Koda Kumi – TABOO

October 9, 2016 at 3:25 PM | Posted in Koda Kumi, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Koda Kumi – TABOO

2. Always
3. TABOO (HOUSE NATION Sunset In Ibiza Remix)
4. TABOO (Instrumental)
5. Always (Instrumental)

TABOO is the forty-first single by Japanese singer Koda Kumi, released on October 8, 2008. The title track was used as the theme song for the Women’s Wrestling Championship 2008, the commercial song for music.jp and for the Nintendo DS Game Saihai no Yukue. The single reached #1 on the Oricon weekly charts and has sold a total of 88,405 units.

After a ballad A-side on the previous single, TABOO brings back Kuu’s dirty sex appeal in the best way you can imagine. It’s like ‘BUT’ 2.0, a good dance track with some pretty good beats. Her voice is vocoded again, but somehow that always works out very interestingly in tracks like this one. Catchy!

Oh my, it’s been YEARS since I last heard Always, and I remember loving it back when the single was released. It’s the mellow pop track to balance the single, sweet and with a lot of acoustic elements and bells. It might seem a little misplaced with a sexy A-side, to have a cute B-side like this, but personally I don’t mind because I love this a lot.

Something called TABOO (HOUSE NATION Sunset In Ibiza Remix) must have a house sound and must be fit for a party on Ibiza, and luckily, it has and it does. It upgrades the original and gives it a touch that makes it a great party song. The original is always better, but this didn’t disappoint me either.

4½ stars


Koda Kumi – MOON

October 9, 2016 at 3:03 PM | Posted in Koda Kumi, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Koda Kumi – MOON

1. Moon Crying
2. That Ain’t Cool feat. Fergie
3. Once Again
4. Lady Go!
5. Moon Crying (Piano Arrange Version)
6. Moon Crying (Instrumental)
7. That Ain’t Cool feat. Fergie
8. Once Again (Instrumental)
9. Lady Go! (Instrumental)

MOON is the fortieth single by Japanese singer Koda Kumi, released on June 11, 2008. “Moon Crying” was used as the theme song for the Japanese drama Puzzle. The single reached #2 on the Oricon weekly charts has sold a total of 140,743 units.

If I have to pick one favorite Koda Kumi single, this would be the one. It starts off lovely and vulnerable with Moon Crying, with Kuu’s voice filled with emotion. The piano opens the song, but eventually strings and soft percussion join in. The result is a beautiful power ballad that I have loved from day 1, and probably always will.

Even though Fergie seems to be the main artist in That Ain’t Cool, it’s still a nice effort and a collaboration I did not expect at the time. It fits right in with songs like ‘Cherry Girl’, with the same badass girlpower. However, there’s no Kuu (‘That Ain’t Kuu’, LOL), and her ‘Engrish’ is pretty bad. Still, guilty pleasure at times.

Kumi teamed up with reggae artist PUSHIM for Once Again, one of my absolute favorite songs on this single. It’s kind of watered down reggae, but still it’s very enjoyable, especially in the summer. This song takes me back to the summer of 2008, when I listened to this single all the time on vacation in Spain. I can’t stop loving this ❤

Lady Go! ends the single on a happy and poppy note, and it’s probably the catchiest song on the entire single. It’s an explosion of beats and synths, very vibrant and even though Kuu’s vocals are heavily vocoded, it all fits. Back in the day it took me a while to really appreciate this track, but now I can’t imagine not doing so.

Basically, this is a gem if you ask me. Some might not agree, but to me, this single has something for everyone. Also, it seems like it encompasses the four seasons a bit (with Moon Crying being the winter ballad, and Once Again being the summer single, etcetera).

5 stars


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

Koda Kumi – Kingdom

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

Koda Kumi – Kingdom

1. Introduction For Kingdom
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
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

4½ stars

Koda Kumi – anytime

July 14, 2015 at 2:16 PM | Posted in Koda Kumi | Leave a comment

Koda Kumi – anytime

1. anytime
2. Bounce
3. anytime FreeTEMPO Remix
4. anytime (Instrumental)
5. Bounce (Instrumental)

anytime is the thirty-ninth single by Japanese singer Koda Kumi, released on January 23, 2008. The title track was used as the commercial song for Kirin’s “Kirin Chuuhai Hyouketsu” and “music.jp”. The single reached #4 on the Oricon weekly charts and charted for 5 weeks. It sold 43,051 units in it’s first week and the most recent figures show that it sold a total of 53,189 units.

I have always liked anytime and for a long time it was my absolute favorite of the Kingdom album. I still like it nowadays, even though my musical taste has developed even more. What I like so much about this song is that it’s so sweet and airy, even like a summer song (while it was released in January). This was supposed to be on the ‘FREAKY’ single, but thankfully they deleted it and gave it its own release (it wouldn’t have fit on that single anyway). I’ll even take Kuu’s pitchy vocals (which she tends to have at times).

Bounce is a Rosette cover, I don’t know the original but Kuu ‘Japanesed’ it apparently. It spices up the single with its fast paced rhythm and catchy hooks and it gets better the longer I listen to it. Sometimes it reminds me a little of Kuu’s earlier days when she was just getting started, it has this slight turn-of-the-century sound. Quite nice.

Oof, a remix of over seven minutes. They sped up anytime FreeTEMPO Remix a lot so the vocals sound a little unnatural and it takes a little longer for things to get really interesting, at first its just Kuu and a piano. Later on they add strings and a dance beat. It kind of kills the sweetness the original song had and that isn’t a problem per se, I just don’t dig what they did to it.

3½ stars


July 14, 2015 at 2:03 PM | Posted in Koda Kumi | Leave a comment


2. Dear Family
3. LAST ANGEL feat. TOHOSHINKI (Instrumental)
4. Dear Family (Instrumental)

LAST ANGEL feat. TOHOSHINKI is the thirty-eighth single by Japanese singer Koda Kumi, released on November 7, 2007. The title track was used as the image song to the Japanese release of the movie Resident Evil: Extinction and also “music.jp” commercial song. The single reached #3 on the Oricon weekly charts and charted for 12 weeks. It sold 57,310 units in it’s first week and the most recent figures show that it sold a total of 91,620 units.

In the past I never really liked LAST ANGEL feat. TOHOSHINKI, but it has gotten better over the years. It’s still not my favorite song, but at least I can appreciate it a little more now. What I still don’t like is the fact that the vocals just don’t work well together. There is a clear difference in style and approach and the TOHOSHINKI boys tend to overshadow Kuu. The music is better with its dark and gritty theme.

The idea of Dear Family is very sweet, since it really is a song for Kuu’s family. It’s a slower song, quite mellow and I like the slight Caribbean influence in the music (I believe it’s steelpans). Not very special, but I’m getting used to it more and more now and I’m also starting to like it better.

3½ stars

Koda Kumi – Ai no Uta

July 14, 2015 at 1:14 PM | Posted in Koda Kumi | Leave a comment

Koda Kumi – Ai no Uta

1. Ai no Uta
2. Come Over
3. Ai no Uta (URBAN KISS Version)
4. Ai no Uta (Instrumental)
5. Come Over (Instrumental)

Ai no Uta is the thirty-seventh single by Japanese singer Koda Kumi, released on September 12, 2007. The main track was used as the “music.jp” CM song. The B-side “Come Over” is the “Sekai Judo 2007” theme song. The single reached #2 on Oricon charts and charted for 22 weeks. It sold 65,276 units in it’s first week and the most recent figures show that it sold a total of 134,831 units.

After two smashing A-sides Kuu turned out an autumn/wintertime ballad with Ai no Uta, and I believe this is one of her more popular songs (at least at the time it was released). It has a lovely arrangement with piano, strings and percussion and Kumi shows off the emotional side of her vocals again without overdoing it. Over time I have come to appreciate this song more and now I agree it’s one of her better ones!

Most of the time a ballad is accompanied by an uptempo B-side and this single is no exception. Come Over is the uptempo for this single and although it’s quite catchy, I find it too generic quite soon. It sounds a little too much like some of her other songs, which is a bit of a shame. Nonetheless, decent track.

So they butchered all the emotion in Ai no Uta (URBAN KISS Version) by adding an urban soul vibe to it, but at least they didn’t make it a dance track. The beat is quite enjoyable because I have a soft spot for things like that, but combined with this kind of song it just doesn’t really work.

3 stars

Koda Kumi – FREAKY

July 14, 2015 at 12:59 PM | Posted in Koda Kumi | Leave a comment

Koda Kumi – FREAKY

2. Sora
3. Run For Your Life
4. girls
5. FREAKY / Surtek Collective’s Action Remix featuring Peter Rap
6. Sora / Yukihiro Fukutomi Remix
7. Run For Your Life / Kaskade Remix
8. girls / CUBISMO GRAFICO Beach Girls Mix

FREAKY is the thirty-sixth single by Japanese singer Koda Kumi, released on June 27, 2007. The title song was used in a CM for Honda’s “ZEST SPORTS”. The single reached #1 on Oricon charts (making it her fourth single to hit #1) and charted for 15 weeks. It sold 108,349 units in it’s first week and the most recent figures show that it sold a total of 200,322 units.

So many new songs and only one to appear on her album, wow. FREAKY is actually like a sister song to her previous A-side ‘BUT’ because it has that same aggressive approach, but in a less quircky way and more next level. This is Kuu tackling a heavier rock style, a bit like ‘Ningyo-hime’, and I always think of this as one of the best songs on the album she released some time after this. It’s so fierce, I need her to release something like this again!

Now come the songs I heaven’t heard that often because they don’t appear on an album as far as I know. This single was released in the summer and Sora sounds like the perfect anthem for that. It’s so much lighter than FREAKY and very breezy, I really like it. This actually takes me back to better times when it comes to Kuu’s discography! Why doesn’t this appear on her new summer best album ‘SUMMER of LOVE’?

Run For Your Life is actually quite catchy and hearing it again after a long time makes me remember everything about this. It’s like groovy summer rock, not as aggressive as the A-side but definitely edgy. It’s a bit short for my taste because it’s just a little over three minutes, but that means this was very enjoyable!

Okay, girls does appear on some best albums (and it will also be featured on her new summer best album along with FREAKY), and hearing it doesn’t make me wonder why. Like all the other songs on this single it has summer written all over it but it distinguishes itself from the rest by being so uptempo and happy, a bit like ‘Lady Go!’. Like a true ear worm, this is insanely catchy!

Now for the remixes… FREAKY / Surtek Collective’s Action Remix featuring Peter Rap makes sense when it comes to the new music they created for it, but ofcourse the original beats this everyday. They decided to go with some kind of reggaeton style and it puts the original in a completely new perspective that I don’t hate, but I don’t love it either. Peter Rap spices it up with some Spanish right before the ending. I could get used to this, I guess, it’s original.

For Sora / Yukihiro Fukutomi Remix they stayed true to the light summer vibe of the original, adding more piano music, keyboard notes and beats making it a summer dance song. This comes close to being an updated version of the original, I love it and it’s almost six minutes long!

These remixes just keep getting longer, probably because of the long introductions. Run For Your Life / Kaskade Remix has had a dance make-over and it leaves the track kind of empty. I was glad to hear some synths further along in the track, they add some melody but still don’t save this from being a little bland.

I don’t really like the high pitched synth loops in girls / CUBISMO GRAFICO Beach Girls Mix, but at least they left the summer vibe as is and added some epic keyboard tunes to it (and some more beats as well). It’s six and a half minutes in length, which is a bit too long in this case, and I don’t really know where I stand with this yet. I’ll just leave it somewhere in the middle, it’ll probably grow on me later.

4 stars

Koda Kumi – BUT / Aishou

July 14, 2015 at 12:24 PM | Posted in Koda Kumi | Leave a comment

Koda Kumi – BUT / Aishou

1. BUT
2. Aishou
3. BUT ~The Ghettobots Remix~
4. BUT (Instrumental)
5. Aishou (Instrumental)

BUT / Aishou is the thirty-fifth single by Japanese singer Koda Kumi, released on March 14, 2007. The single reached #2 on weekly Oricon charts and charted for 14 weeks. It sold 63,692 units in it’s first week and the most recent figures show that it sold a total of 130,890 units.

I’m gonna pick up where I left off two years ago, reviewing Kuu’s earlier stuff by the era. BUT opens the ‘Kingdom’ era in an amazing way because of its aggressive sound. It’s actually quite robotic and edgy with a lot of electric guitars and Kuu’s fierce vocals. It’s quite a quirky song too but extremely catchy, and I think it worked pretty well for the Japanese version of the movie ‘Step Up’ (which this song was used for).

Aishou is a power ballad that continues the edgy sound by again incorporating electric guitars in the arrangement. Kuu puts a lot of emotion into her voice, which I think is necessary for a powerful song such as this one. Sometimes things get a little out of hand for my taste, but that’s probably just me. I never really knew what to think of this song, but it has grown on me a lot over the past 8 years.

Ofcourse there is a remix on this single, she did that a lot in those days and it’s always a nice plus if the remixes are nice. At times I don’t really get BUT ~The Ghettobots Remix~ because of the melodies it uses, it’s so different from the original and it takes away the catchiness and sass a bit. It’s a nice try, but ofcourse I prefer the original.

3½ stars


March 26, 2015 at 2:43 PM | Posted in Koda Kumi | Leave a comment


1. Introduction ~WALK OF MY LIFE~
2. Dance In The Rain
3. Lippy
4. Mercedes
5. Like It
6. House Party
7. Interlude ~Dance~
9. Gimme U
10. You can keep up with me
13. Fake Tongue
14. Sometimes Dreams Come True
15. LIFE so GOOD!!

♦ ♦ ♦

WALK OF MY LIFE is the twelfth studio album by Japanese singer Koda Kumi, released on March 18, 2015. The album peaked at #1 on the Oricon charts and sold 39,346 in its first week.

I had to get a little bit used to Introduction ~WALK OF MY LIFE~ because of that weird deep male voice, but now I think it’s kinda sassy and it represents the sound of the album very well. I liked Kuu’s vocals too, even though she had a small part in this piece herself.

The album starts off with a familiar song and one of Kuu’s best songs in a very long time: Dance In The Rain. I love the background beat and the fact that this song is filled with nice piano notes. It was weird finding this here after that big introduction, but nonetheless it works fine for me because this tune kicks ass. It brings me back to Kumi’s earlier days, which is a very good thing.

Lippy is what I call the first of a string of filler songs on this album. It’s also quite a messy song and although I love me some quirckiness at times, I know Kuu can do better than this. If I have to give her credit for something, it would be for her steady raps in the verses. Not a disaster, but it’s just not what the doctor ordered if you know what I mean.

I like the oldschool vibe of Mercedes with some brass instruments and nice drums in the background, also Kuu’s vocals take less after Ke$ha if you ask me. The arrangement lacks a little melody and it comes off as empty, but it’s a step forward from Lippy nonetheless.

Like It is like a mash-up of Lippy and Mercedes; the same musical style as Lippy (albeit with a little more urban influences and some Mexican-styled brass instruments) and the same emptiness that Mercedes had when it comes to the music. This song is a little under three minutes which is just about enough, and it closes the string of filler tracks.

Even though I don’t like “let’s party!” types of songs, House Party is enjoyable. It displays Kuu’s amazing amount of energy as an entertainer. I don’t even mind the male rapper and the ‘the roof, the roof, the roof is on fire‘ line, it actually cracked me up big time. Not the most interesting track but it’s more catchy than the previous three.

I would’ve loved to see Interlude ~Dance~ evolve into a full length track, it’s short but it has a lot of potential. It needs a little more ‘oomph’, but it’s close enough.

So finally one of my favorite tracks is coming up: HOTEL! I never expected to like this track so much but it has everything so many other songs up until now lack. It would’ve been perfect after the introduction track because of its distinct urban sound, great beats and bass, brass elements and vocals (I’ll pretend I didn’t hear the terrible Engrish though). Definitely one of my favorites!

Gimme U gave me instant happy feelings since it’s exactly what I wanted to hear on the album. Also, it works perfectly behind HOTEL with its R&B/Pop vibe. It’s like a continuation of HOTEL but with a cuter and happier vibe. Gimme more of ‘Gimme U’ please (pun intended)!

If you want energetic, You can keep up with me gives you energetic to the max. It’s one of the more edgy songs on the album and Kuu pushes herself with the aggressive vocals, but it works. It almost falls in the same category as songs like Lippy, but this song doesn’t irritate me that much. Better version.

MONEY IN MY BAG was on the ‘HOTEL’ single and I wasn’t expecting to see it here. I still think it’s right up HOTEL‘s alley with its urban feel and I like that sound and Kuu’s fierce approach, but it does have less production value than the better songs on the album. Still, not half bad.

One of the best new songs on the album must be PIECE IN THE PUZZLE. Every Koda Kumi has one killer rock song, and this is the one on this album. Kumi does this amazing tongue roll in the verses that instantly makes it catchier and the chorus is to die for. I could listen to this one multiple times in a row!

Sooo… I know it’s Fake Tongue but it sounds more like ‘Fake Tan’. ‘You’ve got your fake tan, fake tannn‘, catchy huh. Anyway, it tries its best to be like PIECE IN THE PUZZLE but it kind of fails if you ask me since the chorus is too much ‘in your face’ when compared to the steady verses. Kuu screams too much. Still, nice guitar solo.

Sometimes Dreams Come True is the happy ‘life is good’ song when it comes to the sound. It has more of a pop song approach through its soft use of electric guitars, handclap beats and snappy vibe. When it comes to the vocals, this is how I love to hear Kuu perform. Energetic, joyful and simple at its best.

Although it would’ve been a good summer song if I ignore my own opinion on the song, I wouldn’t mind LIFE so GOOD!! being left off the album. It’s catchy, but we’ve had enough generic songs on the album already and it doesn’t really add anything to the album at track #15. Still, I guess there are enough people out there that would really like this song and I understand (although just a tad).

At first I thought WALK OF MY LIFE was definitely gonna be a ballad, but I really don’t know what it is exactly. I’ll just treat it as a power ballad though. It’s not a real album closer, but it fits better on the album than most of the other songs. It’s more accessible for my taste and the arrangement is atypical, very original and breathtaking. This is Kuu staying true to herself, and this is what I would’ve loved to hear more.

It wouldn’t come as a surprise that I’m not too excited about the album as a whole. Right before it came out I felt the excitement build inside of me and I couldn’t wait! Then it leaked a few days before its physical release and I started to listen to it immediately on my way to Uni. I found out some of the tracks actually sounded alike and most of them brought out the Ke$ha in Kumi, something I don’t really like. The album has more of a Western urban sound than her previous albums had, which is not bad, it’s how she took that style to some of her tracks that just doesn’t work for me. Kuu, you should’ve deleted some of the tracks, an 11-track album is fine with me (without Lippy, Like It, LIFE so GOOD!!, Fake Tongue and the interlude). Oh well, chick releases an album every friggin year. =’)

Favorite tracks: Dance In The Rain | House Party | HOTEL | Gimme U | PIECE IN THE PUZZLE | Sometimes Dreams Come True | WALK OF MY LIFE

3 stars

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