Kokia [Ai ga Kikoeru (Listen for the Love)] [Fifth Album]

September 30, 2008

Itsuka Dareka wo Ai Shita Toki (Anthem Version) (いつか誰かを愛した時; Someday When You Love Someone)
Uchuu ga… (宇宙が…; A Universe is…)
Ahiru no Kokoro (アヒルの心; Hope of an Ugly Ducklin’)
Futari no Musume (二人の娘; The Story of Two Daughters)
Kakusei ~open your eyes~ (覚醒; Awakening)
cocoro (Heart)
HUMANITARIAN
so sad so bad
Yasashikusareru to Yasashikunareru Hana (やさしくされるとやさしくなれる花; A Flower Blooming Under Tenderness)
Nukumori (listen for the love) (ぬくもり; Warmth)
why do I sing?
Atatakai Basho (あたたかい場所; Cosy Place)
Remember the Kiss ~World Ver.~
Inori ni mo Nita Utsukushii Sekai (祈りにも似た美しい世界; Music Like a Prayer)

The album starts off with the boring Itsuka Dareka wo Ai Shita Toki (Anthem Version) (いつか誰かを愛した時; Someday When You Love Someone). This song just trickles by, but not like a stream or a friendly tortoise, but like a snail leaving a trail of slime behind it; it’s so boring it becomes unbearable. Kokia does absolutely nothing with her voice but annoy she’s singing almost acappella, because there is no arrangement other than those unimpressive tribal sounds in the background. Kokia does a lot of off-key high notes which really irritates; the song is also way too long to be so boring and as the first track it makes you nearly wary to listen to the rest.

The next track is the acid induced Uchuu ga… (宇宙が…; A Universe is…). It’s one mess of a song. Nothing on this track made a lick of sense. I couldn’t tell where the verses ended and the chorus began, because it seemed like a whole mesh of ad-libs. The arrangement is none existent and plays like air and Kokia’s vocal performance was tragic she sounded like she was at some sort of ceremony and had gotten possessed by the spirit of her ancestors, because her voice hits these weird tones that sound almost alien and absurd. Terrible and forgettable song.

The next track is one of the most ridiculous songs I have ever heard, Ahiru no Kokoro (アヒルの心; Hope of an Ugly Ducklin’). Every time I listen to this album I expect to like this song, because what a touching title an I’m sure the message is very heartwarming, but the approach to the song was done all wrong and it just makes every thing so stupid and pointless. It begins with a quaking duck, which is laughable, then it goes into the song? The arrangement is very basic, very. Kokia’s vocals are even more glaring in this track than they were in the previous I can’t even remember the verses, but the chorus was awful. Kokia does this odd little wail with her voice and it just makes you cringe and wonder why she insists on butchering her voice in this way. This song is just terribly bad.

The next track on the album is the down-tempo Futari no Musume (二人の娘; The Story of Two Daughters). The first track on the album so far that I actually like and as the fourth song that is not a good thing. I’ve always liked this song from the first time I listened to this album to now. Its so calm and peaceful and sounds really inspiring. When Kokia sings this it really does sound like the story of two daughters and it’s almost heartbreaking in a sense, especially considering the cracking tones Kokia hits. I believe this is my favorite track.

Kakusei ~open your eyes~ (覚醒; Awakening) the next track is very similar to Itsuka Dareka wo Ai Shita Toki as to where it never goes anywhere and just bores. I’ll admit this is a bit more interesting than the first track, but at the same time it’s anticlimactic even towards the end when Kokia was just barely holding that note it was just embarrassingly unimpressive and had me wishing the song would hurry up an end. Its just so long-winded and after a while just becomes unbearable, because Kokia goes through so many tone changes which seem unnecessary because the arrangement just goes along at the same windy pace.

The next track is the down tempo and entirely too slow cocoro (Heart). I wanted to give this song the benefit of the doubt, because even though Kokia insists on doing that irritating wailing call with her tones its still a pretty decent song when you think about it. However, I really can’t, because it’s entirely too slow-paced to the point of it being impossible. It’s just way too boring and Kokia does absolutely nothing with this song it just keeps going at the same pace throughout, making it just impossibly dull.

Finally we pick up the pace a tad making things a bit more livelier with the next track HUMANITARIAN. After the lag of bad down-tempo songs it was refreshing to hear one a bit more up in the tempo, however, it all falls to the wayside when you catch on to the very basic arrangement and the fact that it seems like Kokia is saying the same thing over and over again like some sort of monotonous loop, the repetitiveness is enough to drive you crazy.

The next track is very similar to the previous track, so sad so bad starts off on a very weird note with Kokia saying what sounded like, ‘is this a creature?’ or something and it’s almost like she’s trying too hard to be spiritual and it comes off as very absurd. The beat is basic just like the previous, but it’s like a constant thrum, then comes the repetitiveness and weird becomes very dull and uninspiring.

We go into the next track which is the very slow and down-tempo Yasashikusareru to Yasashikunareru Hana (やさしくされるとやさしくなれる花; A Flower Blooming Under Tenderness). The vocal performance from Kokia was nice and the arrangement was very slow and though uninteresting it still did it’s part. This is a nice song, but it’s just so long-winded and seems to go on forever. I mean it’s like Kokia was trying to make a point, which was what I perceived by the touching title, but it’s like it never gets to that point and just trickles along at the same pace never going anywhere.

Kokia keeps the down-tempo tracks coming with the rather soothing Nukumori ~aigakikoeru~ (ぬくもり ~aigakikoeru~; Warmth ~Listen for the Love~). Finally, I come across another song I actually like on here the last song being The Story of Two Daughters. This song is very warm and I really like that, because it brings meaning to the ‘warmth’ in the title. Kokia’s vocals are very laid-back almost casual an light. I’m glad she didn’t do a whole mesh of high tones like she’s done for most of these tracks otherwise it would have ruined a good song. Nukumori ~aigakikoeru~ is still not very impressive, but it brings me back to the Kokia I’m used to hearing and it’s a nice listen.

The next track is the underwhelming why do I sing?. A song that is sung entirely in English and not very bad English either. I actually thought I was going to like this song, because the lyrics are very touching such as her saying that music is a gift from God and she believes that he gave her this gift to sing and touch people. The arrangement is that of a piano and though the piano is my favorite musical instrumental the composition in this is very unimpressive. Kokia pauses a lot in this song and I don’t know if it was meant for emotional intensity to let her words soak in or if she was trying too hard, but it dragged this song down and made it dull and impossible.

The next is the very boring and oddly long Atatakai Basho (あたたかい場所; Cosy Place). This song is so grating because it plays like one that you feel will never end and you’re just wishing that it will. Kokia’s vocals seem to drag and that makes this song incredibly dull and an absolute snoozer. The arrangement is somewhat nice, but it plays dryly and in the end like Kokia’s vocal performance offers nothing. This song is forgotten as soon as it ends and I should know, I had to listen to it three times for this review.

The next track is another version of one of my favorite Kokia songs Remember the Kiss ~World Ver.~. I don’t too much like this version Kokia doesn’t really do anything to it to make it stand out or wow. I was expecting a lot more from the ‘world’ version of this, but instead it sounds like every other dull song on this album.

The last track on the album is the semi-all right Inori ni mo Nita Utsukushii Sekai (祈りにも似た美しい世界; Music Like a Prayer). I’ll admit it’s a whole lot better than why do I sing?, but at the same time it’s forgettable. I can’t recall anything and this album ended the way it started: bad.

-GRADE: F
Rating: 1/2 star

Kokia’s fifth album Ai ga Kikoeru (Listen for the Love) is in my opinion her worst album to date. I’m guessing Kokia was going for spiritual and enlightenment with this album, but in the end it came off more as alien and strange. Ai ga Kikoeru is insanely boring, it really blew my mind. I mean these are all new tracks, no single tracks, no b-sides, but all new and fresh material an out of all fifth teen tracks I only cared for two. Kokia does some awful things with her tone that really ruin the majority of the songs on here and all the arrangements were terribly basic making nearly every track on here mediocre and grating. This odd album is nothing unusual for Kokia since this is how she approaches her music. At the same time though she did everything wrong this fifth time around and I’m hoping she never does this again. This album was absolutely terrible and the only song worth listening to is The Story of Two Daughters and that is just sad. I’d recommend this to no one, because not even die-hard Kokia fans would get this album or what Kokia’s intentions were while going into this. However, I’d say this is for the die-hard fans who want to listen to an album that has nothing but new tracks on it and a completely warped and out there take on her music; casual fans I’d say skip this you’d most likely wonder if Kokia was on something, because this album makes NO sense.

2 Responses to “Kokia [Ai ga Kikoeru (Listen for the Love)] [Fifth Album]”

  1. utameni Says:

    Geat music is never instantly ‘catchy’. That is why KOKIA’s music, particularly in this album, achieves greatness. For many KOKIA songs, you only get the point after listening to them several times. To me, that is their strength, their excitement. I know that I won’t immediately understand them, and the excitement comes from knowing that in a day or two, after constant listening, they will be wonderful, and a permanent part of my life. When they eventually reveal themselves…they become an obsession. If the songs, like Yasashikusareru to Yasashikunareru Hana sound simple at first listening, they become something rare – a simple beauty – after five? six? listens… that’s extremely difficult to achieve, and KOKIA is one of the few artistes in the world with the talent and courage to do it. So Sad So Bad – have you ever heard anything like it? It sits in my brain like a special treat. I can relate to that ‘creature’. My favourite track: Uchuu ga… A Universe Is. Triumphant, sweeping, melodic. It reminds me of a poem about flying from a long time ago…”to slip the surly bonds of earth..and touch the face of God.”

  2. memoriesoflove Says:

    I’m glad that you didn’t attack me or my opinion and I respect you for not agreeing with what I said about this album, but giving reasons as to why. I agree with you, great music is not always catchy, though I do not listen to songs for the catchy value. I listen to music with my heart. I like music that speaks to me and yes Kokia music does speak to me, but I just didn’t like the flow of this album. I mean songbird went a bit like how this album went, but every song on that album was felt. I could not connect with this album in the same way that I could connect to songbird or uta ga chikaru… I just didn’t get this album. I wasn’t trying to attack her talent, I respect Kokia immensely she is one of my favorite artists, she has amazing talent and she makes great music, but this album in all truth did nothing for me. I respect your opinion and because of this I think I’m going to give that album another listen and see what I think now that you have opened my eyes a little bit in concerns to it, maybe this time I’ll come out with the same feelings as you. In the end, its all a matter of taste. It sounds good to some, it doesn’t sound good to others.


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