Koda Kumi – SUMMER of LOVE

July 22, 2015 at 3:39 PM | Posted in Koda Kumi | Leave a comment

Koda Kumi – SUMMER of LOVE

4. I’ll be there
5. With your smile
7. girls
8. Lick me♥
9. Once Again
10. Lady Go!
11. Lollipop
12. Poppin’ love cocktail feat. TEEDA
13. V.I.P.

♦ ♦ ♦

SUMMER of LOVE is a summer collection album by Japanese singer Koda Kumi, released on July 22, 2015. The album features three new songs and the summer songs released from her ‘4 hot wave’ single on.

So excited that there are three new songs on this album! EX TAPE is the first one and I already heard it in its entirety somewhere last week and I thought it was extremely catchy. After only one listen the chorus was stuck in my head. It’s one of the typical Kuu urban tracks with a very smooth beat and nice flow to it, I hope this track will be featured on more releases from now on.

HURRICANE is the uptempo dancefloor track of the three new ones and I instantly recognize this song is all about the chorus. There aren’t really verses, or I just missed them, but that’s fine with me because this has such an amazing power and sass to it. Kuu sings ‘I’ll blow you away‘, and she actually does!

Very fitting for the album, NO ONE ELSE BUT YOU is a summer song with a nice mellow vibe to it. It’s kind of funky with the guitars in the background, but the brass instruments give it its real standout quality. Kuu compliments the relaxed ambience of the track perfectly with her vocals. At first, after I heard the preview, I thought I wouldn’t like this one that much, but I was so wrong!

On to the older songs, and ofcourse I know all of them since I’ve been a Kuu fan for 9 years now. I’ll be there is from 2006, but the style isn’t that different from her new songs so it’s not a shocking transition. I really like this one for its relaxed verses and poppy choruses, it has this real pop band sound. It fits perfectly on the album with its uplifting summer vibe.

When I reviewed With your smile on the ‘Black Cherry’ album, I already said this was a typical summer song and here it is! You haven’t heard uplifting until you heard this one, although it’s less on the pop but more on the dance side. Kuu gives a great vocal performance in this one, very energetic and not as monotonous as she would sometimes during that era.

I wouldn’t really call FREAKY a summer song because of its darker rock sound, but oh well. I just reviewed this both on its own single and on the ‘Kingdom’ album and it was one of the best songs of that era because it was so different from the rest. I allow this song on this summer compilation because of its amazing energy, quite nice to hear it in this context.

I already predicted girls would be among the songs on this album. I don’t think it’s that well known, but it is almost like a twin song to With your smile! I never noticed how much these songs sound alike until now. I think practically everything I said about With your smile also applies to this one, simple.

Ahhh, ofcourse, Lick me♥ ! This was probably the best song on the 3 SPLASH single and I loved the MV in which Kuu dresses up as Strawberry, Mango and Chocolate Girl, very summer-ish. It’s very fast paced, with electric guitars and synths spicing everything up in the arrangement. Kuu keeps her vocals under control so she isn’t all over the place. Still love this one.

OMG, I’m screaming now. Once Again, probably the most undervalued of all songs on the MOON single, is here too!! This was my absolute favorite after ‘Moon Crying’ and this just takes me back to the summer of 2008 when I listened to this song all the time. I love the reggae vibe provided by PUSHIM, and she delivers some nice backing vocals complementing Kuu’s amazing performance. FAVE!

Lady Go! is off the same single as Once Again and it has appeared on probably every best album since it was released. No wonder because it’s so darn catchy and it has an explosive pop/dance sound with lots of variation in the beats. From beginning to end it’s very vibrant and another gem in her discography.

I still hear ‘I touch your booty, booty // Baby boy we’re gonna party‘ instead of the correct lyrics in Lollipop, shame on Kuu for her Engrish xD  Luckily it’s not just me. This was the only song on the ‘Gossip Candy’ single that I liked (can someone kill the fishbowl songs please?), it shows off Kuu’s slutty side more or less and secretly I love her for it. Nice R&B influenced summer pop song.

Fast forward to 2012: Poppin’ love cocktail feat. TEEDA and the rap contributions by TEEDA still crack me up (‘You looks like horny‘..?). The arrangement however is extremely good with its heavier rock sound and this was always one of my ultimate guilty pleasures. It still is, I can’t possibly sit still to this quircky and crazy song!

V.I.P. is my go-to sexy song and I know it by heart because I listen to it, like, all the time. I love its heavy beat and great use of vocal distortions and autotune, and I don’t even mind Kuu moaning in my ear in this case. I extract points for not including the version with T-Pain here, that was just too sassy (and funny).

2013 got much better when Kuu released her smashing LALALALALA, an amazing rock inspired summer pop song with extremely catchy hooks. I was instantly in love with this and I still think it rocks (pun intended). I’m afraid I won’t be able to get this one out of my head for a couple of hours.

TOUCH DOWN has grown on me a LOT. In fact, it’s like V.I.P., my go-to sexy R&B/hiphop song. It’s much more laid back than LALALALALA is and instead of thinking it’s boring, I love the deep beats and synths and use of vocal distortion effect sooo much now. Now this is what I call a song with an attitude.

Closing the album, there is the 2014 song HOTEL, Kuu’s most recent single to date. I love the Western Urban vibe going on and even though Kuu sounds a bit nasal in the verses, I like her half-rapping style (and I know I probably shouldn’t). I played this on repeat for quite some time and I still want to whenever I hear it again, so please excuse me while I listen to this again… and again… and again…

Okay, I’ll stop fangirling now. This album is probably the best thing Kuu has released this year because ‘WALK OF MY LIFE’ was kind of a crappy album in my opinion. This makes everything alright. There are many older songs on this album, but all together everything sounds very cohesive and it really has an amazingly cool summer ambience. The new songs were all fantastic, so I’m going to put this album on repeat every time there’s good weather around (and that happens a lot lately so…)

Favorite songs: EX TAPE | HURRICANE | NO ONE ELSE BUT YOU | I’ll be there | FREAKY | Lick me| Once Again | Lady Go! | Poppin’ love cocktail feat. TEEDA | V.I.P. | LALALALALA | TOUCH DOWN | HOTEL

5 stars

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