Koda Kumi – TRICK

February 11, 2009 at 9:35 PM | Posted in Koda Kumi | 8 Comments
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Koda Kumi - TRICKThe cover of the CD only edition

TRICK is Koda Kumi’s 7th studio album and it was released on January 28, 2009. The album reached #1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 391,094 copies.

♦ ♦ ♦

Watch out, bitches! The explosive INTRODUCTION FOR TRICK is hot hot hot. The way it starts is tame but I just loved how the music blows up in a frenzy of bass and synth next to Kumi’s aggressive vocals. Compared to her other album intros, this one is definitely the best. I can’t get enough of it.

The introduction track smoothly flows into TABOO, Kumi’s best single in recent memory. With its heavy electropop and dance sound, this song is perfect for showing off the sexier side of her voice. I love this song and there’s nothing else to say except that it will always remain FIERCE. ♥

The album’s main promotional track is next and it is stellar. show girl lives up to its title thanks to the overall theatrical atmosphere of the music. There’s an interesting combination of old fashioned brass and modern beats that sound great together. While the structure of the song may seem a little “off” at first, I find it really catchy and memorable. Plus, the way it ends is really awesome, especially when Kumi says “Thank you”.

A Koda Kumi album isn’t complete without a couple of ballads, right? Anyway, Your Love is a laid back tune that mainly features piano and light beats. Unfortunately, the arrangement is monotone and not very interesting. I guess the same can be said for the vocals, except for the brief moments of adlibbing. In the end, this track doesn’t stand out at all.

stay with me seems a little out of place at this stage of the album. I do think that it’s a pretty winter ballad, but let’s just say that I wouldn’t have been disappointed if it was not included. Any B-side from this era would have been better in my opinion.

This is not a love song puts things back in order though. It has a cool urban pop sound and I thought the deep bass beats were hot. Kumi certainly gives a feisty vocal performance and the chorus is a good example of that. I also have to note that there is a nice break in the music and it happens during the bridge. A lonesome piano appears and the tone of Kumi’s voice changes.

Next to show girl, Driving is the most impressive of the album’s new tracks. I love the song’s use of synth because it’s uplifting and full of energy but there is also a great buildup into the strong chorus. It’s quite aggressive with that synth mixed in and the beats are a welcome addition too. This song could have definitely been a great A-side.

Oh my goodness…Bling Bling Bling feat. AK-69 delivers the LOLZ. Actually, I find this song amusing despite its overall silliness. The verses are good, but the chorus just cracks me up because of the lyrics and Kumi’s cutesy vocals. What’s even funnier is that I think the chorus is really catchy. I’m not gonna lie. The rapping by AK-69 is okay but he doesn’t contribute much anyway (besides mispronouncing “bling” too). According to the lyrics, Kumi wants a lot of things: 1. That bling bling bling, 2. Your car car car, and 3. MORE bling bling bling!

More hilarity ensues with That Ain’t Cool, Kumi’s collaboration with Fergie. Only Kumi’s solo verse is the funny thing about this song because I really don’t mind the rest of it. The chorus is pretty catchy and the music isn’t bad at all. “Fergie feat. Koda Kumi” is more appropriate though, right? This song originally appeared as the 2nd track on the MOON single.

~Frantic~ is the best way to describe Hurry Up!, an exciting song with a quick pace that doesn’t let up. I liked the constant electric guitar and Kumi’s aggressive vocals matched that since she sings with vigor (even with that muffled effect during the verses). For me, this was another standout track on the album.

Unlike stay with me, Moon Crying seems to blend in better with the rest of the album. This song is more of a pop ballad as it incorporates very light beats into the mix. Like I said back when I reviewed the MOON single, it’s your standard ballad but I really liked Kumi’s vocals in it.

The next track is a personal favorite of mine. JUST THE WAY YOU ARE is a perky song with a simple, yet fantastic arrangement. I really liked the low key strings in the background because they went nicely with beats, but it’s the chorus that positively shines. It’s very catchy and the melody will get stuck in your head. I especially love that “I like you” line that Kumi sings to open the chorus.

Joyful is the obligatory cute pop song of the album. It reminded me of certain songs like WIND and I’ll be there because it used electric guitar too. Anywho, this is actually a pleasant track, minus the “joyful la la la la” part, and it’s better than the pop songs she put out on her previous album Kingdom.

On the CD only edition, the album ends with Ai no Kotoba. Just like Moon Crying, it’s a bare bones strings and piano ballad, but with more flair and powerful vocals. The arrangement is a lot stronger as well since it includes percussion. The song itself is nothing special but it’s quite uplifting.

The CD+DVD edition includes a cover of the classic song Venus as a bonus track. Kumi’s cover isn’t similar to the 1969 original by The Shocking Blue, but it has the 80s new wave sound of Bananarama’s popular 1986 version. I thought her cover was good and the chorus was definitely the best part. Kumi still can’t pronounce certain words that well though.

I was thoroughly surprised by TRICK. I was expecting this album to be mediocre because those previously released A-sides, minus TABOO, were pretty weak compared to past singles (and that gave me the wrong impression). I honestly think that TRICK contains some of the hottest material that Koda Kumi has ever done. The new tracks like show girl, This is not a love song, and Driving are really well done and showcase an addicting dance pop sound that’s perfectly suited for her. Even with those ballads thrown in, there is still a large amount of fun and upbeat tracks. This album is a step up from last year’s Kingdom as well.

Overall Rating

4½ stars

Tracklisting

1. INTRODUCTION FOR TRICK
2. TABOO
3. show girl
4. Your Love
5. stay with me
6. This is not a love song
7. Driving
8. Bling Bling Bling feat. AK-69
9. That Ain’t Cool / Koda Kumi feat. Fergie
10. Hurry Up!
11. Moon Crying
12. JUST THE WAY YOU ARE
13. Joyful
14. Ai no Kotoba (愛のことば)
15. Venus [CD+DVD bonus track]

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

8 Comments »

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  1. awesome review Lex & yes I agree with what you said about TRICK . I was quite disappointed with what Kingdom had to offer but in here , she ventured into music genres she never done into like electropop , dance & synth & covered those aspects really well & I so want a full version of the Intro like NOW !

  2. I really enjoyed the dance genre of this album as well.

  3. ♪I’m your Venus, I’m your fire ….. ♪

    ahaha :]. i used that for a school project on the planets or w/e. ;D.

  4. Well, contain-wise TRICK is indeed a different album and more colorful. But I don’t like it as a whole. Your Love, BLING BLING BLING, That Ain’t Cool, Joyful and Ai no Kotoba were my greatest disappointment.

    Yea I agree with you, the “Joyful la la la~” part was hilarious, and BLING BLING BLING sounded like London Bridge to me >_>

  5. I thought TRICK was AMAZING!!! Admittedly, I was a little iffy on some of the tracks at first listen like show girl and Hurry Up! very quickly, they’ve come to be some of my favorite songs.

    As for Bling Bling Bling, nobody seems to adore it like I do but I’m glad it got a positive review XD

    I enjoy Driving and everyone calls it the best new track on the album but I just don’t see the intense love going on for it, oh well.

    And yes, the introduction is amazing :)

  6. I agree with most said Lex but, I’m still having trouble feeling the album. I went back and listened to Kingdom again just to gain perspective. Trick will have to grow on me.

  7. I really loved Kingdom, but I felt Trick was rather mediocre overall. The three first tracks are spectacular, but after that only Driving, Bling Bling Bling and Just The Way You Are manage to peak my interest. I think that the song Always from the Taboo single was better than most of the tracks on Trick, and it should have been on the album. The main thing I don’t like about Koda’s albums is that most of the tracks have been released on singles long before the album, so you only get a small number of new tracks. Most artists release singles AFTER the album. On a side note, who ever edits her concert DVDs needs to be locked away for all eternity, it’s just the shittiest editing ever of concert footage. The Dirty Ballroom Show was even worse than usual, close to unwatchable. The cuts are so fast it’s almost like watching a strobe.

  8. i agree with the last comment i hated the way they made the line up sound like a ‘live concert’ lineup or atleast thats what kuu said she was shooting for. to me it just sounded random and i only liked a handful of songs i totally agree about the intro it was suspenseful made me really feel like i was back stage apart of the action then the agressiveness(sp?) of the beats WOAH! i also thought that transition into taboo was smooth. i can’t get ENOUGH of the song showgirl and next to that this is not a love song and just the way you are OMG! it took me awhile to like driving i just didn’t iinstantly love it like everyone else and was shocked by the number of people who said they needed to let showgirl grow on them. when i heard bling bling bling i said it sounded like a cheap imitation of coma-chi laughed and switched to the next song in line….anyway i’m blabbing


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