JNL Team presents: The Monthly Review
What is TMR (The Monthly Review)? At the start of every month JNL Team will pick a random album and/or single that was released in Japan and review it.
January 2016 review.
Album/Single: Winter of Love
Artist: 倖田來未 (Koda Kumi)
Review by: Mariëlle
The famous Koda Kumi is back with a new album to soothe the cold winter days! Some of the songs on this album were promoted on Inazuma Rock Fes in 2015, as a treat for fans. The album, Winter of Love, is a winter album full of lovely ballads and beautiful songs that make you want to wrap yourself in a blanket with a hot beverage.
Released on January 20th, Koda Kumi brings us a winter collection album, consisting of 17 amazing winter songs. The album comes in 4 different versions: A CD+DVD edition, a CD+Blue-ray edition, a CD Only edition and a Fanclub edition. It reached #1 on the daily Oricon charts when it was released.
Because this album is a winter collection album, and the songs are similar in style, I will only list a few of the songs and leave the rest of these great songs for your own to discover.
The first track, On and On, is a relaxing song with some spice. It sounds very nice from the first second you listen to it. It fits well with Koda’s unique and nasal vocals, and the chorus is very simple and catchy, and is guaranteed to stay in your head for a while. The English used in the song, including the title of the song itself, could use a little improvement in terms of pronunciation, but it’s not at all bad.
Second track, 奇跡, is very relaxing and starts out sounding like a track for in a fantasy-themed film or anime. I recommend this song to someone who needs to calm down or just relax for a while. It’s a very nice song, with a very beautiful chorus.
Hands is the third track of the album. Another slow song, which has a beautiful start up. Despite being similar in style to some of the other songs, it’s not boring in the least. This song is a beautiful touch, and sounds like a nice OST for a drama about winter. When listening to this song, I get the urge to wrap myself in a warm blanket and drink tea or hot coco; it gives me a nice ‘wintery’ feeling.
The fourth song is called Promise, which starts with some great English lines, which are pronounced quite well, too. Another ballad with great vocals. It’s a song about making and keeping promises.
The fifth song, called You, is slow as well. It gives a completely different feeling than the other songs, however. It sounds very refined and classy, while some of the others are more raw.
The ninth song on the album, 愛のうた, was promoted at Inazuma Rock Fes in 2015. It’s my favorite song on this album. The vocals are great and the song is beautiful and sad, and fits perfect with the winter theme.
The last track of Winter of Love is called NO ME WITHOUT YOU. This final song is probably the saddest one on the album. The vocals really bring out the sorrow in this song, and the soft tunes might bring you to tears. The song makes you want to hug a giant teddy bear and eat a bucket of ice cream.
The other tracks are also very relaxing and beautiful songs. Often they sound like they belong as a soundtrack for a fantasy-themes film or anime, or as an OST for a J-drama set in winter. Some of the tracks could even pass as a Christmas song, without having anything to do with Christmas at all. That’s how good they are, and how amazingly they portray the feeling of this cold but beautiful season. The album is great for people who need to calm down and enjoy some time to themselves, and I suggest listening to this album while sipping some hot coco near a fire place.
As expected, this album is an absolute treat to fans of Koda Kumi, and it’s perfect to help you get through the cold winter months. I do feel this is an album that has many songs that you ‘need to be in the mood for’, for its songs to be a popular choice in other seasons of the year. Despite knowing this is a ‘Winter Album’, I recommend this album to fans of Koda Kumi, but not to those who haven’t listened to any other Koda Kumi song yet, as I get the feeling the album will ‘bore’ the new listeners after a few songs. Existing fans will certainly enjoy this album, however, as Koda’s vocals come out well.
For those of you who wish to purchase this album and support Koda Kumi, click the links below.