The Koda Kumi Rate PART II: WE'RE DONE, for now

So what's with all those introductions?

  • Introduction to the second session

    Votes: 4 21.1%

    Votes: 1 5.3%
  • Introduction for Kingdom

    Votes: 4 21.1%

    Votes: 10 52.6%

  • Total voters

Dear Family

Average: 6,48
Highest score: 9x1 (@me! Me, you heathens!) 8,5x2 (@vague, @RUNAWAY), 8x2 (@Love Deluxe, @ThisIsRogue)
Lowest score: 3x1 (@Eskiath heathen!) 4,5x1 (@TABOO)
My score: ISSA 9!

Okay, I'm totally calm, I'm not mad, no, really, I'm fine... WHAT THE BLOODY HELL, PEOPLE‽ Seeing this plummeting to its death as the scores were coming in was not a pleasant experience whatsoever. Honestly, I wasn't expecting this winning, but I really hoped for some nice placement in the Top50 for this. The lovely track was produced by Tomokazu "T.O.M" Matsuzawa (Kumi's show girl and Driving, the best songs by MiChi, the whole Welcome to Jas Vegas by JASMINE and a plethora of amazing remixes) and written by Kumi. I can see how this might feel like it drags a bit and I agree that it might have benefitted from amping up the tempo a tad, still overall this is such an earworm. The arrangement that marries island tinged sounds with traditional Japanese ones is just so sublime here. Not to mention the part from the middle 8 and onward is simply breathtaking. Besides Kumi sounds amazing as she pours her heart out about her love for her family don't forget misono! No really, those lyrics are great and I'm posting them in full because there is no repeated chorus in this.​

I'm sure no one else

ever really knows my pain
What kind of feelings has my heart been touched with?
I can't recall at all

Close to my heart, I put my eyes on the camera lens
Close to my heart, and, changing the angle a little, I see the world
Close to my heart, if there are things I don't like,
then I'll make them convenient weapons

The scenery, air, and color of the town
are overflowing with happiness
If I look through the lens a little,
I feel like I can become a new me...

Every day I'm too worried about those around me
Before I know it
I'm unable to talk with you about anything, and tears appear
My heart feels like it'll break

Dear family, baby, you always noticed
Dear family, baby, I don't want you to do anything
Dear family, baby, just stay by my side
And warm me with you laughter

From the start, I'd never give up
I was too close, and unable to notice it
Those persons cry together with me
and melt the darkness of my heart

Because pressing on for dear life
and taking a break
are all a part of me
I stay calm and hum cheerfully★

Because I have only one life
I don't want to regret
As long as my feelings don't fade,
I can keep on laughing
You taught me that
(c) @otenkiame

I didn't know there were so many ungrateful churls up in here, but okay, guess that's the demographic I'm working with, huh? @TABOO got me hooked, "Look, the lyrics are sweet." ...Yes... "Dear Family just goes on for too long, and it’s far too bland." And he lost me. This is not bland, you are! Just listen to this a couple more times and you'll feel the flavor. @aaronhansome (5) showed his rarely seen head, "I like the arrangement but the melody does nothing for me" Listen, I'm telling you, this is going to work. Just listen to this a couple more times and you'll get on with the melody. @EachSmallStep (6,5) appreciates the obvious "I do like the Asian R&B sound." Would've liked at least half a point more though, hun. The lyrics deserve it! Oh well, Just listen to this a couple more times and enjoy that R'n'B sound. Speaking of the lyrics, @otenkiame (7) confirmed the meaning, "Aww...Kuu dedicated a song to her family. I like the laid-back feel and the steel instrument giving island music sounds. It does feel just a tad too long, I guess." It's all an illusion, just listen to this a couple more times and you'll love the length. When it comes to lengths, @Weslicious (6) is in the higher echelons... probably. What do I know, right? "It’s different from her. Other than being different though, its nothing special." It is very unique in her discography, you're right, and yet just listen to this a couple more times and you'll understand how special this is.

After all that, I'm so glad that I've got a friend in @vague, "oh, waow, this is a great lil midtempo. it's so sweet, and she sounds utterly fantastic." YES! So glad you've enjoyed this, you should just listen to this a couple more times and bask in its glory again. @ThisIsRogue is another friend indeed, "Such a smooth, chill bop. It has a nice groove to it." Yup, once again, I have to agree, and I know you just have to listen to this a couple more times and groove along. We're finishing with yet another one of the highest scorers, @RUNAWAY, who has to have his comment edited because I couldn't believe he said that of reasons, "I like this A LOT more than LAST ANGEL. It’s definitely more in line with what I like from Kuu. If you couldn’t tell, I love her mid-tempos and ballads more than her [REDACTED]-jams. Not saying her uptempos and [REDACTED]-jams are bad, because THEY AREN’T, I just LOVE her mid-tempos and MOST of her ballads. This song reminds me a lot of Gentle Words and I love that about this one." Oh wow, the [REDACTED] parts aside, I didn't even think about this, but Gentle Words does sound like a cousin to Dear Family. Amazing. Now go and just listen to this a couple more times and wash your mouth with soap.​

Of course this gem has to be curse to never be performed live.

Why don't y'all listen to this a couple more times and imagine how beautiful this would sound live.
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We dip into some positivity with evilsin, "All of those "this melody was so nice, I felt it might express two opposite feelings" things are so weird to me. Usually only one take on the melody works to perfection and in Ayu's case it's Sunrise. (In Kumi's it's Futari de... FIGHT ME!)"

Dddd, I was wrong.



Futari de...

Average: 6,63
Highest score: 10x1 (@RUNAWAY) 9x1 (@lalaclairi_), 8x2 (@ThisIsRogue, @aaronhansome)
Lowest score: 0x1 (@Cutlery) 5x2 (@Squashua, @soratami)
My score: 7

Okay, okay, I admit that statement from Part II of Ayumi's rate was incorrect - overall Yume no Uta is a better song. Both songs were produced by Yamaguchi Hiroo (Rain, m.a.z.e., Through the sky) and written by Kumi. When the track was presented to Kumi for consideration, she decided that the melody could represent both sadness and happiness, and thus two songs were born from one melody. This is a bit of a rare practice, as from the top of my mind I can only remember two other occurances like this: Ayumi on her Sunrise / Sunset single and once again Kumi on her Gossip Candy single (Inside Fishbowl / Outside Fishbowl). A far more common situation in Japanese music is the phenomenon of the answer songs. This is when two artists collaborate on a song and record two versions with both parties taking the lead in their version. Usually one of the versions is far superior than the other, the best example of this would be Aoyama Thelma and SoulJa's Koko ni Iru yo / Soba ni Iru ne with the latter becoming one of the most downloaded songs in Japan's history. But I digress.

Futari de... is the song that was created from the happy side of the original melody. I don't mind this, and I can use it sometimes as it's like an orgel version of Yume no Uta, but it's not one of those that I want to come back to often. Hence, I probably have overscored it at least by half a point now that I'm thinking about it. Oh well. Sounds wise it's a little peppy, a little cute and a little, dare I say, shallow ditty, and when it comes to lyrical content, it's about being with a loved one and going through everything together no matter what. It's actually pretty good in that regard:

If you say "I want to stop now"

I'll snuggle close to your side
and we'll talk about those painful things
until morning comes
so that you can move ahead again

I don't mean that I know everything, but
I want to give all I have
and everything I can do to you alone
I'll put these feelings in this voice

If there are times you're worried,
I hope I'll be the one to lead you by the hand
If there are times I'm worried,
make me laugh, yeah, and embrace me
tightly, yes, tightly
(c) @otenkiame

Now, I know that some of you know the thing, and I hope you can keep the thing quiet, so I would use it in the Yume no Uta elimination, okay? Okay, thank you for understanding.

We will start with our zero fucks giver, @Cutlery, who does the most, "Takes the version that ended up on the album and strips it from any speck of musical merit, boiling it down to the most generic, redundant and dull ballad possible that fails at justifying its own existence in the span of four and a half minutes" Now, okay, okay, you know I want to whoop your ass after this, but why am I hard? Go in a bit, sis.

Actually, most of you found this to be a lesser version of Yume no Uta, looks like it's just the way it is. @EachSmallStep (6), for instance, felt some weirdness from this, "Always felt this was a weirdly cutesy demo version of Yume no Uta." When it comes to siblingss, one of them has to be a pretty one, right? Poor, Futari de... @otenkiame (7) didn't mind the cute take on the classic, "A cute take on "Yume no Uta". It gets points just for the lovely melodies, though her voice is a bit iffy at the bridge. Nothing special, but like a sweet lullabye." By the way, the WHOOSH remix on the limited editions of the single is kind of a bop. Meanwhile, @Weslicious wanted you all to know that he prefers Yume no Uta, "I prefer Yume No Uta. Still, cute concept." Tell 'em, hun. @vague (7,5) gave this a decent score, although you wouldn't be able to know from the commentary, "hm, i definitely prefer the yume no uta arrangement of this melody; it's more dramatic and just pops more than this version does, and her vocals sound really rough on this" Are you sure you liked this, dddd? @TABOO (6,5), appreciated the arrangement "I’ve always held the stronger feelings for its sister song, however ふたりで... is able to hold its own. Its music box-sounding composition allows it a little more breathing room, giving it more of an airy vibe."

There were a couple of you who enjoy this quite a bit. Like @aaronhansome, who can even forgive questionable vocals, "Oh, this is lovely, I’d never listened to it, even if her vocals are a bit...harsh on it." Or our full score awarder, @RUNAWAY, who could clearly see beyond the usual 'uglier sibling' narrative, "this song is just so underappreciated. I’ve loved this since the first moment I heard it. I heard Yume no Uta later so I didn’t know they were a 2 part single. The lyrics here are just so good and I kind of love how her vocal performance is more understated here. Also, I love the music-box feel this song has compared to Yume no Uta. I really hope this song actually goes somewhere in the rate instead of being eliminated early for being a less-good Yume no Uta. It’s great in its own way." I'm sorry, hun, looks like you've jinxed it.

Despite being considered an ugly duckling, thanks to it cute nature the song is performed a lot more than you would expect. Here's a performance from the

I would totally die dead if I was in place of that fan.
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