Koda Kumi – BEST ~second session~

February 4, 2011 at 5:36 PM | Posted in Koda Kumi | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Koda Kumi – BEST ~second session~

1. Introduction to the second session
2. DDD feat. SOULHEAD
3. you
4. Candy feat. Mr. Blistah
5. Shake It Up
6. feel
7. WIND
8. Love goes like..
9. No Regret
10. Birthday Eve
11. Lies
12. 今すぐ欲しい
13. KAMEN feat. Ishii Tatsuyaa
14. Someday
15. A Whole New World feat. Peabo Bryson

♦ ♦ ♦

BEST ~second session~ is the second Best Of album released by Japanese singer Kumi Koda. It was released on March 8, 2006 and included the singles of the project known as the <em>12 singles collection</em>. The album charted on the Oricon Top 300 for a total of 78 weeks and its current total is more than 1,804,485 making it the 93rd best selling Japanese album.

Starting the album, there is the Introduction to the second session, which is in my opinion almost competing with the introduction to Black Cherry, another addictive intro. This one is just as catchy, and it’s very arabian inspired. I loved it and I think I’ll have to download the extended version, Get It On.

Then D.D.D. feat. SOULHEAD is a heavy R&B track with some electric guitar influences. One of the better tracks, and I just got started! Kuu’s vocals are great and fierce, to fit the girl power anthem of the song, and Tsugumi’s rap was very good, I love SOULHEAD. The ‘yippee yah yo’ parts were fun, and the whole song was nice to listen to.

you is the winter ballad of the album, filled with piano music, strings, acoustic guitars and soft percussion. I loved this since the very first time I heard it, and it’s still one of my favorite Koda Kumi ballads. Sometimes Kuu is known for her dramatic vocals in ballads, but everything is under control this time, and it really works out for the general presentation of this song. It’s not overly heartfelt, it’s lovely.

After some time I have come to love Candy feat. Mr. Blistah a lot more, and I think it’s a very sexy song. Mr. Blistah’s vocals are rough and deep (a bit pervy maybe), while Kuu sounds crystal clear and seductive. Although the cover of this single represented Africa(?), this song is just as ‘arabian’ as the introduction, and it follows the musical style of (the later that year to be released) JUICY and other oriental songs. Past few days, I couldn’t get enough of this song.

Shake It Up then takes us all the way to Brazil, to what seems to be the streets of Rio during Carnaval! The song isn’t one big party though, some parts right after the chorus are all acoustic, while the chorus itsself borrows inspiration from the tribal drums. The bridge features a good acoustic guitar solo and the song is very danceable with its synth melodies.

The next ballad on the list is feel, a slow, mellow R&amp;B song that comes off as quite intimate. Back in the days when this album was released, this song was my favorite and I used to sing along every time. The lyrics are like a story, about Kuu’s confusion in love and commitment and what she must do with her feelings for her boyfriend. Her ‘Engrish’ is plain BAD ofcourse, and if I didn’t know the lyrics I think I couldn’t understand one word, but the song in general is very pleasant to listen to.

Another favorite of mine is WIND, a cheery and cute pop song in the style of Koi no Tsubomi and WONDERLAND but then way better. It’s this song that made me an instant fan of Kuu’s when I was only twelve, and I have always loved that electric guitar solo in the bridge. Whenever I need some happiness, I listen to this song because it’s so uplifting with its lovely melodies.

There are, next to the 12 singles, two new songs on this album, and Love goes like… is the first. This song features some heavy bass in the background music, but is midtempo and quite laid back all the same, a real Kumi R&amp;B song. It took some time for me to get used to this track, but now I like it very much. These kind of songs always fit Kumi’s deep vocals, and she pulled it off again. The ONLY good new track this time, but more about that later…

Moving on to No Regret, a song that is like no other (oh well, maybe Cutie Honey comes close). Another song that needed to grow on me and that I like now, but in a minor way though. I was wondering why the cover of this single displayed a India setting, but now and then I hear sitar notes. A bit repetitive maybe after a while, but still a very good track. Actually none of them has disappointed me yet.

The American teen pop song on this album is the cute Birthday Eve, filled with cheery chimes and brassy elements. This track really takes after those cute teen pop tracks from the States released way back, and even Japanese Kumi can deliver a great job. I love her cute songs! WIND was also a cheerful song, but this one features a faster tempo and more of a dance beat.

Lies has always appeared to be very mysterious to me, it’s a bit of a darker song despite being fast paced. I think it’s the guitar melody that does the trick in this case, and that feeling is woven through the song. It’s obviously another good R&B song, but Kumi’s Engrish tends to come back now and then (the ‘a’ in bad boy pronounced as the ‘a’ in the word ‘always’ for example), but I’ve heard much worse.

今すぐ欲しい is the definite ‘wtf’ song on this album, overly exposing Kumi’s ero-kakkoi style. If you don’t know the lyrics, good, then it will be your average seductive, mellow R&B track with some good bass and rhythm. If you know the lyrics, prepare for some heavy describings of sexual activities. The rap part, done by Kumi herself (with good vocals, believe me, the girl can rap a little), has some plain GROSS lyrics! But, despite everything, this song is actually very good, believe it or not! Very controversial, but a heck of a song.

If you ask me, KAMEN feat. Ishii Tatsuya has its pretty moments in the song, but it’s awkward all the same. The way Ishii Tatsuya started the song… got me thinking ‘what the heck will come now? o.O’, and he doesn’t have the best vocals in Japan. I even think he isn’t very suitable for this song. Kumi herself is as flawless as ever, I think a solo version would’ve been better. Both suffer from the Engrish problem, ‘come close to me’ suddenly becomes ‘com cross tomee’, but nonetheless this could have been prettier than it is right now. Not a disaster, though, pretty enough.

Someday is the last of the 12 singles, and one that has more funky elements in its arrangement. It’s definitely not the best song of the bunch, but it has something. Another one that needed a couple of listens for me to like it, but then it appeals to me. It’s a simple song, nothing special, but Kuu’s vocals are great again.

Omgosh do I really have to go through this one? A Whole New World feat. Peabo Bryson is the biggest disaster ever, and it insults the original Disney song so much! The classical orchestra arrangement is pretty and takes after the movie version, which is great, but then both singers do something wrong. Peabo is good, his voice is still good for a 53-year-old, but he has lost a bit of his shiny quality he had back in 1992. Don’t get me started on Kumi, I love the girl very much but she sent this song right to hell with her biggest Engrish mistakes ever and even one note that was VERY much off key. Why did Peabo even want to record this with her anyway…? Complete disaster, period.

The best album ever, but with the worst ending of all. But if we take that song out, Kumi has deliverd gold here, if not platinum. The 12 single collection project was a very good idea if you ask me, because she can show off her diversity as a performing artist, and to include them all on a special Best Of album is one of the best achievements I have seen in modern pop culture. This album brought along some of the best Kumi songs, and this caused me to fall in love with her music and style, and with J-pop in general. So I thank her very much for this album, I can’t stop listening to it wherever I go. It loses some points for the last song, but not much because I simply LOVE this album!

Favorite tracks: D.D.D. feat. SOULHEAD | you | Candy feat. Mr. Blistah | feel | WIND | 今すぐ欲しい

OVERALL RATING

4½ stars

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