Kou Shibasaki [Kiki] (Third Album)

March 27, 2009

At home
Toi Toi
Amai sakikusa
Hito koi no meguri

The album starts off with the could have been a good song Kiki. This song started out on such a good note and then towards the middle and latter half of the song it just went downhill. The arrangement was very sparkly, but in an elegant way and I found myself absorbed in it, than as the song progressed it seemed to lose its sparkle and become loud and a little messy, as if they changed musician’s during Kou’s vocal performance, it was so jarring. Kou’s weak vocals were not noticeable in the beginning, but as the song progressed it seemed like she was trying to compete with the sudden rise in the composition and her voice just couldn’t do it. I literally had to force myself to ignore the rest of this track and was just too relieved when it ended. This is one of the worst title tracks I have ever heard.

The next track on the album is the dull At home. I didn’t pay attention to this song at all and I couldn’t even force myself to, its just so uninteresting and boring. The arrangement seemed similar to the previous tracks arrangement, only more watered down. Kou’s vocals were, I don’t even know, but she didn’t sound very good regardless. This is such a forgettable track.

The next track on the album is the mid-tempo Regret. I have finally come across a song I actually like and that is not dull or painful on the ears. The arrangement is nice, the drums gave off a very casual feeling. Kou’s vocals are also less of a chore in this and though that weakness in her tones are still prevalent its tolerable in this track. It doesn’t stand out, but its a pretty all right song.

The next track on the album is the somewhat up-tempo Invitation. Ah, this was a bit refreshing. The arrangement is light, but sparkly (I do love sparkly sounding beats) and engaging in a sense. Kou’s vocals were pretty controlled in this track and I hardly noticed the weakness of her vocals. The chorus and the slightly quick pace of this song is what keeps its interesting, otherwise its not very stand-out.

The next track on the album is the interlude Toi Toi. It consists of Kou talking over a rather dramatic arrangement.

The next track on the album is Amai sakikusa. This song is decent, but it doesn’t really stay with you. The arrangement is nice, though nothing different it carries the song. Kou’s vocals are not so off-putting in this track, I actually rather liked them, but she did sound a bit weird, I really don’t know how to explain it, but her voice is rather odd. This song is all right, though it kind of just passes over you.

The next track on the album is the airy Bunshin. This is a really nice song that strangely gives off a very windy feeling, but its the type of wind you embrace after being trapped in heat for so long. The arrangement is the best thing about this track, it makes the whole song, its gorgeous. Kou’s vocals are surprisingly quite nice in this, I really loved the slow and casual way in which she sung this, but still the instrumental is definitely the high light.

The next track on the album is the slightly rhythmic Interference. I really liked the light and somewhat jazzy air of the arrangement, especially the trumpet and or horn? It gives off a very comfortable atmosphere. I thought Kou’s vocal performance was nice as well, she went with light, calm tones and it really complimented the music.

The next track on the album is the brief Sakanakana. This song is pretty short, as soon as it begins it ends and that kind of dumbs down the enjoyment factor. The arrangement had a bit of variety, so it was interesting to an extent. Kou’s vocals were pretty good, I liked the quick way in which she sung this, but at the same time its just too short and forgettable.

The next track on the album is Hito koi no meguri. This song is pretty limp and boring. I stopped paying attention a quarter of the way through. The arrangement is typical, nothing interesting. Kou’s vocals return to those odd tones, like her voice if going out or something strange, it just drags this song into the ground.

The next track on the album is the windy Kage. This track is really nothing, but I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt because it has a nice flow. The arrangement is pretty much the best part about this song, since its fluid and seems almost epic in a sense. Kou’s vocals ruin this song a bit however, because they sound so weak. It really makes this song a bit uninteresting.

The second to last track on the album is the clunky Usagi. I’m having a hard time figuring out what to say, because honestly this album has exhausted me. This song is pretty bland. The arrangement was, I don’t even know, but it just played oddly and stiffly. Kou’s vocals were the worst, I don’t understand what’s wrong with her voice, but maybe she should drink tea or do vocal training because her voice is so weak and its all very tiring listening to her strain-sing.

The last track on the album ups the pace with Calendar. At this point I was irritated and sleepy-bored, so it was a relief to me that the last song was a bit more up-tempo. The arrangement is sparkly, nothing I haven’t heard a thousand times before, but all right. Kou’s vocals were pretty decent in this song and though it didn’t keep me engaged, I still found myself somewhat liking this track. Its an unmemorable ending to the album though.

Rating: * star

Kou Shibasaki’s third album Kiki was quite the chore to get through, it was nearly torturous. I’m not sure what I have gotten myself into, but I’m surprised I haven’t dropped her from my permanent blog list. I don’t know maybe I see potential, but the fact that this is her third studio album and it plays like this makes me almost scared to hear her sophomore and debut albums. Its not the fact that the arrangements are so unmemorable, its the fact that Kou’s vocals are so weak and its just grating and frustrating listening to her struggle. I nearly gave up, because the whole effect was giving me such a headache and by the time the last track faded I was more exasperated than I had ever been reviewing an album. In truth I can’t recall not even one song, not a one stood out. Kiki is all about taste, either you like the sound or you don’t, I’m definitely a part of the latter. If I never listen to this album again it’ll be too soon. I hope her other albums play better, seriously.


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