Sunday, March 17, 2013

[Album Review] Koda Kumi - Color the Cover

Koda Kumi steals ayumi hamasaki's Sparkle PV set for the cover 

I think Koda Cum-i's reason for titling her first ever cover album ETERNITY ~Love & Songs~ was because she covered the songs and completely transformed them to sound timeless - hence the use of "eternity". I'm just assuming though - she probably explained her own reason in one of the 9000 magazines she's featured on. This time, gurl ain't gon' do that shit anymore. This time, she covers a shitload more songs for Color the Cover, and this album is pretty much the aural equivalent to the entire color palette of her wig collection - SHITLOADS OF COLORS Y'ALL. Either that or she probably just forgot that she released ETERNITY.

Just as the title suggests, this album comprises a greater range of genres than ETERNITY had. ETERNITY had more of a mellow, soft feel throughout the album with the occasional OH YEAH POP YOUR PUSSIES BE MY BABY and Megumi no Hito. We have their equivalent on this album - Pink Spider, Shake Hip! and Dou ni mo Tomaranai.

Pink Spider is full on electro as fuck - there isn't a single line she sang that isn't filtered with autotune and effects which came off as annoying to me at first, but it's a grower for sure. The original was of a rock arrangement so hide fans aren't really pleased with her cover, but screw you all anyway. Dou ni mo Tomaranai also has Kuu's vocals autotuned throughout - I can't help but feel it'll be so much better without the autotune, but you'll get over it. Shake Hip! is more quirky and playful along the lines of Megumi no Hito and I think it's one of the highlights of the album.  My favourite line is "SHAKE HIP (2 more), SHAKE HIP LA LA (one more time)" oh wait...

All 3 electropop songs on this album aren't as intensively produced as, say, BE MY BABY and therefore doesn't really slap you in the face as hard, but they're all amazing in their own right.

There are 2 rock tracks on this album - that's 100% more than what ETERNITY had! Ho ho ho ho. Unfortunately, Blue Velvet falls a bit flat for me as it doesn't really go anywhere and since it has a rock arrangement like the original, it pales in comparison to the latter because I think the strings are one of the standout elements in the original arrangement. "Otoko", on the other hand, is amazeballs and is just about as great as the original. Blue Velvet can just go cry in shame. TATTOO would've fit on this album perfectly with these two songs in place.

Moving on to the pop side, I thought Lovely would sound much more... lovely without having to suffer through its music video. Unfortunately, I was ironically wrong. Sure, it's more tolerable, but barely. The song just drones on and on and on and on and I just can't take it. Sorry guys, different strokes for different folks. Jounetsu, which translates to Passion, is a clear enough reason for her use of a slightly lounge-y arrangement with trumpets and shit. I love it. I do appreciate the occasional, short fluctuations in the tempo throughout the song. While we're talking about this song, and not trying to be rude, but does anybody know why the original singer, UA, looks so... manly in her CD covers? She doesn't even look that bad in videos I've seen of her?!?!?! But yea this is just a little sidetrack. 

The slower songs are scattered throughout this album like the ashes of ayumi hamasaki's now-dead career along the rivers all over Japan. One more time,One more chance is more along the lines of ETERNITY-like songs with an ethereal atmosphere similar to the original which is really smoooooth and flows really well with her vocals. The same goes for Alone, which was already the b-side of her Koishikute single. Koyoi no Tsuki no Youni is the Chiisana Koi no Uta of this album - also very mellow-sounding and enjoyable. Uta wa Waga Inochi closes the album, and rightfully so, since it doesn't really fit anywhere else on the album. She's performed this song once at a Misora Hibari memorial, but a studio version wouldn't hurt as well. I personally think it's hilarious. Can you imagine a music video for this song where Kuu is floating around mid-air with cheap fading and soft glow effects  shamelessly plastered all over with her just casually bouncing around the screen during the la la la la la la laaAaAaAaAa~ parts? What can I say, I'm a visionaire.

I was actually skeptical about the album beating ETERNITY ~Love & Songs~, but it sure did. Sure, there are some gems on its predecessor that cannot be beaten, but this album has its own merits. I don't think the album flow is a huge issue, because it's probably intentional to further point out its colorful variety. JUJU who? BENI who? They can't even lay a single skin cell on this bitch's weave. I appreciate her efforts in really reworking on songs, and not simply giving bland rearrangements that all sound the same just to earn a quick buck and temporary career revival. This album is tight (you know what else is tight?) and showcases Kuu's artistic versatility at her best.

Listen to previews here.


Album highlights: Pink Spider, Shake Hip!, Jounetsu, One more time,One more chance, "Otoko", Koyoi Tsuki no You ni, Uta wa Waga Inochi

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