Kumi Koda: ‘Dejavu’ – Album Review


Released: March 2, 2011

The opening vocal number to Dejavu—Kumi Koda’s 2011 studio album—is “Pop Diva”, a sophisticated (ehhmm, vain-as-hell) electro anthem that slays the dance floor with its pulsing beats and fierce lyrics. Giving that it was the lead track here, I was at first impressed, to a point where I thought I would purchase Dejavu for the sake of the dance numbers that “may” have been added here (hence the work may). But ultimately, it was a gamble alert when I heard the entire record via streaming.

Here’s the catch; I’m a Kumi-chan fan, and have always been one, but Dejavu was completely skippable for me. You had tracks like “Okay” and “Lollipop” that sounded so dated that you would think it was a number from a Gwen Stefani or Beyoncé record, or whether it was a fluke of a release to fill Dejavu. But after time, “Lollipop” started to grow on me, mainly because I love me some trashy Koda, but “Okay” is still disposable. But the issue is that nearly every bloody song is scattered and butchered throughout the record to where the cohesive mood swings are just off the radar. A ballad next to a club-anthem? A rock tune next to a midtempo R&B jam? Ughhh, I don’t know.

Some songs aren’t even worth mentioning; “Melting” is useless. I don’t like the track because it ain’t cute, even when she tries to be. “With Your Smile” or “Koi no Tsubomi” are cute… “Melting” is a bit of a try-hard. Same goes to “Hey Baby!”, which rides the exact same boat as “Melting”. NEXT! But not all tracks are bad, and to some degree, the remaining set of genre-experimentation are quite impressive. “At the Weekend”, another club-booty shaker, is fierce as hell, and bangs right in the middle of the record to separate between each set of sounds. Definitely one of the better tracks, and one of my favorites from Ms. Kumi. Then we get more 80s-90s inspired hits like the cutesy pop gem “Choi Tashi Life” and the electronic-driven “I Don’t Love You!??”, which are highlights to the album. But “Bambi”, a collaboration with Australian twin DJ’s Nervo, originally shook me. I would have not thought Kumi-chan hitting the road with denim daisy dukes and cowboy boots (a bit of an exaggeration, but you know where I’m heading with this) and singing this! It’s actually real dope to listen to, but at quantities, not all the time.

Surprisingly, the slower songs are good too; “Anata Dake ga” is a precious pop ballad that showcases very graceful vocals from the singer, whilst “Suki de, Suki de, Suki de” is a heart wrenching number that… uhhh, just shimmers brilliance. So pretty and sad at the same time!! “Passing By”, which is a duet with B. Howard, is nice but not to the level of the previous two songs, but could pass as an exploration with a Westernized R&B balladry sound. Not bad at all. But while “Aitakute” may sound alright, it stoops lower than all three songs. It’s nothing interesting, so I would advise to skip if you want. But one thing Koda always smacks hard with is the introductions and interlude tracks, and the pieces on Dejavu continues the awesomeness; the intent is of course to offer a circus-like vibe, which could… ehhmm, be a bit familiar considering another J-diva release a record about a circus not to long before Dejavu (No shade at all, but… Ayumi Hamasaki anyone?) Ehhh who am I kidding, the work is absolutely fine and entertaining, but slightly misleading to the remaining material to the record.

Having explored the musical land of Dejavu yet again, I have to say that I completely thrashed the entire record for no reason, because some songs are FIRE! It’s catchy, and at the time of its release, a lot trendy. But as a package from start to finish, Dejavu still fails to satisfy; you still have to point and pick your favorite tunes, and leave the rest in the bag like if they were a punnet of random strawberries, and there are always those “ew yuck’ ones. Long story short, Dejavu is a mixed bag that offers both good and bad songs. There, DONE!

Track list (Bold means best tracks)

  1. Prologue to Dejavu
  2. POP DIVA ~Liam’s favorite~
  3. Lollipop
  4. Okay
  5. Aitakute
  6. Passing By
  7. At the Weekend
  8. Interlude to Dejavu
  9. Melting
  10. Hey baby!
  11. Choi Tashi Life
  12. Anata Dake ga
  13. Suki de, Suki de, Suki de
  14. Bambi
  15. I Don’t Love You!??



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