Koda Kumi – secret

April 23, 2011 at 10:31 AM | Posted in Koda Kumi | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Koda Kumi – secret

1. Intro ~Get Down~
2. Cutie Honey
3. Hot Stuff feat. KM-MARKIT
4. Selfish
5. hands
6. Hearty…
7. SHAKE IT
8. Kiseki (奇跡)
9. Trust you
10. Chase
11. LOVE HOLIC
12. 24
13. Let’s Party
14. Believe
15. Through the sky
16. It’s a small world feat. Heartsdales

♦ ♦ ♦

secret is the fourth album released by Japanese singer Koda Kumi on February 9, 2005. The album reached #3 on the Oricon charts and charted for 55 weeks, selling 522,201 copies. Because it sold 505,607 copies in 2005, it became the #22 album of the year.

Intro ~Get Down~ kinda fits the picture on the left, because of Kuu’s constant moaning from the beginning. The introduction starts off with a kind of Dolby Digital Surround Sound/organ sound, after which the music becomes very R&B-ish. Kumi is sort of rapping her lyrics while still moaning in the background, and although that may seem kind of annoying, to me this introduction actually works.

Isn’t Cutie Honey already an older song? At least that’s what I thought. The song makes me think of James Bond soundtracks, but then (concidering the lyrics) a lot sexier. I think this is the first hint at the little image change of Kuu, and it’s a good track. The track features both brassy instruments and a nice flute solo, which make the song stand out.

Why would Hot Stuff feat. KM-MARKIT be a single? Maybe if KM-MARKIT was left out, things would be a lot better. I really don’t like his rap parts, he’s very uninteresting and lifeless while Kuu really sounds great on this song. R&B music with some synthy instruments are really what Kumi’s music is all about so she turned out to be the strongest of the two here. If she would’ve made a solo version, I would have loved it.

Now a really agressive song comes along, Selfish. It features some good electric guitar riffs and raw vocals in the chorus while the verses are more in peace. I loved how this song opened, it made me very curious about the song and it was quite mysterious. At this point in her career, this was a song Kuu really needed to make her albums edgier, and it turned out great in this case, I love this song. This should’ve been a single instead of Hot Stuff.

Another song that I really love AND is also a single, is hands. It’s a soft poppy ballad with a lovely piano, a guitar and strings, and Kuu brings this song with so much emotion in her voice. The arrangement for this track is great, the instrumental parts are very appealing and I also loved the PV for this song instantly when I saw it a few years ago. One of my favorite Kuu songs ever.

There a re some songs on this album that I never really gave a change, including Hearty… and that turns out to be a real shame. This is actually a really lovely and cute song! It’s also a bit of an R&B ballad, just like the previous track, but then with a little spice to it (like a great percussion part) and more synths. Too bad I only realize by now how much I enjoy this track and every single second that comes with it.

That’s when we leave the ballads and we meet the real slutty Kuu for one of the first times. SHAKE IT is a lovely song, I like it very much even though it’s a ‘bad girl song’. The PV was jaw dropping for this one, I still remember my eyes almost dropped out of their sockets because of all the controversial stuff going on, but oh well, by now I’m used to that side of Kuu. The music itsself is a bit tropical with a little R&B twist, and there’s one dance break in here that made me go like o_O?, really. ‘You can do it, put your back into it, I can do it, put your ass into it‘, like… wtf?? Apart from that, great song!

I think I know Kiseki (奇跡) by heart because I once rewrote the lyrics (and failed big time xD), but it doesn’t mean I love this song more than other songs on this album. In fact, being a ballad song, I think hands and Hearty… worked a bit better if you ask me. Only the chorus is a very good part of this song, the verses are a bit meh even though Kuu’s vocals are very in control and soothing. And… wow, is that whistle note done by Kuu? o.O Still quite a decent song.

I think we’re taking it right back to the slutty side once again with Trust you, a song that features a really good percussion (I ❤ beats). The musical style takes after Hot Stuff just a bit, but this is a thousand times better than that (useless) track. The hooks in this song are very nice, and even though this may not be the most unique song on the album, it’s still very enjoyable to me.

Chaseis a song that is all over the place when compared to some other tracks on this album and it’s so different from the rest. The fact Kuu added a saxophone to this track makes it very memorable and sassy, this has got to be one of her most daring tracks ever. Her vocals also really fit this style, she sounds really great here. In my case, this is a very underrated song, shame on me.

I get real summer vibes from LOVE HOLIC, I have to remember that (so I can play it on repeat this summer =D) because I actually adore this track quite a lot. It’s so much fun listening to it, it makes me happy and cheery and Kuu also sounds like she agrees with that since she’s adlibbing with her yells all the time. I loved the electric guitar parts in this song, very edgy.

24 is another ballad, but it’s a bit forgettable if you ask me. It’s a groovy song with a little flair to it, but it’s too long in length and it’s more of the same stuff through the entire track. Only during the last part when Kuu started adlibbing I awoke a bit, but for the rest of this song it was quite plain.

Let’s Party would’ve fit easily on her earlier albums because I get real ‘affection‘ vibes from this track. I would’ve expected a more agressive song here because of the title, but this track is actually quite laid back. Some people yelling ‘whoo’s’ and ‘wheeh’s’ all time time make this sound like a party a little more, and the organ-like part in the bridge is also very catchy. Kuu herself is the best thing about this song, her vocals kicked ass.

This album has it’s share of good ballads, and Believeis an acoustic one. Another track that is a bit underrated, because even though it’s so peaceful, it’s still very pretty and soothing! I remember falling asleep to this song two summers ago because it was so peacful (no, not boring xD), the acoustic guitar is awesome. Kumi brings along a good portion of emotion into this track, and she did a great job on the vocals this time.

Through the sky is a bit like 1000 no Kotoba because of its big arrangement, but then a bit better. It features many instruments; synths, a piano (leading instrument with the guitar), soft percussion and even a little xylophone some of the time. Kuu also delivers one of her best vocal performances on the entire album here, very strong and solid. This song becomes more interesting by the minute, and when the bridge comes along with its acoustic guitar solo, I’m already in love with this song.

Ending the album, we have It’s a small world feat. Heartsdales, and even though Kuu’s English, or should I say ‘Engrish’, is as bad as ever, I can’t help loving this track to bits! Being a huge Disney fan (actually I’m quite obsessed), I love me some Disney songs, and this was so funny! It’s like a mixture between the original song and the Tiki Room song, very tropical and I get real island vibes from this one. Kuu was terrible (but at the same time terribly funny) and Heartsdales’ rap was a bit out of place for this track but damn, this is so humouristic xD

Too bad I never realized how good this album is, almost every track has something that I love or at least like. I underrated secret and was more of the Kingdom, TRICK and UNIVERSE stuff and such, but now I can add this album to my favorites. Some of Kuu’s best tracks are on this album, like hands and SHAKE IT, and I don’t think there’s an artist who can pull this of as good as Kuu does, she isn’t my fav artist for nothing you know! Well, I think I have chattered enough here about how much I like this album, but I can’t stop wondering why Cherry Girl is her best album of all times (looking at the number of albums sold) and not this one because, when compared, this album is better than Black Cherry.

Favorite tracks: Selfish | hands | Hearty… | SHAKE IT | LOVE HOLIC | Through the sky | It’s a small world feat. Heartsdales

OVERALL RATING

4½ stars

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