Koda Kumi – Bon Voyage

February 23, 2014 at 10:34 AM | Posted in Koda Kumi | 1 Comment


ALBUM REVIEW
Koda Kumi – Bon Voyage

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

♦ ♦ ♦

Bon Voyage is the eleventh studio album by Japanese singer Koda Kumi, released on February 26, 2014. The album came in four editions: a regular CD+DVD edition, a regular CD+Blu-ray edition, a regular CD only edition, and a limited Fan Club CD+ LIVE DVD edition.

Introduction ~Bon Voyage~ starts off with some sea shore sounds after which a very catchy dance beat follows with some hiphop influences mixed in. It’s just an introduction but I think this one is very sexy and I definitely enjoy the sound of it. It’s better than the introduction to JAPONESQUE or any other album.

As soon as I saw the PV for SHOW ME YOUR HOLLA and heard the song, I was completely sold. This song is way too short for me to fully enjoy it to the max, so I’d like to play this one on repeat to be honest. I love how this song is both sexy and quircky with its brassy undertone, while continuing the feeling that the introduction has. Kuu’s vocals fit the sassy and confident ambience that rules this song. One of my absolute favorites.

LOADED is a collaboration with Sean Paul, something I definitely didn’t see coming. But then again this just needed to happen because Kuu and Sean Paul complement each other perfectly when it comes to musical style. The track is a very nice uptempo pop tune with some amazingly catchy hooks and perfect vocals. It has so much to enjoy for anyone who has been a long time Koda Kumi fan, and the addition of Sean Paul’s smooth vocals is just pure perfection. I totally love this track.

The next new song (wow, so many new songs on this album) is Winner Girls, and after some pop/R&B inspired tracks this track with pop/dance influences spices things up in a totally different way. For a Kuu song, this one may come off as quite generic, but her vocals are top notch because she doesn’t hold back on the fierce tone she sometimes has.

Imagine marks the first ballad on the album, and it’s a ballad with a nice R&B ambience when it comes to the background beat. The piano takes the lead, something I needed to hear at this point on the album. I was already expecting this song to be a ballad since that’s almost always the case on Kuu’s albums, but this track has some spice to it. The male background vocals are nice for a change, I think Kuu finally released a ballad that doesn’t sound too much like something she has done before.

Ah, Koishikute, it has been a while. I was quite surprised to see this song on the tracklist, but still it fits. I always thought this wasn’t Kuu’s most original ballad ever, but the way the beautiful acoustic arrangement eventually builds up always touched me in some way. This song is the first one on the album that shows the other side of her vocals, the more vulnerable and emotional side instead of the sassy stuff. Because of that, I’d still like to say this song is a recommendation.

LALALALALA is the second single we encounter on the album and it has been one of my favorite songs over the summer of 2013, it just has that fantastic summery feel you can’t get out of your head. The aggressive and rocky ambience in the song brings another exciting side of Kuu to the album, and if you ask me these pop/rock songs have always done her good. This kicks some serious ass.

Do we get two interludes right behind each other…? I would have loved Let’s show tonight to be a full length song since it has such an exciting burlesque sound. I’d love Kuu to release a full length version, this was just too catchy to be only one and a half minutes long!

Interlude ~Bon Voyage~ picks up where the introduction left off by including even more deep beats and electronic influences. Turn this into a full length as well please, make this another ‘Black Cherry’-ish song.

TOUCH DOWN is perfect behind the interlude, and in this context I can appreciate it so much more than I did when I heard it on her summer single. When compared to LALALALALA, it’s very laid back and therefore I thought it was more boring. But now the deep and sexy synths and beats come fully to the front and I find myself falling in love at second sound.

After a bit of a weird introduction, CRANK THA BASS feat OVDS surprised me a lot by not only including a big fat bass in the background, but also a lot of electric guitars to make it a little rocky. Kuu takes her quirckiness to the next level with this amazing track, it’s so weird in a positive way. I loved OVDS’s raps, I don’t know who he is but he definitely knows how to spit it. Great combination of rock and house music.

Ofcourse Kuu had to be the next artist to release a song called LOL, and to be honest I really was ‘LOL’ when I heard her sing “HAHAHA laughing out louuud“, what the heck was THAT. I guess this album has its fair share of songs that shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Still, it seems as if Kuu has improved her English, or it could just be the way she sings her lyrics. Anyway, it was actually bearable for once! Funny and catchy, oh well, I’ll just go with it.

Go to the top is another song I have been missing for quite a while, in fact, this one is even older than Koishikute. But it’s a very special song indeed, since it’s her comeback single after her pregnancy. I remember loving the musical mix in the arrangement very much since it combines rock, dance and even some dubstep. Kuu displays some fierce vocals, showing the world that she hasn’t lost her groove. An amazing song and it couldn’t have been in a better spot on the tracklist.

From the oldest to the newest single, Dreaming Now! continues the uptempo portion of the album. Even though I still can’t get over the words ‘I wanna dreaming now‘, Kuu manages to keep up with the musical style that has been popular lately. Deep beats, many synths and a dubstep drop in the bridge, this song has everything to make it memorable and even a little addictive.

On Your Side is a fairly short track at only three minutes and by now I was expecting another ballad, but it isn’t. Funny enough, this track is midtempo with a kind of smooth vibe that puts the focus on synths. This track is quite okay, but it would’ve been even better if more melody was present in the chorus, that just feels a little empty this way. Other than that, borderline filler.

Closing the album, U KNOW continues the sling of uptempo tracks that rules the second half of the album (of not the entire album), and this is so much better than On Your Side. Being a real club banger, this is Kuu at her best. Synths, deep beats, electronic vibes and Kuu’s amazing vocal range. This track just breathes fire, its hot and it has an amazingly good flow. The catchy chorus is bound to stay in your head the entire day. Great way to end the album.

I was so excited for Bon Voyage and I got so much more than I thought I would get. When JAPONESQUE was released, I was sold completely and I have listened to that album a LOT. Now, this follow-up album has taken its place and I am going to play this album on repeat for days. It’s uptempo with a lot of fun and catchy songs, showing yet another side of Kumi. Definitely on its way to becoming one of the best album of 2014 already!

Favorite tracks: SHOW ME YOUR HOLLA | LOADED feat. Sean Paul | Imagine | Koishikute | LALALALALA | Let’s show tonight | TOUCH DOWN | CRANK THA BASS feat OVDS | Go to the top | Dreaming Now! | U KNOW

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarstar
5 stars

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1 Comment »

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  1. Nice review!
    I don’t like the album as much as you, but I am so glad that she finally released an album with good flow. I think I need to sit with the album a bit more before I make my final verdict, but I think I’ll end up enjoying it quite a bit. 🙂


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