Archive for the ‘Koda Kumi’ Category

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Koda Kumi- Gossip Candy

2010年 6月 24日

Weee colors 😀

Yes I finally have it. Gossip Candy. I’m still waiting for my copy to come in the mail, but until then this will suffice. Anyway, on to the review! This is a pretty “typical” Koda Kumi release in terms of single structure. We don’t really have an “a-side,” but we’ve got lots of new work to listen to. Lollipop is definitely the dirtiest song on the single, with lots of fun synth and edge. This song is comparable to lots of her other dirty summer songs, but I think this one stands out because it’s so damn catchy. Idk how I feel about Kuu rapping during the verses, but hey, not bad!

I think I was looking forward to the “fishbowl” tracks the most when I listened to the previews. Inside Fishbowl has a great summer flavor, but instead of the hip-hop of the first track we listen to more of her pop side. The chorus and the bridge are the highlights of this song. Great song!

We kind of have a Yume no Uta/Futari de thing going on with the fishbowl tracks, as they’re the same melody and lyrics. Outside Fishbowl is very similar to its counterpart, but a lot of the notes are inverted (a term for all you classically trained musicians). Basically this song is a bit deeper than Inside Fishbowl, and IMO a little edgier.

For You is a smooth R&B ballad that pays homage to Kuu’s earlier years. While I’m not a huge fan of this style, I think this song is very well done. It’s the right type of song for this single… chill and laid-back. Sometimes Kuu’s voice sounds a little whiny, but not too bad overall. Also, sometimes she dabbles into the upper vocal register, which doesn’t always work for her.

Last but not least, the highly anticipated Got to Be Real, a cover of Cheryl Lynn’s classic. Actually, this is a great cover for a couple of reasons. One: You can immediately tell it’s a cover. Two: You can recognize the original song, but Koda Kumi made it her own. I was a little worried at first because I was unsure if Kuu could match Cheryl’s soulful voice, but Kuu holds her own here. Of course I still prefer the original, but this is as close to Cheryl that you can get from Kuu.

Overall: I’m thoroughly impressed. There’s something for everyone on this single. Kuu’s vocals could have used some tweaking on songs like For You, but otherwise this is a great single.

Rating: 9.5/10

Track list:

  1. Lollipop
  2. Inside Fishbowl
  3. Outside Fishbowl
  4. For You
  5. Got to Be Real (Cheryl Lynn cover)
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Poll: Best album thus far (2010)?

2010年 4月 26日

oh hay kuu chan…. you look so cute but you didn’t win!!

So we’re a third of the way through the year.. how are we doing album wise? Personally there hasn’t been a one single album to fully grab my attention as “perfect.” Sure there have been great tracks on every album, but as a whole there hasn’t been one that is so outstanding that it shames all others (last year? alan’s Voice of Earth). However, the year is nascent and we’ve got some time. Let’s hear it again for Kalafina, shall we?

Kalafina- Red Moon– 13 votes, 46%
Ayumi Hamasaki- Rock ‘N’ Roll Circus– 6 votes, 21%

Sayuri Sugawara- First story- 3 votes 11%
Rie fu- at Rie sessions- 2 votes, 7%
KOKIA- REAL WORLD- 1 vote, 4%
Abingdon Boys School- ABINGDON ROAD- 1 vote, 4%
Tokyo Jihen- Sports- 1 vote, 4%
SuG- Tokyo Muzical Hotal- 1 vote, 4%

The following earned 0 votes:

Koda Kumi- UNIVERSE
D- 7th Rose
Morning Musume 10 MY ME
Aya Kamiki- INDIVIDUAL EMOTION

Let’s analyze the votes. Red Moon was the most anticipated release AND the “best” according to you readers. I thought the album was pretty good, but Kalafina isn’t a group I listen to too often. For me I’d either say Rie fu, KOKIA or Koda Kumi’s was best. Rie fu resonates with the kind of folksy sound I love. KOKIA opened up a new door in music for me. And Koda Kumi is just my little Kuu-chan. (What?? I work out to her stuff!) I should have added salyu’s maiden voyage to the mix! Well that’s what I get for making polls after midnight.

Now I haven’t listened to Tokyo Jihen before (though I’ve heard good things about them) and I haven’t listened to SuG in ages (I can’t really get into oshare-kei sometimes). I was surprised at how many votes Ayumi Hamasaki (what with all the bashing on the blogosphere lately). I think that she has more fans in Japan (relatively speaking) than across the globe. I think Ayu is highly talented, but I don’t think her album is quite “the best of 2010.” To each her own.

So… what do you think of the results? Are they a fair representation of the best musicians or do we have some stans in the house? You tell me.

~aoliwa

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Poll: Favorite Koda Kumi look?

2010年 4月 17日

Recently we asked what everyone’s favorite Koda Kumi look is. Kuu-chan has a lot of different styles, but they can mostly be categorized into: sexy, trendy, elegant, kawaii, and WTF. The results are in!

  • Trendy-strut-yo’-stuff-Kumi (TABOO, Ima Sugu Hoshii, But/Aisho)- 17 votes, 59%
  • Elegant~ (Moon, Alive, Yume no Uta/Futari De…)- 7 votes, 24%
  • Super kawaaiiii ❤ (Lick Me, Anytime, Koi no Tsubomi) 2 votes, 7%
  • Sexpot Kumi! (Freaky, JUICY, Star, Hot Stuff)- 2 votes, 7%
  • I prefer her WTF?! moments (Can We Go Back, Maze, Come With Me)- 1 vote, 3%

Everyone obviously prefers her trendy looks! Me? I love Kuu-chan in every shape and form, but I have to say that her elegant moments are my favorite!

Sexpot Kumi didn’t get very many votes… perhaps not enough guys are reading this blog? 😛

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Koda Kumi- UNIVERSE

2010年 2月 3日

Kuu-chan looks so cute! I like how she’s holding a photo from her last best album. Kuu’s hair looks fantastic IMO.

Let’s get right into it. We were all waiting for it… a full length version of the TRICK intro! Step In To My World is a sexy mess and I love it. The lyrics and soft format have been changed since the intro, but it’s even better. The only drawback is that this song seems to be like an extended intro instead of a full song (maybe it’s because it opened the album w/o an intro xD).

See here for review of Can We Go Back.

Next new track is SUPER STAR. Ok baaad choice of song to fallow Can We Go Back. This song is kinda like sora or some acoustic-sounding Kuu-cutesy song. When I listened to the sample of this song before the album was released I hated this song. I was like “blehh cheesy and unoriginal.” While it’s not exactly something new I don’t hate it.

SUPER STAR transitions well into the slower-paced You’re So Beautiful. I love this song a lot. It is a sweet song without being bubblegum pop. Kuu’s voice pairs well with the strings and guitar that dominate the instrumental portion of the song. Things get even better at the end because Kuu ad-libs and lets the emotions of the song take over her vocals. Excellent track.

Now it’s time for Lick Me<3. This was a song from her triple A-side, 3-Splash. Everyone seemed to boo this song because of its cute nature. Yeah the song is a little bubblegum, but it’s still so adorable. If you aren’t convinced, just check out the 50s themed PV!

Next is one of my new favorite tracks Work it Out! Although judging by the beginning it seems like a typical Kuu song with the light guitar beats and layered vocals. The chorus switches gears and focuses on a more synth aspect. This song is infectious and I’m glad that she’s continuing the themes of TRICK songs.

Next we have another new track, No Way. Like many others, I adore this song. It incorporates some of the older R&B music Kuu used to do as well as some new synth elements. No Way is one of those pleading love songs, in minor key. The lyrics represent a more mature side of Kuu.

Continuing with R&B style music is Stay. I swear every time this song starts to play I think it’s BENI (I just got a bunch of her stuff). The background has kind of a heartbeat rhythm, slightly reminiscent of salyu to me. This was one of my least favorite songs off of the album though, mostly because I thought it lacked variety and the chorus was a little conservative.

If Koi no Tsubomi and Koda Kumi had a kid it would be Comes Up. This song has the plucked strings (which I adore btw) and a lot of similar beats to Koi no Tsubomi. Dis song is cuuuuute.

I’m not sure what Avex was thinking, but somehow Physical Thing is next on the track list; worst transition ever. I’ve already reviewed the Nosheen cover here.

The transition into ECSTACY is a little more fluid, as both are of the “sexy” type. I was actually surprised at the lack of songs like this on the album. Although this song has an upbeat, club-type feel to it, it really doesn’t evoke too much emotion. For many people this was the favorite track off of 3-Splash, but for me I think Koda Kumi can do better.

Another sexy song, but much darker, is the title track UNIVERSE. There’s this upward synth scale that keeps repeating over and over, and it reminded me a little of a Missy Elliot song I heard a few years ago (Lose Control I think?) Either way, this is a pretty original song. It features traditional sexy elements (think Get it On, Candy). The chorus has some musical resolution and it takes off the edginess of the verses. I wish it were longer.

Alright bitches here it comes. I know I am the one person in the entire world that will say this, but I F-ING LOVE THIS SONG. There, I said it *goes and hides.* When I first heard it back in Spring I like many thought it was crap. In truth I still think the verses could be better, but the badass chorus makes up for it. I am not a fan of misono’s voice at all, but at least she’s familiar in the rock element and knows how to harmonize well with Kuu. Of course the song could use some tweaking and there are a few awkward moments, but I love it anyway. Okay I’m done ._.

Another poor transition, we have the ballad Alive, which I reviewed here.

Lastly, we have a live-from-Taiwan version of the gorgeous ballad, Moon Crying. Kuu and piano begin the song with ad-libbing and graceful melodies respectively. Kuu’s voice is nasaly at times, but for the most part she has good intonation . This is a nice, peaceful way to end the album.

Overall: Kuu still has yet to create an album as good as Black Cherry, but this one comes as its closest rival.

Rating: 9/10

Best Songs:

  • You’re So Beautiful
  • Work it Out!
  • No Way
  • It’s All Love
  • Moon Crying -live ver-

Track List:

1. Step Into My World 3:01
2. Can We Go Back 3:25
3. Superstar 4:05
4. You’re So Beautiful 3:42
5. Lick Me 3:29
6. Work It Out! 3:48
7. No Way 5:41
8. Stay 4:12
9. Comes Up 3:55
10. Physical Thing 3:01
11. Ecstacy 3:28
12. Universe 3:35
13. It’s All Love (featuring Misono) 5:02
14. Alive 3:43
15. Moon Crying (Live in Taiwan)
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Koda Kumi- Can We Go Back

2010年 1月 17日

So we have grunge-tastic Kuu-chan. I kind of like this covers… even if Kuu’s wearing porn star makeup.

Since I don’t listen to American music I didn’t know that this was a cover of a Kelly Clarkson song. I definitely thought this was going to be a ballad xD. Anyway, this song is a powerful rock song. Most people don’t like Kuu’s voice in rock songs, but I actually like it. Kuu’s voice is raw and raspy… it reminds me of the way Nana’s voice should have been in the movies. I did listen to Kelly’s version on Youtube to compare. First of all I’ll acknowledge that in terms of vocals Kelly kicks Kuu’s ass. Kelly has a powerful voice and the instrumentals in her version are much heavier. Personally I think Kuu does a better job during the verses than does Kelly… Kelly is a bit breathy for my style. Kuu does a more sexy impression, but hey, that’s her. Unfortunately for Kuu her vocals just cannot compare with Kelly’s strong voice. IMO, the lyrics in Kuu’s version are better. The Japanese is less clunky than the English. Kuu’s redeeming point perhaps? Lastly… shut the fuck up Kelly Clarkson fans. I saw so many comments on youtube that were like “Kelly > Kumi Koda” “Kelly has more talent in her pinky finger than Koda Kumi has in her whole body.” Honest to God people. Yes Kelly does a better job and yes she has a better voice, but the the hell over it. Kuu did not “fuck up this song.” Kuu’s version is well done, but it is definitely different from Kelly’s style. If you don’t like it, then don’t listen to it, stop flaming, and GET A LIFE.

When I saw the title Good☆day I knew it was going to be another bubblegum song. Great. Actually this song is kind of fun. It reminds me of something Yuna Ito would do. Yes it does err on the side of bubblegum, but I think Koda Kumi can do these kinds of songs very well (example? Twinkle). Better than her other bubblegum singles of this year.

Overall: STFU flamers, Can We Go Back does not suck. But really, no more covers Kuu.. original material is always better. Good☆day makes you want to dance ^_^.

Rating: 7.5/10

Track list:

  1. Can We Go Back
  2. Good☆day
  3. Can We Go Back (inst)
  4. Good☆day (inst)
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Best of 2009: Album Artwork

2010年 1月 8日

I’ve been looking forward to this part of the “best” awards. This will probably be my last installment of the “best of”s, because I’m going to have a gigantic “worst” of post out this weekend. So here, in all their glory, are what I thought were the best album covers of 2009.

RURUTIA: Seiros
For a while I thought that this release was part of 2008 because it was released so long ago!. Anyway, RURUTIA’s music is very ethereal and reminiscent of Final Fantasy music. This cover reflects the magical element so present in her music. This cover is like a cross between reality and fantasy.

Namie Amuro: Past<Future
Plagiarized or not, this is one hot cover and it represents Namie’s moving forward with her musical career. The cover came under suspicion when it greatly resembled an image in a Korean magazine. Although it seems like the case is valid, it probably wasn’t Namie’s idea. In truth what really makes this cover amazing is Namie’s coy expression. Even if it wasn’t her idea, her cover is ten times sexier.

alan: Gunjou no Tani
This cover is one of alan’s finest. She looks so peaceful. She dons traditional garb, and it really pops compared to the dark background behind her. In this cover we have tradition and nature- the two most important aspects of alan’s music. I hope we see more of this soon!

OLIVIA: Sailing Free
Everything about this cover is so “OLIVIA.” She’s just kind of floating there, looking completely serene. Although it’s a lot of pink, all of the detail keeps this cover from being boring.

Koda Kumi: Alive/Physical Thing
Regardless of what you think of the single, I think its cover is astounding. Kuu-chan’s covers have gotten progressively better over the years. She went from looking almost like a trashy porn star to looking like more of an artist. I love the juxtaposition of this cover: Kuu looks like an angel while the environment around her is clearly rugged. Her outfit looks really high-fashion and her make up looks class. This cover is sexy without being over-the-top.

Nana Kitade: Tsukihana
Not only was this an outstanding musical feat for Nana, but its cover is a work of art too. Nana looks great in a traditional kimono. Since Nana is a model for a lot of lolita clothes, she knows how to wear an outfit. Her posture and expression make this otherwise traditional setting a little more modern.

Tohoshinki: Stand by U
The reason I like this cover so much is that it makes the boys look more “real” to us. They usually wear flashier clothes in staged and tempered environments. Here though, things look a little more candid and realistic. This kind of comforting image fits the A-side as well because the song projects a kind of intimacy.

Ayumi Hamasaki: Rule/Sparkle
This is one of my favorite Ayu covers to date. The tight-fitting outfit, silver high-heels, and bold covers give this image a futuristic look, perfectly representing the songs on the single. This single came out with many cover editions, as is common for Ayu nowadays, but this one was my favorite. Her makeup looks great too… not overdone, but still foxy. =]


Minami Kizuki: Shiroi Tsuki
I discovered Minami’s music kind of late in the year. For those of you who don’t know her, she has a voice uncannily similar to Hajime Chitose’s (she did the 4th ending to Blood+). This single happens to be a ballad, and the cover kind of reminds me of something alan would do. Minami really stands out from the black background. I really do think of the moon when looking at the cover.. maybe it has something to do with her reflection.


Miliyah Kato: WHY
This single represents one of Miliyah’s strongest releases to date. This cover lacks the glamor of a lot of these others on the list, but it perfectly reflects the raw emotion of the song WHY. Miliyah is known for her more “Diva-esque” covers, so this vulnerable side from her is something to look forward to.

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Best of 2009: B-sides and other stuff

2010年 1月 3日

Here’s the 3rd part to my 5-part “Best of 2009” installment! This time I’m focusing on B-sides and album-only tracks.  There are a couple more bonus categories I didn’t know where else to put (best collaboration and such). Again, nothing is in any particular order.

  • Gunjou no Tani (acoustic ver.)- alan (Gunjou no Tani)
  • SYOUKUBENI (shot in one take)– Dir en grey (Hageshisa to, Kono Mune no Naka de Karamitsuita Shakunetsu no Yami)
  • mute– Mihimaru GT (Torokechau Dandy)
  • Pied Piper– Plastic Tree (Sanatorium)
  • I– salyu (extension)
  • KISSES– stephanie. (Pride ~a part of me~)

  • Shiroki Yuu Utsu- the GazettE (DIM)
  • suki– Rie fu (Urban Romantic)
  • Akizakura (cosmos)– Ikimono Gakari (Hajimari no Uta)
  • Driving– Koda Kumi (Trick)
  • Drella– alice nine. (Vandalize)
  • COPY THAT– Namie Amuro (Past<Future)

There were a number of new artists this year… but as the title suggests I’ve only considered the artists who had the strongest debuts (I chose 5). I don’t consider artists like alan to be “new artists” since her work was well known way before her debut album. Artists like Mao Denda (who apparently released stuff about 9 years ago) are eligible because they made themselves known in 2009.  It’s a bit confusing, but it makes sense in my mind ._.

  • JASMINE
  • MiChi
  • Kana Nishino
  • Kizuki Minami
  • Lil’ B

Those where my three “main” categories. Here are the other ones (basically I was just too lazy to make graphics for categories with only one or two winners).

Best Collaboration: Ima Demo Aitai Yo– Yuna Ito feat. Spontania

Best Revival: UnsraW
Best appearance on anime: Again– YUI
Best Instrumental/Interlude: —anten.– Plastic Tree, Tenyou ~Interlude~– alan, INTRODUCTION FOR TRICK– Koda Kumi
Best Remix: romantic (strings ver.)– Rie fu, Days 8-bits of tears YMCK remix– Ayumi Hamasaki