Reviews written by Jae
So Into You (Japan Version)October 9, 2016 A Favorite from an Early Era
So Into You has been one of my favorite songs for over a decade. This song is extremely catchy and, while the song's lyrics are fairly optimistic, the video is darker. But you can find that on the DVD.
I am in love with the song. I listen to it a few times a year since its release and it's one that has never gotten old. It's a shame that this was a limited single, because it's amazing and everyone should listen to it.
The remixes are exclusive to the CD, so you have a COLOR OF SOUL remix and a TAKE BACK remix. While TAKE BACK has had some great remixes, this had been one of my favorites. It's not THE best, but it is one of them. It has a very space-oriented feel. COLOR OF SOUL isn't as fun as the original track, but it's an okay listen. Honestly, I get bored with it.
But So Into You makes the single worth it. I still love watching the video, even years later. I love the imagery, Kumi looks amazing, it's just an overall great song.
WALK OF MY LIFE (ALBUM + BLU-RAY + POSTER)(Japan Version)(1)Our Price: US$48.493 people found this review helpful
March 27, 2015 A walk into Kuu's life....
Despite the album cover and artwork creating an elegant image, WALK OF MY LIFE is filled with dance tracks and an upbeat feel. It’s an album that you can tell Kuu had fun making.
It starts off with an energetic intro, then leads into the power track Dance In The Rain. Though it was only released as a physical single to her FC, it still made it to the album. This has been one of her best singles in a while – with passionate lyrics, an amazing video and message, it’s no wonder that this was the debut video for the Oculus Rift. Lippy has become one of the standouts on this album. It’s addicting and that beat is one that won’t leave your head. Mercedes took a few listens and, while I still don’t love it, I do like it. It sounds like something from the 80s – lyrics, too.
Like It is the first new A-side from the album and for good reason. It doesn’t sound like a dance track. Though a smooth R&B track, it’s a wicked video and Kuu performs her own stunts. Some she hasn’t performed since FREAKY in ‘07. House Party sounds like a 90s party track (one of the lines “let’s do it like we did back in ’93”). The hip-hop infused interlude flows into HOTEL, then Gimme U, which is the first upbeat pop song. It’s adorable, but we’ve heard this type of music before.
You can keep up with me is another one of my favourites. I love the beat and lyrics. It’s a badass song and you know she felt badass singing it. MONEY IN MY BAG goes into my other favourite song: PIECE IN THE PUZZLE. This song is dark and Kuu’s voice just makes it for me. The lyrics flow so amazingly and damn – I love this song. Fake Tongue sounds how I expected and that’s a good thing! It’s about not trusting someone’s words or “fake tongue.”
Sometimes Dreams Come True sounds like it would be a ballad, but it’s not. It’s a fun pop/rock track that you can play driving down the highway. With an upbeat message and catchy tune, you’ll have the chorus stuck in your head. LIFE so GOOD!! is very reminiscent of Poppin’ love cocktail, but toned down. I wanna love this song, but, while I like it, I don’t love it. The album closes out with the power ballad WALK OF MY LIFE. This is an intense ballad that took some time to grow on me. I can’t say I like the video (I lived in NYC and hated it), but the message makes it for me. I love the tune, the melody and Kuu’s passion.
Overall, this is one helluva an album – one that you won’t regret buying. PLUS! You also get the wicked video for MONEY IN MY BAG!
HOTEL (SINGLE+DVD)(Japan Version)1 people found this review helpful
March 27, 2015 Welcome to the HOTEL of hip-hop
There was a reason I waited so long to review this single. At first, I liked it, but I didn't love it. I kept finding myself loving MONEY IN MY BAG more than the title track, so when I found out that only the FC versions had the music video for that song? I was a little upset. But the more I listened to this single, the more and more I enjoyed it.
HOTEL is a really fun and enjoyable hip-hop dance track, with more dance elements than hip-hop. But it's catchy as all hell and a song you will find yourself singing constantly. I play this song at least once a day and it still hasn't worn out on me. The music video took some getting used to and I do find myself liking the "nighttime" segments more enjoyable than the daytime segments.
MONEY IN MY BAG is still my favourite track, though. I just love everything about this song. From the chorus to the bridge to the music video - I really love this track. I will play this song CONSTANTLY when I'm driving to and from work and it just gives you so much energy!
TURN AROUND is a very nice ballad, but don't expect anything slow and romantic. There's a reason this song isn't an A-side. It's still a pretty song and it's one that flows nicely with the two dance tracks, but it being an upbeat ballad instead of say...a hip-hop ballad, it's a bit out of place.
Overall, I really do adore this single. It's just grown on me the months since it's been released. With Kuu branching out into her love of hip-hop, it's showing how much she enjoys it.
Bon Voyage (Japan Version)2 people found this review helpful
February 22, 2014 Say "Bon Voyage" to the sound you know....
Koda Kumi's first studio album in 2 years is an experimental sound. I'm not saying that because it sounds different. She said it was a "new sound that she was excited to do and one she felt she could express herself." I'm only going to review the new songs (I've reviewed the singles).
The introduction has the sounds of ships in the background, then leads into a catchy beat that sounds like it was inspired from HEAT (2004). SHOW ME YOUR HOLLA is a blend of electronica and pop and, despite the title making no sense, the song is catchy and will be stuck in your head. LOADED feat. Sean Paul is hip-hop and Sean adds it and doesn't take away from it. This song sounds perfect for a sunset beach party.
Winner Girls is upbeat and sounds better with the full version. The only issue I have is "Winner - winner girls" being said throughout almost the entire song. Imagine is the first ballad on the album and, much like Koishikute, it opens up after the first minute. So if you're turned off by it, I urge you to keep listening. Koishikute and LALALALALA follow, then Let's show tonight. This song is very jazz-oriented and I love it. The only downside is that it's so short! It's the length of the interlude, which is one of the best interludes she's done in a while.
TOUCHDOWN goes into Crank Tha Bass feat. OVDS and, I'll be honest: I'm having a hard time really liking this song. It has a really sick beat and it'd be a great street racing song, but to just listening to? Not so much. But I really do like it because this will be a great song for the full adrenaline rush when racing. Then is my personal favorite track: LOL. This song is dark, catchy and sick. Perfect clubbing song. The chorus is addicting, the beat is insane and Kuu's vocals? UNG. Go to the top leads to Dreaming Now!, which gets to the third ballad on the album: On Your Side. This song has a great backtrack and is an upbeat pop ballad. I really do adore this song because it's beautiful and the message is so positive.
Then is my second favorite track: U KNOW. This is just an upbeat and fun song! Think about going into Tokyo or Osaka at night with friends and just having fun! I really do adore this song, even though it's a complete 180 from LOL.
Overall, this is a good Kuu album. Long-time fans (like myself) will probably be wary, but grow to enjoy it. The only downside to the album is that there are no standout ballads, which she always has at least one on every album (UNIVERSE had 3).
Dreaming Now! (SINGLE+DVD) (First Press Limited Edition)(Japan Version)(1)1 people found this review helpful
December 1, 2013 Dreaming Now! for the Championship!!
In honor of the 2013 WORLD VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIP CUP, Koda Kumi released "Dreaming Now!", much how EXILE did "VICTORY" during the 2010 olympics.
Honestly, I think both songs are very similar: I mean that in sound and chart-ranking. They both give this super-optimistic sound, which is very inspiring (even if you don't live in Japan). It's fun, it's infectious and the song will have you cheering for Japan to win - no matter what country your from. While I will say EXILE's "VICTORY" was much more infectious and inspiring, Koda Kumi still doesn't hold back with trying to inspire some of the players with her, "Winner's Cup!" line. The video is, honestly, I think her best video since 2009's "ECSTASY." It's a full-blown dance song and, while the only "volleyball" element is that it takes place on a volleyball court, you don't get that feel for the vast majority of it. But the dance is way catchy and, more than likely, the first time you'll be saying, "I NEED TO LEARN THIS DANCE," since the 2009 song.
Then you have the main B-side, "XXX," which, in all honesty, I feel this song should've been called "BAD GIRLZ" or something. That's the main line spoken throughout it and many people may confuse the song with SOULHEAD's "XXX feat. Koda Kumi" way back in '06. However, the song is still very dance-themed. Think a darker and sexier version of "IS THIS TRAP?". I compare it to that because of the electronic vibe. But the song is awesome (really, once you pass the first 30-45 seconds, it just opens up and is totally wicked).
The "LIVE VERSION" of "Ai no Uta" is nothing outstanding, other than Kuu's flawless vocals. I really wish the instrumentals of "Dreaming Now!" and "XXX" were on here instead of this song. I mean...I like it, but still. I heard the version during ZUSHI FES'13.
The DVD also has the "LIVE VERSION" of "IS THIS TRAP?" which, more than likely, is the closest version to a music video we'll ever get for the song. I like it because Koda Kumi's has a lot of energy, but I was really hoping for a music video. Maybe on the album???
Overall, it's a good Koda Kumi single, but it's more something I see people that have been fans for a while getting. Or people who were really inspired for the Championship Cup.
Summer Trip (SINGLE+DVD)(Japan Version)1 people found this review helpful
August 2, 2013 LET'S DO SHOTS!!
Koda Kumi’s first summer single in two years ends up being an Americanized, beach-sound filled hit! Kuu always pumps up the summer with her music that is perfect for a Beach House Party. The interludes are completely different than what we’re used to in multiple A-sides and that’s because, unlike where usual interludes contain snippets of the songs, these interludes are done by a male radio host, who introduces each song with the type of feel the song gives. Now, let’s review the songs, shall we?
The first song is LALALALALA, an upbeat song whose video was filmed at Venice Beach in Los Angeles, California in the USA. She hadn’t filmed in the USA since 2008’s That Ain’t Cool. This song is fun and full of energy! You want to go to the beach and blare this with Whatchu Waitin’ On, COME WITH ME and Run For Your Life.
Up next is the electronic IS THIS TRAP? When the preview came out for this song, everyone said how much they loved it and couldn’t wait for the full version. The full version doesn’t disappoint. Out of the three, this is definitely the catchiest song. I blame that bloody ‘OH, WHOA!’ line. (laughs)
The final song is the hip-hop, underground-inspired TOUCH DOWN. So many people compare this to modern American music and, while this was originally written back in 2009 for some American artist when this type of music became mainstream in the USA, underground Japanese artists have been working with it since the 90s and early 2000s. Even VERBAL started out in the underground with similar-styled music. The point is that this is a great hip-hop song that is heavily reminiscent to KM-MARKIT and THE RAIDERS. This is the perfect clubbing song when you and your friends go out and do shots. While I do enjoy the video, there was one part that was just straight-up stupid: the faces that male dancer makes. His dancing is meh and the facial expressions he uses are the most idiotic facial expressions ever used in an A-list artist’s video. That and I hate that bustier Koochan wore. I think it was the style of it, because we all know bustiers are sexy.
Overall, this is a great summer single and I’m so happy that it made it into the Top 5 on Oricon! The artwork’s sexy and hot, showing a more erotic Kuu than we’re used to. She really did take note of the LA style. Koda Kumi fans need this single because it’s something new from her that she hasn’t really done before. I think Kenji really has quite the inspiration on our Koochan!
Yume no Uta / Futari de... (SINGLE+DVD)(Japan Version)(5)Our Price: US$20.752 people found this review helpful
July 9, 2013 Beautiful and Elegant~
My family grew to hate this single, while I fell more in love with it each time I heard it.
The reason they didn't like it was because my friend sent this to me for my 16th birthday (or belated, I guess). My birthday's in July, but he kept saying, "You'll have to wait! You'll have to wait!" The three month wait was worth it! I say my family hated it because I played it constantly. I spend months tracking down a coat that looked like Kuu's and was so happy when I found it.
The songs were originally one melody, but Kuu commented how the song had elements of both happy and sad, suggesting it be broken into two segments. This song would later inspire other AVEX artists, including Hamasaki Ayumi and Tohoshinki (TVXQ). "Yume no Uta" is the sad take, with Kuu utilizing that gorgeous voice and a video that will break your heart. Then is "futari de..." which is the happy take and, while the main story is sad, it ends on a happier note. The two women in each video encounter the woman from the other video, tying them together.
The artwork for this single is also where Koda Kumi began to mature in her poses and truly understood her angles. They looked like they took less effort, but received better outcomes. This really is a single that all fans should own. Even the remixes are beautifully arranged.
1 people found this review helpful
July 9, 2013 feel the heat...
Though only containing three PVs, 'feel' was released before the CD+DVD became popular. This DVD contains her poppy 'COME WITH ME,' the sensual 'Gentle Words' and the sexy and ero-kakkoi 'Crazy 4 U.' It also contains a PHOTO SLIDESHOW, which has images that you still can't even access on the web.
Which means if you're one of those crazed Koda Kumi fans (like myself), you'll want to get this DVD just to see those images. The pictures really do show how Koda Kumi was struggling to find herself back then and how far she was willing to go to get the popularity she wanted. My only issue was that, in some of the photos, she looks freaky-thin. Not in the healthy way, but in the 'this girl needs to eat more' way. But, at the time, that's what AVEX wanted and she was more than willing to put forth the effort.
This is a DVD that Koda Kumi fans want if they really want to know all of Koochan's past. And, for that, I will always recommend it.
Won't Be Long (SINGLE+DVD)(Japan Version)5 people found this review helpful
April 13, 2013 BEST COLLABORATION (at the time)!!
I'd be lying if I said I didn't listen to this song constantly. I'd be lying if I said this song doesn't put you in a great mood.
It's a cover of the song of the same name, originally by DA BUBBLEGUM BROTHERS. And, while I'm usually more fond of originals, Kuu and EXILE owned this song! They gave it a modern, clubbing flare with a sparkling music video and perfect vocals. EXILE is a wonderful group and has been able to inspire the entire country of Japan in times of strife (when the tsunami hit in 2012, they did the song 'Rising Sun,' which was a message that you can get through anything as long as you stick together). I love how Kuu's and Atsushi's voices blend so beautifully together!
This song is perfect around Christmas time, which may seem strange, but the song came out late November and the video is decorated in red and gold. My memories of this song are that time of year. (laughs)
This is such a fun single! As for Ignored Truth, they should be just that: ignored. Especially considering they didn't even start listening to Kuu until Kingdom era, which was much cleaner than her past (and current) work.
4 hot wave (Ningyohime/With your smile/I'll be there/JUICY) (SINGLE+DVD)(Japan Version)
4 hot wave (Ningyohime/With your smile/I'll be there/JUICY) (SINGLE+DVD)(Japan Version) DVD Region 2(23)Our Price: US$20.75April 13, 2013 Koda Kumi continues to reign
After releasing two chart-topping compilation albums and several singles, and after the success of 'Koi no Tsubomi,' Koda Kumi continues to make history by releasing '4 hot wave' and becoming the first female artist to sell more copies than any othe artist (at the time).
The intros and interludes are cute and quaint. The first track, Ningyo-Hime, is a hard rock song and the first time Kuu attempted the genre. With a dark tone and lyrics, Kuu utilizes a raspy voice to keep the feel. The video is the final in the set of four, showing what the book led to. The second song is I'll be there and is a soft summer ballad. The video is the third in the set and depicts the map from JUICY leading to a beautiful oasis.
The fourth song is JUICY and is an erotic pop/R&B blend. This song has very seductive lyrics and a hot video, which portrays Kuu and her crew seducing opposing treasure hunters to gain access to a map. The chorus is addicting and chances are that, if you don't know the full dance, you know part of it. The final track, second video in the set, is With Your Smile. It's a fast-paced pop song about love and happiness experienced when you're with someone you care about. The video shows the race to the treasure.
Overall, this is an AMAZING Koda Kumi single! Her first quadruple A-side and most famous! All the videos were filmed in Morocco and her first phitobook, MAROC, was released alongside it. This is another single all fans need in their collection!
Koi no Tsubomi (SINGLE+DVD)(Japan Version)2 people found this review helpful
April 10, 2013 Favourite High School Memory~
Koochan brought in the new era strong with this chart-topper!
This single came out a little over a month before my 16th birthday, so along with Birthday Eve (2005) and Let's Party (2005), this was used for my birthday. I have a lot of great memories with this single and song and it ended up being my favourite Koda Kumi for well over a year. I even made two of the outfits from the PV (the pink one and the yellow one) and had my hair cut exactly like hers. This was also one of the reasons I ended up getting black, square-rimmed glasses when my old ones broke.
This song is cute, fun and has adorable lyrics! Talking about love in such a cute manner, along with Koda Kumi's three (four?) personas throughout the video, it's the perfect song! It's a great song to listen to whenever you're in a slump and need to feel that happy energy. The video has such a cute storyline and Koochan looks positively stunning!
The remix on this single has more of a jazz-feel and really does make you think of sitting in a cafe with your partner. Then the booklet has adorable images of Koochan and an anonymous man and, even through images, she gives off this cute and happy feeling.
This is the single every Koda Kumi fan needs in their collection! It really is the single that officially set her in stone as one of Japan's top artists!
BEST - second session (Jacket B / ALBUM+DVD)(Japan Version)(11)Our Price: US$50.254 people found this review helpful
April 3, 2013 Second compilation album
Can we just say there is a reason this song charged at #1 for weeks and there's a reason it sold over a million copies within two weeks and there's a reason it has since sold over two million?
"BEST ~second session~" is the album that contains the songs and videos from her 12 Single Collection (also time to take note that I'm only gonna review the new material or the songs I haven't already). The album opens with its introduction, which would later be released as a digital single with the 00 mark and have an Arabian theme. It's a catchy song that leads to D.D.D feat. SOULHEAD - the addictive pop/rock blend - then to the balled 'you.' 'Candy feat. Mr. Blistah' is the next track and has an Arabian-feel. I adore this song - it's catchy and Blistah and Kuu always work well together (am I the only one who wanted them to be together?). The video is actually the first in the set of five: it opens with Blistah showing Kumi different forms of offers to make her happy. She finally realizes that material things don't hold true happiness, so she splits herself into three personas and goes to Earth to find love. These stories are you, feel, Lies and Someday.
Next is Shake it Up, then the sexy, smooth jazz song of 'feel,' - the third story. The entire chorus is in English and Kuu sounds amazing. Up after is WIND, then the new so Love goes like.... I adore this song, which has a very dark feel, but a cool message. The video would be released on her concert DVD. After is No Regret, the cute Birthday Eve, the erotic Lies, the sexual and sensual Ima Sugu Hoshii, then KAMEN feat. Tatuya Ishii. This is a beautiful song with sensual lyrics and a smooth, opera-type feel. New fans may know Tatuya as Tatsyua from Kome Kome CLUB (Kuu covered their song Shake Hip!). The video is just as erotic. Following is Someday, then the cover of A Whole New World with Peabo Bryson. It's an okay cover, Kuu's adorable Engrish, but it does take away from it. She doesn't use that powerful voice.
The final track on the DVD (...and wish your happiness and love) is all five videos in the storyline put together. Overall, an amazing album all fans need.
Someday / BoysGirls (Japan Version)3 people found this review helpful
April 2, 2013 12 o'clock brings her home: Japan
The final physical single in the collection and it draws inspiration from Koochan's own culture: Japan and the culture of the geishas.
I say it's the final physical single, because she did release the digital single "Get it On" as a special 00 with an Arabian theme.
This is the best song in the collection, really. It's an upbeat pop song with a great message and a gorgeous video. It's also the final video in the set of 5, closing out the storylines of "Candy feat. Mr. Blistah," "you," "Lies" and "feel." With a message to not give up because you will stand again someday, Koda Kumi proves that she doesn't need sex to sell. There's a reason this single charted at #2, let's just say that!
The b-side is the theme for the comical movie "Waters," which is about men working at a host club. The song's cute and fits with the theme of the movie. I notice a lot of people tend to forget about this song. That may be due to the fact she doesn't perform it, which makes me wonder why. I adore this song. It's upbeat, it's catchy and just an overall fun song!
Koda Kumi - WIND (Korean Version)2 people found this review helpful
April 2, 2013 Eleven: Italy
The eleventh single in the collection and its inspiration comes from Italy.
I love pop (I grew up in America throughout the 90s, so I grew up and lived pop), and while I do find this song cute, it was never my favourite. Even when it came out, the reason I liked it as much as I did was because I thought the music video was adorable and comical. It even has Rum, Koda Kumi's then-dog (Rum has since passed away). However, the song itself was always too...I don't know, poppy? I can't really explain it, but there's something about this song that just makes it okay. And this is coming from the girl whose favourite DBSK song is "Balloons"!!! (dies) And her "anytime" song, which is cutesy-pop, but I love that song.
Like I said, I have to watch the video when I listen to this song, otherwise I'll just skip over it. Its tune will get stuck in your head, but it's never been one of her "JUMP OUT" tracks to me.
Koda Kumi - Ima sugu Hoshii (Korean Version)2 people found this review helpful
April 2, 2013 Number Nice: France
This single's theme draws its inspiration from France and the art form of ballet.
The song is actually a cover of Sugar Soul's song, but Koda Kumi's version is really good. So if you're a fan of the original, I promise Koochan does it justice! It's a very sensual song with explicit lyrics, leading up to it being banned in South Korea. The video starts out very seductive and is about multiple suitors trying to take the hand of Kumi. Some of the skits are hysterical and had me laughing. The expressions just make this.
I love this song due to its heavy R&B flare, which is the theme Kuu started out with.
No Regret (Japan Version)4 people found this review helpful
April 2, 2013 Eighth: India
The eighth single in the collection draws its inspiration from India.
This is a great, addicting song and is the perfect nighttime clubbing track. Even now, it's on a my Night Club playlist, so when I'm going out, this is the song playing. (laughs) The song's about not giving up when you fall, that there are other people that are like you. So get back up, take charge and don't let life keep you from your goals.
A very inspirational song with a wicked beat.
Koda Kumi - Lies (Korean Version)3 people found this review helpful
April 2, 2013 Fifth Theme: China
This is the fifth single in the collection and its inspiration comes from China.
'Lies' is a very addictive song with a great video. The song is about a couple trying to keep a happy relationship, but there's a widening gap coming between them. The video to go along with it is amazing and also the second in the storyline (along with the first single in the collection, "you").
Honestly, out of all of the songs in the collection, this is the most addicting and catchy. I have the chorus stuck in my head constantly and if your iPod or whatever is on shuffle and you hear the first few seconds to this song, you'll end up playing the entire thing.
Koda Kumi - Shake It Up (Korean Version)3 people found this review helpful
April 1, 2013 Fourth Mix: Brazil
The fourth single in the series draws its inspiration from Brazil.
I *love* this song and it's probably my FAVOURITE song out of the collection. It's catchy, it's dark and it's addicting. The lyrics are amazing, Koda Kumi sounds flawless and the music video is one of my all-time favourite Koda Kumi videos. I love how she's a doll come to life, dancing for the clock while wanting a life of her own. The video doesn't match the lyrics, but I love it so much. The lyrics are great clubbing lyrics - all about dancing.
I modeled my prom dress after the dress she wore in this music video, so it has a lot of memories for me. My prom was in 2008 and I knew from the moment I saw this video in 2005 that I wanted to make this the dress I would wear. I spent 5 months making it and was so proud that it looked like the one she wore.
Koda Kumi - D.D.D (Feat. Soulhead)(Korean Version)(3)Our Price: US$12.99List: US$16.99Save: US$4.00 (23%)4 people found this review helpful
April 1, 2013 Third: Britannia (United Kingdom)
D.D.D. feat. SOULHEAD draws its theme from Britannia, the female personification of Britain.
This has to be one of my favourite songs in the "12 Singles Collection." It's a pop/rock song with great chords and an epic rift. SOULHEAD is great in this song, making and performing the raps flawlessly, and all three of their voices blend beautifully together. This is a Girls' Anthem and, listening to the lyrics, you won't even doubt that for a second.
SOULHEAD also has their own version, "XXX feat. Koda Kumi," on their album "Naked."
Koda Kumi - Birthday Eve (Korean Version)2 people found this review helpful
April 1, 2013 Second: America (Lower 48)
The second single draws its theme from the lower 48 states of the United States of America.
The single is a fun, cute and poppy song with cute lyrics about a girlfriend making her boyfriend's birthday special. Chances are that you'll find this song stuck in your head and/or playing it on your birthday. This and "Let's Party" was played on my 16th birthday (2006), so I have a lot of fond memories of this song. It's also what made me want a small, pink cake. (laughs)