Released: January 30, 2008
Kingdom would have been a complete success story had it not been for an unsuspected controversy period throughout late 2007, where she… well, you all know (and if you don’t, search her up… Google her… Wikipedia her… anything!) But despite that, it managed to shift over 750,000 copies in her native Japan, so clearly, with every inch of glammed-up nails, over-the-top weaves and raunchy-as-hell clothes, she was doing something right. I’ve never been into Kingdom that much, and I won’t even bare to add it to my collection of fabulous Koda Kumi albums, plainly because I’m a Klub Koda stan right here… but I’ll be fair and check out this record.
If anything, Kingdom is a good record. Up until then, it was by far her most consistent collection; a mixture of subtle ballad-like compositions that soothed effortlessly with twerk-able R&B jams that brings out the ratchetness of Ms. Koda. And of course, it is never complete with rock anthems… Koda Kumi loves her rock anthems. The first half of the record is a little more upbeat, especially with the sizziling pop number “Last Angel”, a steamy Bhangra number “Amai Wana” and the cutesy fluff of “Anytime”. By the time we reach the middle, we get a little more Western hip-hop sounds that would make Jenny from the Block and Mariah Carey weep and cradle in the corner (okay I’ll be real… not really, but Ms. Kumi is still fire).
The most notable change here is Koda’s vocals; she suits mid-tempo numbers that doesn’t have her literally—and I mean literally—scratching every note she hits (or misses). Its smooth from start to finish, and the sound is satisfying. Obviously some tracks sound like fillers or a little lazy-lazy, like “More” and “Aishou”, but overall, Kingdom is very satisfying to listen to. To be honest, it’s surprised me listening to it again… looks like this lil’ nugget may join my ever-growing J-pop collection, so hold on tight Kingdom.
Track list (Bold means best tracks):
- Introduction to Kingdom
- LAST ANGEL (featuring Tohoshinki) ~Liam’s favorite~
- Amai Wana
- Ai no Uta
- Koi no Mahou
- Anata ga Shite Kureta Koto
- Black Cherry