Black Cherry

Black Cherry was Koda Kumi’s 5th studio album. It was released on December 20, 2006 and reached number 1 on the charts with 502,426 copies sold, this made it her first number 1 studio album. This single would go on to stay number 1 on the charts for a grand total of 4 weeks, this is the first female album since Ayumi Hamasaki’s Duty to stay at number 1 on the charts for 4 weeks. In all this album has sold 1,028,487+ copies in Japan and about 1.46 million copies worldwide. This album was also number 2 on the yearly charts behind Mr.Children’s HOME.

Black Cherry

2. Get Up & Move!!
3. Ningyo-hime
4. Yume no Uta
5. Tsuki to Taiyou
6. Puppy
7. Koi no Tsubomi
8. WON’T BE LONG ~Black Cherry Version~
10. Candle Light
11. Cherry Girl
12. I’ll be there
13. Unmei
14. With your smile
15. Milk Tea
16. Twinkle ~English Version~ (First Press Bonus Track)
17. GO WAY!! (First Press Bonus Track)
18. WON’T BE LONG ~Red Cherry Version~ (First Press Bonus Track)

What better way to begin the album with INTRODUCTION. This short intro is sung in completely in English, and it’s so amazing. It’s very dance friendly but it’s filled with thumping synth/urban beats. I really wish that it’ll be made into a full song, and luckily it was and featured on Kingdom. The vocals are infectious and with the synth beats you can’t help but want to dance. This was the perfect way to begin Black Cherry.

Following a great introduction we now have the rhythmic Get Up & Move!!. It’s very fast paced, and it’s the perfect dance tune. The music is really dance-able and has a distinct continuous beat that’s so addictive. This song also features some great English, and some Engrish too. I loved the lyrics, they were so hip, and so so infectious. This was also the first song from Kumi that I heard, so naturally I love it. Overall this is a superb dance track on the album, I just wish that it was longer.

One of the strongest rock tracks on the album is entitled Ningyo-hime, lit. Mermaid Princess. Well I wasn’t to surprised to see this song on the album. This song sounds a lot better now that I’ve had a few more listens, but it’s still the weakest of the 4 hot wave songs. That being said it’s still a rarity since she hardly releases any rock songs. I still haven’t got into this song that much, but I’ve heard worse. The instrumentals featured fierce, aggressive guitar riffs, some sounding better than others. And the chorus wasn’t all that catchy either, not sure about being tired.

Up next is the beautiful Yume no Uta lit. Dream Song. This is the first ballad on the album, and it’s a phenomenal one at that. Oddly enough the second ballad Futari de… wasn’t added. That being said, this is perhaps the most beautiful song on the album. The instrumentals are heavenly at worst, and that’s saying something, at best they’re inspiring. I loved the piano chords, and the orchestra of strings, even the guitar. The chorus is magical and speaks to everyone with its gentle touch. Kuu’s vocals are excellent and so strong and powerful, especially during the bridge. I just loved how she ad-libbed, it was breathtaking.

Tsuki to Taiyou lit. Moon and Sun is best described as a love sweet ballad. The song begins right off with some water drops, great acoustics, and distorted vocals. It’s a sweet song, and more on the lighter side. The constant claps gave it an innocent feeling, and I liked it. The chorus was so adorable, especially with the English lyrics, it was just so amazing. It might be one of her lighter songs, but it’s such an improvement from a few of her other songs.

One of the first things that comes to mind with Puppy was adult song. The beats are infectiously catchy with the synth/R&B music, and with the English beginning vocals. I loved Kuu’s vocals, they were rather catchy, and I didn’t even mind the background vocals that much. The verses sounded great and all, but as usual I loved the chorus. i fell in love with the chorus, mostly due to the English, it was so addicting and so cool.

We now come to one of Kuu’s most memorable tracks entitled Koi no Tsubomi lit. Bud of Love. It might be fast paced, but it’s certainly a wonderful song. It’s crossed between a ballad and a pop song, namely the strings and fast beats; but it’s mostly pop oriented. The chorus is great and sounds exciting, especially since it moves so fast. And to top it off it’s so catchy, and so cute. What a lovely, little addition to the album, especially with the violins playing in the background.

I guess this was added just for the heck of it, WON’T BE LONG ~Black Cherry Version~ was featured on the single WON’T BE LONG, well part of it, which was a collaboration between EXILE and Koda Kumi. This version does differ from the original version, but it’s still in my opinion, just as bad. The constant claps didn’t help the song either. And the guy doing some vocals were just horrific, I couldn’t stand it. It also has a little jazz sounds, but it still stinks.

After that horrible song, we come to the R&B track JUICY. This song is infamous of the PV, and the mature lyrics with it. It’s more R&B than anything really, featuring creative beats that are very dance friendly. One of the best things about this song was the rhythmic feel of it, and the impressive English lyrics. This was also the stronger of the songs featured on 4 hot wave, much better than the explosive rock track.

Candle Light, in my opinion, is just another ballad. This song begins with the piano playing. I didn’t notice any change in voice during the song. Nor was there an emotional vibe it gave off. The song was just way to monotone for my liking. Just stick with Yume no Uta and you’ll be fine.

The more adult version of JUICY, or even Puppy, would be Cherry Girl. The lyrics are off the charts, being more mature, yet not as bad as Ima Sugg Hoshii. Cherry Girl talks about controlling men, etc. Despite that it’s a pretty good song. The guitar playing then the drum beats add to the song and makes it better than imaginable. The chorus is very catchy, and very aggressive sounding, with the lyrics anyway. And believe it or not this song was released as part of the final single in the Black Cherry Era, along with the ballad Unmei.

I’ll be there, the mid-tempo tune that’ll make you feel summer has arrived. This is one of lighter songs on the album. This song too was featured on the 4 hot wave single, and it’s the feel good track, lighthearted and very up-beat. With one of the catchiest chorus and upbeat music you’ll have a good time listening to this acoustic based track.

This is the ballad to make up for Candle Light, Unmei, lit. fate, begins with the piano playing then the violins and acoustic guitars. This is a ballad and was released along with Cherry Girl as the final single in the Era. The chorus is breathtaking and completely amazing. Unlike Candle Light, I can hear some emotion in her voice along with some power, finally a ballad that can compare to Yume no Uta.

And now we come to the up-beat, summer fun, marvelous With your smile, aka the aggressive dance tune. Need I say anymore? This is perhaps the happiest and most up-beat song on the entire album. The music just screams happiness. The lyrics mention white beach chairs, beaches, and tan lines, so much summer fun. This was the last song released on the 4 Hot Wave single. I just love the chorus in this song and the English verses. And the percussion was great along with the occasional electrical guitar.

But now upon is is Kuu’s first composition, Milk tea. It might be one of the shortest songs on the album, but it’s one of the best to say the least. From the adorable vocals, to the very blissful instrumentals, it’s hard not to love this song. One of the best parts had to be the claps and the small thumping beats. But what was even better was the ad-libbing during the chorus, so smooth and cute.

Twinkle ~English Versoin~ was the first of the three First Press Bonus Tracks, it means that you get it by buying the album by a certain deadline. This song is entirely in English and that there makes it good. The Japanese version was used in some movie called Amazing Nuts! The music sounds fantastic and is almost reminiscent of With your smile, almost, you have to imagine. Kumi’s English has improved but you can hear where she fails with the Engrish. But even with that this song still sounds so amazing. And the chorus is so catchy and sounds amazing, despite all the weird beats. Overall a nice change from all the Japanese songs. And I loved the lyrics, so optimistic.

Another first press track is GO WAY!!. This song reminded me a little of Shake It Up with the music. It’s a very catchy song and sounds pretty good. Some parts Kumi’s voice is distorted, even better. I thought this little upbeat track was fairly good. But it has to be the weakest of the first press tracks.

We end the album with WON’T BE LONG ~ Red Cherry Version~. This is the last of the first press tracks. The music begins a little softer and better compared to the Black Cherry Version. It’s also very similar to the original version on the EXILE x Kuu single, but it’s only Kuu’s vocals. Here all you can hear is the sound of Kumi’s vocals, what a relief right? The chorus is the best part of this song and it sounds so great, so thumping, pumping, and alive. And the occasional trumpet was a great addition. This version is far superior to the previous version, and it was superb way to end her fifth studio album.

Overall Review: Black Cherry was a excellent album, vivid genres and impressive music. It’s one of her greatest albums to date in my opinion, and to top it all off it’s proving how much popular she’s become now. All the songs on this album reflect the new era of Koda Kumi. And what an album from Kuu for what a year. This is by far her best album in terms of sales and quality, well studio anyway. This is one little delight that you can’t help but try again and again.

Final Grade: 99A+

3 Responses to “Black Cherry”
  1. Lex says:

    The Black Cherry version of WON’T BE LONG only features Kumi. The guy rapping in it isn’t EXILE but just some random guy (I have no idea who he is LOL). Anyways, EXILE is actually a 5 member male group with avex trax.

    The Red Cherry version is the original mix of Kumi’s collab with EXILE but with only her vocals. I think you can only find the original collaboration on the single it was released on.

  2. Die says:

    Really, I thought it featured some part of EXILE, oh well. It’s still not as good as the the Red Cherry Version, thanks for the correct info.

    Well at least I knew about EXILE lol, but seriously the collaboration between them didn’t sound all that great. It still shocks me that they have sold so many copies, darn boy bands.

  3. amaiyume says:

    ooh we agree in thinking that Black Cherry is awesome!! I LOVE JUICY, one of my first Kuu songs that really left an impression on me 🙂

    I thought there was some guy in EXILE saying some of the stuff on WON’T BE LONG although he didn’t actually rap or anything just said a couple phrases…hmm…XD

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