KOKIA – Remember me

July 4, 2015 at 2:16 PM | Posted in KOKIA | 2 Comments

ALBUM REVIEW
KOKIA – Remember me

1. Prologue “Remember me”
2. Watashi no Taiyou
3. Different way
4. Kawaranai Koto ~since 1976~
5. Happy birthday to me
6. with music
7. Anshin no Naka
8. Sora
9. The Power of Smile
10. Clap your hands!
11. I believe ~Umi no Soko Kara~
12. Daiji na Mono wa Mabuta no Ura
13. ?
14. sigh
15. Remember the kiss (duet “KOKIA & Piano”)

♦ ♦ ♦

Remember me is the third studio album by Japanese singer KOKIA, released on November 12, 2003. The album reached #15 on the Oricon weekly charts, charting for 10 weeks and selling 45,195 copies.

The album opens with Prologue “Remember me”, and although I really like the piano music and chanting in the background KOKIA’s monologue cracks me up. Like, she was 27 years old here and she sounds like a 12-year-old. I’m sorry, I love her but this is just awkward.

Ahh, Watashi no Taiyou is so much better! The longer I listen to it, the better it gets. It’s so serene and the orchestral music is supreme. There are some banghra elements in the middle of the song that give it a nice extra, but overall this just oozes heavenly perfection. KOKIA’s vocals are better than ever, I honestly think she should only open her mouth for this album to sing and not speak. REPLAY!

Nice to hear some electric guitars and drums in the arrangement, I don’t think I’ve hears that so often in her discography. Still, true to her style, KOKIA kept Different way mellow while also giving it a little edge here and there. Interesting blend. It can get a little repetitive after a while, but as always the vocals make it alright. Nice song!

Kawaranai Koto ~since 1976~ is a real KOKIA ballad with lovely acoustic music and amazing vocals (I love those little note jumps she does at times). It’s just that there’s a huge contrast between the verses and chorus, of which I like the latter a little better. Yet when listening to the song as a whole, it’s very pretty! I could get used to this, it flows better than the previous song too.

I reaaaally dislike the opening for Happy birthday to me, KOKIA sounds so… childish. When you think about it it actually makes sense in a song like this, but that doesn’t mean one has to like it, right? Once she starts singing in her normal voice she sounds so much better, but I actually wanted something a little more uptempo here and not a ballad. I’d skip this anyway, it’s way too long.

I’m a bit on the fence with with music, I don’t know what to think of it. On the one hand, KOKIA singing in English doesn’t really work for me because of her accent. But then again her voice still sounds gorgeous and she displays a lot of soul in her vocals singing this. The longer I listen to it, the more I can appreciate this so maybe this will grow on me more in the future.

I like the percussion in Anshin no Naka, it reminds me a bit of army drums at times. Another ballad, I would really like a bounce by now. Yet, when listening to this individual song it’s actually quite good. Ofcourse KOKIA’s vocals slay everything and it gets more powerful near the middle of the song. I actually quite like it now!

Okay so this next song is way too long for its own good, but gorgeous it is. Sora has KOKIA singing along to an arpeggio harp and the combination of that with her clear vocals is heaven (wow, what a coincidence, the title means ‘sky’). I love it when she sings in her head voice at some point, breathtaking! Still, three and a half minutes would’ve been enough.

Yeah, a more upbeat track! The Power of Smile is the most poppy and funky song on the album yet and the chorus is so bouncy it’s impossible for me to sit still. Somehow this reminded me a little of ayaka’s music, which is a good thing! I can imagine this eventually being one of my favorite songs on the album.

From the beginning, Clap your hands! is such an interesting, mysterious and amazing song. The combination of Middle Eastern influences, electric guitars, synths and Western percussion is so perfect I can’t even begin to describe it. KOKIA does this amazing chanting about a minute into the song which is the cherry on top. It’s like a milder version of some of Kalafina’s songs that have about the same arrangement, so how can I not love this?

When it comes to the vocals, KOKIA probably delivers her most solid performance yet (on this album at least) for I believe ~Umi no Soko Kara~. Her voice is much deeper and more emotional, she sounds like she knows exactly what she’s doing when she’s doing it. It’s just the right amount of input every single time and it’s touching, especially after that superb key change after about four minutes.

KOKIA makes some of the most gorgeous ballads out there, and Daiji na Mono wa Mabuta no Ura is another interesting and unique one. It incorporates some percussion in the background to give it a little edge, but everything else stays very intimate. Too bad the flute in the arrangement is barely audible, but mostly the chorus makes this song worth it.

It’s like this last part of the album features all the amazing songs, ? is another one that wows me! It’s not only upbeat, but it also has much more of a pop/rock sound including an electric guitar solo in the bridge. This proves KOKIA can not only do ballads, but she also slays songs like this! Recommended!

sigh is very interesting since it combines acoustic guitar music with a nice percussion pattern that you don’t hear very often. Eventually that’s what makes this song a little more uptempo and not just another ballad. With the amazing vocals completing it, it’s another standout track on this album.

The title of Remember the kiss (duet “KOKIA & Piano”) already makes it clear: a piano ballad. But it’s a very heartfelt ballad and the lone piano without any other kind of accompaniment puts the focus on KOKIA”s clear vocals. It’s a great song to close the album and another recommendation for thiose of you who don’t know it yet.

At first I didn’t know what to expect, but it turns out I actually like this album very much! It doesn’t even sound like a 2003 album, more like 2010 or something like that. There were some songs in the first half that were iffy, but everything just picked up from Sora on and a string of amazing and unique songs followed. I think I have to listen to this album again in the future to really determine the perfect rating, but for now this rating is already very good and promising!

Favorite songs: Watashi no Taiyou | Sora | The Power of Smile | Clap your hands! | I believe ~Umi no Soko Kara~ | ? | sigh | Remember the kiss (duet “KOKIA & Piano”)

OVERALL RATING
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4 stars

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2 Comments »

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  1. You’re killing me, Jade! How can “since 1976” NOT be in your favorite song list? I LOVE it! I always knew this song was underrated. This Album was an okay one. It’s like she was still trying to find herself. Lots of these songs are just not her style nowadays. I did also like “Clap your Hands”, and though her english is better now, I like “with music”, and she’s from Japan, so of course she would have an accent. 😛 The rest of it didn’t do much for me, found a lot of the songs to be boring. Still ❤ KOKIA!

    • I only listed my absolute top favorites because there were so many songs that I liked. It’s among the best songs on the album but just not among my absolute faves, that’s why 🙂 About the accent, yes that’s true, but it’s an accent that I have a bit of a problem with but that’s probably just me 🙂 (sometimes it’s a bit hard to understand). But I ❤ her too!


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