Archive for the ‘KOKIA’ Category

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KOKIA- REAL WORLD

2010年 4月 26日

When I first saw this cover I thought it was just a green screen, but KOKIA actually went to Tunisia for inspiration for the album. Awesome!

Just to let you guys know, ever since  Lex recommended this album I’ve been whoring it for the past two weeks. I can’t get enough of KOKIA’s glistening vocals!

Birth is an unusual way to open up an album because it’s such a soft and slow song. This song is so peaceful with the gentle strings and muted drums. Although it isn’t my favorite song off the album, it’s still a great example of KOKIA’s musical prowess.

Road to Glory ~ for Dragon Nest is a 5 minute journey of epicness. The beginning is very mysterious, almost ominous. But about a minute into the song we hear some layered ethereal vocals from KOKIA. This song tells a story, and that’s what gives it this magical element. The chorus in this song is mind-blowing; it makes you feel like you’re on top of a mountain.

U-CHA-CHA continues the exotic feel of the album. The beginning is rather quiet with some of KOKIA’s vocals singing from the distance. Personally I felt like it took this song a little too long to arrive to the main theme, but I can tell some people will love this track.

The title track REAL WORLD is next. This song opens with almost a R&B/pop vibe. The song is up-lifting and filled with positive emotion and sass. I did not like the chorus too much  because of the way “real world” was pronounced (Re-al world). Also, I wasn’t too much of a fan of the gospel feel during the chorus.

Back to the Tunisia tracks, Saishuu Jouei is one of the best on the album. Like the songs before it, this song also tells a story. This time KOKIA says “welcome to the magic world,” and indeed that’s where we are. This song made me think of riding on a camel in the middle of the desert. The way the vocals are layered during the chorus causes an other-worldly affect to the song.

Love is Us, Love is Earth is another track inspired by KOKIA’s trip to Tunisia. Unlike the previous track, this one has a more acoustic vibe in favor of ethnic melodies. A soothing ballad, Love is Us, Love is Earth shows off KOKIA’s radiant vocals. The song really picks up speed during the second half.

Dugong no Sora is one hot track. The mysterious beginning alerts us to some desert instrumentals, which carry us into the main melody. This song is over 7 minutes long, but amazingly it didn’t feel like anything was being dragged out. This song is great for people who love ethereal music that makes them feel as if they were floating (or at least that’s how it makes me feel). One of the best songs on the album.

The next two songs didn’t exactly resonate with me as well as some of the other songs. Kodoku na Ikimono was one of the singles to appear on the album. Don’t get me wrong it’s still a great piano-based ballad. I still love this song, but Dugong no Sora is kind of a hard act to follow!

I tried very hard to like single mother. Like KOKIA, I also have a single mother (my father passed away this past year) so I appreciated the song’s message. I guess I just didn’t like the lullaby feel of the album or the chorus that accompanied. It is still a well-produced song, but I think I was so caught up in the Tunisia-inspired songs that this one slipped under the radar for me. Don’t let my review deter you from these songs… they’re still beautiful.

Continuing the ballad theme is Kimi ga Sagashite (another thing… don’t listen to this album if ballad’s aren’t your thing). KOKIA’s vocals are much softer in this song, erring on the side of breathy even. You can experience the vast range of KOKIA’s vocal ability by listening to this song.  Kimi ga Sagashite kind of has a pop/R&B vibe to it too because of some of the synth in the background.

Oto no Tabibito might be my favorite song on the album. This song is sexy like an Arabian night. I thought of the desert nighttime with swift, warm breezes and perhaps a bit of sadness. This song is definitely a ballad, but it differs from all the other ones on the album. The layering of KOKIA’s voice creates a mystical vibe for the song.

Watashi ga Mitamono is a bit similar to Kodoku na Ikimono in that it is another slow piano ballad. The chorus in this song is really beautiful, and it combines one of my favorite instruments- solo cello. This track isn’t as lively as some of the others, but still beautifully done.

Yet another ballad ensues. Kono Chikyuu ga Marui Okage de has a positive and hopeful tone to it. It was a well-produced song, but I didn’t find this one as memorable as some of the other piano ballad songs.

Concluding the album is The woman. The woman is the final track of the album, and by far the most depressing song. This song is kind of lullaby like in that it could easily soothe you to sleep, but it isn’t boring at all. KOKIA does an excellent job at reaching notes in the upper register. Good job KOKIA!

Overall: Why did I forsake KOKIA’s music for so many years?! BUY THE ALBUM BITCHES.

Rating: 9.5/10

Best tracks:

  • Road to Glory ~ for Dragon Nest
  • Saishuu Jouei
  • Dugong no Sora
  • Oto no Tabibito
  • The woman

Track list:

  1. Birth
  2. Road to Glory ~ for Dragon Nest
  3. U-CHA-CHA
  4. REAL WORLD
  5. Saishuu Jouei
  6. Love is Us, Love is Earth
  7. Dugong no Sora
  8. Kodoku na Ikimono
  9. single mother
  10. Kimi wo Sagashite
  11. Oto no Tabibito
  12. Watashi ga Mitamono
  13. Kono Chikyuu ga Marui Okage de
  14. The woman
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Poll: Best album thus far (2010)?

2010年 4月 26日

oh hay kuu chan…. you look so cute but you didn’t win!!

So we’re a third of the way through the year.. how are we doing album wise? Personally there hasn’t been a one single album to fully grab my attention as “perfect.” Sure there have been great tracks on every album, but as a whole there hasn’t been one that is so outstanding that it shames all others (last year? alan’s Voice of Earth). However, the year is nascent and we’ve got some time. Let’s hear it again for Kalafina, shall we?

Kalafina- Red Moon– 13 votes, 46%
Ayumi Hamasaki- Rock ‘N’ Roll Circus– 6 votes, 21%

Sayuri Sugawara- First story- 3 votes 11%
Rie fu- at Rie sessions- 2 votes, 7%
KOKIA- REAL WORLD- 1 vote, 4%
Abingdon Boys School- ABINGDON ROAD- 1 vote, 4%
Tokyo Jihen- Sports- 1 vote, 4%
SuG- Tokyo Muzical Hotal- 1 vote, 4%

The following earned 0 votes:

Koda Kumi- UNIVERSE
D- 7th Rose
Morning Musume 10 MY ME
Aya Kamiki- INDIVIDUAL EMOTION

Let’s analyze the votes. Red Moon was the most anticipated release AND the “best” according to you readers. I thought the album was pretty good, but Kalafina isn’t a group I listen to too often. For me I’d either say Rie fu, KOKIA or Koda Kumi’s was best. Rie fu resonates with the kind of folksy sound I love. KOKIA opened up a new door in music for me. And Koda Kumi is just my little Kuu-chan. (What?? I work out to her stuff!) I should have added salyu’s maiden voyage to the mix! Well that’s what I get for making polls after midnight.

Now I haven’t listened to Tokyo Jihen before (though I’ve heard good things about them) and I haven’t listened to SuG in ages (I can’t really get into oshare-kei sometimes). I was surprised at how many votes Ayumi Hamasaki (what with all the bashing on the blogosphere lately). I think that she has more fans in Japan (relatively speaking) than across the globe. I think Ayu is highly talented, but I don’t think her album is quite “the best of 2010.” To each her own.

So… what do you think of the results? Are they a fair representation of the best musicians or do we have some stans in the house? You tell me.

~aoliwa