Released: March 18, 2015
After yet a glamorous return to her ratchetness and ghetto fabulousness on 2014’s Bon Voyage, Ms. Kumi Koda had more to give when the following year came around. Walk of My Life, her 12th studio album, didn’t impress me at first. Of course, I was still trying to get around listening to her music (and yes, I started from her first debut til’ now), and after a few more spins… nah, I still didn’t like it. Fast-forwarding to early-2017, I can actually say that I enjoyed this album… to some extent though.
Apart from the melancholic electronic ballad “Dance In The Rain”, which serves as the opening vocal number to the record, the first entire half of the album is pure fun, trash and glamour; nothing new to her urban discography of course. But they’re enjoyable, such as the drum & bass favorite “Lippy”, which is probably the trashiest number I’ve heard from her in ages. But having said that, it’s insanely chaotic and catchy. “Mercedes” drives in next (aha get it, Mercedes? Drives in?) and follows a similar suite to “Lippy”, but gets restrained by its R&B-like sound, which isn’t bad at all (I’m just happy to see a streak of her booty shaking tunes, so yeah…). Similarly is the repetitive “Money In My Bag”, which is catchy, but pretty dull in my opinion.
But here’s the catch; that’s not all. We get a load of in-your-face moments such as the half-singing-half-talking “Like It”, which sounds like a tamed version to the extremely aggressive rock number “Fake Tongue”… the title? No I don’t know either, but nevermind that, IT’S HARD CORE AMAZING! Even so, Kumi Koda always brings the party with her club-poppin’ jams, but only one sticks out of the bunch; this being “House Party”, another trashy four-on-the-floor “take-my-clothes-off” moment. But the one song that gets me in the groove is another rock number, the well-produced and delivered “Piece of the Puzzle”. I shit you not, this is a solid banger that could’ve rocked clubs throughout Japan. But because it wasn’t in favor to the likes of “Hotel” or “Dance In The Rain”, it’s an album track… but a fierce one!
Man that is a heap of ratchet jams on Walk on My Life. NOW… the other songs (aka, everything else that isn’t really urban). Unlike her previous records, Walk of My Life introduces a variety of American, European and Asian producers/composers/songwriters to helm her work, a credible trial in emphasizing a more solidified body of work. The blend of mid-tempo and uptempo tracks are actually pretty nice, to some degree; “Gimme U” is a track that could’ve easily been swiped by any up-and-coming artist that wants to crack the US Top 40. But it’s a good catchy hit, so she’s gets some brownie points there. “Hotel” is another moment where you could question its authenticity or originality per say, but thankfully, her vocal deliveries (yes, the overbearing sense…) actually save her from sounding out of place or unoriginal. Same goes to “Life Is Good!”, because while it may sound like another top number, it doesn’t slightly slope onto the originality scale.
I remember when it was released, I thought the entire album was pretty bad. But retrospectively, only three songs are complete crap. I don’t even know how to describe “You Can Keep Up With Me”, cause it’s really bad… REALLY REALLY F-ING bad. The composition is so over-the-top and over-the-place that you wouldn’t know whether Kumi-chan is trying to fight with the bloody song, or vice versa. To her defense, I blame the producers. I mean, how can you create a song as tedious as this? No shade Ms. Kumi, but next. And the Toby Gab and Jessie J collaboration for “Sometimes Dreams Come True” just sounds bad. It doesn’t even work well with Kumi’s vocals AT ALL. The only primary ballad, the title track, isn’t that bad per say, but I’ve seen so much better from her. Another disposable one.
Despite three complete skippable moments, Walk of My Life is enjoyable and very entertaining. Whilst I do enjoy her ballads and wish something a little more traditional or crafty was created to showcase her brilliance in that genre, this is her first time completely separating her Japanese work with more Westernized creations, so I give her credit there. Plus, if you love the urban/dance Kumi-chan, then spend a few thousand yen on this… cause it’s extremely poppin’. I guarantee you that .com!
Track list (Bold means best tracks)
- Introduction ~Walk of My Life~
- Dance In The Rain
- Like It
- House Party
- Interlude ~Dance~
- Gimme U
- You can keep up with me
- MONEY IN MY BAG
- PIECE IN THE PUZZLE ~Liam’s favorite~
- Fake Tongue
- Sometimes Dreams Come True
- LIFE so GOOD!!
- WALK OF MY LIFE