Constantly hanging around the top of the Oricon charts, it seems Kumi Koda can do no wrong with her brand of pop. With Trick, her seventh album, the story was the same, as the set debuted at number one on the charts, propelled by a series of heavy-hitting singles released prior. Driven by a heavy set of pseudo-industrial beats and tones, the sound is fairly heavy for a pop set, focusing on the anger and disgust of love gone wrong as often as the cheerfulness of love gone right. The album opens (after a brief intro track) with a thumping dance track in "Taboo," then goes to a mix of dated vocals and heavier grooves for "Show Girl," her first chance on the album to let loose with the prettier vocals that normally characterize her work. There's a basic ballad in "Stay with Me," then surprisingly catchy syncopation in "This Is Not a Love Song" that really shows off a side of Koda that one might not expect. Some standard Fergie-style oversimplified cheerleader pop follows in "Bling Bling Bling" (and some Fergie-accompanied oversimplified cheerleader pop in the follow-up, "That Ain't Cool," complete with Auto-Tunes). There's a brief stop for some basic rock in "Hurry Up," but the sound quickly moves back to ballads, dance tracks, and overdone pop aesthetics to finish off the set. Kumi Koda has produced some outstandingly catchy pieces over her career already, and has been rewarded with sales and fans. With Trick, though, there are only a few truly noteworthy moments, things she hasn't done before. Fans should be thrilled, but new listeners may do better to simply pick up a few of the best singles ("This Is Not a Love Song," "Show Girl").
AllMusic Review by Adam Greenberg
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