Koda Kumi – Kingdom

July 14, 2015 at 3:23 PM | Posted in Koda Kumi | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Koda Kumi – Kingdom

1. Introduction For Kingdom
2. LAST ANGEL feat. TOHOSHINKI
3. Amai Wana
4. Himitsu
5. Ai no Uta
6. anytime
7. Under
8. BUT
9. Koi no Mahou
10. Aishou
11. Anata ga Shite Kureta Koto
12. Wonderland
13. FREAKY
14. MORE
15. Black Cherry

♦ ♦ ♦

Kingdom is the sixth studo album by Japanese singer Koda Kumi, released on January 30, 2008. Despite the controversy surrounding the release (because of a comment Kuu made on a TV show), the album peaked at #1 on the charts, selling 750,000 copies.

I’m still wondering if that Mariah Carey note at the beginning of Introduction For Kingdom is really Kuu, but I think it is. Darn, that was high. Ofcourse this is just an introduction and intros usually don’t do anything for me, but this was kind of sparkly and inviting.

Then follows a strange transition into the dark LAST ANGEL feat. TOHOSHINKI, which isn’t really what I wanted but oh well. I still feel like the production of this song is rushed and the vocals don’t go well together. The deep bass and music is a plus, but despite that this will never be my favorite, nor will it be among my favorites.

Amai Wana has always been an interesting song with its sensual Arabian influences and Kuu always pulls these kind of songs off in a great way. Mainly because she’s singing in her lower register Kuu is giving this song something mysterious and sexy, and I find this first new song on the album very enjoyable.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about Himitsu is oldschool R&B and it has such a laidback sound to it. Both the music and Kuu’s vocals have been toned down for this and the result is a very nice and smooth new track. Some may not like it, but maybe I like it because I know it so well by now.

Time for Ai no Uta, and it has a nice spot on the album after Himitsu. This is probably the strongest ballad on the album when you put everything together and Kuu deserves some praise for controlling the emotion in her vocals. Everything is just right and it’s clear to me why this is one of her more popular songs.

anytime follows, so that makes two ballads in a row but this is a completely different one. Where Ai no Uta brought along the emotion, this is more lighthearted and reminds me a lot more of summer. This used to be my absolute favorite back in the day but now I wonder if that will ever change, this is such a sweet song and it lifts my spirit, taking me back to 2008 #nostalgia

Under used to be among my favorites as well, but people kept bashing me for this. Somehow I couldn’t help but liking the heavy hiphop influences and deep beats and I still do. True, the song in itself is quite empty and it lacks a lot of depth, but it gets pretty catchy after you listen to it for a while.

On to the next single, we’re moving fast through them. BUT was the second best A-side in my opinion and I totally love the sass of it all. It comes out even more appealing right after Under and in some way it continues the deeper sounds on the album in a nice way. It makes for a really nice flow and it makes the song stand out much better. Love it!

As soon as I hear the first notes of Koi no Mahou I completely remember how this song goes after forgetting about it for a while. It’s one of those bubbly, fun pop songs and Kuu displays some cuter vocals as well (singing in her higher register). I love how catchy the chorus is, I can imagine this being stuck in my head now that I’ve heard it again.

Although I have gotten more used to Aishou now and I really like the electric guitar music in the arrangement, I think there are better songs on the album. Nonetheless, this is a powerful track that has more production value than some of the others and the album really needed a grittier song like this one.

Anata ga Shite Kureta Koto never did much for me and it still doesn’t despite that lovely little guitar riff in the background. It’s quite bland and it tends to repeat itself throughout the entire 4 minutes. I’ll never avoid this track, but this is not a recommended one.

Ah, my guilty pleasure, Kuu goes Mario Kart on us. Wonderland is kind of amusing and it reminds me so much of Rainbow Road in said game, it’s just so overly cute and it totally doesn’t fit the feel of the album but it’s sooo much fun. Bring on the dancing mushrooms and bows, I’m all for it.

From cute to sassy and energetic, FREAKY is the next trick Kuu has up her sleeve. I thought it was a pretty strong A-side because of its darker and edgy ambience and the electric guitars really drive this forward. Kuu herself puts in the right amount of energy as well and she delivers a great vocal performance.

MORE is probably the biggest surprise on the album since it’s (one of) the first time(s) Kuu performs a jazzy/bluesy song. She does it quite well, her vocals prove well fit for this genre and although I’m not rooting for her to do this more often, it brought along a nice change. I used to skip this all the time, but now that I’m older I like this more.

I love Black Cherry, the full version of the introduction to her previous album of the same name. The newly added verses blend in very nice with the rest of the song everyone already knows, it’s just now that I’ve listened to it for years and years that I notice how badly they blended in the last rap part. That was kind of abrupt. But still, deep bass and nice melodies make up for everything. SASSY!

Surprise surprise, I love this album. Probably more than I should because most of all this album brings back so many memories of the time when it was released. I used to listen to it on repeat all the time, especially anytime and Wonderland (because that’s what 13/14-year-olds do haha). I still notice the variation on the album, Kuu shows a lot of different sides of herself with all these different types of music and if there’s one thing I love on an album… Those of you who have been here for a while don’t need an explanation. If you don’t agree with me that’s fine, I know I’m probably giving this a higher rating than it deserves but this is just pure nostalgia for me okay?

Favorite songs: Amai Wana | Himitsu | Ai no Uta | anytime | Under | BUT | Koi no Mahou | Wonderland | FREAKY | MORE | Black Cherry

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarhalfstar
4½ stars

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