Kumi Koda: ‘W Face ~Inside~’ – Album Review

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Released: March 8, 2017

Hitting into March 2017, Ms. Kumi Koda has decided to drop by with not one, but TWO studio albums! Yes y’all, a J-pop emergency I say! I made a headline of this a month ago, but the scheme isn’t particularly new per say; E-girls released E.G. Crazy in January as two records in one, while many other acts in the Western and Asian music world repackage their studio releases a second time just because then want dat munnaayy (no seriously though). But I appreciate it, mainly because I’m a fan of Kumi-chan and offers two visions of her artistry. But because it’s two records, I will be reviewing each one, so… grab your popcorn cause it’s gon’ be a ride!

The first album, titled Inside, is a collection of emotional entries that focus on pop ballads and mid-tempo numbers. The first offer we get is “Bridget Song” (The title? I don’t know either…) Nevertheless, it’s a soft acoustic-driven hit that actually suits her from start to finish. I tend to enjoy her more timid songs because she doesn’t bloody put every Beyoncé or Whitney Houstin-ish vocal range and squeaks in the songs, so “Bridget Song” is very beautiful and melodic. Another ballad worth mentioning is “Yorokobi no Kakera”, a harmonizing melody that emphasizes strong and dramatic arrangement. Definitely one of her better ballads out! I guess you could also say that “Promise You” and “Kimi Omoi” are essential moments here to, though they amount of balladry can make you a lil’ tired (No shade Kumi, but it’s the truth).

Unfortunately, those are the only tracks that stand out… so get ready for the “mehhh” or “uggghh” moments ahead. When I heard the previews of all the tracks, I will admit and say that I was a little disappointed mainly because half the songs here sound like re-visited arrangements of past songs past-Japonesque. “Stand by you” literally sounds like “Ai no Uta” and “Yume no Uta” smashed together… Like honestly… The melody from start to finish is fine, but all I hear, and I will say it loud y’all… it sounds like a rip-off of both songs. I don’t know whether the producer or composer was a lil’ lazy, but it does. END OFF! “Sukideshite” (aka “Someday”) is pretty decent to listen to, but I have a sneaky suspicion that I know what it sounds like… eehmm, hint hint.

I have no idea why Kumi-chan would think it would be… well, nice, to add a couple of heavy rock anthems on a more personal or delicate record (ESPECIALLY WITH THEM PLACE ON BOTH SIDES OF THE RECORD! GURL, WHERE YOU AT WITH THIS?) I have no issue with rock Koda, because I live for her rock ‘n’ roll over-the-top realness, but I just feel she hasn’t got the picture of the lack of coherency in her records. “Bring it On” sounds like it came straight out of Japonesque, which was like years ago (it’s still a good song though, so I can’t complain entirely). Same goes to “What’s Up”, with its punk-ish vibes and “Poppin’ Love Cocktail”-like sound. I mean gurl, what is this? I tend to always like her rock hits, alongside her consistent streak of ballads too, but I feel that even spreading them out on a 10-disc track is a little too much.

Luckily, the only track that has some sort of change or musical development is the closer, a child-like song titled “My Fun”, which may sound strange-as-hell but is pretty different (brownie points to you Ms. Kumi-chan). Nevertheless, I am a little disappointed with the material on W Face ~Inside~. I expected something a little different or strong but the work seems like its missing a spark. Like I mentioned, at least half the tracks are nice and pretty, but gurl… come on. Uhhh, I’ll always love ya music though Kumi-chan, so y’all safe for now.

Track list (Bold means best tracks)

  1. BRIDGET SONG ~Liam’s favorite~
  2. Bring It On
  3. Yorokobi no Kakera
  4. Stand By You
  5. Suikdeshite
  6. Kimi Omoi
  7. On My Way
  8. What’s Up
  9. Promise you
  10. My Fun

2.5

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