secret was Koda Kumi’s 4th album. It was released on February 9, 2005 and reached number 3 on the charts with 186,377 copies sold. In all this album has sold over 522,201+ copies. Up until Best ~first things~ this was Kuu’s highest charting album. Another interesting fact was that it was released in a CD only edition, a CD+DVD edition, and than on April 13 2005, same date as Hot Stuff, two more editions were released, a Secret Special Edition for Live, and a Secret Special Edition.
1. Intro ～Get down～
2. Cutie Honey
3. Hot Stuff feat. KM-MARKIT
7. SHAKE IT
9. Trust you
11. LOVE HOLIC
13. Let’s Party
15. Through the sky
The album begins with Intro ～Get down～, a sweet little synth/hip-hop intro. The synth opening threw me off a little, but after that the song became more hip-hop based than anything. I loved the softened vocals, and the great English in the intro, so cool! That being said, it’s not nearly as good as INTRODUCTION from Black Cherry, but it’ll suffice.
What better way to begin after that intro with the ultra cute & cool Cutie Honey! Considering this song kicked off the secret Era, I thought it was a great choice to make it the first actual song on the album. It’s such a fresh song, so fun, so dazzling, so entertaining! I loved everything about this song, from the fast paced music to the addicting violins. The chorus was so energetic and so so catchy. This is one damn good song!
Eww, and now we come to Hot Stuff feat. KM-MARKIT. I honestly have no clue why I reviewed the re-cut single, it must’ve slipped my mind. Anyway this song is one of Kuu’s best hip-hop songs to date, but that’s not really saying much. I did like her vocals though, they seemed to get better as the song progressed. But I still hated the featured artist’s vocals. At least the chorus wasn’t that awful.
I had to clue what to expect from Selfish, but I found it to be rather good. I haven’t heard many of her rock songs, but this one wasn’t half bad. The piano playing kinda threw me off, but it was a nice touch. The verses were pretty good, flowed together smoothly with the chorus. And the chorus sounded nice too. I loved the rock feel of it and the vocals. The English was surprisingly good too, that shocked me, but it was good and I loved it. I actually enjoyed this song, not as much as some of her singles, but it was good.
It might be odd to place a ballad like hands right after a rock track, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a phenomenal ballad. I loved this ballad so much, it’s definitely in the class Ai no Uta, well yeah it’s that good; not as good as Yume no Uta or MOON though. Continuing, the music is just heavenly and the beats are pure bliss. I absolutely loved the chorus, it was just so dramatic and beautiful. Kuu’s vocals were off the charts and it just sounded so wonderful with the instrumentals.
The next track is somewhat of a fusion between pop & ballad, and Hearty・・・ actually isn’t bad. I loved the up-beat music, mid-tempo is definitely a good thing in this case. This song is your average lighthearted pop sensation. Not too long winded and not too over the top happy. In fact the instrumentals were fantastic, especially during the climax! And her vocals were great too, those high notes were amazing. The keyboard was an interesting choice of instrument, along with the strings, but they were effective.
First word that comes to mind with SHAKE IT is Hot Stuff pt. 2. It’s another R&B/hip-hop song, very urban. I just really didn’t like this track. It moved a little too slow for me. I mean i liked the vocals and everything but that was it, not even the English impressed me.
Again the arrangement on this album could use some work. Why Kiseki wasn’t placed after hands is beyond me. This ballad might not be as powerful or dramatic as hands but it’s just as good. The music was just awing and such an easy listener. It’s mid-tempo and it’s got some catchy beats, along with great vocals as usual. And her English was great, that “Just like paradise” line gets me every time, it makes for such a wonderful chorus
Synth style songs aren’t usually Kuu’s forte but for some reason I like Trust you. The music is mostly synth but it also features some interesting urban beats that make it more enjoyable. The constant claps didn’t hurt either, giving it some flare. Another thing was Kuu’s vocals, they were actually good, especially during the chorus. And I loved the chorus, so catchy and infectious, it’s that accursed music. I guess she’s gotten used to using English in her songs at this point because this song features some great English. I still like the remix on Hot Stuff though.
What’s an album without a jazz song like Chase? This song isn’t completely jazz but with the sax playing in the background it gives it that jazz feel. Instead this song is more of a pop song. And it’s not half bad either. From the infectious instrumentals creating some fine beats, and the great use of vocals Kuu has done it again. The chorus is rather catchy, pop, but still catchy. I’m actually glad it was released as a single, might have not been that great with sales but it’s certainly high-quality, well in my opinion.
Time to march with the ultra up-beat tune LOVE HOLIC. The beginning reminds me a little of a marching band but after that it’s pure party time fun. I loved how it featured some fantastic blaring instrumentals that had an island vibe to it. And one of the best parts was how amazingly fun this song sounded, those guitars bring out the best in this song. The verses were surprisingly extraordinary, and so was the chorus. It’s about as catchy as you could hope from a B-Side and more. I think it says something when they add a B-Side like this to the album and not any of the others. Lastly, Kuu’s vocals sounded a little aggressive during the chorus and it was amazing!!!
It appears that another ballad is present on this album, this one entitled 24. The music is beautiful, and so so serene; it possesses a calming affect. Despite this being a ballad, the song seems to be a little more than mid-tempo. But that’s besides the point, one of the major things about this song was the strong vocals. Kuu’s vocals were amazing, especially when they exhibited such great power. The chorus was very interesting, a mix of English & Japanese, well mostly English. Either way it was good, and understandable. Not too sure about the background vocals but overall the song was nice.
From the tittle Let’s Party I was hoping it’d be a fun track. The track is pretty good, not so fun as I thought. I was a little shocked from the beginning, sounded like a hip-hop song almost. But afterwards it became more synth oriented. The one thing I loved about this song were the verses that lead up to the chorus. There’s just something about it, maybe the vocal distortions and the melody. As for the chorus, well it wasn’t all that bad. I just didn’t think it was so memorable. But I honestly can’t say that I hated this song, it was refreshing in a way, a new genre for Kuu.
Believe, not to my surprise, is another ballad. Like I said the album needs some work when it comes to the arrangement. At first the instrumentals sound bland with the acoustic guitar but it does get better. Kuu’s vocals were also pretty good too, well strong to say the least. I do feel like she was trying too hard to sing a few lines but the overall package was good.
Finally the end is upon us! And it just so happens to be with Through the Sky. This ballad in my opinion was just as good as hands, and I’m still wondering why it was simply a B-Side, there was just so much potential. The piano and snaps gave made is sound so beautiful, and then with the acoustic guitar it was all complete. And to top it all off this song has one of the best choruses overall. Powerful vocals, astounding instrumentals, and an impressive melody. What a stunning, and magnificent way to end secret.
Overall Review: secret was certainly a work of art. I mean considering this was one of her first improved albums it’s good. It could use a little work, especially in the arrangement department and genre department. I did like the singles from this period overall though. Some of the new tracks on the album were good, and some were not-so-good. I did love the ballads from this album though, but some of the new tracks were mediocre to say the least. Anyway I know that this album started her ero-kawaii era, but these scans were so soft and sweet, try looking at the scans from Feel My Mind, naughty naughty xD. I still like Black Cherry better though, and Kingdom. This album just needs some work to it, but it’s still not a complete failure.
Final Grade: 88B