Koda Kumi – FREAKY [36th Single]

December 28, 2007 at 11:13 am (Koda Kumi) ()

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Koda Kumi’s 36th single, entitled FREAKY, was released on 02.27.07. The single features four different songs, showcasing the “kawaii Kuu” and the “kakkoi Kuu.” The tie-in for the title track, FREAKY, was a CM for Honda ZEST SPORTS.

The opening track on the single is the most powerful: FREAKY. With elements of rock captured in the song, FREAKY showcases an “in-your-face” beat with powerful vocals. During the promotion for the single, Kumi was participating in an anti-bullying campaign, which speaks to the song’s message about being able to reach dreams in the future. Kumi’s vocals are brought to forefront on this song in the beginning of the song and at the end, displaying Kuu’s ability to deliver great vocals on point. Her “kakkoi” side is brought out on this one and FREAKY remains the strongest song on the single.

The second song is the ever-popular, 空. While this song is widely enjoyed by the Japanese public, this song is my least favorite on the single. However that doesn’t mean it’s a bad song. This song is sung more from the perspective of “super kawaii Kumi” but instead of a hyper and energetic track, the verses are quite mellow while the chorus uses energy. The effect of this arrangement is that the chorus emerges as more memorable.

The third song is the pop cuteness of Run For Your Life. Of the three “kawaii songs,” this one is the strongest since it strays away from a typical cute song formula. One notable point about the song is that Kumi doesn’t use as much of her “cute voice.” During the verses, Kumi’s vocals are lowered but approach the “cute line” during the hook and come out on the chorus, creating a catchy pop song. The subject of the song is attempting to talk to a crush in spite of nervousness. So, in order to accomplish this goal, Kumi “runs for her life” and takes the chance. A very cute song that doesn’t stick to a formulaic beat, making it sweet and catchy.

The fourth and final song is another kawaii offering, which also became very popular with the Japanese: girls. Between 空 and this song, the “super kawaii Kumi” is brought out on this single. girls, however, emerges as my personal favorite between the two. Using a wonderful instrumental and Kumi’s ultra-cute vocals, the song really does bring out the feeling of summer that is associated with the cute songs. When I listen to this song, I can’t help but smile and neither can Kumi when she performs it. Throughout the song, there are some pure instrumental sections, which add to the summery love atmosphere the song presents. Definitely an unforgettable song for anyone who’s ever been in love.

The first pressing of the single replaces the instrumentals of each song with individual remixes. However, none of these remixes particularly stand apart from the original versions. The first remix, entitled FREAKY [Surtek Collective’s Action Remix] features Peter Rap takes on a reggae approach but it ends up much worse than the original. One of the strongest aspects of FREAKY, the vocals, are hushed on this remix and Peter Rap’s section near the end is absolutely un-necessary. The second remix is 空 [Yukihiro Fukutomi Remix] and this one doesn’t do very much but speed up the tempo of the song and use a slightly different instrumental. Truly, this remix isn’t necessary as it barely changes a thing but at least, it maintains elements of the original that keep it a nice listen, especially during the small instrumental sections. The third remix, Run For Your Life [Kasade Remix] also doesn’t do very much but like the remix of FREAKY, the vocals are lowered. This technique definitely does not create a better mix of the song so I really don’t know why the approach is continuously used. Once again, the remix really isn’t necessary. The final remix is girls [CUBISMO GRAFICO Beach Girls MIX] and this is the only remix I see being worthwhile on the single. The rhythm of the song is kept the same but other instruments are brought in and are louder, creating a memorable remix. While the remix of 空 is nice, this remix is actually likeable. It’s during the short instrumental sections that the change and love really is brought out. So out of 4 given remixes, two are un-necessary, one is “nice” while the remaining is good.

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Two accompanying PVs for this single were released. The PV for FREAKY (left) began with Kumi initially in captivity of men. However, she escapes and with her girls, she fights back against them. The PV definitely suggests the strength of a woman in conjunction with the anti-bullying campaign to create a wonderful yet powerful PV. The PV for Run For Your Life (right) definitely follows cuteness. The style of the PV is based off of that of a comic book to tell the story of two sides of Kumi. One Kumi is very confident and is able to talk to her crush very easily. The other is more nervous and represents more of a “cute” side. Truly cute indeed, the PV features somewhat non-sensical English such as the premise of “monopolizing a boyfriend.” However both PVs compliment their respective songs well.

Single Ranking: A

This quadruple A-side features four different songs, both featuring “kakkoi” and “kawaii.” FREAKY is a power song that is definitely memorable. girls and Run For Your Life are both energetically cute and pop tracks that present the sounds of summer while 空 is both cute and relaxing. The PVs that were created for this single represent the style of the respective songs very well and with four songs, this single is another score for Kumi.

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1 Comment

  1. Cash said,

    thats so crazy she was bullied as a kid…..(wikipedia said that)….im so glad she is doing the anti-bullying thing. bullies f-ing suck

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