Koda Kumi – Black Cherry

May 16, 2007 at 1:55 PM | Posted in Koda Kumi | 1 Comment
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The cover of the CD only edition

Black Cherry is Koda Kumi’s 5th studio album and it was released on December 20, 2006. The album reached #1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 1,030,321 copies.

♦ ♦ ♦

The INTRODUCTION follows the same style of the other intro tracks from her previous albums. It’s short but very good. It also includes complete English lyrics.

The introduction flows right into the first new full length track of the album, Get Up & Move!!. The song feautres aggressive synth along with a catchy loop that has English lyrics. The lyric You got me really horny from the beginning of the song just made me laugh when I first heard it but I do believe that this is the best non-single track on the album.

ALL of the songs from the 4 hot wave single are included on the album and the first one to appear is Ningyo Hime. The song shows a new, rockish side of Kumi’s music because of her change of vocal style and frequent electric guitar riffs.

Yume no Uta is the power ballad of the album and one of the better singles featured. I especially like the bridge because of Kumi’s powerful vocals.

The next track was kind of boring in my opinion. Tsuki to Taiyou is a slower paced track but it sounds uninteresting and little on the flat side.

Track 6 is Puppy, another new song that sort of has an edgy vibe because of the vocals and sassy music arrangement. However, it still feels like another filler track since it flows into a much better song (which happens to be a single).

Which leads me to Koi no Tsubomi, an extremely cute song that is really uplifting. The music is fluffy and this is another great Kumi pop song.

Oh jeez. This new version of WON’T BE LONG (the Black Cherry Version) is BAD BAD BAD. I honestly can’t stand it and I wasn’t a fan of the original that Kumi performed with EXILE in November 2006 to begin with. This version features only Kumi’s vocals and the music tries to sound more urban to fit the rest of the album, but it fails miserably. The absolute worst thing is the DJ who yells out stupid, random things throughout the entire song like Where all my shorties at? and Everybody scream!. It is truly awful and probably the worst track on the album.

I was so glad the next track was JUICY, an R&B song that’s actually GOOD. It was also my favorite song from the 4 hot wave single.

Track 10 marks a turning point in the album because this when we are treated to 6 consecutive good songs beginning with the piano ballad Candle Light. The piano arrangement is very nice but the song is short, unfortunately.

Track 11, in my opinion, is the best song on this album. Cherry Girl is addicting, catchy, and has an extremely high production value.

Track 12 is another great song originally from the 4 hot wave single. I’ll be there is acoustic pop at its best.

Even though I thought Unmei wasn’t as good as the rest of the ballads on the album, it’s not that bad. The song’s main flaw is that it waits too long to reach its focal point (which happens to be the bridge) and then its already over.

I had feeling that With your smile would be one of the ending tracks on the album because it was also at the end of the 4 hot wave single. The music is upbeat and a little bit on the aggressive side compared to the bubblegum pop stylings of other songs such as Birthday Eve and Koi no Tsubomi.

Track 15 is Kumi’s first attempt at music composition and surprisingly, Milk Tea is not bad at all. I actually like it a lot to be honest. It’s simple, yet effective as it progresses. This song is actually the final track on the normal edition of the album.

The next 3 tracks on the album are first pressing bonus tracks starting with the English version of Twinkle. The Japanese version originally appeared on an collaboration single called Amazing Nuts!. The lyrics of the English version aren’t bad but the way they are sung is the problem. Kumi still has problems with her English pronunciation because she says certain words like ‘clap’ and ‘pride’ wrong. I’m sure you can figure out how she said those words. XD

The next track is GO WAY!!, a song that she performed for the 14th Crayon Shin-chan movie in 2006. In some ways, it has a tropical pop sound similar to Shake It Up, but much worse. Let’s just say that this song really annoyed the heck out of me.

The final bonus track is ANOTHER version of WON’T BE LONG but this time it is the Red Cherry Version. At least this one is tolerable because it features the original music of Kumi’s collaboration with EXILE and again, only her vocals. That means there is no annoying DJ to mess things up even further.

Black Cherry was an interesting album to say the least. It has a broad range of musical genres from ballads, R&B tunes, and then some. Some of the new album tracks were somewhat disappointing and the Black Cherry Version of WON’T BE LONG is just plain horrendous. The A-sides, however, are still excellent and of very high quality even though there are so many of them (Cherry Girl, JUICY, Koi no Tsubomi, and Yume no Uta were my favorites). I didn’t really like the first pressing bonus tracks that much either. The individual tracks of Black Cherry a.k.a. THE SINGLES make this album worth it.

Overall Rating

4 stars

Tracklisting

1. INTRODUCTION
2. Get Up & Move!!
3. Ningyo Hime (人魚姫)
4. Yume no Uta (夢のうた)
5. Tsuki to Taiyou (月と太陽)
6. Puppy
7. Koi no Tsubomi (恋のつぼみ)
8. WON’T BE LONG ~Black Cherry Version~
9. JUICY
10. Candle Light
11. Cherry Girl
12. I’ll be there
13. Unmei (運命)
14. With your smile
15. Milk Tea (ミルクティー)
16. Twinkle ~English Version~ [First pressing bonus track]
17. GO WAY!! [First pressing bonus track]
18. WON’T BE LONG ~Red Cherry Version~ [First pressing bonus track]

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

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1 Comment »

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  1. The only problem I had with this album was the transition of JUICY ~ Candle Light ~ Cherry Girl. Candle Light sounded like a big filler being put into between both songs, I would have preferred it if Kuu would have put it next to Yume no Uta. Other than that, the album is great. I like your review =3


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