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%
  • INTRODUCTION

    Votes: 1 5.3%
  • Introduction for Kingdom

    Votes: 4 21.1%
  • INTRODUCTION FOR TRICK

    Votes: 10 52.6%

  • Total voters
    19
Glad you're back to slander me hon! You can take that back later on when you post my glowing commentary for the actual masterpieces in this rate that get eliminated too early just for being ballads.
Can't wait, hun.
I didn't listen to the others
It's right there in the elimination post...
No comment on WIND since I have no memory of it whatsoever.
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Blow with the WIND!
At least buy me dinner first.
 
Whoa. Two eliminations and I was not at all phased by either leaving.

Fair enough, although have you tried giving it a couple more spins? Dddd, okay, okay, I'll stop.

Oh girl, I've been listening to "WIND" since it was released. How many more times you want me to listen to it? *Insert some relevant gif* (Okay, but seriously, someone needs to make me a folder with all kinds of fun gifs, because I'm too lazy to get them myself.)
 
Listening now won't change my score though so why put myself through it! I'll go listen to my 11 instead.
You're right, why bother giving yourself a shot at finding new potentially good music.
Oh girl, I've been listening to "WIND" since it was released. How many more times you want me to listen to it?
I was joking, hun, I don't know how many times you listened to it, and considering the song is at least nice, if we look at the score, it won't hurt to listen to it again.
 
MAAA~
MOOO~
RUUUU~
BEEE~
KI MOOO~
NO WOOO~











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56
Unmei


Average: 7,03
Highest score: 10x1 (@Eskiath) 9x3 (@yuuurei, @aaronhansome and @me!) 8,5x1 (@EachSmallStep)
Lowest score: 5x3 (@lalaclairi_, @Empty Shoebox, @TABOO)
My score: lookie above

Jesus, the singles are starting to fall like flies and it's another one from Black Cherry! But then again, Kumi has a lot of them, so figures. We say goodbye to the power ballad that is Unmei, which was released as a double A-side single with Cherry Girl. Produced by Iehara Masaki (To be one) and written by Hibino Hirofumi (lots of girl groups, Johnny's acts and AAA), the song was used as a theme song for the movie Oh! Oku. I have to say, considering how this wasn't written by Kumi she puts her whole heart into delivering the song and she surely delivers it justice! The bridge and the final chorus are so powerful my wig has been found in freaking Japan I've actually been there! Still, I can totally see how someone might find this a bit to grand for their liking, as I had to give this a lot of time myself to arrive at the 9 point score. The message of the song is that of wanting to be everything for that one person, to protect them, to embrace them and to support them in time of need. A bit cliché and on the nose, but still sweet and Kumi's performance here actually makes you believe she will become that damn snow!​

I want to fly to you with my big wings

warm you up, and then speak with you
Until the morning
Until you quietly go to sleep
I want to be by your side, I believe that that's fate

I finally found the one
to protect, and yet
You're so close, yet I can't protect you
Dreams and reality intersect

On nights you feel lonely,
I'll become snow, and fall from the sky
wrapping you up
I'll embrace you right away
So don't forget
the time we spent together...
I want to be by your side, I believe that that's fate
(c) @otenkiame

By the way, I can't remember what were the exact prerequisites for this, but I suppose either the movie or the song inspired Kumi to design a line of kimonos and yukatas. The blue one on the cover of Unmei is actually the one Kumi designed herself. If you'd like to see some more pretty ones, you can go here.

I'm... shocked at lack of the commentary for this track, I guess it is quite telling. Either you noticed something iffy about it (Kumi not writting it herself), it was too much for you, or you were just left stunned by the grandeur. Like... @Remorque (6) managed to squeeze a couple of pathetic words from his mouth, "A bit unremarkable..." I'm sorry, this song is a lot of things and "unremarkable" is not one of them. Speaking of other things this piece is not, @TABOO dares, "The delivery is nice, but comparing this to other ballad tracks within Kuu’s catalogue reveals it to be one of her weakest and most forgettable." Nope, I'm not taking this, so take it back. Elsewhere @vague (7) wasn't a fan, but still thought it was fine, "not a huge fan of this, but it's fine". Hm, yeah.​

Remember this, just yesterday?​
You can take that back later on when you post my glowing commentary for the actual masterpieces in this rate that get eliminated too early just for being ballads.
Y'all ready to witness the majesty that @yuuurei managed to muster up as one of the high scorers for this? ARE YOU THOUGH‽ Cuz you're not.​

"A very pretty ballad. That high note on "mamorenai" ... lovely."

Oh my, such eloquence, much wow.

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Finishing off this time is @otenkiame (8), who actually summed up my thoughts on the track quite nicely, "I've never straight up loved this track, but have always found it to be good nonetheless. It's quite pretty and gives a great crescendo during the bridge, but it does lack a little something to place it among her best." True, even now something doesn't let me love this fully, hence my score. The PV is very aesthetically pleasing though.​

It's not uncommon for Kumi to perform Unmei live, usually she nails it like this one from Rhythm Nation 2007.
 
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Whoa, I expected Won't Be Long to last waaay longer than it did!
Same.
Unmei was just there for me, but then again so were most of the ballads (oops)
Still mourning Won't Be Long ~Red Cherry Version~
Ha, suffer.
Still not phased by those eliminations. Keep up the good work!
Hun, I've seen your scores, you're won't be phased for quite some time.
Damn. Consider me dragged from here to Moscow and back!
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Apologies for another delay.

Let's get this show on the road once again!

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54
(TIE)
Wonderland

Average: 7,05
Highest score: 10x2 (@Squashua, @Remorque) 9x2 (@soratami, @Empty Shoebox) 8,5x2 (@RUNAWAY, @aaronhansome)
Lowest score: 1x1 (@Osiris) 4x1 (@Eskiath)
My score: 7,5

And after 21 reveals Kingdom finally loses its first track. You huns decided that Wonderland is the worst one on that glorious album. Produced by Tanaka Nao (extensive work with BoA, Hirai Ken, Kato Miliyah and many others) and written by Kumi, the track is a cutesy one on the verge of going overboard into unbearable territory and yet it manages to stay just there. I've always found Wonderland a bit too much, but at the same time the arrangement is pretty great and in the end the song is never skipped when I'm listening to the album. The whole concept from the lyrics to the music video for this was inspired by Alice In Wonderland, duh! The lyrics are cute and fluffy and tell the a story from beginning to end, hence the lack of repeated choruses and why I have to post them in full:​

One day I met a cute rabbit

Saying "I'm late!!", he hurried off
Perhaps he'll lead me to you, right??
I'll try to run after him

When I run after him, I get lost and miss you
The heart-mark butterfly flies down, love

Wait! My Cupid,
take me to him
Don't leave me behind, you're so mean
I'm bumbling, and so obsessed with him, but
my adventure keeps going on...

All alone, when I trudged
on this path I don't know
I discovered a lot of yummy looking candy!
Even one is fine

I've suddenly gotten small
Will you notice me?

I was so lonely tears overflowed
The wind calls me, so
when I turn around, many
beautiful flowers
smile, and I sing a song with feelings for you with them

A light shined on me just when I smiled
When I try shifting my attention, yeah, deep inside
Cupid is sleeping soundly
on his knee
I've found him! My prince
(c) @otenkiame

Most of you lot who had anything to say about Wonderland were conflicted about the cute nature of the song and catchy hooks combo. Current reigning rate villain @yuuurei (5) wasn't even the lowest scorer, "Well this is definitely cute, bordering on saccharine. I don't hate it but it's not something I could listen to often." This time around I totally get where you're coming from, hun. Despite giving 1,5 point more than @yuuurei, @vague (6,5) was a bit harsher in their critics, "okay, this is the kind of cutesy stuff she does that i can't stand dddd. there's a nice melody in there, i guess, but the put-on cutesy vocals make this a chore to get thru for me" Blame it on the Japanese for eating up the cuteness! @Weslicious (5) knows what to watch when gorging on edibles, "So, this somewhat worked in a bad acid-trip kind of way on the Kingdom tour, but individually the song and video are dire." Yes, the live performance for this was quite fun, which will see at the end of this write-up.

Continuing with higher score givers we ask @otenkiame (7) if he enjoyed this one, "I make it well known that I hate cutsey songs, but I enjoy this for some reason. I don't know what it is either. I really don't, but I've never found it annoying or too much even though I know I should." Oh look, someone as confused as I am. I'm telling you, it's all due to Tanaka Nao's production. Which, unfortunately, doesn't really stop @TABOO (7) from hovering his mouse poiter over the "next" button, "Whenever I listen to the song, I find myself waiting for it to finish so I can move onto the next... She’s certainly a cute girl, however! The production is idiosyncratic which matches the fairy tale motif very well." Look who knows big words! Next up y'all gonna say stuff like counterintuitive, perspicacious and callipygian. @RUNAWAY let's us know that he appreciates this period's cute tracks, "this song is so cute!! I know I’ve been saying that a lot, but this period of her career has so many cute-in-a-good-way songs." Glad you enjoy these so much, hun.

Once again we finish with @Squashua whose ability to describe the songs never ceases to amaze me, "Quirky Gamecube platformer soundtrack meets obscure anime intro with church bells and magic bubbling sound effects? Count me in.
" Oh wow, yes, accurate to a tee.​


So here we arrive at that performance from Kingdom Tour we've mentioned earlier.
 
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In honor of Kumi announcing that DNA is coming out on August 22 and
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those
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fucking
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covers

we continue our journey to Top50!

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54
(TIE)

Joyful


Average: 7,05
Highest score: 10x1 (@Weslicious) 8,5x1 (@vague) 8x4 (@RUNAWAY, @Empty Shoebox, @Eskiath, @ThisIsRogue)
Lowest score: 3x1 (@Osiris, and I was saying that @yuuurei is the rate villain) 5,5x1 (@otenkiame)
My score: 7

(I'm a mess! When I was putting in the score I've put one of the decimals as a 6 and not 5, so Joyful is exactly the same score as Wonderland. Both are at #54, I've corrected the post for Wonderland accordingly. Let's hope there are no more mistakes like this in the future, dddd.)

Let the cutesy cull continue! TRICK loses another track, this time it's Joyful. Produced by the genius that is Watanabe Miki (you should already know all the songs by this guy by now) and written by Kumi, the song is a thumping right in your face poppy ditty with one of the catchiest hooks in Kumi's discography. Listen to this and tell me how you've managed to get that Joyful, joyful, lalalala part out of your head, because you won't be able to. I can see a lot of potential here and I do enjoy listening to this, still to me this comes off as one of the tracks that become fully realized only in live environment. Having said that, listening to this again for the rate and the write-up made me think about it quite a lot and perhaps I should have at least gave this half a point more. Fun fact, at first I couldn't decipher what Kuu was singing in the hook, and I assumed that she was singing "grin". As this part of the lyrics is not in the album booklet, it took a while to discover that it was "glee". I believe once the tour for TRICK was released, I saw the background screens with the lyrics on them. Anyway, when it come to the lyrics, this is about supporting your friends in time of need and wanting them to be happy:​

You've been broken and shedding tears

Your make-up is all messed up, but like that
today you're more beautiful than usual
without decorating yourself

I want to become your sun
I think so from the bottom of my heart
I'll keep supporting you no matter what
I want to make you smile, like a sunflower

Make a flower that's like you bloom
without worrying about how others think of you
If you stay yourself, then I'm sure the courage
to step towards a new tomorrow again will be born
(c) @otenkiame

While @otenkiame is back here again, we should inquire him about the subject matter of this post, "Kill that opening. God I hate it. At least electric guitars come in just at the right moment. Otherwise, this is a super happy, peppy, cute track that I guess I can sort of see being good live. Nothing I'm keen on listening to, though." See, I just knew about the impact of a live rendition! @vague (8,5) shares the same sentiment, "really lives up to its title tbh. i imagine this is probably a great track to see her perform live" It probably is, but we'll have to opt for videos. Thanks to @TABOO (7,5) we have a pretty clear description of all of the positive sides of the track, "Another track from this album that has really grown on me over time. It should feel a smidgen too long, but it really is a wonderful little ditty, isn’t it? The production that kicks in during the pre-chorus is glorious, before exploding into the spellbinding chorus. The chanting is so positive that I can’t even come for that. Maybe I should have rated this higher in retrospect..." Yeah, reading your thoughts on it provoke an image of a higher score. Moreover, we learn that @yuuurei (7) prefers to stay in the shade, "More aggressively sunny than I normally like but it works for me somehow." It's nice to come out and play in the sun sometimes though, isn't it?

I like when you guys don't really know what to say about the song and you write just something, so I can drag you a bit for it. This time it's @RUNAWAY, who couldn't avoid noticing some pronunciation differences, so he just had to let us all know, "joyful joyful joyful gree!! So cute!" It's okay, @LANAWAY, nobody's perfect.

A couple of voters made me realize that the track is indeed very reminiscent of WIND, which... never occured to me before for some reason. On the one hand @Cutlery (7) doesn't really prefer one over the other though, "Did we really need a WIND rehash? I suppose the same score suits both tracks alright" I don't know, do we need another TABOO or BUT? The answer to both is of course "YES!" On the other hand @Weslicious is happy to have more great songs to bop to, "WINDS equal in every way. Amazing, uplifting and Joyful!" More happiness into our lives!!!​

Here is a live performance from J-WAVE 2000+9, which showcases how fun this can be live.
 
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