Jpop Fix – Real Emotion by Koda Kumi
What can I do for you, croons Koda Kumi in her 2003 release “Real Emotion.” Her voice is digitalized and accompanied by the backing vocals of others. It’s like being nudged awoken from a nice sleep but instead of being startled, you’re happy because you remember that you’re next to a loved one.
The beat after that injects a bit of a kick in the ass, as it comes on and doesn’t relent itself. Kumi continues to ask “What can I do for you? What can I do for you? […] I can’t hear you.” It’s a lovely way to welcome the listener to the song.
The song itself is not as happy as one would think. The story behind it coincides with the story that it was created for, which is that of Final Fantasy X-2. The song chronicles Yuna’s, the leading character of the story, post FFX adventures. Kumi communicates this with her lyrics which question why she is where she is. She’s in a complex state of both sadness and happiness.
As Kumi mentions in the song, the real emotion of her world is shaking up everything around her. Instead of falling victim to these emotions, she embraces them. Understanding this narrative aspect of the song elevates the emotiveness, as both the relentless beat and the frenetic vocals echo this sentiment.
By the end of the song, the listener has gone through a gymnastics routine of vocal acrobatics. Koda Kumi’s vocals may not be the strongest you’ve ever heard, but she can hold her own. There is a unique quirk to her voice as well, which lends a vibrato to the song’s pitchy parts. These are some of the best parts, and are also the most memorable. Which is why you should stop what you’re doing and give Koda Kumi’s Real Emotion a listen.
And as always, let us know what you think. Do you like the song? If not, what are some of your favorite Jpop songs?