Destiny Line – Ai no Matador –

Koda Kumi – Black Cherry [5th Studio Album]

Posted on: June 26, 2008

Koda Kumi’s 5th studio album, entitled Black Cherry, was released on 12.20.06. Her best selling studio album to date, Black Cherry is a great collection of songs. The album was loaded with singles released before the single: 恋のつぼみ, 夢のうた (ふたりで… was left off the album), 4 Hot Wave and Cherry Girl / 運命.

The album’s introduction is INTRODUCTION, a flawless introductory track with a hot dance beat. It begins with Kumi speaking in English over a mysterious sound echoing in the background. A few English phrases that come up are “one nation” and “one unity” and once a guy in the background counts down to one “let’s go!” opens up the song’s true sound. The dance beat is absolutely addictive and the English fits perfectly as she sings “rock the party, work your body” and after that sequence is repeated a few times, another part comes in. She continues to sing in English and the final line she sings is “I know really you want, tell me how you’re like…” followed by her breath. INTRODUCTION is a perfect introduction for Black Cherry and makes a perfect transition into the next song.

Get Up & Move!! is a hot dance song that makes a flawless transition from INTRODUCTION. It opens up with the addictive hook with the English line “booty shakin’ like what!” and the chorus is one of the catchiest part of the song. The hook features all English lyrics and ends with “this is for the party people” before going into the first verse. Each verse begins with an English line and the one in the first verse shows off a certain sexiness element “everytime I look into your eyes…you’ve got me really horny.” Her vocals during the verses are fun and carry the perfect amount of power to really make the listener pay attention to. The pre-chorus features some smooth and slick vocals as she holds her notes well. The chorus features both English and Japanese lyrics and is one of the most catchiest parts of the song as Kumi’s vocals demand focus. The song ends just like it began with the hook going until the very end. Get Up & Move!! is an excellent dance track and the perfect first full track.

Kumi comes strongly with the aggressive rock track, 人魚姫. A more aggressive rock instrumentation opens the song up before the first verse starts. There is a certain element of roughness to Kumi’s voice that works perfectly with the sound to create a full atmosphere. The chorus stands out strongly as Kumi has that flare in her voice that makes the listener really pay attention to her voice. The final phrase of the chorus, as she sings the title of the song followed by “tired,” really pops and brings the section to a great finish. The pure instrumental section is absolutely worth checking out as the coolness is spotlighted as the guitar is showed off powerfully. The song is a great aggressive rock song and although it’s not as strong as previous rock song, Selfish, it’s definitely a standout song on Black Cherry.  

夢のうた, the winter ballad, is the album’s fourth track. The emotional presence in this song is incredible and it really does stand out. Piano instrumentation opens the song and soon the first verse starts. Kumi sings with smooth and soft vocals that express emotions perfectly and move with the music to capture a perfect atmosphere. The chorus really stands out as Kumi shows off more vocally and the instrumentation becomes more varied and stands out. It’s the third verse in particularly where all the emotions reach a climax as Kumi sings her heart out with powerful and effective vocals. Kumi adlibs her way very nicely to the end of the song with the sounds of winter bringing the song to its finish. The song is the album’s standout ballad for capturing the emotions so strongly and effectively.

月と太陽 is the cute midtempo song on Black Cherry. A twinkling sound and some strings start off the song before elements of the chorus, English lines such as “love me” and “every day, every night” are sung by Kumi. The first verse starts and her vocals are sung somewhat in her cute voice but they carry a certain emotion that stands out to the listener. The chorus features mostly English phrases along with a couple Japanese phrases and although simplistic, it is catchy. The third verse has a dreamy-like atmosphere set by the instrumentation and Kumi’s smooth vocals only add to this atmosphere. Her adlibbing on the final chorus is a nice effect that shows off the emotion and the string instrumentation finishes the song just as beautifully as the song began. 月と太陽 is a cute track that is a strong addition to the album.

Puppy is an amazing and catchy kawaii song that finds its home on Black Cherry. The song begins with a cool and slick instrumentation and Kumi singing “I just love you.” The first verse features some nice vocals that aren’t sung with Kumi’s cute voice but still have that element of kawaii. The hook features the repeating “I just love you cause I feel so good,” which really stands out and catches the listener’s ear. Kumi brings more vocal power on the chorus and the ending of the chorus is sung with such spunk that it really does pop. The pure instrumental section spotlights just how both cool and cute the music of the song is before the chorus arrives for one more spin. The repetition of Kumi singing “I just love so good” is adorable and a perfect way to bring the song to a close. Puppy is one of the best new songs on the album for its fun atmosphere and cool approach.

Kawaii Kumi comes out for 恋のつぼみ. The song starts out with part of the chorus, which automatically hooks the listener from first listen. The verses feature Kumi singing her cute voice and make the perfect atmosphere. The hook has a slightly different instrumentation that evokes the feeling of stars before the chorus starts. Kumi’s vocals during the hook are nicely shown off as she reaches a little higher. The chorus is extremely catchy as Kumi sings with even more sparkle and cuteness that makes the listener fall in love. The pure instrumental section is a nice breakdown on the sugariness of the song before the final chorus goes in and pure instrumental finishes the song nicely. 恋のつぼみ is a happy song that is a wonderful addition to the album.

The solo version of Kumi’s collaboration with EXILE appears as WON’T BE LONG ~Black Cherry Version.~ It begins with a member of EXILE saying a few English phrases before Kumi comes in with the catchy hook. The English in the hook “the uptown Tokyo slammin’ night” pops nicely and segues nicely into the first verse. The first verse features some nice vocals from Kumi that works with the instrumentation well. The chorus features the repetition of the title in a return to the song’s true catchiness. The song’s close features a cool sound from Kumi before the hook closes the song. Although the song is somewhat repetitive, it’s a nice listen.

JUICY is the song’s sexiest and hottest dance number. The song opens up with a hot instrumentation with little looming bits of Arabian influences that make the song really pop. The verses are sung with a slickness that keeps the listener interested and with a deepness that sounds great with the instrumentation. The English used throughout the song are nice additions and really stand out on the hook with phrases such as “kill me now” and “love me tonight.” Her vocals during the hook are wonderful and she holds her notes with a sexiness that only adds to the song’s overall atmosphere. The chorus is addictive as Kumi maintains that slickness strongly and the little lines that are rapped really do the song justice. The third verse consists of her singing English phrases that keep the sexiness oozing such as “you make me hot…and wet.” Kumi’s breaths end the song over the hot instrumentation as well as her saying “I’m juicy.” JUICY is the album’s strongest track and is one of her most memorable ero-kakkoi songs.

Candle Light is a sweet and soft piano ballad that holds a lot of emotion. The beautiful sounds of the piano open the song before the first verse starts. Kumi’s delicate and fragile vocals fit the music perfectly by capturing the emotions of the song. The chorus stands out as Kumi sings a little higher and you can really hear the emotion in her voice. At some points, it sounds as if she has to take a breath as she is crying. The second verse allows her to show off a little more vocally before the final chorus starts. Her vocals on the last note of the verse make the transition perfect. The emotions come to a climax on this chorus as she sounds like she is on the brink of tears while she is singing it. Piano instrumentation brings the song to a close, making Candle Light a very pretty and soft ballad that carries emotion well.

Cherry Girl is one of the uptempo tracks that keeps the listener hooked from the opening instrumentation. Following is the chorus, which is catchy and Kumi shows off some nice vocal flare and attitude in her singing. The lyrics of the verses are delivered with a certain rapidity that make them stand out and a deeper voice that draws attention to her words. The third verse is a nice change of pace and the way she holds out her notes makes a certain sex appeal and the ending vocal is very strong. Following the chorus is a section consisting of complete English adlibs with phrases such as “juicy for my life” in powerful vocals that make them stand out very nicely. Cherry Girl is a fun uptempo track that keeps the listener interested throughout the entire song.

I’ll be there is a sweet relaxing midtempo number. The song begins with Kumi singing the chorus alongside the strumming of the guitar. The ending line, which is sung in English “I’ll be there for you,” really makes a nice impact and pops very well. The verses are the most enjoyable part of the song as they really capture the song’s atmosphere and Kumi’s vocals are beautiful. The hook features Kumi singing “I’ll be there for you, only for you” in the background, which is a very nice touch. The pure instrumental section is one of the song’s strongest points as the atmosphere is really shown off. I’ll be there is a nice and mellow midtempo song that definitely belongs on Black Cherry.

運命 is a beautiful ballad that the listener can really enjoy. Piano instrumentation along with the sound of a few string instruments open the song up before the first verse starts. Kumi’s soft vocals project emotion well and the beauty of the instrumentation really is enjoyed. The chorus is very pretty and Kumi shows off a little more vocal power that stands out strongly. The first word, the title of the song, opens the second verse and the way she sings it really does stand out. The third verse stands out particularly as the instrumentation takes more of a presence in the song as it becomes louder and Kumi’s vocals are shown off strongly. 運命 is a very pretty ballad with emotions coming through strongly.

One of Kumi’s best kawaii songs to date is With your smile, which is cute but also has a fun dance beat. The song opens with part of the chorus, which features some fun English lyrics “I just want kiss you, smile me, touch me.” The first verse has a certain relaxed summer feeling that really stands out to the listener and is something that is so addictive. The hook serves as a bridge as elements of the uptempo and fun instrumentation begin to be introduced in time for the exciting chorus. Her vocals during the chorus carry the energy and excitement to make the song just so loveable. The pure instrumental section spotlights the summery atmosphere of the song before the hook comes in nicely. The same words that began the song are what end it, making With your smile an awesome semifinal track and one of Kumi’s best cute songs ever.

ミルクティー, a cute song that Kumi composed herself, closes the album. The song begins with Kumi singing in her cute voice over a pretty simplistic instrumentation so that her words and vocals are in the forefront. Soon, a beat comes in more strongly and Kumi shows off a little more vocal strength. The following sequence stands out mostly for the “la la la” and the “oohs” that capture that kawaii atmosphere perfectly. Kumi sings her way wonderfully out, making ミルクティー a somewhat short song but a nice and relaxing finish track.

Album Ranking: A +

Koda Kumi’s 5th album Black Cherry features a variety of songs that show off her sexy side to her emotional side to her cute side. The dance songs such as Get Up & Move!! and JUICY are really her forte and she sounds completely natural singing them. She really connects with the emotional songs like 夢のうた and 運命. The cute element really does stand out with songs such as With your smile and Puppy. Black Cherry is a great collection of songs from Kumi and is an album no Kumi fan should miss.

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1 Response to "Koda Kumi – Black Cherry [5th Studio Album]"

My absolute favourite Koda Kumi song is Koi no Tsubomi. ❤ It’s so addicting. I actually really liked a lot of the singles. I have yet to hear the whole album, but nice review as always.

-Ethan.

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