Koda Kumi – UNIVERSE

February 10, 2010 at 8:48 PM | Posted in Koda Kumi | 16 Comments
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The cover of the UNIVERSE booklet

UNIVERSE is Koda Kumi’s 8th album and it was released on February 3, 2010. The album reached #1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 221,887 copies. Together with BEST ~third universe~, it’s a part of the joint release BEST ~third universe~ & 8th AL “UNIVERSE”.

The booklet covers are way better than the actual ones. lol

♦ ♦ ♦

Uh oh. To be honest, I still don’t know what to think about this album and I’ve been giving it a good amount of plays this past week. What I can say for sure is that UNIVERSE has moderate highs but also BIG lows. Ranging from the mainly supbar singles to the not-so-impressive new tracks, there is an air “uncertainty” surrounding the album.

As for the TRICK vs. UNIVERSE debate…is there even a contest? TRICK is a lot better. Heck, I think Kingdom and Black Cherry are better too and all three of those albums had their share of problems. I’ll explain why in a little bit.

There was one big thing about UNIVERSE that I did like. It’s one of her neater, more cohesive albums. The transitions between each track are smoother than usual and the tracklisting is evenly divided into different phases. Minus the aggressive tracks Step Into My World (the second coming of INTRODUCTION FOR TRICK) and Can We Go Back, the first half of the album is made up of mid-tempo pop/R&B tracks. You’re So Beautiful and No Way were the big standout tracks while the rest was pretty forgettable. Work It Out! would have to be the worst out of them though.

My favorite segment of the album arrives once Physical thing starts. I thought it was great that all the upbeat dance tracks were together. Followed by ECSTASY (from the 3 SPLASH single) and the new track UNIVERSE, this is where I thought the album was at its strongest. The collaboration song It’s all Love! with little sis misono is thrown in at the end but that’s okay. I also thought the album’s only ballad Alive (my favorite A-side from this era) provided for a clean finish too. There’s also a super long (but good) live version of Moon Crying performed in Taiwan that’s a bonus track.

Here’s the main problem that I had with UNIVERSE. While the overall package is nicely executed, nothing really stands out. Compared to past albums, there were hardly any new tracks that made me say “wow”. There were only a couple on this album like You’re So Beautiful, No Way, and the song UNIVERSE. It didn’t help that most of the A-sides were average and took forever to grow on me either. It could be different for you but that’s how I feel. I would gladly take a messy, yet exciting album like TRICK over the shortcomings of UNIVERSE.

Pros: The album is a grower for sure. You’re So Beautiful is really pretty and tracks 10-12 are awesome.
Cons: Too much “blah” and not enough “OOMPH”. I was kind of let down.

BASICALLY…the album is an improved version of feel my mind (my least fave Kuu album).

Overall Rating

3½ stars

Tracklisting

1. Step Into My World
2. Can We Go Back
3. SUPERSTAR
4. You’re So Beautiful
5. Lick me ♥
6. Work It Out!
7. No Way
8. Stay
9. Comes Up
10. Physical thing
11. ECSTASY
12. UNIVERSE
13. It’s all Love! / Koda Kumi × misono
14. Alive
15. Moon Crying (Live ver. in Taiwan)

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

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16 Comments »

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  1. Oh, Kuu. Saving the planet by recycling dead insects to use as nail accessories is not necessary.

    This album was too bland imo.

  2. I was half expecting you to love it like everyone else but I completely agree with everything you said about the album. I mean, even with the few good album tracks none of them live up to the standards of Driving or Show Girl

  3. I feel the same way about the album. Sure, it well organized but there’s noting poppping out for me. I kept telling myself that this is one of her weaker albums after listening to it many times. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any good songs on it! I personally love Stay xD

  4. lol haha i may be the only one who really likes this album, i guess cause it kinda reminds me of her older stuff, nothing really popped out but i did enjoy it. “You’re So Beautiful” is just amazing, honestly all her other shit that came out for this era i was a little worried about her album, but it came off pretty okay for me. i am kinda glad because i was starting to loose faith in kuu

  5. omg we are totally in synch Kumi for me has been an EPIC FAIL since TRICK, and i actually loved Kingdom & Black Cherry she needs to get her stuff fixed because her album was pretty lousy and the only thing that always stands out are the singles

  6. I think her albums have gone downhill since Black Cherry. Girl just keeps getting worse and worse. I think she needs a hiatus because no music is better than a crapload of bland music.

  7. Yeah, I’d have to agree with you on this one. There were no really ‘wow’ tracks but I still think it is a decent listen. Also, glad to see that there actually is sort-of proper cover for this album.. the one with the white dress thing didn’t really have ‘UNIVERSE’ feel to it.

  8. ^ So true.

  9. Why there are always some unintelligent idiots try to make fun of kumi or bring her down? I really hate to see some of the comments above.
    I do not agree with most of the review you wrote about this album. I do not think ‘TRICK is a lot better’. ‘UNIVERSE’ is much better. Also, I believe ‘feel my mind’ and ‘Grow Into One’ are the best Kumi albums. So, if this album is an improved version of ‘feel my mind’ then ‘UNIVERSE’ should be pretty good.

  10. Get over it, bb. You don’t have to be pretentious and act like you’re ~oh so smart~. It’s obvious you can’t handle other peoples’ opinions. ;D

  11. lol why do people get so mad when others do not agree with them? if you wanna read your own opinions, please go & start your own review site.

  12. I’m afraid next year she needs to focus really hard to make an album better than Kingdom, nothing beats Kingdom.

  13. Just for a difference of opinion… I personally really like UNIVERSE, and I will go so far as to say it’s Koda Kumi’s best studio album to date. Yes, better than TRICK and Kingdom.

    Of course the album has bum tracks but there aren’t too many. Furthermore I don’t think the low points on this album are anywhere near as low as those on Black Cherry or BEST ~second session~, for example.

    I really enjoyed the three best dance tracks being put together (Physical thing, ECSTASY, UNIVERSE), especially given that many past Kumi albums have separated these types of tracks, breaking up the flow of sound.

    Ultimately, I think UNIVERSE has the best flow and most consistency of all her albums, and for a Koda Kumi album to not be all over the place I think is a significant achievement.

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