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Koda Kumi- UNIVERSE

2010年 2月 3日

Kuu-chan looks so cute! I like how she’s holding a photo from her last best album. Kuu’s hair looks fantastic IMO.

Let’s get right into it. We were all waiting for it… a full length version of the TRICK intro! Step In To My World is a sexy mess and I love it. The lyrics and soft format have been changed since the intro, but it’s even better. The only drawback is that this song seems to be like an extended intro instead of a full song (maybe it’s because it opened the album w/o an intro xD).

See here for review of Can We Go Back.

Next new track is SUPER STAR. Ok baaad choice of song to fallow Can We Go Back. This song is kinda like sora or some acoustic-sounding Kuu-cutesy song. When I listened to the sample of this song before the album was released I hated this song. I was like “blehh cheesy and unoriginal.” While it’s not exactly something new I don’t hate it.

SUPER STAR transitions well into the slower-paced You’re So Beautiful. I love this song a lot. It is a sweet song without being bubblegum pop. Kuu’s voice pairs well with the strings and guitar that dominate the instrumental portion of the song. Things get even better at the end because Kuu ad-libs and lets the emotions of the song take over her vocals. Excellent track.

Now it’s time for Lick Me<3. This was a song from her triple A-side, 3-Splash. Everyone seemed to boo this song because of its cute nature. Yeah the song is a little bubblegum, but it’s still so adorable. If you aren’t convinced, just check out the 50s themed PV!

Next is one of my new favorite tracks Work it Out! Although judging by the beginning it seems like a typical Kuu song with the light guitar beats and layered vocals. The chorus switches gears and focuses on a more synth aspect. This song is infectious and I’m glad that she’s continuing the themes of TRICK songs.

Next we have another new track, No Way. Like many others, I adore this song. It incorporates some of the older R&B music Kuu used to do as well as some new synth elements. No Way is one of those pleading love songs, in minor key. The lyrics represent a more mature side of Kuu.

Continuing with R&B style music is Stay. I swear every time this song starts to play I think it’s BENI (I just got a bunch of her stuff). The background has kind of a heartbeat rhythm, slightly reminiscent of salyu to me. This was one of my least favorite songs off of the album though, mostly because I thought it lacked variety and the chorus was a little conservative.

If Koi no Tsubomi and Koda Kumi had a kid it would be Comes Up. This song has the plucked strings (which I adore btw) and a lot of similar beats to Koi no Tsubomi. Dis song is cuuuuute.

I’m not sure what Avex was thinking, but somehow Physical Thing is next on the track list; worst transition ever. I’ve already reviewed the Nosheen cover here.

The transition into ECSTACY is a little more fluid, as both are of the “sexy” type. I was actually surprised at the lack of songs like this on the album. Although this song has an upbeat, club-type feel to it, it really doesn’t evoke too much emotion. For many people this was the favorite track off of 3-Splash, but for me I think Koda Kumi can do better.

Another sexy song, but much darker, is the title track UNIVERSE. There’s this upward synth scale that keeps repeating over and over, and it reminded me a little of a Missy Elliot song I heard a few years ago (Lose Control I think?) Either way, this is a pretty original song. It features traditional sexy elements (think Get it On, Candy). The chorus has some musical resolution and it takes off the edginess of the verses. I wish it were longer.

Alright bitches here it comes. I know I am the one person in the entire world that will say this, but I F-ING LOVE THIS SONG. There, I said it *goes and hides.* When I first heard it back in Spring I like many thought it was crap. In truth I still think the verses could be better, but the badass chorus makes up for it. I am not a fan of misono’s voice at all, but at least she’s familiar in the rock element and knows how to harmonize well with Kuu. Of course the song could use some tweaking and there are a few awkward moments, but I love it anyway. Okay I’m done ._.

Another poor transition, we have the ballad Alive, which I reviewed here.

Lastly, we have a live-from-Taiwan version of the gorgeous ballad, Moon Crying. Kuu and piano begin the song with ad-libbing and graceful melodies respectively. Kuu’s voice is nasaly at times, but for the most part she has good intonation . This is a nice, peaceful way to end the album.

Overall: Kuu still has yet to create an album as good as Black Cherry, but this one comes as its closest rival.

Rating: 9/10

Best Songs:

  • You’re So Beautiful
  • Work it Out!
  • No Way
  • It’s All Love
  • Moon Crying -live ver-

Track List:

1. Step Into My World 3:01
2. Can We Go Back 3:25
3. Superstar 4:05
4. You’re So Beautiful 3:42
5. Lick Me 3:29
6. Work It Out! 3:48
7. No Way 5:41
8. Stay 4:12
9. Comes Up 3:55
10. Physical Thing 3:01
11. Ecstacy 3:28
12. Universe 3:35
13. It’s All Love (featuring Misono) 5:02
14. Alive 3:43
15. Moon Crying (Live in Taiwan)
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