Kumi Koda: ‘Black Cherry’ – Album Review

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Released: December 20, 2006

Black Cherry, the fifth studio album released back in 2006, was an iconic piece to the singer’s catalogue for numerous reasons; first, it’s her only studio record to ship over one million units (an impressive degree I must say.) Two, it saw the first production and composing direction handled by Kuu-chan. Third, she’s serving glamourous Victorian-era realness (not a fact, just an observation.) But four, it saw a bit of a dive towards majority of the content here. Which in a way, is a good thing because it shows her flexibility as a musician. But also not good, because the result is a little wishy washy.

The biggest crime upon us here is its messy track list. I mean, gurl… ballads next to urban-as-hell bangers, which are then next to uptempo poppy anthems? Just no gurl. That story short; the issue is that the record lacks a lot of cohesive structure, where it’s impossible to see whether the final result was executed at fine precision, or seemingly rushed. Of course, at that point of her career back in 2006, she put her heart and soul (and her sexy J-pop image?) into the material, but the smoothness is just roughness. But with that said, some of its material is slander because of this; “Tsuki to Taiyou” is an insanely low-tempo ballad that sounds completely out of place at the start. I’m also not too fond of the Exile collaboration “Won’t Be Long”, which sounds under-produced, and feels like it’s lacking that spark. And the surf-like rock anthem “Cherry Girl” isn’t really an amazing track; it’s nice and pretty different to her typical alternative anthems, but… that’s it’s really.

Despite its crap placement and track list, the quality of the tracks (as individuals though), are fire as hell *snaps finger*. Her floor-poppin’ club anthems such as “Get Up & Move!!”, “Introduction” and the steamy “JUICY” ignite a massive F.I.R.E. that resembles the work of Beyonce. She also goes all poppy with the cute numbers “Puppy”, “Koi no Tsubomi” and “With Your Smile”, while the more relaxed stripped songs like “I’ll Be There” and “Milk Tea” are a refreshing outcome as well. And, OUT OF NEARLY ALL HER ALBUMS, the ballads on Black Cherry was actually quite decent from start to finish; “Yume no Uta” is a lavish number that shimmers a quintessential Disney-like element, while “Candle Light: and “Unmei” are pretty, but the latter still seems to emphasize those… ehhhhh, overbearing vocals, which unfortunately shows a slightly lack of control in her delivery.

Since the start, Kuu-chan never really had a strong consistency within her deliveries, particuarly with her albums after Affection. And from there, she still hasn’t mastered it (yes y’all, I’m still waiting in the rain). But if there is anything she can do, she can make one hell of a hit. The singles from Black Cherry are solid, the production had improved so much, and her image started to evolve. To come to a conclusion, Black Cherry is actually a fine record… but, as pieces rather than a whole from the starting song to closing track… cause you’re gonna get lost.

Track List (Bold means best tracks):

  1. INTRODUCTION
  2. Get Up & Move!
  3. Ningyo-hime
  4. Yume no Uta ~Liam’s favorite~
  5. Tsuki to Taiyou
  6. Puppy
  7. Koi no Ksubomi
  8. WON’T BE LONG ~Red Cherry version~
  9. JUICY
  10. Candle Light
  11. Cherry Girl
  12. I’ll Be There
  13. Unmei
  14. With Your Smile
  15. Milk Tea

 

Rating

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