns in this song, but it’s very impressive and unlike anything else on this album (or her discography for that matter). Great way to close the album.

I have been looking forward to this album from the very moment it was announced, and Kuu certainly didn’t let me down. The album opened with a kick-ass section of songs before moving into some songs that were a little bit more iffy, but still not bad at all if you nuance it. The last songs again nailed it, and I think I can easily fall in love with this album if I give it a couple more listens. It’s great how Kuu can take older songs, songs that are well-known in Japan, and make them completely her own. Her stamp is all over this album, and that’s what it’s all about when it comes to cover albums.

Favorite tracks: Pink Spider | Shake Hip! | Lovely | One more time, One more chance | Alone | Blue Velvet | “Okoto”  | Dou ni mo Tomaranai | Koyoi no Tsuki no You ni | Uta ga Waga Inochi

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarblankstar
4 stars

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1 Comment »

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  1. I seem to be in the minority. ><
    So far this album hasn't really done anything for me… I much prefer her first cover album, to be honest. Though, this does have some good songs on it, I hate how the dance tracks are all heavily auto-tuned.


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