single review: Koda Kumi “TABOO”

Speaking of nostalgia, remember when Koda Kumi created homosexuality in Japan? I was there when that happened.

Jokes aside, Koda Kumi is an LGBTQ* icon, and she’s no stranger to the ‘taboo’ topics of being gay in her music. From her lustful dance moves with her back-up dancers of the infamous music video of ‘SHAKE IT’, to the sensual lesbian foreplay of the 4 TIMES, Koda Kumi has done it all for homosexuals everywhere. She does this exclusively for her 2008 single ‘TABOO’, and one has to wonder how ‘taboo’ she’s gonna go, but is this worth exploring or should we just forget it even happened?

Koda Kumi promoting TABOO


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Of course, Kuu has to say she’s gonna show you something you’ve never seen before, and she knows it’s a secret you gotta keep to yourself tonight. I mean, is that not the definition of “TABOO“?

Tackling on the subject of forbidden love and hot-seat topics, “TABOO” is a track that is a hot mess, but a fantastic hot mess. Its instrumental is all over the place, with its periodic R&B beats, its synth overlay, its simple drum beat, with drip-like sounds, among other weird instruments that are hidden in between. Yet it works with such appeal, giving us a club jam that we knew had to happen post-amniotic fluid (I’m sorry, girl, I had to), because the gays needed it! The gays! Anyway, this is a fabulous song that still holds up more than 10 years later (lordt), and its music video is all kinds of homo (see below). Thank you, Kumi, for keeping this song a well-made not-secret.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

From that first vocal twinkle, “Always” hits hard… in the feels. It’s a great midtempo R&B ballad, incorporating trills of guitar and high synth beats with bouts of claps in between to give this ‘You are not alone’ vibes (which, you know, was released like 4 years later, but that’s aside from the point). It has a wholesome instrumental, which sparks a warm feeling. Not only that, but Kuu’s vocals are very reserved here, going for a softer tone without going overkill. It’s a wonderfully bearable and uplifting song, one that I always (no pun intended… not) find myself turning to if I want to listen to any of Kuu’s toned down tracks.

TABOO (HOUSE NATION Sunset In Ibiza Remix)

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Yawn. Another remix.

‘TABOO’ might be made for the clubs all on its own, but this single needed to take it to the NEXT level with “TABOO (HOUSE NATION Sunset In Ibiza Remix)“, which is a guitar-filled high-energy synth version of its original song, with dark undertones to give its original song more of an edge. Yet, it just doesn’t mesh! There’s good parts, but even then, they don’t seem to follow through well in transition, and it doesn’t suit the original at all. I would avoid this song at the club at all costs. This ain’t no sunset in Ibiza…


LOVE it. Thanks Kuu for the representation!

I will say its remix is completely unnecessary and belongs as part of her remix album series rather than on the single (as its score just drags the entire single down; sorry to the two awesome tracks on this single). Apart from that, both original songs on the single showcase the best of Kuu from both angles: one on her ero-kakkoii side, and the other on her more subdued, wholesome, lovely side. This single is worth a check… and I will cash that before I hit the club with my girlfriend to find me a hot man to fool around with! Or you can just watch its music video for full reference…


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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