Kumi Koda: ‘Trick’ – Album Review

koda-kumi-trick

Kumi Koda’s releases are anything but Tricks (no pun intended, but that’s her 2009 studio album). Instead of her common-yet glamorous get up with long-ass weaves, long-ass nails and cute-like appeal, Ms. Koda decided to put on a clown costume, some over-the-top wigs and make-up, and rack up a highly colorful and sexy atmosphere for the highly successful record… that is, the album artwork of course. But music-wise, Trick didn’t escape Kumi-chan’s quintessential sound per say; it’s your yearly dose of J-pop frills, a few BANGING dance numbers, a cheap rip of numerous sounds, and a solid slice of urban numbers… what a show.

Funny enough, the opening instrumental numbers to her album are generally favorable occasions, so there’s no surprise that the “Introduction to Trick” is an R&B booty shaker that serves as an entrée to the album. But leading the record is the single “Taboo”, an ode to sexual acts and experimentation of homosexuality (oohhhhhh, Kumi’s Ms. Naughty Naughty). I actually find it one of the better numbers here; a catchy and groovy slice of dance music that fiddles along with an urban element. Same goes to “Show Girl”, another R&B cut that boasts a fluffy circus like sound. Ohhh how Kawaii. Another golden moment of the genre is the clucky R&B throwback “Just The Way You Are”, which is soooooooo damn familiar that I can’t place my tongue on the instrumentation… so damn familiar (please leave a comment below if you know the violin riff).

But the one thing I enjoyed about Trick is that it showcases some brilliant fast-paced cuts, not only best-suited here, but in Kumi’s career. “This Is Not a Love Song” is an example of this, a slinky-electronic song that perfectly blends with her songwriting and vocals. The Fergie-duet song “That Ain’t Cool” is… well surprising. But their vocals work well together in front of a bouncy Bhangra-hip-hop composition… man, these gurls be poppin’. Even the schizophrenic rock anthem “Hurry Up” is so f’ing blood-rushing that it works regardless… NO EXPLANATION NEEDED. But the best song here by far is “Driving”. I tell you, once I heard this track… it was f’ing fire. I’m telling you; F.I.R.E. I’ve always enjoyed Ms. Kumi’s dance mixes, mainly because she executes the sound and performance in sublime form, so “Driving”, with its sophisticated and euphoric vibe, is nothing but a remarkable gem! (a.k.a., add it to your damn playlist).

As for the rest of the album, its an affair of wishy washy-ness. Why the hell “Your Love” is subjected to the front of the album I have no idea (better observation; why it’s on the album is unclear). To be honest, it’s a pretty weak track and doesn’t do much to the albums taste. “Joyful” is another track that’s a little weak, but sounds a bit dated too. The lax-back sound brings prominence to her Best albums, which was like years ago since Trick was released… so yeah next. But the worst offender here is “Bling Bling Bling”… I mean gurl, what the F is this? “Bling Bling Bling” is just crap; absolute crap. I can see that the wavy R&B sound was to emphasize a circus-like beat, but it just ended up being extremely bad (I blame the producers for this mess). NEXT. Ballad-wise, the ones that stood out for me was the breezy song “Stay With Me”, the love song “Ai no Kotoba” and “Moon Crying”. They’re not as big as or bolder than any other track here, but they are pretty listenable.

So, Trick is many things… many bad things and many good things, particularly good on this occasion. Songs such as “Driving” and “Taboo” are going down in the book of “Best-Kumi-Chan-Songs-Ever”, and that’s a good thing because it showcases a broader stretch in her music. But for others, it’s pretty mediocre experience. So, having said that, Trick is another Kumi Koda album that… well, serves a good offer, just not a great one.

Track list (Bold means best tracks):

  1. INTRODUCTION TO TRICK
  2. TABOO
  3. show girl
  4. Your Love
  5. stay with me
  6. This is not a love song
  7. Driving ~Liam’s favorite~
  8. Bling Bling Bling (feat. AK-69)
  9. That Ain’t Cool (feat. Fergie)
  10. Hurry Up!
  11. Moon Crying
  12. JUST THE WAY YOU ARE
  13. Joyful
  14. Ai no Kotoba
  15. Venus

3.5

 

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