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Posts Tagged ‘Koda Kumi

somedayftw

Koda Kumi’s 30th single, entitled Someday / Boys♥Girls, was released on 02.22.06. The single comes as the last of the 12 Singles Collection and was one of three not liimted to 50,000 copies. Boys♥Girls was used as the theme for the 2006 movie, Waters.

Someday is a sweet and warming song that will have the listener smiling the whole way through. The song begins with the hook and insantly, the loving atmosphere comes to life. She holds her notes well and the vocals contribute to a certain pretiness. On the verses, Kumi continues to sound sweet, carrying the music along and keeping with the relaxing vibe that evokes the image of staying home with the person you love. The chorus picks up the poppy energy a little more, which in turn makes it stand out more. Initially, I didn’t care for Someday but once I took the time to appreciate its sweet nature and see Kumi perform it live, I warmed up to it a lot.

Boys♥Girls is definitely the more interesting A-side though, taking on a fun cool sound. The song starts off with the chorus and Kumi’s vocals are very smooth here, melting over the instrumentation to give off a very cool vibe. All the English words stand out and giv the chorus a sort of uniqueness. The verses are catchier and Kumi gets to show off her vocal talents more, as the instrumentation keeps the listener engaged. But if there is one section of the song that stands out the most, it’s the hook, which features a slight instrumental change to a higher and lighter register. The katkana words “dameeji” and “imeeji” go together nicely with the English phrases “no good” and “something better.” She then finishes with “tanoshimi” and we find ourselves right back at the chorus. Following the second hook is a little pure instrumental section that keeps that coolness while pushing a more fun feeling as Kumi does some vocalizing. This is a great song and it’s a shame it didn’t get a place on BEST ~second session.~

Single Ranking: A +

Both songs on this single are great and they truly compliment the other. While Someday is a sweet love song that gives you that warm feeling, Boys♥Girls will make you want to dance and just have a good time. It’s an excellent representation of two different sides of Kumi, which makes for a great finish to the project.

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Koda Kumi’s 16th single, entitled Butterfly, was released on 06.22.05. Used as the theme song for the dorama Kosume no Mahou 2, this single is considered to be Kumi’s breakthrough single and that which really propelled her into the spotlight.

Butterfly is an addictive dance pop number that shows Kumi’s playful side. The song begins with the chorus, which features some great vocals over a very catchy instrumental. The English phrases like “burning heart” and “butterfly” are nice because they really pop against all the Japanese lyrics. After that is a small instrumental section in which you can a voice in the background saying English phrases like “I wanna kiss you all over” and “your body” before the first verse begins. On the verses, there is a more relaxed feeling as Kuu’s vocals are deeper and crisper, matching the instrumentation. The hook is a good transition as Kuu’s vocals get more powerful and it sets up the listener for the chorus strongly. Tha pure instrumental section is great as we hear those phrases in the background along with some moans and giggling, which is perfect for Kuu’s playful side. It’s no wonder why Butterfly became a smash hit: it’s catchy, fun and has that Kuu magic on it.

In order to promote the single, a PV for Butterfly was made. The video features Kumi’s ero-kakkoi side and in a very strong way. It begins with Kumi boiling some tea before she goes to a bed to get her phone. She then goes to the mirror and puts on some lip gloss, transforming her into Butterfly Kumi (in a seperate scene). She also appears as a student and she dances with the other students during the chorus. There are also scenes of Kumi and two girls in a garage with soap bubbles and hoses as they spray each other. There’s a lot of great dancing and Kumi looks absolutely fantastic, which makes this one memorable video.

Song and PV Ranking: A +

Butterfly is a fantastic song and definitely one of Kumi’s most memorable to date. It features a great dance sound alongside a playfully sexy atmosphere that suits her perfectly. Her vocals are strong and the music is addictive so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t listen to it.

Get It On was released as a single downloadable only though mu-mo for a certain period of time during the era of BEST ~second sesssion.~ The song was shortened and served as the introductory track for that album under the name Introduction to the second session.

Get It On opens up with the hook, in which Kumi sings in all English and the sexy element comes out to play as she sings “tell me, tell me what you want cause I’m right here, ready to serve, whatever you need.” Then the hot Arabian instrumental comes crashing in, teasing and enticing the listener strongly. The verses are the strongest part of the song as Kumi’s smooth vocals wrap around the music and keep the sexiness strongly. English phrases such as “secret stuff” and “I’m your fantasy” pop nicely and allow the listener’s ear to pick up that coolness. The chorus is addictive as well as Kumi shows a little more vocal strength and the first line, “it’s time to get it on,” really stands out. With the final looming hooks, Kumi goes even higher as she vocalizes and it’s a great way to finish the song off.

Single Ranking: A +

Kumi has always had a knack for her Arabian songs and Get It On is no exception. Hopefully this song will have some sort of physical release in the future.

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.

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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 +

Koda Kumi’s 3rd studio album, entitled feel my mind, was released on 02.18.04. The album features more dance numbers than her previous albums and her ero-kakkoi image began to emerge with the release of Crazy 4 U. The singles released before the album were Gentle Words, COME WITH ME and Crazy 4 U.

Break it down is the opening song on the album and a very strong track. The song begins with Kumi checking her messages as a woman speaks and once the message plays and the man says “K.K., it’s time to bounce again,” the song’s true sound begins. An more mellow dance instrumental begins the song with some vocalizing from Kumi that sounds great. The verses feature some rather soft vocals that work with the twinkling instrumentation. The chorus stands out as Kumi shows off a little more vocal power and the repetition of “I just wanna break it down” really stands out. The third verse features an unidentified man rapping in English and honestly, his presence is definitely not needed. The song begins much like it began with Kumi doing some vocalizing and makes for an excellent finish. Break it down is a bit simplistic but a song to look for and a great opening song.

The album’s strongest song, Crazy 4 U, is the second track. The song begins with a great R&B dance beat with Kumi doing a little vocalizing before the real beat comes in. During the verses, Kumi’s vocals are a little deep but the lines are sung with a certain attitude that really stands out. The chorus is the most addictive part of the song as Kumi’s vocals are strengthened and the little English phrases “crazy for you” and “only for you” really stand out. The pure instrumental section is a perfect breakdown as the coolness and slickness of the song is spotlighted. Crazy 4 U is a hot dance track that is the album’s best offering and definitely a song to look out for.

Rock Your Body is an uptempo dance number that is very catchy. The English used in the song in the background “rock your body, move your body, on the dance floor, don’t hurt nobody” is a very nice touch and appears along with the opening instrumentation. The verses feature some slightly deeper vocals that work well with the music. The hook begins the song’s addictiveness with the English phrase “boy if you wanna down with me.” The chorus stands out as Kumi shows more vocal power and the English makes the song pop nicely. The unidentified man from Break it down returns on the song and his presence does get annoying after a while but Kumi keeps the energy up. Rock Your Body is a very nice dance song with some pretty interesting lyrics and if nothing else, the chorus is very catchy.

Rain is the album’s most beautiful and emotional ballad. The song starts out with beautiful instrumentation before the first verse starts. Her vocals during the verses are somewhat deep and they capture the sorrow of the song perfectly. It’s the chorus that really stands out as Kumi sings her heart out. She sings with power and she hits the higher notes flawlessly, enhancing the song’s sorrowful atmosphere. The pure instrumental section sounds great as it really puts a spotlight on how key the music is in maintaing the song’s sorrowful magic. The final line is said with such emotion and fragility and segues perfectly into the ending instrumentation. Rain is a beautiful song that can bring the listener to tears, truly one of the album’s best songs.

Without Your Love is a great dance song that is very catchy. The song opens up with the sound of a car being started up and then a siren is set on before the song’s catchy instrumentation begins. After a few moments of vocalizing from Kumi, the first verse starts. Her vocals are a little deep and the English words such as “sorry” and “magic” really pop and make the listener pay attention to her voice. The hook, which consists of both English and Japanese begins to introduce a more varied instrumental. She finishes it nicely with good vocals as she “my love is on the way” and the echoing of “my way” is a nice touch. The chorus is especially as Kumi shows off more vocal strength and the beat remains addictive, finishing with Kumi singing “baby boy come and knock on my door.” The third verse breaks things down a little as the music goes softly and Kumi’s vocals go with them in a softer tone and after Kumi delivers a little rap in English as she repeats “I’ll bee going crazy without your love my baby.” This same rap sequence brings the hot song to a close with the sound of helicopters overhead. Without Your Love is a very nice dance track and one of the standouts on feel my mind.

Cuteness emerges on the next track, Talk to you. The track starts off with a cute and interesting instrumental before Kumi’s vocals really bring out the cuteness as she sings the title of the song. During the verses, Kumi sings her cute voice and it fits perfectly with the song’s overall atmosphere. The chorus stands out with the English phrases that pop as well as ker kawaii voice. Following is the hook, which is what opens the song. The pure instrumental section is really interesting as more elements than just the kawaii comes out. Talk to you is the album’s cute track and Kumi does a great job of bringing the kawaii atmosphere that makes the listener follow her throughout the song.

華 is one of the album’s true ballads. Beautiful instrumentation opens the song up along with some soft vocalizing from Kumi. Kumi’s vocals after this begin deep and soon they gain a little more power in order to capture the sorrow and emotion set forth by the beautiful lyrics. The song has a relative structure that is created mostly by the vocals as the chorus features stronger and more emotional carrying vocals and the verses are deeper. The moments of pure instrumentation are wonderful as Kumi’s soft vocalizing mixes perfectly with the music to capture the song’s atmosphere. The final line of the song is a perfect finish and is a very beautiful way of bringing the song to a close. 華 is one of the strongest album tracks and is a track worth listening to.

Get Out The Way is one of the album’s catchiest dance tracks. The song opens up with a cool and fun instrumental before Kumi sings the first verse. Her vocals have enough power to make the listener pay attention to her voice but soft enough to not clash with the music. The hook is somewhat of a bridge as the instrumentation stands out a little more, as an introduction for the chorus. The chorus really stands out as Kumi’s vocals are slightly stronger and the beat becomes even more key and retains its addictive quality. The pure instrumental section is accompanied by a man speaking in the background in English as well Kumi doing a little vocalizing. It’s a nice breakdown before the hook comes in again. Get Out The Way is one of the more memorable tracks on feel my mind and is definitely a track that should not be missed.

Sweet love… is one of the blandest songs on the album. It’s a nice upbeat track with some very nice vocals however it doesn’t really stand out from the rest of the album. It has a nice atmosphere but nothing particularly noteworthy and it doesn’t fit very well with the overall sound of the album.

Gentle Words is a sweet love ballad that stands out on the album so strongly. The song begins with a mellow and peaceful instrumental, which comes before the first verse. During the verses, Kumi’s vocals are somewhat soft and the phrase “Hello, hello” really stands out. As the verse progresses the instrumentation begins to build and become more varied in time for the chorus. The chorus is strong as Kumi’s vocals are slightly more powerful and capture the song’s atmosphere perfectly. The pure instrumental section is very pretty as it spotlights the softness and fragility of the song with a few great adlibs from Kumi to make it pop. The same instrumentation which opened up the song also brings it to a fantastic close. Gentle Words is a pretty and sweet song, which Kumi’s vocals really bring to life.

magic, the semifinal track, is the album’s weakest song. The song starts off with nice instrumentation before the first verse. Her vocals are very low-pitched here and they seem a bit dry. The chorus features some nice vocals but it’s not memorable at all. magic is the album’s dryest number and what sounds like a choir backing Kumi up is not enjoyable. magic definitely should have been left off the album because it’s not a very good fit with the rest of the album’s sound.

COME WITH ME, the song that perfectly captures the sounds of summer, is the album’s closer. A fun and exciting instrumentation opens up the song before the first verse. The verses feature English phrases such as “hear me vent my best friend” as well as some nice vocals. The chorus is very memorable with Kumi’s stronger vocals and the way she holds her notes as she sings “come with me to the sun” is brilliant. The pure instrumental section puts an emphasis on how fun and exciting the music really is. COME WITH ME is a wonderful album closer and certainly a track not to be skipped.

Album Ranking: A –

feel my mind features more dance tracks than her previous album and on these songs, Kumi sounds perfectly comfortable. Tracks such as Crazy 4 U, Break it down and Rock Your Body show off Kumi’s flare over hot beats. Kumi does bring the emotions on the ballads such as Rain and Gentle Words. The album has its flaws, such as magic, but overall it’s worth the listen.

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.