Koda Kumi – Dejavu

March 16, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Posted in Koda Kumi | 4 Comments
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  1. Prologue to Dejavu
  3. Lollipop
  4. Okay
  5. Aitakute
  6. Passing By
  8. Interlude to Dejavu
  9. Melting
  10. Hey baby!
  11. Choi Tashi Life
  12. Anata Dake ga
  13. Suki de, Suki de, Suki de.
  14. Bambi
  15. I Don’t Love You !??

I wasn’t all that interested in Koda Kumi’s new album, Dejavu, and when I heard that it was her most “cutesy” album I became worried. I’m not really into her cute songs and a whole album of them didn’t seem that appealing to me. It seemed to be well received by fans so that alleviated some fear of what was awaiting me. Thankfully, the album wasn’t as cute as I imagined it would be.

Koda always has great introductions and Prologue to Dejavu is no exception. It’s  not as upbeat as her introductions usually are but it has a dramatic and grandiose flare to it. Koda’s vocoded “ohs” enter the song about a quarter of the way through and she begins singingwhy won’t you come with me to my dejavu?” This intro got my hopes up a bit for the album because of its epic sound and I love how it transitions into POP DIVA. The spoken intro is amusing but it’s fierce and fits with the title of the song. The most outstanding element of this song is its sick beat. Its synth heavy, hits hard and is incredibly infectious. I love the “turn it up/put it up/shake it up/shout it out” part so much because it oozes energy and sexiness. I wish it was used more throughout the song because it’s the most addicting part. The verses are typical and there’s nothing about them that I like or dislike. The chorus is better but the fact that Koda is pretty much yelling is irritating, “pop, pop, pop diva/shout, shout, shout it out.” It would sound much better without the shouting because it causes her voice to falter. Her dance songs usually have an awesome chorus but this one leaves much to be desired. Lollipop is much better and it’s extremely hot. The synths mixed with an Arabian touch make for an unforgettable and fun arrangement. Her high vocals flow so well with the melody and I love when she sings “hey lady.” The chorus, despite Koda’s bad pronunciation of “I dodged the bullet bullet/baby boy, we’re gonna pull it, is funky and playful. The bridge gets rid of the groovy beats and Koda sings in a lower tone. I love how the song immediately jumps right back into the synths. Overall, this song is a whole lot of fun and is one of the best tracks on the album.

The distorted male vocals saying “show me what you got” at the start of Okay are horrendous and should never have been allowed into the song. Despite these vocals, the song isn’t all that bad. It’s an electro mid-tempo and it’s fairly catchy. The verses are kind of bland and Koda sounds a bit bored but I like the repetition of “eyes” and “lies.” The chorus has a sweet feel to it, is much livelier and Koda sings with more emotion. The ending of the track would have been nice if those horrible male vocals didn’t show up again. Even though there are a few lackluster moments in the song, it’s still decent. The first ballad, Aitakute, is a soft R&B ballad. With a piano, lovely strings and chimes this song is very organic and has a soothing atmosphere. Koda’s vocals are delicate in the verses and she sounds lovely. I’ve never been a huge fan of her ballads but lately they’ve been improving and this song really shows that. The chorus is magnificent because all the instruments come together to create a beautiful melody and Koda’s airy vocals sound so good. The slowed down chorus after the bridge is so touching because she sounds vulnerable and her vocals are filled with emotion. This is a very lovely track. Passing By is one of Koda’s most beautiful songs. The piano is absolutely gorgeous and the male vocalist, Brian Howard, has a good voice. Their vocals blend well together and make for a very memorable song. I love when the synths come in during the pre-chorus and the lyrics are lovely, “everyday I see her and pass her by/nothing can replace her but she’s not mine.” The chorus is sung entirely in English and surprisingly Koda doesn’t sound bad, “you see/all I want is a chance to feel real within/I want to feel this love that I’m feeling.” This is a sweet, romantic ballad and it’s one of Koda’s best duets.

After two ballads, AT THE WEEK END, comes in with blazing synths. The arrangement, especially the synths, is super addicting and full of energy. Koda sings with lots of attitude and her shouting in the chorus is a lot better than her shouting in POP DIVA, “I don’t want your love at the weekend/I don’t need your love at the weekend.” Her shouting works perfectly in the chorus because it matches the heaviness of the synths. The bridge is amusing with the male backing vocals and Koda’s playful ad-libs. This is a sick electropop track and I love every second of it. Koda doesn’t usually have interludes on her albums so I was surprised to see Interlude to Dejavu. This picks up where the intro left off but Koda’s vocals are much stronger and forceful, “I just don’t know what it is/this dejavu drives me crazy/tell me, did you ever feel like this?/something like you’ve already seen before.” Melting is the token cute song on the album and this is what I thought the whole album was going to sound like. It immediately opens up with Koda singing “la, la, la melting chocolate” which sounds whiny but when the synths and chimes are added it sounds a lot better. This is a sugar rush of a song and it’s filled with what you would expect from Koda’s cute songs, bouncy vocals and a vibrant arrangement. The pre-chorus is really nice mostly due to the chimes and it sounds better than the verses. The “la, la, las” get annoying after a while but other than that it’s on the same level as all her other cute songs, decent.

Hey baby! is a whole lot of awesome and it’s my favourite song on the album. It’s filled with synths and its fun, infectious, sexy and cute all at the same time. Koda’s vocals are great and they’re filled with power and attitude. The chorus is perfect. It’s completely irresistible and the aggressive instrumentals will make you want to get up and move. The only thing that bothers me is the track length because it’s way too short. It’s less than three minutes and a song this good should be at least a minute longer. Koda returns to her cute side with Choi Tashi Life. It’s not as cute as Melting but it’s somewhat similar. It’s light, bouncy, has a refreshing feel to it and Koda doesn’t sound whiny. The chorus is catchy and I really like its optimistic feel. Her vocals are bright which gives the song a ton of energy. The bridge features some wonderful synths that lead into a slow version of the chorus. After all the upbeat and cute songs the album finally reaches its third ballad, Anata Dake ga. This song has a gorgeous and lush atmosphere because of the heavy piano, strings and chimes. Koda’s vocals are sweet during the verses and the accompanying piano is simple yet elegant. The backing vocals added halfway through the verses are lovely and make the melody stand out even more. I love Koda’s high breathy vocals during the chorus and they match perfectly with the longing atmosphere. Like I said before, her ballads have been amazing lately and this is further proof. This is a gorgeous song from start to finish.

The final ballad, Suki de, Suki de, Suki de., doesn’t have the wow factor that the previous ballad has but it’s still very nice. The verses are stripped-down and the guitar has a bittersweet feel to it. I love how the music crescendos right before the chorus and leads into the orchestra. The chorus is extravagant as the piano and strings become blended together. Despite the repetition of “suki de,” the chorus is rich and enjoyable. In the bridge, you get to hear the gorgeous instrumentation and the raw chorus sounds so sweet. Koda’s powerful vocals in the final chorus are fantastic and close the song off in an epic way. Bambi is a country song that has overdosed on cuteness. It’s nice to see Koda experiment with her cute songs and I appreciate that it doesn’t sound like her usual material. Its fun and I like the carefree vibe of the verses but the chorus is much more infectious with its rodeo vibe and energetic vocals. I love the way she sings “baby,” “crazy” and surprisingly the “I’m a baby Bambi” parts don’t bother me as much as they did before. The downside is right before the final chorus when she sings “run back to you right now.” She just doesn’t sound good at all and it’s a weak transition to the chorus. Closing off the album is I Don’t Love You !?? and it begins with a sweet synth line and Koda’s distorted vocals singing “hey boy.” It’s laid-back and the electro elements aren’t as heavy as they are in the other tracks. The verses have a great upbeat flow and the tempo picks up for the chorus which is catchy with the repetition of the English lyrics. The song comes across as slightly generic but it’s got a good beat and has some interesting moments.

Conclusion: I was so relieved when I started listening to Dejavu because it wasn’t as cute as people were making it out to be. The album really does give off a sense of déjà vu because Koda doesn’t really do anything new but it’s a good offering of high quality material. The ballads on the album are phenomenal and I’m very happy that her ballads are becoming much more enjoyable. I could have done without the cute songs and would have liked some more hot bangers. This album is lacking the fierce dance songs Koda’s known for but the aggressive tracks and ballads slightly made up for it. All in all, this is a solid album and I look forward to seeing more improvements from Koda in the future.

Recommended Tracks: Hey baby!, Passing By, AT THE WEEK END, Lollipop and Anata Dake ga




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  1. I was actually pleasantly surprised when I got this album, considering I was really let down with her previous single ‘Pop Diva’. I pretty much agree with everything you talked about, especially what you said about the chorus of “Pop Diva”, I can’t stand it. The awful talking in the beginning of “Okay” reminded me of one of those awful K-Pop introductions that are becoming all too common. I think I might have liked “Suki de, Suki de, Suki de” a little bit more than you did though.

    Amazing review and a good read, as always!

    • Thanks! I guess great minds think alike :P. I hope her next club banger makes up for POP DIVA.

  2. Great review, I’m glad to see someone who actually enjoyed the album. I thought it was alright but I can only say the only new track I really liked was Bambi. At least we can agree on the “déjà vu” part 😛

    • Thanks so much. I didn’t care too much for Bambi but like you said, at least we agree on the feeling of déjà vu lol.

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