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[Album Review] Koda Kumi - Bon Voyage

"Yeah all u bitches be trippin up on this shizz right here"

I believe one thing fans need to realise by now is that Koda Kumsies does not give a single flying fuck about reinventing herself anymore. Gorl is old enough to do what she wants to do, and Bon Voyage is the very result of that. This predominantly dance pop record proves that Kuu has done it right again and isn't trying to prove anything other than to have fun in one of her most cohesive efforts since forever.

With the evident nautical theme at play here, the only songs truly representative of the album's visual concept are SHOW ME YOUR HOLLA (with its music video too) and Let's show tonight, a short interlude that is questionably placed right smack in the middle of the album and right before the actual Bon Voyage interlude, which leads me to two possible theories:

1) Let's show tonight was switched from the front to the middle so the nautical theme sort of "carries out" throughout the album and doesn't just die off at the very beginning

OR

2) Let's show tonight was meant to be at the very front, just that Koda Kumi and/or her team was too stupid and thought Let's show tonight wasn't the introduction because it wasn't labelled that way. I think imma have to go with the latter.

The interludes on this album are no joke though - my pussy started hyperventilating the moment the beat dropped and the bass is ridiculous and got me wanting more. Interlude ~Bon Voyage~ is fucking amazing and should be kept on loop 24/7. I can already visualise Beyoncé twerking her ass so badly to this song with that big booty of hers.

SHOW ME YOUR HOLLA offers a very different style of music from Kuu because it has that old sound from god knows which era, with the trumpets at all and I find it a breath of fresh air as well, with an overall fun vibe from this song. I still find myself retardedly dancing certain parts of the choreography. Its not-so-long sister song Let's show tonight carries a more Burlesque-y vibe which sounds amazing, with its tempo changes and all.

The first half of the album is a fun bunch - Koda Kumi gives us the ultimate alcoholic anthem (also my life anthem) with LOADED feat. Sean Paul with an addictive beat loop right off the bat and lyrics like "Margalitas make us harpy" and "B for Bacardi / C for Campari / Dirty Martini / E for Everclear / F for Fuzzy Navel / G for Gin and Tonic". I have no idea what the hell an AI motto is, but I hope it has nothing to do with AI. Other than that, Kuu has finally made a song I can relate so well to :') We also have Winner Girls, a harder electronic song with attitude which gives me so much life at the breakdown at the bridge. Its lyrics leave much speculation though - "take me love me like a toy"? Is this Koda Kumi trying to objectify women?!?! ~look at me trying to stir shit up~

The second quarter of the album, more effectively known as the "wet blanket" portion of the album, is probably the least relevant and weaker part of the album. We've already heard LALALALALA and Koishikute which are alright on their own, but sound rather off in this album. I still really dig the bass in LALALALALA though. Imagine is an electro/R&B ballad that isn't particularly amazing compared to the rest of the album, but holds its own as well. It's kind of like how Slow feat. Omarian was to JAPONESQUE.

"I don't think I can spot the other J-hoes
from the top of the Oricon charts."
The second half of the album is when Kuu brings out her ghetto-bitch - we have TOUCH DOWN which incorporates elements of trap, hip-hop, rock and electro to give us some booty shaking realness. On the other hand, we have Crank Tha Bass feat. OVDS, which sounds half-assed and mediocre at best. The rapping is redundant and doesn't do anything to the song at all, the rock arrangement largely sounds terrible and her playfulness in the vocals don't nearly stand out as much as in LOL. LOL may not be one of the standout tracks, but Kuu clearly goes all out - there's major attitude, she varies her vocals, and there are annoyingly addictive hooks (that wooooah oh oh oh oh oh ohhhhh part and HA HA HA LAFFING OUT LAOD) - plus, she actually makes the effort to pronounce the letter "L" instead of going all RAFFING OUT RAOD on us.

Go to the top is another single song that fits rather comfortably in the album - the mix of electronic and rock elements make the song a great segue to the next part. Doesn't make it any less boring though. Things finally pick up from Dreaming Now! where she dives straight back into electropop dance and her Engrishy antics. It's catchy, it's uplifting, it's addictive, and I love it. It then mellows into On Your Side, which has a slight urban twist with a pretty good buildup in the arrangement. It's one of those songs that sound comforting (I mean, baby she's on your side) and soothes the heart, and is aptly placed towards the end of the album too.

U KNOW runs along the same vein where it's also an electropop song but with a mellowed-out sound compared to the songs at the beginning of the album and works really well as an ending song without being the typical ballad. Kuu clearly makes her stand that she's really not going to go anywhere ("I'm gonna dance dance dance like a superstars (sic), cuz you know who I am") so any of the J-hoes who plan to take over Kuu (except Namie, who already has) can all go home - with a copy of Bon Voyage, no less, so they can learn from the Kuueen.

Let's talk about the things Kuu has done right for this album - for clearly having stuck to the common goal all the way for simply wanting to create a solid pop record (no airy fairy, deep meanings and other bullshit that can get in the way), actually having a decent-enough flow throughout (something she's struggled with for YEARS), and creating something that is cohesive and works as an album. Most of all, you can definitely hear that she's just having FUN, and that is what makes Bon Voyage good. Everything just comes together so effortlessly.

After BEST ~third universe~, every Koda Kumi studio album since has got my pussy popping non-stop and Bon Voyage yet again adds on to that list. She should be given a weird-ass Oricon "record" for having the most number of consecutive studio albums that have managed to pop the pussies of the masses or something.

Listen to previews here.

7/10

Album highlights: SHOW ME YOUR HOLLA, Loaded feat. Sean Paul, Winner Girls, LALALALALA, Let's show tonight, Interlude ~Bon Voyage~, TOUCH DOWN, Dreaming Now!, On Your Side, U KNOW

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