Koda Kumi – UNIVERSEFebruary 10, 2010 at 8:48 PM | Posted in Koda Kumi | 16 Comments
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).
1. Step Into My World
2. Can We Go Back
4. You’re So Beautiful
5. Lick me ♥
6. Work It Out!
7. No Way
9. Comes Up
10. Physical thing
13. It’s all Love! / Koda Kumi × misono
15. Moon Crying (Live ver. in Taiwan)
Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!