Destiny Line – Ai no Matador –

Koda Kumi – B-Side Collection [2001 – 2006]

Posted on: August 8, 2008

Over the years, Koda Kumi has not only released some fantastic A-sides but some wonderful B-sides as well. This post features reviews of all Kumi B-sides that have not (1) made it to an album and thus been reviewed already or (2) have been reviewed on previous singles.

STILL IN LOVE appears as the B-side for her second single, Trust Your Love. The song begins with a strong dance instrumental that is immediately ear-catching that is R&B influenced. Kumi then brings some sweet vocals that go with the music perfectly during the verses as the listener is directed to the chorus. The more powerful vocals and the catchiness of the music really make the chorus stand out and English phrases such as “say good-bye, say good-bye” and “you’re too kind” pop very nicely. The pure instrumental section allows the guitar to be strongly spotlighted before the chorus comes back in. STILL IN LOVE is a fantastic B-side and is certainly one to look out for.

Appearing as the B-side for the COLOR OF SOUL single is the sorrowful midtempo song, It’s too late. The song starts off with a somewhat eerie sound before the song’s true midtempo sound comes in. With the beauty of the instrumentation, Kumi delivers a few low vocalizations and then comes into the first verse. Her vocals are pretty deep but carry a lot of emotion in them so that the song’s atmosphere steps out strongly. The chorus comes in with stronger vocals that reflect the song’s sorrow perfectly. Closing the chorus is one short phrase that sounds great and really makes the chorus pop at the end. There is the beauty that comes out on the pure instrumental section although the man’s vocals weren’t really necessary. She then repeats “It’s too late” over the beautiful instrumentation to close the song fantastically. This is another memorable B-side and definitely one to listen to.

On the love across the ocean single, Kumi appears solo on the meaning of peace (originally recorded with BoA). The song starts off very with a very sleek instrumental that immediately catches the listener’s attention. Then the first verse starts and Kumi begins with smooth vocals that move with the music perfectly. “I want to know the meaning of peace” is what really stands out during the chorus and makes it pop. Although it does get a little repetitive at the end, it’s an enjoyable song and a very nice B-side.

The second B-side of the Gentle Words single is 最後の雨. Opening the song is a sweet instrumentation with a very clear beat. The first verse starts and her vocals are a bit deep in keeping with the sweetness of the instrumentation, driven by the piano. For the chorus, she delivers some very strong vocals to capture the song’s emotion. The pure instrumental section is very interesting in that the music changes slightly to capture a lighter and almost dreamier feeling that the listener can just sail through with closed eyes. This is another great song and catches the listener as Kumi emotes wonderfully.

夢 with you comes as the B-side for the Crazy 4 U single. The song begins with a very sweet upbeat R&B instrumental that is very ear-catching. She then moves into the first verse and delivers smooth vocals that sound very pleasing to the ears. The final line of the verses such as “yes I love you” really stand out and take the listener out of the verses before some great vocalizations introduce the chorus. Kumi brings strong vocals on the chorus to capture this song’s sweetness and make it really stand out. A gospel choir accompanies Kumi on the third verse as they sing “take a chance, get a chance” and it’s a nice touch. 夢 with you is definitely a memorable song and one of Kumi finer B-sides.

Kumi teams up with MEGARYU for the addictive island dance song, Heat. MEGARYU opens by saying some lines before Kumi comes in the first verse. Her vocals carry a prettiness that goes perfectly with the music. Soon the chorus begins and she delivers more smooth and strong vocals to make the chorus really stand out. MEGARYU then comes in with his rap, which has an addictive quality to it and definitely makes the listener pay attention. After the second chorus, Kumi brings a rap of her own and she stands strongly with her rap as she delivers attitude and strength. Following is a cool section, most notable for Kumi’s whispering “shake that ass” and then the chorus comes back in. MEGARYU then closes the song with another cool rap sequence that takes the listener out perfectly. Heat is definitely a memorable song and both artists go together perfectly.

The Theme of Sister Jill appears as the first B-side of the LOVE & HONEY single. The song starts off with some nice vocalizing and soon the lyrics start as Kumi sings in English. Her vocals are nice and capture a certain spirit. There is a certain fairy-tale element to the pure instrumentation section and it introduces a slightly different tune for Kuu to accompany. Following, she seems in Japanese and it continues to sound nice. This is a very enjoyable song as Kuu brings nice vocals over a sweet instrumentation.

夜霧のハニー comes as the second B-side of the LOVE & HONEY single. Opening the song is a jazzy instrumental that immediately attracts the listener. After repeating “sweet honey,” the chorus comes in and it stands strong as Kuu delivers relaxing vocals to fit with the overall atmosphere. The hook is catchy and definitely is a standout part of the song that the listener can fall in love with. 夜霧のハニー is a great song and definitely one to check out for its exploration of a more jazzy sound.

The third and final B-side of the LOVE & HONEY single is Into your heart. A very catchy and interesting instrumental opens the song up although the English phrases “into your heart” and “broken my heart” sound a bit strange. The first verse then starts and her vocals sound very cool here, fitting with the music perfectly. There is a cuteness that comes out on the chorus as she brings stronger vocals and the English phrases “you and I” and “for your love” pop nicely. She also gives a great vocal at the end of the chorus to make it really shine. For its sleek instrumental and Kuu’s great vocals, this is another standout song that is the best B-side on the LOVE & HONEY single.

The second B-side of the 奇跡 single is life. An acoustic instrumental takes the listener into the world of the song and then the first verse starts. Her vocals are smooth and she sings with a sort of rapidity that makes them stand out all the more. The English phrases such as “and I know” sound a bit strange but at the same time, they make the hook a little more memorable. Following is the chorus and the opening line “I will never forget you forever” stands out and for more enjoyable vocals, it pops nicely. The pure instrumentation section is another nice part and introduces the hook smoothly. It may not be as strong as many other B-sides but it’s a nice song worth checking out.

Two B-sides appear on the Butterfly single and the first is Your Sunshine. The song takes off strongly with a sweet pop instrumentation that is very ear-catching and then the first verse starts. There is a magic in her vocals that stand out and move with the music so well. The chorus stands out as her vocals are a little stronger but it’s the instrumentation that really makes it shine as it takes on a poppier sound to compliment Kuu. There is a smooth jazzy feeling that comes through the pure instrumental section that is both addictive and relaxing, taking the listener back into the chorus.

大切な君へ is the second B-side of the Butterfly single. A romantic and sweet instrumental begins the song and then the first verse comes in. Kumi sings smoothly and somewhat deeply, strongly capturing the song’s atmosphere. The first chorus stands out as she sings in all English and her voice really shines here. This is a very sweet song that the listener can just fall in love with as Kuu brings strong vocals and the instrumentation really shines.

Sweet Kiss, the B-side of the you single, is a sweet pop song that is one of her strongest songs to date. The song starts off with a similar instrumentation to that of COME WITH ME only it has a lighter and breezier feeling. She then comes in with the first verse and from the first phrase “tell me why,” the listener becomes entranced in her voice as she smoothly delivers the lyrics and captures the song’s atmosphere without fail. The chorus really stands out as the instrumentation remains strong and Kumi’s vocals continue to be strong. One section that shines strongly is the pure instrumental section in which the music really captures a free spirit that the listener falls in love with. After the chorus comes in again, more pure instrumentation closes the song wonderfully. Sweet Kiss is one of the most memorables songs in Kumi’s discography and is definitely worth the listen.

Kumi has delivered so many strong B-sides, some even on par (or better than) the respective A-side. Sweet Kiss, Heat and 夢 with you are three B-sides that really shine and show off what Kuu can do. There are a variety of sounds from the jazzy sounds of Your Sunshine to the spirit of Sweet Kiss to the island sound of Heat to the sleek dance beat of STILL IN LOVE. All of her B-sides are worth checking out because they allow Kuu to shine much like on her A-sides.


2 Responses to "Koda Kumi – B-Side Collection [2001 – 2006]"

You sure put a lot of effort into this. 😀 Thanks a lot for making it, cause I;m missing a ton of Kumi b-sides and was wondering how they actually were. 😛
Great post. ^-^

Oh I’m glad you liked it cause yeah, I did put a lot of effort into it 🙂
And you should definitely check out the ones you’re missing cause all of Kuu’s B-sides are worth checking out!!

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