Best: First Things

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Best: First Things
KodaKumiBestFirstThingsCDOnly.jpg
Greatest hits album by Kumi Koda
Released September 21, 2005
Recorded 2000-2005
Genre
Label Rhythm Zone
RZCD-45252 (Japan, 2CD+DVD)
RZCD-45254 (Japan, 2CD)
Producer Max Matsuura
Kumi Koda chronology
Secret
(2005)
Best: First Things
(2005)
Koda Kumi Remix Album
(2006)
Singles from Best: First Things
  1. "Butterfly"
    Released: June 22, 2005
  2. "Flower"
    Released: August 10, 2005
  3. "Promise/Star"
    Released: September 7, 2005

Best: First Things (stylized as Best ~first things~) is the first compilation album released by Japanese Pop singer Kumi Koda. It debuted at #1 on Oricon, giving her first number-one album, and became her longest charting album, staying on the charts for 124 weeks.[1] The album included all of her a-sides released since her debut in 2000 and became one of her highest selling albums, selling nearly two million copies as of 2007.[2]

Information[edit]

Best ~first things~ is singer-songwriter Kumi Koda's first compilation album and contained all of her singles from Take Back (2000) to Promise/Star (2005). The three singles leading up to the album's release were Butterfly, flower and the aforementioned Promise/Star. The album did contain one new track: the first song No Tricks (styled as NO TRICKS), which received a remix seven years later on her 2012 album Beach Mix.[3]

The album was released in 2CD and 2CD+DVD with the limited editions of both versions containing the bonus track the meaning of peace from the Song Nation project on the second CD and a "special video mix" on the DVD.[4][5] However, this version of the meaning of peace is Koda Kumi's "solo version," which had been released on her single Love Across the Ocean. The first press of the 2CD+DVD came with a slipcover and a deluxe booklet.[6]

It is speculated that it was the release and promotions of Best ~first things~ that had saved her career. Not only had the album sold nearly two million copies and become her first #1 album on Oricon, but it also secured the number one spot for the Best Selling Female Album in 2005.[7]

Packaging[edit]

Best ~first things~ was released in three editions:

  • 2CD: contains twenty-two musical tracks.
  • 2CD+DVD: contains twenty-two musical tracks and eighteen music videos.
  • 2CD+DVD [Special Edition]: contains twenty-three musical tracks, eighteen music videos and a special booklet.[8]

Limited editions of all versions came with the bonus track on the second CD, Koda Kumi's solo version of the meaning of peace, and the bonus video "Special Mix Video from "Best ~first Things~"." The "special edition" came with a deluxe booklet, alongside the lyrical booklet.

Promotions[edit]

Kumi Koda promoting Best ~first things~ at Shibuya Station with fans cosplaying the dress she wore on the cover of the album.

To help promote her album, on September 21, 2005, Koda Kumi held a special costume exhibition in Shibuya at Shibuya Station and an event where fans would try their best to replicate the dress Kumi wore on the cover of the album. During the event, fans were able enter a lottery for a chance to win a signed copy of Best ~first things~ or her first concert DVD Secret ~First Class Limited Live~.[9]

Reception[edit]

While Best ~first things~ may not convert the casual listener into a being a fan of Koda Kumi, it has its moments of brilliance. Its ballads are touching and emotive while many of the upbeat dance tracks are quite infectious. It does do its job of introducing the listener to Koda Kumi as an artist and plots her early journey from newcomer to superstar.

— Taylor Cordingly, Divas & Femme Fatales

Upon its release, Best ~first things~ received favorable reviews from both fans and critics.

"If there is one thing to be said about Best ~first things~ it is that it shows Koda’s growth as a musician," Taylor Cordingly of "Fierce Divas and Femme Fatales" said upon its release. Taylor says how her earlier work on affection flowed together, but many of the songs sounded too familiar and were difficult to differentiate. They go on to say how her following albums, grow into one, feel my mind and secret showed more of her growth and vocal range. The newer tracks on the album, Promise and flower, were praised for her vocals and the sound in music.

Other reviewers said how it was the "perfect album" to introduce Koda Kumi to those who had not heard her music before and for people to hear her evolution of music.[10]

Tsuki at Lost Wing, however, said that many of the tracks, though a-sides, were ones to "skip over." They also go on to say that, despite spanning five years of Koda Kumi's music, "I truthfully found very little growth of her as an artist. She still has yet to reach her potential."[11]

Background Narration[edit]

“I’m glad I didn’t give up . . . I could finally see a stage sparkling in the spotlight. . . Every single day felt like a dream." - Koda Kumi

Koda Kumi talks in KODA REKI how 2005 became her happiest year, where her songs continued to top the charts and she was invited to music shows. She says her happiest moments were when she knew people were listening to her songs. By being invited to the Japan Record Awards and Kōhaku Uta Gassen, being given several awards and performing on prestigious shows, she felt as though she was final able to repay the people who had been supporting her; namely, her parents.

2005 also gave boom to her ero-kawaii style and popularity. She said that, while she was proud to have the title, she was nervous of what her parents would think.

"When I saw my parents smiling happily, it was then, from the bottom of my heart, I was glad I stuck with my style." - Koda Kumi[12]

Track list[edit]

CD1
No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "NO TRICKS"   Kumi Koda • Daisuke Imai Daisuke Imai 4:31
2. "TAKE BACK"   Kumi Koda Kazuhito Kikuchi 4:55
3. "Trust Your Love"   Kumi Koda Kazuhito Kikuchi 4:27
4. "COLOR OF SOUL"   Natsumi Watanabe Miki Watanabe 4:28
5. "so into you"   Kumi Koda Yasuhiro Abe 4:32
6. "love across the ocean"   Kumi Koda Tsukasa 3:37
7. "m•a•z•e"   Kenn Kato Hiroo Yamaguchi 4:04
8. "real Emotion"   Kenn Kato Kazuhiro Hara 3:59
9. "1000 no Kotoba"   Kazushige Nojima Noriko Matsueda • Takahito Eguchi 5:58
10. "COME WITH ME"   Kumi Koda h-wonder 4:46
11. "Gentle Words"   Kenn Kato D.A.I 3:44
12. "Crazy 4 U"   Miki Watanabe Miki Watanabe 4:06
CD2
No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Cutie Honey"   Kurodo Q. Takeo Watanabe 3:06
2. "Chase"   Kumi Koda • Kazuhiro Hara Kazuhiro Hara 4:58
3. "Kiseki"   Kumi Koda • Kosuke Morimoto Kosuke Morimoto 4:58
4. "Selfish"   Miki Watanabe Miki Watanabe 3:53
5. "hands"   Kumi Koda Katsumi Ohnishi 4:25
6. "Hot Stuff feat. KM-MARKIT"   Kumi Koda • KM-MARKIT Daisuke Imai 4:06
7. "Butterfly"   Kumi Koda Miki Watanabe 4:18
8. "flower"   Yoshi Yasuo Ohtani 4:38
9. "Promise"   Kumi Koda Daisuke Imai 4:47
10. "Star"   Kumi Koda Kosuke Morimoto 4:05
11. "the meaning of peace"   Tetsuya Komuro Tetsuya Komuro 5:16

DVD: Music Video[edit]

  1. "TAKE BACK"
  2. "Trust Your Love"
  3. COLOR OF SOUL"
  4. "so into you"
  5. "love across the ocean"
  6. "m•a•z•e"
  7. "real Emotion"
  8. "COME WITH ME"
  9. "Gentle Words"
  10. "Crazy 4 U"
  11. "Cutie Honey"
  12. "Chase"
  13. "Kiseki"
  14. "Selfish"
  15. "hands [Single Version]"
  16. "Hot Stuff feat. KM-MARKIT"
  17. "Butterfly"
  18. "Promise"
  19. "Special Mix Video from Best ~first Things~" (First Press Edition Bonus Clip)

Charts[edit]

Oricon Sales Chart (Japan)

Release Chart Peak Position First Week Sales Sales Total Chart Run
September 21, 2005 Oricon Daily Charts 1
Oricon Weekly Charts 1 558,916 1,916,661 124 weeks
Oricon Monthly Charts 1
2005 Oricon Yearly Charts 6
2006 Oricon Yearly Charts 17

Alternate Versions[edit]

  1. NO TRICKS: Found on the album (2005)
  2. NO TRICKS [Shohei Matsumoto & Junichi Matsuda Remix]: Found on Beach Mix (2012)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Best ~first things~ / KODA KUMI / ORICON STYLE". Oricon. Retrieved January 28, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Koda Kumi Biography". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved May 30, 2016. 
  3. ^ "Koda Kumi - Beach Mix album". Discogs. Retrieved May 30, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Koda Kumi - Best -first things- (Korean Special Version)". YesAsia. Retrieved January 28, 2016. 
  5. ^ "BEST -first things- (2CD)(Japan Version)". YesAsia. Retrieved January 28, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Kumi Koda: Best ~first things~". Wordpress. Retrieved January 28, 2016. 
  7. ^ "She began to realize the importance of listening to fans' feedback, discovering that many fans didn't care if the songs had important or complicated meanings". JaME U.S.A. Retrieved May 30, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Best ~first things~ (Korean Special Edition)". YesAsia. Retrieved June 21, 2016. 
  9. ^ "9/21 best album "BEST ~first things~" and LIVE DVD "secret ~FIRST CLASS LIMITED LIVE~" released simultaneously!! Costume exhibition in Shibuya". Koda.cc. Retrieved January 28, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Best ~first things~ Reviews on Amazon". Amazon UK. Retrieved May 30, 2016. 
  11. ^ "BEST ~first things~ at Lost Wing". Lost Wing. Retrieved May 30, 2016. 
  12. ^ "(koda kumi) KODA REKI". Verduistering. Retrieved January 28, 2016.