Koda Kumi – W FACE ~inside~

July 19, 2018 at 12:34 PM | Posted in Koda Kumi | 2 Comments

insideface1ALBUM REVIEW
Koda Kumi – W FACE ~inside~

2. Bring It On
3. Yorokobi no Kakera
4. Stand By You
5. Sukideshite
6. Kimi Omoi
7. On My Way
8. What’s Up
9. Promise You
10. My Fun

♦ ♦ ♦

insideface2W FACE ~inside~ is the thirteenth studio album by Japanese singer Koda Kumi, released simultaneously with the album W FACE ~outside~ on March 8, 2017. The album has sold 27,900 copies to date and peaked at #2 on the Oricon Charts.

Starting the album with BRIDGET SONG gives it a hopeful direction when it comes to how the music sounds. A lot of strings, piano and a bouncy drum beat and Kuu’s vocals sound nice too. It’s very catchy and I think it’s going to be stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

Bring It On is a song I would’ve expected to be on the ~outside~ album, but here it is. The arrangement reminds me of a faster paced version of FREAKY, it has the same rock ambience and attitude. Despite the bad English in the chorus, I really like this one.

Yorokobi no Kakera is the kind of song I expected the entire album to be filled with: a strings and piano based ballad, a true heartfelt J-pop slow song. By the time we get to the chorus, it’s like the arrangement takes flight. If you ask me, Kuu’s at her best on tracks like this and I won’t mind hearing more of this.

On to the longest track on the album at almost six minutes length: Stand by you. Also a ballad, but even more stripped down than Yorokobi no Kakera and with a more emotional touch. To me it sort of feels like a sequel to MOON, which is one of her most beautiful songs to date and I don’t think she can ever top that one again. StillStand by you is very nice.

I was hoping to something with a little more bounce to it and Sukideshite is exactly that. But despite that, it feels a bit empty and it doesn’t really capture me. It’s a fun song and the melody is memorable, but there’s something about it that just doesn’t really stick.

insideface3A piano and guitar lead the way into Kimi Omoi and of course here come the strings again. Maybe I wasn’t wrong about this being a ballad-stacked album after all. After the first chorus it gets more interesting though with added percussion for a bit more power. Could be one of the hidden gems on the album since it’s one of the most enjoyable ballads so far.

On My Way is more midtempo with the same feel the ballad tracks on this album have. The typical arrangement with strings, piano and percussion that is the album’s signature style, or so it seems, but it doesn’t seem to do anything for me.

What’s Up is the uptempo track I’ve been waiting for with blazing electric guitars, fast percussion and attitude. It’s a real wake-up call after so many quiet ballads and the complete opposite of On My Way. Kuu really let her inner rock goddess out this time.

Promise You is the perfect song to close a tour setlist with, despite it needing a little more fire to really succeed. Yet I really like what they did to the arrangement and there’s a quality to it that makes it one of the better songs on the album. Love the chanting after the chorus.

The final song on the album, My Fun, starts off a bit strange if you ask me and the odd feeling remains as soon as the children’s choir comes in. I expected something a bit more powerful and also quirky in a different way. In other words: nope.

Kuu pulled a Beyoncé on us and released a double album, with this side being the more personal and ballad-stacked one. There are some good tracks here, but mostly I was waiting for a more uptempo track that really stood out between the monotony of strings and piano. All this album does is leave me wondering what happened to the Kuu we used to know, and I’m almost scared to start my review on the ~outside~ disc (which I haven’t heard many good things of). It’s a decent album, but I need Kuu circa ‘BEST ~second session~’ back.

Favorite songsBRIDGET SONG | Bring It On | Yorokobi no Kakera | Kimi Omoi | What’s Up | Promise You

3 stars




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  1. You were much kinder to this album than I was. I would’ve given it two stars probably.

    • Well I do have a soft spot for Kuu, haha. Someone once said I give pretty much everything a sporting chance so I guess that’s my signature style 😛

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