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Koda Kumi – BEST ~second session~ [2nd BEST Album]

Posted on: June 28, 2008

 

Koda Kumi’s 2nd BEST album, entitled BEST ~second session,~ was released on 03.08.06. This album is a collection of the 12 Singles Project in which Kumi released a single every week for 12 consecutive weeks. The album also includes a new track, Love goes like…

This album’s introductory track is a part of Get It On, a digital release during the 12 Singles Project. The song is title Introduction to the second session. Opening the song is Kumi singing in all English with line such as “gotta gotta let you know” acapella before the song’s true sound arrives. The song features an Arabian beat that makes it so addictive. The song only features one set of lyrics that repeats throughout the duration of the song but it doesn’t feel repetitive at all. The song ends with some great vocalizing from Kumi and finally “gotta gotta let you know.” Introduction to the second session is a great interlude that introduces the album nicely and makes a good transition into D.D.D.

Kumi and SOULHEAD join forces for the addictive dance track. D.D.D. A hot beat with great music opens up the song before a repetiton of “turn it up” segues into the first verse. Kumi delivers her lyrics during the first verse with such attitude that it really stands out to the listener from the first line. The hook really stands out because of all the English phrases such as “naked body” and “we don’t need no spotlight.” The chorus is even more catchy as the vocals stand out with the music and the ending line “I just do what I wanna do, I do what I wanna do.” The second verse is memorable thanks to SOULHEAD’s ending section with the various sounds that are very addicting. The third verse features a rap of Jewels of SOULHEAD and once again, attitude makes it pop as well as the various use of English such as “you’re gonna miss me” and “you’ll be addicted.” D.D.D. is an excellent dance song and it fits perfectly on BEST ~second session.~ 

The beautiful winter ballad, you, is the next song on the album. The song starts off with a sorrowful instrumentation so that the song’s atmosphere is displayed right from the beginning. During the verses, her vocals are somewhat deep but they capture the sorrow of the lyrics perfectly. The chorus features some smoother vocals that are a perfect fit on the song. The small pure instrumental section does a nice job of maintaining the sorrow of the song and putting it to the very forefront. The following final chorus really blows the listener away as Kumi sings with her heart and the emotional presence comes to the forefront strongly. you is a great ballad with the sounds of winter to make the sorrow stand out to the listener.

Mr. Blistah joins Kumi for the traditional Arabian song, Candy. The song starts off with a looming arabian before the song’s true sound comes in. The chorus features some great vocals from Kumi and she holds her notes nicely, keeping with the music. During the verses, her vocals are somewhat deep but they match with the instrumentation perfectly. The hook features English lines such as “no, no, I’m not easy” and they really pop standing next to Japanese lyrics. After the chorus, Mr. Blistah comes in for a mini-rap and his voice actually sounds pretty nice here. Mr. Blistah’s full rap sequence is a nice part of the song and a nice change of pace and Kumi comes in again to deliver the chorus. Kumi and Mr. Blistah do a little segment at the end to bring the song to a nice close. Candy is an excellent song and is a great Arabian song.

Shake It Up is a great energetic dance song with Carribean influences. The song starts off nicely with the chorus, which is very catchy and features some great vocals. The “oi-oi-oi” that begins every line of the chorus really pops, catching the listener’s ear. A small section of pure instrumentation connects the chorus to the verses and they really do sound great. The verses are still catchy as the music steps to the background to focus on Kumi’s vocals. The lines are sung somewhat deeply but still sound great with the music. The complete section of pure instrumentation that follows the third chorus is fantastic as the Carribean influences are really spotlighted and the fun and carefree element of the song comes out beaming. Shake It Up ends with the echoing of “oi-oi-oi” to bring this memorable song to a great finish. Shake It Up is a wonderful part of BEST ~second session~ that should not be missed.

feel is the most intimate and relaxing song on the album, one of Kumi’s strongest songs in her discography. The song starts off with a gorgeous relaxing instrumental before the first verse. Kumi’s smooth vocals during the verses along with the music really help create a dreamy and intimate feeling. As the verse ends, Kumi sings “why, tell me why?” and it really pops. The chorus is sung in all English and although it might be somewhat hard to decipher, the lyrics are really sweet and move perfectly with the song’s atmosphere. The third verse features some great vocals before moving back into the sweet chorus. Pure instrumentation then brings the song to an excellent close. feel is the album’s strongest song for its intimate atmosphere that takes the listener into the story of the song

WIND, the upbeat and inspiring song, is the following song. The song starts off with the chorus, which is sung nicely with some great vocals that aren’t sung in a cute voice but have a certain kawaii element to it. The verses are very strong and there is a more mellow sound while Kumi sounds perfectly at home. As the verse comes to  a close, the instrumentation becomes slightly more energetic and it is these sections that really catch the listener’s ear for their fun nature. The pure instrumental section sounds great as a spotlight is put on the carefree atmosphere set forth by the music before the final chorus. WIND is a nice song with an inspiring lyrical theme and a fun sound that makes it a true part of the album.

Love goes like… is the only new song on the album but it definitely holds its own. The song begins with Kumi repeating “throw your hands up” over a hot R&B dance beat. When the first verse starts, Kumi’s vocals are somewhat low-pitched but they work with the music perfectly. As the verses come to an end, a slightly different feel is established. Kumi’s vocals sound slightly different and there are some vocalizing in the background that is a nice touch. The chorus is highly catchy as the English phrases such as “call me” and “show me” really pop. During a segment of Kumi singing “throw your hands up” in the background, Kumi speaks in English and the slight distortions in the instrumentation combine to make this part stand out. As the new song, Love goes like… is a perfect addition to BEST ~second session~ for its addictive chorus and hot beat.

No Regret, one of the album’s dance songs, appears as the ninth track. The song opens up with part of the booming chorus, in which Kumi shows off her vocals before a great beat and interesting instrumentation cmoes in with English being spoken in the background. During the verses, there is a certain attitude that Kumi delivers her vocals with and it really works in the song’s favorite. More of the beginning energy comes back in the chorus, the most addictive part of the song. It’s the ending line of the chorus that really stands out as it is sung lower than the rest of the verse, thus making the chorus really pop at the end. The pure instrumental section spotlights just how interesting and cool the music of the song is before the chorus comes back in. No Regret is one of the catchiest singles of the 12 Singles Project and it finds its home perfectly on the collection of songs.  

Kawaii Kumi comes onto the scene with the sugary and sweet, Birthday Eve. A twinkling and happy instrumental begins the song before the first verse starts. Kumi’s cute voice works perfectly during the verses and the phrase “happy birthday” really stands out as it is sung in English. The hook features a slight distortion of Kumi’s vocals to put an emphasis on the sweetness of the music and it serves as a nice segue into the chorus. The chorus is the most addictive part of the song as Kumi shows off a little more vocal power and the instrumentation continues to maintain its peppiness. The pure instrumental section is wonderful as the spotlight is put on the guitar before a cool sound before the sugariness of the chorus comes back in. Birthday Eve is the album’s cute song and Kumi does a great job of bringing the song’s spirit to life.

Lies is a catchy R&B song that really does take the listener on a listen through the story. After nice and catchy instrumentation, the chorus comes in. The chorus features some great vocals from Kumi and sung with such emotion that it catches the listener’s ear. The English phrases such as “you’re my special, you’re my bad boy” pop next to other Japanese lyrics. During the verses, Kumi’s vocals are strong at capturing the song’s overall atmosphere. The hook serves as a bridge as the instrumentation becomes slightly more varied and Kumi’s vocals pick up. The ending note in particular is held very well and makes a perfect transition into the chorus. The third verse takes the sound in a slightly different direction with a great instrumental and the final note of the third verse sounds great. The song ends with instrumentation as well as Kumi repeating “I just want you bad boy” to bring the song to an excellent finish. For its catchiness and attitude, Lies is certainly a track not to be missed.

One of Kumi’s dirtiest songs, lyrically, is next with 今すぐ欲しい.  The song begins with a smooth and sensual instrumentation that displays the atmosphere of the song perfectly. The vocals during the verses are nice as they very well capture the sexual energy of her words and the ending note is particularly strong. The chorus stands out as the instrumentation comes forward more and Kumi’s vocals are a little more smooth. The rap is a nice addition to the song as Kumi delivers her lines with a nice level of rapidity and althoug a little more attitude could helped the rap segment come alive, it still sounds. The English allows the listener to really realize the sexual atmosphere with words such as “lick me” and “climax.” The slow and smooth,  今すぐ欲しい, is a nice song to listen to if the listener doesn’t mind the dirtiness of the song.

Ishii Tatsuya and Kumi soar on the beautiful adult ballad, KAMEN. The song begins with a beautiful instrumentation that really shows off a romantic atmosphere. After a little vocalizing from the two, the first verse arrives. During the verses, Kumi and Tatsuya alternate singing their respective parts so that it really does feel like a duet. Tatsuya definitely has an excellent voice, letting him sing deep or powerfully and he holds his note fantastically. Kumi also does a wonderful job on the song, showing off her vocal power as well as holding her notes just as well as Tatsuya. The chorus features both singing at the time and appears twice during the duration of the song. It is mostly comprised of English so that the Japanese phrases really pop. KAMEN is an excellent ballad as both Tatsuya and Kumi sing their hearts out with such emotion that the listener is taken to the world of the song.

The album closes with the hopeful and upbeat finale, Someday. It begins with part of the chorus as Kumi holds her notes well and sings with enough power to keep the song going. After a great section of pure instrumentation, the first verse starts. Kumi’s vocals are very nice here and they really move with the music to show off the song’s atmosphere. The chorus is very upbeat and somewhat poppy. Kumi’s vocals sound great and it resonates with the listener strongly. The pure instrumental section is a nice fit with Kumi’s vocals pushed more to the background to spotlight the instrumentation. Someday is a great album closer and a nice song itself.

Album Ranking: A +

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1 Response to "Koda Kumi – BEST ~second session~ [2nd BEST Album]"

This was the album that really launched me into J-Pop. The first Japanese album I listened to, in fact.
I love every song on it to distraction. I even know the dance to the chorus of Shake It Up.
I’m glad you rate this as highly as I do

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