K – Traveling Song

April 20, 2009 at 7:50 PM | Posted in K | 1 Comment
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The cover of the CD+DVD edition

Traveling Song is K’s 3rd album and it was released on March 18, 2009. The album reached #44 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 3,675 copies.

♦ ♦ ♦

Seeing you gives me reason to believe.
K opens the title track Traveling Song with that English line which is followed by an upbeat band arrangement consisting of electric guitars and drums. A little more “organic” sounding than most of his songs, it’s devoid of the normal R&B fluff that he usually does. Nevertheless, the song itself is quite pleasant and K sounds great. It also served as the album’s main promotional track.

I have always been on the fence with Kono Uta wo………, K’s collaboration with hip-hop group ET-KING. There are some parts of the song that I enjoy, like the chorus because they’re all singing together, but I still can’t tolerate some of the rapping sections from the individual members of ET-KING. Those harmonizations that appear during the chorus and bridge are very nice though.

Meh…Birth of Treasure. This song will forever be bland to me. It’s an all right pop ballad but it really has nothing going for it. It’s my least favorite song on the album since it’s so conventional and “blah”. I still hate that awful single cover too. =x

I have to admit that all of the new tracks that follow are GREAT. Sand Paper World is kind of a strange title but this song is excellent. Utilizing an upbeat brass driven arrangement, the music is on the cheery side and K displays strong vocals. It’s a very enjoyable track and starts a noticeable trend of K performing more jazz oriented songs instead R&B.

Out of all these new tracks, LOVE FREAK is my favorite. It is such a fun and campy song! It starts off with upbeat piano and playful vocals for the verses then transitions into an amazing chorus. The music speeds up and it creates an extremely infectious rhythm. I also liked how smooth the transitions were since the end of the chorus goes flawlessly right back to the calm atmosphere of the verses.

A laid back song is next and it displays a more soulful side of K. You’re My Home has an arrangement dominated by the piano with some additional percussion. It’s simple but very effective, especially when K performs the vibrant chorus. The adlibbing at the end is fantastic as well.

Don’t Come Back is an unique offering from K. This song has a rockish vibe to it thanks to the prominent use of electric guitars that are mixed with the piano and drums. The bridge features an impressive solo too. K also showcases assertive and aggressive vocals to match the tone of the music.

The previous track was a break from the upbeat jazz songs but we go right back into that sound with Y.E.S., another charming tune. There is emphasis on bass and drums next to the rhythmic piano with electric guitar appearing near the end. My chorus is my favorite part of the song since it features catchy vocals.

play and pray is like Birth of Treasure, but infinitely better. You can easily detect the R&B undertones in this song and while the verses remain dull for me, the chorus is pretty good. It’s still an uneventful song though.

Appearing as the ~epic ballad~ of the album is Sotsugyou ~Melodies of Memories~. This is a well done track that includes pretty strings alongside fingersnap beats and piano. It’s very reminiscent of his past ballads, minus the emo factor (lol). I’m just joking because I pretty much love all of his ballads and this song is a great addition.

I think 525600min. ~Seasons of Love~ makes for the ideal final track. It’s easily the best A-side of this era and it ends the album in an extremely uplifting fashion. The way it samples the original Seasons of Love (from the Broadway musical Rent) was very thoughtful and it blends perfectly with the new, original material. Work it, K-san!

Unlike K’s last 2 albums, Beyond the Sea and Music in My Life, this one took some adjustment. Traveling Song contains his weakest A-sides to date but ALL of the new tracks act as the album’s saving grace. I think they are excellent and definitely overshadow those A-sides, minus 525600min. ~Seasons of Love~ of course. I noticed a slow, but steady departure from the typical R&B sound of previous albums in Traveling Song as well. I definitely sensed that there was more focus on organic instruments and arrangements in the new tracks, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all. It shows some versatility on K’s part and I’m not complaining. A valiant effort!

Overall Rating

4 stars

Tracklisting

1. Traveling Song
2. Kono Uta wo………♪ (この歌を・・・・・・・・♪) / K × ET-KING
3. Birth of Treasure
4. Sand Paper World
5. LOVE FREAK
6. You’re My Home
7. Don’t Come Back
8. Y.E.S.
9. play and pray
10. Sotsugyou ~Melodies of Memories~ (卒業 ~Melodies of Memories~)
11. 525600min. ~Seasons of Love~

Note: My favorite songs are highlighted in blue!

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1 Comment »

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  1. I agree, this was a great album. K’s voice goes down smoooth.


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