Album review: Meisa Kuroki - Magazine

Album review: Meisa Kuroki - Magazine | Random J Pop

There's this girl on the J-Pop scene. You may have heard of her. Her name is Meisa Kuroki. One of Japan's most in demand celebrities. The face of UNIQLO. Top billing in several high rated J-drama's. And vocals which put Beyoncé and 1990's Whitney and Mariah to absolute shame. Okay, so I lied on that last part. Meisa can't sing for shit. But as is the way for the vocally limited pop stars of today, Meisa manages to get her pick of hot songs to choose from. And nabs studio time with producers who are able to put every effect on her voice and all manner of studio production wizardry on the music to deliver passable songs which have you forget for a hot minute that the chick singing on it, actually can't sing at all. But by golly does that beat go hard!! Meisa is a G. Meisa is the second coming. Quite simply put. She's aMeising. Bitch ain't stupid.

Meisa's album starts with a couple (what I'm sure the A&R man thought would be) party starters. "LOL" is some Kumi Koda sounding crap. The name of the song says it all. "Switch ⇔" is much like Attitude's "Are ya ready?" and "#1". Messy production, with the beat getting lost amongst how busy the music is. It's a song you want to like, but the lack of tightness in the production makes it hard. "Shock -Unmei-" is just a loud mess; and sounds like it's ripping off a bunch of songs in the process. The grandiose strings and the large echoing drums lead you to believe you're about to embark on something aurally epic, but Meisa's piss poor vocals and the ragged arse production have this song fall flat on its face.

"Bye bye my friend" is Meisa's attempt at singing. The song should have gone to Iconiq. Her vocals would have set this song off nicely. The production is fire, but Meisa's vocals shoot this shit dead at point blank range, Battlefield 3 style. "Loveholic" see's Meisa working a bit of bashment and dancehall, and I have to ask: What was this bitch thinking!? She can't even lock her shit down on pop, yet she's trying to reach for other genre's to build her repertoire!? No. "Loveholic" is horrid, because once again Meisa infects the song the second she opens her mouth to sing. The beat itself is hot, sounding like The Black eyed peas' "Hey mama" mixed in with a bit of Nelly Furtado's "No hay igual". But Meisa's vocals send this shit spiraling into a vortex of fail. Think The Black eyed peas' "I've gotta feeling" with more annoying vocals than Fergie and Casio keyboard production, and you've got the song "5 -five-". The only redeeming factor of this song is that it ends.

"Wasted" sticks out on the album by completely shifting Meisa's sound from pop glossed R&B to an angst ridden Max Martin 'n Dr. Luke style fusion of Rock and top 10 chart pop. As with every other song / style on the album, we get hot production, but Meisa infecting the song like a virus. In lieu of the song having a similar sound to "Namida no saki ni", Crystal immediately came to mind as an artist who would have nailed this. Likewise, MiChi would have owned the song completely. Meisa needs to siddown with rock. She needs to siddown with everything really. But she really does need to siddown and stay down with the rock.

"Celebrate" is a fun uptempo song which sounds like Madonna's earlier work with Jellybean, with a 2000 twist. Meisa should have gone with this as a lead single, as it is much better than the hot messes which are "LOL" and "5 -five-". Once again Meisa's vocal game is as strong as a wet paper towel. But the beat picks up her slack big time. A hot track. Now, if you want a banger, you've got one in "As I am". U-Key zone continues to show why he is one of the best producers in the Japanese R&B game right now. The production on "As I am" song is on-point! Magazine's best song by far. Even the Japanese Christina Aguilera that is Meisa doesn't sound half bad. Although the production on this track is so flawless, that she'd have to f**k up really bad to let the side down. "Loneliness" is a funky playful number in which Meisa declares she can do just fine with a man in her life. Of course it's a lie. She'd soon desire cravings for some penis. But you believe ol' Meisa for the whole 3 and a half minutes she's making her declaration of independence. Hot production and a smooth set of vocals from Meisa make this song a winner. Another song which should have been a single instead of the awful "5 -five-"; as it does what "5 -five-" attempted to, but with better execution.

When I first heard "Why??" I just face-palmed. It's all I could do. This song opens up like some powerful emotional shit is about to go down, but the only thing that comes down with this song is the volume. Musically "Why??" is really nice. It has a very Hikaru Utada-esque sound about it, and there is a real sense of urgency in the music which commands that you listen. But it is so hard to when Meisa sounds like she's being sharpshot by Bret 'The Hitman' Hart during the chorus. Where is auto-tune when a ho needs it!? "Say good night" is a waste. U-Key zone serves up slick production, Meisa delivers stone cold vocals, and they do not meet in the middle. Why U-key zone did not put this aside for Hiromi, I do not have the foggiest - as she would have done great things with this song. A damn shame, because the throwback Janet Jackson sound is absolute fire. But Meisa's vocals freeze the song cold.

Just as Attitude ended with a ridiculously smooth R&B jam, Magazine does the same. "Somewhere..." is just too hot for Meisa. What is it with U-Key zone giving his gems away to this tramp!? Why did Crystal Kay not get given this shit!? Meisa must be sucking his dick. It's the only explanation. She's like Japan's equivalent to Cassie. And U-Key zone is her Ryan Leslie.

Magazine is fitting title for this album, because you'll check it out for a bit, and then just toss it aside. A common factor with this album is that every song which doesn't work is largely in part because of Meisa's vocals. With the exception of 1 or 2 songs, the production of Magazine is amazingly solid, and the sound is consistent too. But Meisa's voice is crap, indistinct and adds nothing to the songs. Meisa was due a full length release after a couple of mini albums and her popularity reaching fever pitch over the past couple of years. But she is unable to sustain a full length release, because she doesn't have the vocal talent to do so. I don't need Meisa to belt. I just need her to be able to hold a song, and she barely can. At least vocally challenged hoes like Britney can sing in key. The same can't always be said for Meisa. On some songs I wonder if the audio was even playing through Meisa's headphones whilst she was in the booth laying her vocals down. Because there are too many occasions where she is seriously off key. Bitch must have that one ear deafness Ayumi Hamaskai has. Only in both ears.

Had Magazine been skimmed down to 5 or 6 of the best songs, this would have been a killer mini album. But Meisa just isn't able to captivate for a full length LP, regardless of how great the production is throughout. The limits of her vocals gets pushed to breaking point across 13 tracks, and the cracks begin to show within the first 5. Magazine is worth checking out, as it does feature some great songs. And you will enjoy it as long as you know what you're embarking on beforehand. Britney and Cassie fans will lap this shit up real quick, having been conditioned to chicks with no vocal talent on hot beats.

Rating: 5 out of 10

Album highlights:
■ Switch ⇔
■ Celebrate
■ Say good night
■ As I am ★ J's fave
■ Loneliness
■ Somewhere...


  1. I think your becoming to soft J. I had to find and listen to Somewhere. It is a very pretty song and she sounds ok but the song would have been so much better in the hands of someone who could've brought a richness that the song deserves. She makes the song sound flat and typical.

  2. I love Say Goodnight, Wasted, and Loneliness. I actually tend to really like her music. I don't even care if she can't sing. Songs be damn catchy.


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