Destiny Line – Ai no Matador –

Koda Kumi – secret [4th Studio Album]

Posted on: June 25, 2008

Koda Kumi’s 4th studio album, entitled secret, was released on 02.09.05. Considered to be Kumi’s breakthrough album, secret features a number of catchy upbeat tracks as well as some beautiful ballads. Her ero-kakkoi image came full through with this album and is one of her best efforts to date. The singles released before the album are as follows: LOVE & HONEY, Chase, 奇跡 and hands. Hot Stuff was also released as a single after the album.

This album’s introductory track is Intro ~Get Down.~ The song begins somewhat strangely before the cool instrumentation comes in with Kumi singing “get down” repeatedly. Next some guy raps in English with Kumi making gapsing noises before the song returns to Kumi singing “get down” repeatedly. The intro is pretty simple but it makes a nice transition into the next track.

The album’s first full-length song is the catchy and popular キューティーハニー. The song opens up with a cool and sleek instrumental with a heavy bass before the pop elements come crashing in with extreme catchiness. The first verse sounds great as Kumi brings the cute and flirtatious attitude of the song with her voice perfectly. Opening the chorus are Kumi’s nice vocals that continue throughout the section and the whole poppy feel really makes the listener addicted. She makes the chorus pop at the end as she sings the final phrase strongly. The pure instrumental section is a nice breakdown with a cool instrumentation as well as some mens’ voices heard as they talk in English such as “all the big producers coming, it’s a big hit!” and “taking the whole route for some very narrow interpretation.” The song finishes with the chorus and a big pop flash to bring the song to an excellent close. The song is a highly addictive pop song that shows off a cute flare mixed with a certain sexiness element.

KM-MARKIT joins Kumi for the hip-hop influenced dance track Hot Stuff. KM-MARKIT opens the song over the beat as he speaks a couple lines in English before Kumi comes in on the first verse. The attitude and slickness in Kumi’s voice really work with the song’s atmosphere and blends with the instrumentation very well. Before the chorus, KM-MARKIT delivers his rap and it’s nothing particularly special but it works with the song’s atmosphere. The chorus allows Kumi to show off vocally and although there is some intersting English such as “cause I got a hot stuff,” the chorus does its job of being catchy. The third verse is somewhat of a conversation between KM-MARKIT and Kumi as Kumi sings a line and then KM-MARKIT raps one after her. Dance instrumentation brings the song to a close and Kumi completely closes it with her singing “cause I got a hot stuff, come and get it.” Hot Stuff may not be the strongest song on the album but it’s nice and is enjoyable every now and then.

The rock-influenced promotional track, Selfish, is the next song on secret. The song opens up with a mysterious sound before the song’s catchy rock-influenced instrumentation begins. The first verse features some nice vocals that blend with the music in capturing the song’s overall sound. The explosive chorus is easily the most addictive part of the song as Kumi shows off her vocal strength powerfully. The pure instrumental section is a very nice breakdown of the hot dance beat followed by some very powerful adlibs from Kumi. The chorus followed by pure instrumentation brings the song to a perfect close. Kumi’s vocals and the hot instrumentation make Selfish a definite memorable track from this album.

hands opens up with the part of the chorus and from the very beginning of the piano-driven instrumentation and her vocals, the sorrow of the song is established. Common with some of Kuu’s ballads, the verses feature deeper vocals and once the chorus, her vocals show their power and emotion strongly. The song is pretty simplistic as it follows this pattern for the rest of the song. It’s a nice song and although it’s not the strongest ballad on this album, it’s a song that should be given a chance.

Hearty… is one of the cutest songs on the album. The song opens up wonderfully with the first verse that features Kumi’s cute voice along with a happy poppy instrumentation that is addictive from the very beginning. The chorus keeps up the happy atmosphere of the song as Kumi shows off a little more vocal strength. The small sections of pure instrumentation create a dreamy-like feel. The third verse continues the song’s magic before the final chorus. A sequence of pure instrumentation finishes the song off wondefully like the end of a dream. Hearty… is a very cute track and is a nice change of pace from the other songs on the album, making it one to look out for.

SHAKE IT is one of Kumi’s sexier sounding songs and features a hot Indian sound. The song opens up with the hook, spoken all in English as Kumi asks “don’t you know, don’t you know what I mean?” and soon the first verse comes. Kumi delivers her lyrics with a certain slickness and sexiness that perfectly fits the song’s atmosphere and the final phrase makes a nice interlude into the chorus as she sings “ding-dong baby.” There are a few English phrases littered throught out the song such as in the second chorus when she sings “wanna be in your control,” which really make the chorus pop. The chorus features some stronger vocals that make the chorus stand out very strongly. The breakdown after the second chorus and hook is a rap section which may seem a little out of place to the listener at first but it definitely warms up after listening a few times. The rap section features an unidentified male rapper who raps a line and then Kumi raps a line after him and the entire section is in English. Although it may stick out as a little strange, it fits the song nicely. Much like the song began, the hook takes the listener out to make a nice finish for this sexy song. SHAKE IT is very memorable and one of secret’s jewels.

奇跡, one of the album’s true ballads, comes next. The album opens up with a twinkling and beautiful instrumental before the first verse starts. Kumi’s vocals on the verses are generally deeper but there is a certain emphasis that is drawn to the lyrics and her voice. The hook features the repeating English line “ust like paradise” as well as stronger vocals from Kumi and the English lines really do help it stand out. The chorus continues her vocal strength from the verses as she wonderfully delivers her lyrics and captures the emotional presence perfectly. The third verse really allows Kumi to reach high inside and hit the notes very well and at the end she hits a high octave absolutely beautifully. 奇跡 is a very pretty ballad that particularly shows off Kumi’s vocal prowess.

Trust you is a hot dance track that is one of the best the album has to offer. The song opens up with a great beat and Kumi saying “baby don’t go” followed by a little instrumentation that features some elements of traditional Japanese instruments. The first verse features some good vocals that go with the beat to make the listener intrigued for what’s to come next. The hook allows Kumi to reach a little higher as she sings the “precious night” and makes a segue into the chorus. The chorus is very catchy and Kumi shows a little more vocal power and the hotness of the beat is retained strongly. The song ends much like it began with Kumi saying “baby don’t go” over the dance beat. Trust you is one of the coolest songs on the album and definitely worth the listen.

The jazzy pop track, Chase, appears as the album’s tenth track. The album opens up with a jazz-tinted instrumentation over a few adlibs from Kumi before the first verse starts. Her vocals sound great and the English phrases such as “start me up” really pop. The hook begins to build up the variety of the music before the chorus comes and is very catchy. Her vocals during the chorus stand out even more, making the chorus a very addictive part of this song. The pure instrumental section spotlights just how fun and interesting the music of Chase really is before the chorus and a little more instrumentation brings the song to a close. Chase is an excellent song that finds its home on the album and is one of the most addictive songs on the album.

More kawaii-Kumi emerges on the pop track with slight rock-influences, LOVE HOLIC. The song opens up with the highly addictive and catchy chorus that features Kumi singing more in her cute voice but still showing off some nice flare. The energy of the chorus is what really makes it stand out and makes the listener interested in the rest of the song. Kumi’s vocals during the verses are nice as well and still capture the happiness and the poppiness that makes the song so fun. The sections of pure instrumentation that follow the second chorus is really fun and even features an English line “yeah when you do that to me…” followed by a cute giggle, which segues into the more pop-rockish elements of instrumentation. The same sort of sound finishes the song off as the last line is “yeah baby, that’s so good…” which shows that there are still elements of sexy to the cute song. LOVE HOLIC is a fun and exciting song that makes the listener take notice.

24 is the sweet ballad with a strong emotional presence. The song opens up with a sweet instrumentation that really does give off a sorrowful romantic atomsphere. The verses feature some wonderful vocals as she holds her notes well and reaches her higher notes perfectly. The English phrases such as “baby blue” and “come back” really stand out. The chorus isn’t as strong as the verses and is a little bland because the background vocals are a bit simplistic and is completely in English but Kumi’s adlibbbing sounds nice. The pure instrumental section gives off a dreamy feeling that works with the song’s atmosphere and is a nice spotlight on pretty instrumentation. The ending chorus features some stronger adlibbing from Kumi in English that really display the emotions that the song unleashes. 24 has very strong verses and a slightly bland chorus but it’s worth the listen for showing off Kumi’s vocals.

The album’s final upbeat song is Let’s Party. A nice and slightly funky instrumentation opens up this fun and uptempo song. On the verses, Kumi’s vocals are softer and for an upbeat song, the music is less aggressive and is even somewhat relaxing. To introduce the chorus, Kumi sings an English lyric such as the title of the song. The chorus is nice as the tempo continues and Kumi’s vocals are nice too. The pure instrumental section is nice as it puts a spotlight on how cool the music sounds. Overall Let’s Party is the weakest upbeat song but it’s still a nice listen.

Believe, the magical ballad, is the album’s semifinal track. The song starts off with guitar-driven instrumentation before the first verse starts and Kumi’s soft vocals do a perfect job of capturing the sorrow of the lyrics. The chorus stands out the most in the song as Kumi shows off her vocal power with an emotional presence that really stands out. Her power is seen especially on the final notes of the chorus where she really belts out. The pure instrumental section spotlights the magical quality of the song’s instrumentation before the emotional choruses come again. Believe is definitely the album’s star ballad for best capturing the emotion with fantastic vocals.

Through the sky is the album’s finale, a fantasy-like ballad. The song opens up with a magical instrumental before the first verse comes in. Kumi’s vocals show both some power as well as restraint that support the piano-central instrumentation well. The hook shows off Kumi’s range as she reaches a little higher and the final note before the chorus sounds fantastic. Her vocals during the chorus are really strong and have the emotion behind that make the song really come alive. The pure instrumental section is gorgeous as the beauty and fantasy feeling are spotlighted before Kumi comes strongly with the chorus. Through the sky is a wonderful finish for the album as a beautiful ballad that both displays emotional presence and vocal strength.

Album Ranking: A

Kumi’s 4th album features a variety of tracks that lets the listener find enjoyable. From the hot uptempo numbers such as Selfish and Trust you to the cute songs like キューティーハニー and LOVE HOLIC to the beautiful ballads such as Believe and 24, secret is a cohesive album from start to finish that is able to allure the listener.


4 Responses to "Koda Kumi – secret [4th Studio Album]"

In Intro ~Get Down~ there’s no guy rapping, it’s all Kumi! lol

there’s no way that it’s Kumi…it just can’t be…
I’ve heard her rapping and that’s not what it sounds like lol

Trust me. That is Kumi. Ask anyone!!

I always thought some other singer was rapping for Kuu in Intro XD It just didn’t sound like her

The rap section that was used in SHAKE IT sounded so familiar. I finally found out that the song borrowed the chorus from a famous American Rap song by Ice Cube called “You Can Do It”

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