CD Review :: Koda Kumi - UNIVERSE
CD Only Cover :
2 CDs Only Cover :
2 CDs + DVD Cover :
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 x misono)
15) Moon Crying (Live ver. In taiwan) (First Press Track)
UNIVERSE is Koda Kumi's 8th album . It was released last Wed on 3rd Feb together with her 5th best album BEST ~third universe~ .
This best + original album concept was dubbed BEST ~third universe~ & 8th AL "UNIVERSE" & it debuted at #1 with 1st week sales of 221,887 .
All the singles that Koda released last year are included in UNIVERSE except for Hashire ! (Run !) which's the last A-side from her 44th single 3 SPLASH .
Step Into My World kicks off UNIVERSE & if the melody for the song sounded vaguely familiar , that's because it's the same melody that INTRODUCTION FOR TRICK had .
I'm frankly not sure if I count Step Into My World as a full song or an introduction . I think I go with the former since there're actual lyrics surrounding Step Into The World .
Can We Go Back is Koda's 46th single & it was released 2 weeks before BEST ~third universe~ & 8th AL "UNIVERSE" .
Pressings for both editions of the single were limited , the same thing which happened for her 39th single anytime .
Despite being a cover of Kelly Clarkson's song , I like Can We Go Back . It's not as hard rock in your face as compared to Ningyo-hime (Mermaid Princess) but still this's something that I don't mind at all .
The next 2 songs are the only 2 album tracks that received music videos of their own .
SUPERSTAR which I reviewed a while back ago , is track #3 . I still like this song even though it's something similar to what Koda has put out before as this's not the 1st cutesy poppy song that's found in her discography .
You're So Beautiful follows after SUPERSTAR & I think this's 1 beautiful no. & probably 1 of the stronger prominent album tracks in UNIVERSE .
It's a ballad but there's just something captivating , earnest & sincere about You're So Beautiful which I really like & I could see why it got a video as it deserves so .
Lick me ♥ is the 1st A-side from Koda's 44th / triple A-side single 3 SPLASH .
Funny enough , despite the somewhat obsence title of the song , Lick me ♥ was probably the best received song from the Japanese public last year seeing that it's a summer inspired no. & I think this's the song that Koda performed the most live in 2009 .
Guess this shows that you shouldn't judge a song based on its title alone .
The next 4 songs are album tracks in which unfortunately to me , 3 of them doesn't seem to live up to expectations .
Work It Out ! sounds like a Run For Your Life reject to me on 1st listen . As much as I would like to love this song , I can't see myself doing that at all .
The song sounded very lazy & it's as if Koda's vocals was just going though the motions for the sake of doing so .
No Way is track #7 & this no. to me , is another prominent album track in UNIVERSE .
Unlike Work It Out ! , No Way sees itself as a smooth crooner which frankly works in Koda's favour .
Also I like the way her vocals are harmonised very well with the melody of the song as well & I find myself putting No Way on repeat mode too .
Stay is the 2nd album ballad after You're So Beautiful .
Unlike You're So Beautiful , I find Stay nothing special . It sounded like another typical ballad that Koda dished out before in past singles/albums of hers .
It's a pity as I wanted Stay to work but that doesn't seem to be the case as it's quite a monotone driven ballad .
Comes Up follows after Stay & for Comes Up's case , I had music deja vu vibes of girls & Lady Go ! when I listened to Comes Up .
Except for Comes Up's case , it's like the poor cousin of both songs that I singled out earlier on .
Physical thing's the 2nd A-side of Koda's 45th single Alive / Physical thing .
The song is a Japanese cover of the song of the same name by British singer Nosheen .
I'm so relieved that after 3 sub par album tracks , Physical thing is the one that cracks the volume up in a way or 2 . Other hot dance tracks found in Koda's discography are better but Physical thing's something that I still enjoyed even up to now & I think it contrasts Alive very well in every single aspect .
ECSTASY is the 2nd A-side of 3 SPLASH & I think out of the 3 A-side in 3 SPLASH , this probably is the best A-side out of the lot .
When ECSTASY was 1st released alongside with Lick me ♥ & Hashire ! , I knew that somehow or another , I was going to like it a lot more than the other 2 A-sides .
ECSTASY is like the distant cousin of Driving where both songs are seriously & extremely addictive for all the right reasons & this's 1 hot dance track that's for sure .
Sharing the same title as her album , it's the last album track UNIVERSE .
Boy oh boy , I had music deja vu vibes of Missy Elliott's 2005's hit single Lose Control which featured Ciara and rapper Fatman Scoop when I 1st heard UNIVERSE . The melody's so similar , it's impossible to ignore this at all .
Funny enough despite this , I actually like UNIVERSE even though it has quite an Americanised flair attached to it & this's 1 song you probably can plug it loud in a club for that matter .
It's all Love ! is Koda's 43rd single . The single was released under the billing Koda Kumi x misono in which misono's her younger sister .
The B-side faraway is not included in the album .
I know there were quite a lot of people who doesn't really like It's all Love ! as it combines the musical aspect of both sisters's solo careers .`
But if you read the lyrics for It's all Love ! , it's quite a girl enpowered tune & I think misono had fun recording this song with her older sister .
Alive is the 1st A-side of Koda's 45th single Alive / Physical thing .
The song was used as the theme song for Yoichi Sai's manga-to-film adaptation The Legend of Kamui (Kamui Gaiden) & the melody of the song was inspired by Lascia ch'io pianga which's an aria taken from the Italian opera Rinaldo by Handel .
I think this's 1 of the most under-rated ballads of Koda . I know people didn't really warm up to Alive that much which probably explained why the single sold below expectations even though it debuted at #1 .
The sampled melody for Alive's pretty & you can hear/feel how much emotions that's going though in the song even though I felt the song kind of ended adruptly & that it's a tad too short for my liking .
Found as a 1st press track for all 3 editions of BEST ~third universe~ & 8th AL "UNIVERSE" , it's the live version of Moon Crying which was recorded from Koda's 1st Taiwan concert performance which took place last year .
Moon Crying is frankly not really my fave ballad/single of hers but in here , you can hear how powerful her voice's when she belted out quite a long version of the song .
This's something I don't see myself listening to again though as there're some parts where she kind of went over the top & with that , I much prefer the studio version of Moon Crying .
After last year's TRICK , Koda Kumi started out 2010 with this best + original album concept BEST ~third universe~ & 8th AL "UNIVERSE" .
As much as I don't like to say this but I feel UNIVERSE's a music step down or 2 from TRICK .
The album tracks somehow do not live up to expectations & seem like second fiddle when you compare them against the singles which're pretty much winners in their own right .
Also , I feel the album's sounded rush/incomplete & as a result , I feel that on some of the album tracks , Koda's vocals were quite lazy/mundane .
Not to mention , Koda seems to be gearing towards a more pop & Americanised sound for UNIVERSE which I don't think it's working in her favour especially after the music disaster that's of That Ain't Cool which featured Black Eyed Peas's Fergie .
Considering that this year's her 10th anniversary , it seems way too early for avex to ask her to release UNIVERSE with another best album . I thought that's un-necessary to put together a best & original album in 1 package & I feel it's unfair for people who wants to buy UNIVERSE but they have to end up getting both albums together at the same time .
Juding from the 1st week sales of BEST ~third universe~ & 8th AL "UNIVERSE" which's weaker/lower than TRICK , I think avex should know the whole once bitten twice shy saying as that also backfired for BoA last year too when she released BEST&USA .
I hope Koda will not start 2010 with a bad foot note , it will be a pity if that were to happen .