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

Average score: 7,16

74 Everybody feat. Koda Kumi / Katori Shingo
72 JOY -meets Koda Kumi / TRF
67 Sora
66 Dear Family
64 (TIE) Futari de...
64 (TIE) Asu he...
63 Simple & Lovely / m-flo ¦ Koda Kumi
62 Come Over
59 (TIE) girls
52 (TIE) Once Again
50 (TIE) Boys ¦ Girls
47 Winter Bell
38 (TIE) Sweet Kiss
35 (TIE) Bounce
35 (TIE) Run For your Life
32 XXX feat. Koda Kumi / SOULHEAD
24 (TIE) Lady Go!
24 (TIE) Always
14 Get It On

Highest scorers:
@evilsin 8,55
@otenkiame 8,03
@vague 7,79
@Squashua 7,50

Lowest scorers:
@yuuurei, @Eskiath 5,68 At least you got each other down there, dddd.
@lalaclairi_ 6,50
@Osiris 6,66
@Empty Shoebox 6,67

Average score: 7,35

77 A Whole New Wold feat. Peabo Bryson
76 KAMEN feat. Ishii Tatuya
59 (TIE) Birthday Eve
44 (TIE) Lies
40 (TIE) feel
31 No Regret
28 Love goes like...
23 Someday
19 you
18 Shake It Up
16 Ima Sugu Hoshii

12 Candy
11 D.D.D. feat. SOULHEAD

Highest scorers:
@evilsin 8,68 I can't help that I'm such a stan!
@Weslicious 8,14
@TABOO 8,11
@Cutlery 8,07
@vague 8,00

Lowest scorers:
@yuuurei 5,00
@Eskiath 5,43
@Empty Shoebox 5,79
@Love Deluxe 6,82
@Osiris 7,07
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There's a few songs I really miss in the top 10 (D.D.D. is really a great collaboration..) but it's still a strong offering of Kumi's best.
This Top10 is very delicious, yes.

Sorry I wasn't able to do any eliminations over the weekend, I've got a cold again, ugh. Next we'll be having our final tie of the rate! Which two songs are first to go?
Dddd, you called it...



Cherry Girl

Average: 8,75
Highest score: 10x5 (@Cutlery, @soratami, @Remorque, @TABOO, @me!) 9,5x2 (@Osiris, @Love Deluxe)
Lowest score: 6x1 (@yuuurei) 7x2 (@Empty Shoebox, @ThisIsRogue)
My score: lookie above

Oh my! You really called it. Produced by Curtis A.Richardson, Charlene Gilliam, Andreao"Fanatic"Heard and Sherrod Barnes and written by Kumi this is her first proper song produced by Western producers, that is not a cover of some sort. The track was used as a theme song for an eponymous spy movie of course I love it! that was bundled with Black Cherry. What is even the Japanese marketing? Anyway, I fucking love this. The way that rolling beat just nonchalantly bulldozes throughout the song is unparalleled. The hooks are catchy AF and the verses are memorable. Although I do think Kumi recorded this while she was a bit sick, as she does sound more nasal than usual. The guitar, courtesy of Sherrod Barnes, is so sublime here, especially in the middle 8 where it gets to the front of stage. Segueing to lyrics, I have a little funny story. Back in the glorious days of a lot of free time I found myself on AHS anyone? and there was a thread with misheard lyrics. You see, the lyrics of the middle 8 are not in the official single or album booklets, hence the correct lyrics remain a mystery. Some people tried decyphering what Kuu was singing and they mostly got it. Still, I kid you not, I spat my tea all over the place when I read in that thread that someone heard the following line: Every other breast you try to grow / One step ahead I always go. Hilarious, even today after all those years. Okay, so the lyrics, yes. Kumi is trying to teach the lessers how to ride a man:​

Even if you stumble, laugh it off

Even walking barefoot is all right, right??
If you're worried about the eyes of those around you,
You'll end as a small woman, so
knock back a shot or something
and get your spirits up
Things like that...women can do too
If you can handle it

And you've gotta know
how to ride this rodeo called "men" well
no matter how much they struggle
We'll teach you
(c) @otenkiame

What did y'all had to say about our first Top10 cut? Looks like @yuuurei was just profoundly confused if we look at her commentary, "The beginning gave me Mickey flashbacks for a second, not sure how to feel about that. The song's not terrible, the lyrics ... almost manage to be somewhat feminist, I think?"​
@vague (8,5) has some wrong assumptions, "the backing track and the chorus are 10-worthy, but those boring verses drag this down just a bitsy" Nope, glorious verses all I can hear. And @Weslicious (9) likes an iconic middle 8, "The middle eight where she starts singing whatever she’s singing is amazing. ‘Juicy from my behind, sweetest sky’ or whatever… sing it, girl!" Apparently it's supposed to be "Juicy for my lie / Sweetest kind", but we might never know for sure. It got @Squashua (9) grooving, "Handclaps and hairflips at dawn. The near rockabilly just don't let up." It's so freaking infectious! It took a minute, but @RUNAWAY (9) came around for this one, "I severely underrated this song. I used to think it was nothing special, but oh my god I was so wrong. It’s so fucking good!!!" Yes, another one in the tequila shot. Sadly, I never got the chance to party with @otenkiame (9) while I was in Tokyo, "Kuu gives the girls an anthem with this fun pop/rock infusion. The stomping drums, the way she sings and ad-libs in English at the middle eight with the guitar solo... It's all just so fun!" This would've been a great theme song for our adventures.

Moving on to our high scorers, @Remorque thoroughly enjoys this, "Okay, but waiT at this album being better in the middle section? The production on this one is fantastic and she gives us a fantastic performance." Stan a bit. @TABOO is overjoyous about the whole shindig, "“You gotta realise that you can’t use / Men in rodeos well”. Full of energy, sass, and attitude! This one is truly a bit of an assault, not letting up until it’s done with you, yet never overstaying its welcome! I love everything about this!"And to think it's a 4 minute song. Reading @Cutlery's commentary this feels like it was close to be his 11, "Ahhh we love a THEME SONG for an acclaimed and awarded blockbuster acting debut! Once again, rock seems to be a perfect fit for Kumi, this time more action-film influenced. She legally recognized the rights of non-binary people worldwide with the lyrics “Life is moving for men and women / And for those in-between” and “In the current world, male or female doesn't matter” when will your fave?"​

So some reason Kumi doesn't really like to perform this one, but we got a nice one for Rhythm Nation '06. Kii at her re-using the baton dance for Love Me Back years later.
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*pensive guitar starts playing*




Highest score: 11x1 (@yuuurei) 10x4 (@vague, @otenkiame, @TABOO, @me!) 9,5x2 (@RUNAWAY, @EachSmallStep)
Lowest score: 6,5x2 (@Love Deluxe, @Remorque) 7,5x1 (@Squashua)
My score: lookie above

Dadadam... the last ballad of the rate falls at #9. Which is actually the same place the last ballad of Part I fell as well. Huh, coincidence? I THINK NOT! Produced by Reika Yuuki (wrote lyrics for AFTERSCHOOL's Dressed To Kill, Lady Luck and Dilly Dally WHAT A FUCKING SONG!, Satomi's Be Myself and B.A.P.'s Coffee Shop, that's like all that she's done, dddd) and written by Kumi, Aishou is a soulful visceral sizzling guitar-led slow burner. What a complete and utter triumph. The way Kumi conveys her feelings here is so earnest, so pure, so raw. She wants that love so, so, so badly. I love the way she sings every chorus a little bit differently giving the song variety. Sweet baby Jesus, this is so freaking hot! What an amazing accompanying track to BUT. Ugh, her mind. Moreover she looks stunning in the PV in that oiran get-up, which actually brings some more context to the lyrics of the song, as if Kuu isn't supposed to desire the man as much as she does. Speaking of lyrics, oooh, damn:​

I'm sure no one understands

our deep love
I'm drowning so deep
into your love again
that no one can come between us

I want to mix together with you, buried in your heartbeat
Embrace me so tightly I can't sleep
I'll forgive you as our bodies join together
Running your tongue along me
call out my name
And I shout

Because love doesn't die
(c) @otenkiame

Let's star off slow, just like the song. @ThisIsRogue (8,5) was listening to the songs in order, "This is the dark to Koi no Mahou's lightness. It's quite a contrast but also enjoyable in its own way. Love the electric guitar." Welp, Kumi's tracklists were almost always a mess, so... Meanwhile @Weslicious (9) appreciates the change, "Ooohh, something different ballad-wise. A good song." It does stand out among her other ballads quite alright, yes. Now @RUNAWAY knows what he was missing out on, "I love an awesome rock ballad and this song totally delivers and I honestly forgot it existed. I’m catching up on my years without this song." YAAAS, make those discoveries, my lovelies! As most of the times @Cutlery (9) read up on the lyrics, "An acoustic rock affair where Kumi tells us about a sex-fueled relationship that's about to collapse due to cheating, but rest assured, she closes by claiming “love doesn't die”" Not necessarily cheating though, as it can be interpreted that Kumi is an oiran and all that might stem from this. @otenkiame, as usual, goes in on the meaning, but this time... chills, man! "Dark, mysterious, gritty - call it whatever you want. I live for this kind of ballad, and Kuu deliver on every point. The pure passion and desire permeates every facet of this to the point you don't even need to understand the lyrics." Ooooooooh, binch, wig, I feel that already. Someone bring @vague a towel, some drooling was detected, "this is definitely my favorite ballad from her; it's so dramatic and powerful. this is probably her only ballad i can put on loop and just luxuriate in the ~dramatiques~ every now n then ddd. she looks absolutely stunning in the video, too, waow!!" Mmhm, luxuriate in all this eleganza! @TABOO is definitely living everytime he listens to this, "This track is unique and quite unlike anything else within her discography. Kuu’s delivery, which is initially quite controlled, grows urgent and desperate throughout the choruses, perfectly encapsulating the themes of passion depicted through the lyrics. I also find it worthwhile mentioning how absolutely beautiful she looks in the PV. One of my favourites!" The delivery is outstanding, I agree.

Unfortunately for @yuuurei it's time for her to say her goodbyes to her beloved 11, "Everything about this song is flawless. I've sung along to it so often that I still know the lyrics by heart. It's gorgeous, moody, sensual ... I love it." I loved you choice of an 11 so much, when you submitted your scores, hun. Way to shine some more light on this beauty.​

Somehow Kumi never performed Aishou while she was touring, still there were a handful of TV lives at the time of release:
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Yes, well done Aishou! I wish we could get more ballads of this standard!
So proud of Aishou for being the last ballad standing and making it to the top 10. What an incredible song ♥
She should do more ballads like Aishou (with no over the top singing).
Yes, she definitely should look out for more adventurous ballads, because she has to many ordinary piano ones, although I don't mind oversinging, especially considering she tend to do it live more than on record.
Tell me... suki na kyoku wa?

It's this one!



Amai Wana

Highest score: 10x8 (@otenkiame, @Squashua, @Love Deluxe, @Cutlery, @Eskiath, @soratami, @aaronhansome, @me!) 9x3 (@Remorque, @Osiris, @lalaclairi_)
Lowest score: 7x2 (@Weslicious, @ThisIsRogue) 7,5x2 (@TABOO, @RUNAWAY)
My score: lookie above

My precious Kingdom loses a second track in a row and what a track this is! Produced by HIRO (fucking TABOO) from and written by Kumi, this is his first ever offering for her discography and what an amazing one it is. I believe it was this particular track that made me notice HIRO and be on the lookout for his other works. It also made me wary of the people behind the music I liked so I started to pay attention to the credits of the songs. This ultimately helped me discover a lot of brilliant artists and broaden my musical horizon. Simply put, this is a bloody fantastic song. A gem, a bawp, a new take on Kumi's lovable Middle Eastern tracks, if you will. HIRO was so freaking immaculate with the arrangement perfectly marrying the synths, the beats and the Arabian sounds. Spotless perfection. The way the track drowns in on itself by the last chorus with a more subtle and subdued instrumental and the way it shows its head above water REFERENCE in the last post-chorus makes the meaning of the song so much more poignant and prominent. The lyrics describe a sticky icky licky relationship where the guy cheats, but it's too hard for Kumi to leave him:​

Even if I make a bothered face

you're always sweet
I can't take you any longer
Don't touch me!!
Don't be gentle
I want to send these feelings
Swaying in your sweet melt-in-your-mouths
It's a bitter-sweet trap

Your voice is soft
to me again
Yeah, I make a new smile
I'm sure it's fate, but
you're hiding your lies
I've noticed it again, yet...
I can't escape
(c) @otenkiame

Okay, the level of gushing for this one. Whew. Sounds like @Weslicious isn't that adamant about his lowest score of 7, "Maybe 7 is a bit low. Like, I've never skipped it if it comes on shuffle but then I rarely playlist it either." Maybe you should listen to this on repeat until you achieve zen, hun. Obviously, @TABOO didn't give this a higher score, because he wants his namesake to win, "甘い罠 is a defiant yet sexy affair, and unapologetically so. The beat is fantastic and the breathy vocals are well-suited to the production. I’m a fan." You're a fraud! Give this more love. @yuuurei (8) gives this a pretty high score, but doesn't get the bittersweetness of it all, "More brooding than I expected from the music. Kind of a disconnect but not in a bad way. I love a sad jam." Hun, it all works perfectly together: she's trapped in this toxic relationship, where the guy is all sweet on her, but she knows he cheats, hence the whole mood of the song. It's genius. Don't you guys think @vague (8,5) should've given this a bigger score? "man, she really excels on these sultry hip-pop tracks; her tone is so great on these kinda songs" I think they should have. I wonder if @otenkiame would want to correct the "Swaying in your sweet melt-in-your-mouths" line in his translation after this elimination, "Love me an Arabian-style Kuu song. She sounds so sexed up even though she's FED UP with this man of hers. The chorus gets so good with the higher notes she goes for along with the synths and Arabian bits. I'm a rabid fan of the kind of attitude Kuu brings for this track." Yes, what I really need to stress in this one is the vocals. The way Kumi manages to go higher so effortlessly here is beyond heaven. @Squashua feels a bit conflicted, yet bops away, "Although it's probably bordering on cultural appropriation, I do so love when sexy r'n'b goes full Arabian inspired. This just demands body-rolling in silk or deep in the sands when those snake charmer flutes flutter up. Pure sensuality." Your imagery is always on point, ugh! This round @Cutlery's sharp tongue isn't afraid of big words! "Hands down the best Middle-Eastern track in the rate. Kumi masters seduction as she is tempted and lusty for this hot man, so she can't resist it. The whole ordeal is produced flawlessly, and her clear, fantastic vocals certainly help" Ho-ho! Look at you talking. I mean... it's really hard for me to distingush my love for her art at this point, but Amai Wana is probably my favorite of this subgenre as well. An occasional word of wisdom by @aaronhansome was trying to make an acronym for bombastic opulant polished, or something, "b. o. p." Indeed. And last, but not least is @Eskiath, who makes me grin, "Almost my 11. This was one of the first songs I heard from her and I thought it was really special and I still listen to it a lot." And the first of HIRO's!​

Kumi managed to perform the song exactly once on TV before all the hell broke loose with the controversy. After that, unfortunatly, she only performed in one time at Dirty Ballroom ~One Night Show~.
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