Koyote / Koyote in London / September 20, 2006
I’ll Love Rock & Roll / 02. Play / 09. Wall
It’s hard to believe that Koyote is still around after, count it, nine albums. This wouldn’t seem like such a huge deal if it wasn’t for that fact that none of their albums are very marketable, they have become progressively worse, and only one of the three original members is still around (they’ve cycled through four dropouts, one who was jailed for drug possession). And although you’d think they’ve been around for a long time because of this, they actually released their first album in 1999. They released two albums that year, and one album every consecutive year afterwards, except 2001.
I’d say the culmination of their career was the third through fifth albums, with the fourth being their most remarkable. Since then, only one or two songs per album has really caught my eye. Their first two albums were amateurish at best while their last few albums have been retro junk. The group, consisting of two males and one female member, follow a strict formula for their songs: girl trades off verses with boy, chorus is a stealthy combination of the two, and the beginning, middle solo, and end are bestowed upon the resident “street” rapper, who insists on getting the party started with shouts of his group’s name, English imperatives to jump up, jump up, and get down, and some indiscernibly quick Korean rap with interspliced English, just to show he’s a true rap guru, able to freestyle his bilingual prowess.
Since their sixth album, Koyote has made use of several retro techniques which has deviated strongly from their earlier albums, which transitioned from eurodance, to techno, to trance elements, to discotheque drivel. I’m not even sure their seventh album, Rainbow, should be called a piece of artistic merit, except for the raunchy “Ah Ja! Ah Ja!,” which is a cheesy fight song to make the fourth album’s Hangul tribute seem like a nursery rhyme. With the release of their eighth album last year, I pretty much gave up on them, as the only worthy song was the opening track and a spot-on retro romp of “The Boy Is Mine” (no affiliation to the American song). I am so glad I did not buy their ninth album.
The cheesy rap catcalls are busted out full force, layered choral vocals have been freely distributed across most, if not all, tracks. The surfer-friendly opening track has some appeal, with it’s early 80s production and catchy chorus, but the rest of the album hits a steep decline after that. “Play” harks back to their earlier days on the sixth album Line, but instead of being cutesy (which is what it seems they are going for) they fail to uphold the rest of the album with anything less than synthetic dance vibes. Coming from a group who say they didn’t mind sounding redundant, playing to a fanbase that enjoyed and expected consistancy, I wonder which group of fans said it was acceptable to continue the upbeat, europop element. What was so wrong with the fourth and fifth albums sound? Nothing. But I do have a big problem with this album.
This album is so worthless as to render Koyote’s entire career almost fruitless. Guys, it is over. It is pretty bad when you’ve gone from starting dance trends in Korea to creating your own dance version of the Beach Boys. In the most horrifying manner possible; by adding rap and hip hop to a dish best served in the trash. I wish it was still 2002.