Cocco [Bougainvillea] (First Album)

February 1, 2009

Kubi.
COUNTDOWN
Hashiru Karada
Isho
Rainman
Baby Bed
Sing a Song ~No Music, No Life~
Gajumaru
Nemureru Mori no Oojisama ~haru, natsu, aki, fuyu~
Yawaraka na Kizuato
Hikookigumo
Hoshi no Umareru Hi

The album starts off with the somewhat frenzied Kubi. This was an incredible start to the album. I mean I’ve only heard a handful of songs from Cocco, but I’ve never really listened to her more rock-oriented songs. The main instrument is the drums, then there’s some bass, I believe a guitar and a violin plays for a sweet while at the very end of the song. Cocco’s vocals were so intense and when she got to the chorus, it was just amazing. Her voice sounded so weak, but she sung it with such force and attitude, it was like she was really aiming to get her point across. I got the vibe of a woman scorned, and I sincerely felt the burn.

The next track on the album is the intense COUNTDOWN. Wow, just wow. This song honestly leaves me speechless. The arrangement mimics Cocco’s voice; its low when she is low, like a whisper. Than it rises when her voice rises and it blares and pounds into you relentlessly. I’m talking about both her vocals and the arrangement. At one point the song got pretty twisted arrangement-wise, it sounded so heavy metal. I don’t like heavy metal AT ALL, but that part was nice. At the end Cocco screeches and then sighs. This song can come across as very annoying, but it leaves such an impression.

The next track on the album is the static-sounding Hashiru Karada. I almost didn’t like this song because it was shaping up to be a whole bunch of noise, especially considering that the arrangement sounds like your typical rock arrangement. Even so, it was pretty fitting. Cocco’s vocals were pretty strong, especially during the chorus. There’s nothing really different about this song, but it has a good chorus.

The next track on the album is the mid-tempo Isho. This is a really intriguing song. I didn’t really expect much from this track to be truthful and came out with the feeling that this is quite possibly going to be one of my favorite Cocco songs. It started off in a ‘sounds of nature’ type way and then went into the drums. Cocco’s vocals were great she sounded so troubled, especially when her voice gets high and breathy during the chorus.

The next track on the album is the bland Rainman. The song is sung in full English, but I’m not entirely sure, because her voice made it all sound very strange. There’s really no arrangement to speak of, but I believe its an acoustic piece. The song seems interesting and probably good when it first starts (with a title like ‘rainman’ I was expecting it to be more emotionally felt), but when you get into the song you realize that you don’t really care for it and it becomes forgettable.

The next track is the soft rock-ish Baby Bed. Honestly, the title creeps me out. The arrangement is pretty hard-hitting even if its played at such a mellow pace and makes you think of sustained intensity. Cocco’s vocals are hard to describe, because she tends to sound the same no matter what song she’s singing. I didn’t have a problem with her voice and it made this song a lot more interesting than it would have been otherwise. Despite that however, its a pretty boring song that goes completely over your head.

The next track on the album is the interesting Sing a Song ~No Music, No Life~. The song starts off with Cocco saying something along the lines of: ‘no sex, no kissing…’ etc. How boring? Lolz. This was a nice song and it took me completely by surprise. Cocco sings it in full English, decent English. The arrangement is so natural and gives you this free feeling; Cocco’s vocals were really good, despite me never really knowing what to say about then she sounded really nice, especially on the ‘no music, no life’ parts towards the end.

The next track on the album is the odd Gajumaru. I say odd because its like, ‘wtf? Cocco is this you?’ I mean she’s completely mellowed out in this song. The arrangement is some sort of whistle that sounds like something you’d hear as a jingle in a holiday commercial. Her vocals are pretty tame she doesn’t do much of anything with them and sounds carefree and pretty indifferent. I thought it was a nice little tune, cute too.

The next track on the album is the static Nemureru Mori no Oojisama ~haru, natsu, aki, fuyu~. I’ll give it to Cocco this is one interesting song, but it does not mean its a good song. The arrangement starts off light and then goes into a little aggressive rock, which is fitting, then towards the end of the song it gets chaotic and grating and you have the sudden urge to rip your ears off. Cocco’s vocals are fine, but after a while they seem to become background noise, because there were certain parts in the song where I couldn’t make out her voice at all. Cocco ends the song breathing heavily like she had been running from someone, its rather confusing. This song is impossible as is, I think it’d be a great song live, though.

The next track on the album is the plain Yawaraka na Kizuato. I don’t mean plain in a bad way though. When I heard the first chord of the guitar I immediately thought of DAI’s ‘fukai mori’ I lost interest in this song for a short while and then gained it back halfway through. The song sounds so ordinary, regular and natural, I really like that. Cocco’s vocals aren’t much, but it fit so well with the arrangement and the whole flow of this song. Its a nice listen.

The second to last track on the album is the down-tempo Hikookigumo. This is a pretty sad song, that really touched me. The arrangement is a solitary guitar which makes the song sound very acoustic. It plays intimately so I’m wondering if Cocco herself was playing it and singing at the same time. Cocco’s vocals were really quite mournful and the sincere melancholy of her vocal performance is what pulled me into the song. It wrenches my heart when she sings: ‘so far away’ its just so sad and it makes you feel really lonely… songs like this always get to me.

The last track on the album is the semi forgettable Hoshi no Umareru Hi. This song is really hit or miss and for me I’d have to say its a miss, because it goes completely over my head. The arrangement is pretty airy I made out the drums, but it just sounded like I was listening to a sound clip on a silent movie. Cocco’s vocals were decent, but I can’t really recall much of her singing outside of those annoying ‘ah-ah-aah’ parts. This isn’t a weak end to the album, but its a very unmemorable one.

-GRADE: B
Rating: ** stars

Cocco’s first album Bougainvillea was a good listen. I found Cocco a bit hard to review and I really thought that in turn I wasn’t going to be able to review her permanently. This is my first time listening to one of Cocco’s albums fully, so it was hard because I didn’t have anything to go by. I like this rock sound that Cocco has going on its genuine and doesn’t seem contrived. At times it can become overwhelming, arrangement-wise and vocal wise, but it manages to even itself out an become pretty stand-out. I mostly heard the drums, guitar and the piano, but they made some pretty good beats. Cocco’s voice is a bit hard to put into words, because its unique and pretty flat in a way so she always ends up in a sense sounding the same. Cocco manages to make it work though and I find that I really love her sound. The stand-out track on this album is Isho, but I found that I really enjoyed Sing a Song ~No Music, No Life~ and Hikookigumo a lot as well. Bougainvillea may not be all that memorable of an album, but for a debut its a pretty decent one.

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