Tag Archives: Perfume

Ohhhhhh, Spring!

My favorite season of all is here, bringing all manner of flora and fauna, as well as the Japanese music scene, back to life. Seems like all good things come in the spring; warmer temperatures, lifted spirits, and some of the year’s best music. Let’s take a moment to talk about this Spring’s releases that I’m most excited about!

First we have Ai Otsuka’s Zokkondition/Lucky Star. Ai has always been a favorite artist of mine but ever since her last “actual” album, Love Letter, her stuff has just been hit or miss for me. I predict this single is going to fare about as well as Ai’s other recent stuff, which is not too hot. The covers for the single are either loved or hated, no gray area here. Both PVs are wacky in their own right. Lucky Star is like a pseudo-GaGa acid trip, and Zokkondition has Ai adopting another hideous blonde wig reminiscent of AisuxTime’s PV. As for the songs, Lucky Star is great but Zokkondition makes me want to hurl a Piplup like a javelin. (OMG, Alisa, how could you hurt a Piplup!?) Her vocals are plain terrible and I hope I never hear that song again. Seriously. Lucky Star should have been the leading A-side, not this junk that makes me want to go jam out to Beckii Cruel’s Danjo instead.

Popular Visual-Kei band D is in full bloom with their newest album 7th Rose, which drops next week. If you read my earlier post about this, then you’ll know that I am skeptical of the album’s quality based on the tracks available at this point. Just let me say that this is the review I am most excited about doing, and part of me expects to be pleasantly surprised by the album. Let’s hope..

Another release everybody’s talking about is Perfume’s Natural Ni Koishite, their first release since the hit album Triangle. I’m loving this song because its sounds like Spring! Its poppy and fizzy and sugary! This song is like drinking a very fresh can of soda. Its not on the level of Night Flight, but its great in its own right and the PV is sweet and simplistic. I’m looking forward to the b-side because Perfume can usually crank out some good ones. (23:30!? Edge!?)

Last thing I want to talk about is the upcoming release from my favorite duo ever, Vanilla Beans! Witch Hunting, (title subject to change) won’t be here until May but I’m beyond excited. It seems as though Vanilla Beans are gaining popularity, as they have recently appeared in a CM for a Japanese deodorant. I haven’t heard any other news about the single other than the expected release date, so I have no idea what its going to be like, but I can only hope it is awesome!

These are the releases I’m most pumped about this Spring! What are yours?

Peace, Love, and Spinarak Webs,
~Alisa~

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“Tsubasa wo Kudasai” – Beckii Cruel feat. Cruel Angels

Leave Beckii Alone!!! SHE'S A HUMAN!!! (lol)

Long story short, Beckii Cruel is a fourteen year old British girl who somehow gained Youtube stardom and a record deal in Japan by dancing badly to J-pop tunes. She released a steaming pile of dog crap called “Danjo” and then two other random girls, Sarah and Gemma, got plopped in with her to release this single called “Tsubasa wo Kudasai.”

Track 1- Tsubasa wo Kudasai: In typical idol fashion, a somewhat decent song gets trashed by zero talent and zero charisma. The vocals are okay for the most part, but it gets annoying after just one listen.

Track 2- Tsuki no Kakera: I think it takes a really really good song to show someone’s limitations. Haters back off, this song is great. I mean, the melody is great, at least. The vocals are horrible and the dancing is plain awkward but the song is outstanding. I think that this song should be re-recorded and released by a group with actual talent. (AHEM AHEM PERFUME COUGH HACK)

In Conclusion: I know this is going to sound insensitive but you know its true. The secret to Beckii Cruel’s enormous popularity in Japan comes from this simple formula.

Underage girl + Dancing in costumes = Happy Japanese Pervs

Just you wait. I predict a whole crop of hentai popping up showing girls wearing Beckii’s trademark fuzzy earmuffs.

There’s really no other way to explain it. Beckii (and the other girls) can’t sing, can’t dance, and probably can’t retain any Japanese more complex than “arigatou.” Japanese spoken with a heavy British accent is just awful. I’m not going to judge though. I’m from the boondocks of Kentucky. I’m pretty sure my Japanese doesn’t sound too hot either. Just sayin’.

After this biting review, you would get the impression that I want to rip Beckii and the other Cruel Angels to shreds. This is simply untrue. I think that they are having a lot of fun and what they do makes them happy. I would never want to discourage someone from following their dream, even if they suck terribly at it. (which they do, to be frank) Plus, if you’ve ever seen Beckii’s Youtube videos, then you understand how her spirit and personality wins you over immediately. She seems like the sweetest girl.

So, I’ll be keeping up with Beckii and the Angels. At least until they become “legal” and Japan suddenly doesn’t want them anymore.

~Alisa~

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“Triangle” – Perfume

This cover is sooooo awkward to me...

Get ready for a big heaping helping of Eau de PERFUME! That’s right, kiddos, this will be my first full length album review. Can I get a “woot-woot?” Much obliged.

Track 1: Take Off- Here’s just a basic interlude with some vocals mixed in. The girls count down in really cute Engrish. I like this. Its an energizing start.

Track 2:  Love the World- I don’t like how this song comes right after “Take Off.” It doesn’t fit! Its one of my favorites by Perfume and has a really fun beat but its weird (to me) placement on the album taints its awesomeness. The chorus is really nice.

Track 3: Dream Fighter- I didn’t care for this song much. The instrumentals are great and quite catchy but the vocals are boring.

Track 4: Edge (Triangle Mix)- I love the original “Edge,” but the song being extended to over 8 minutes is just silly and what we in “the biz” like to call “overkill.” Listen to the original from the “Love the World” single. It’ll make a better impression.

Track 5: Night Flight- Whyyyy didn’t this song come after “Take Off?!?!?!?” IT WOULD HAVE BEEN PERFECT THERE! This is easily the best song on “Triangle” if not the greatest Perfume song ever. I remember watching the Pino CMs just to listen to the 30 sec clip of this song. I could not wait for it to come out. Then it did, and it was better than expected! My only complaint is that this song didn’t get a PV. Awww. The Perfume girls make such cute little flight attendants and I wish they had made a PV based on those adorable Pino CMs. Anyway, this song has got a classic Perfume song, and a level of energy that lasts throughout the entire five and a half minutes. Its unlike any other song on “Triangle” because you actually remember it later.

Track 6: Kiss and Music- Of all the weird songs that Perfume could have made… Ugh… The opening beats make me anticipate somebody starting to gangster rap. This song is awkward and robotic. The chorus is kind of nice but overall this song annoys me.

Track 7: Zero Gravity- This song is cute, upbeat, and has a disco sound. This is one of the better tracks on this album. The melody actually progresses.

Track 8: I Still Love U- I’m going to be brutal. This song is crap. And it got a PV. The PV is also crap. It has an 80s sound and the vocals are much more nasal than in other Perfume songs. It is beyond me why this song was so promoted. Its an embarrassment to the Perfume we love. The chorus has a somewhat nice melody but it sounds like it is being sung by Alvin and the Chipmunks. Gahhh. Skip it.

Track 9: The Best Thing- This is not “the best thing” on the album, silly Perfume. “Night Flight” has that honor! This song screams GENERIC.

Track 10: Speed of Sound- This is mostly instrumental. Blah…

Track 11: One Room Disco- This song is overhyped. There’s nothing good about it. Its repetitive, the vocals are positively apathetic, and the heavy techno sounds in the beginning are downright scary. “23:30” eats this song for breakfast.

Track 12: Negai (album mix)- This was actually done quite well. The piano and strings are very pretty. This song has the same relaxing feel as “23:30,” only its not quite as good. This was a good way to end the album, as it is the softest track on “Triangle.”

In Conclusion: I think that after “GAME,” Perfume fans had illogically high expectations of the next album. For many people, like myself, these expectations were not met. The album flow was messy and random, and most of the filler was quite poor filler. It is sad to think that “Take Off” is one of the best tracks on this album, and it doesn’t even count as a song! There are a few select gems found on “Triangle” but this album is nothing like “GAME.”

Please forgive me for judging this album so harshly.

~Alisa~

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Showing Some Love for the B-Sides

I apologize to anyone who might have been awaiting my review of immi’s “Alice.” I promise, it will be done in due time. I have decided to make a post which isn’t exactly a review, but more of a ranking kind of thing. I think I might do some of these at random because I love talking about music as a whole, not just one album or single at a time.

If you recall from earlier posts, I am not a huge fan of b-sides. Normally I find they lack quality and depth, but once in a blue moon you find a real gem. Here are three of my favorite b-sides, which I think outshine their a-sides. Read on:

23:30 – Perfume: Hmmm, 11:30 P.M. is kind of a strange time for Perfume to be singing about, but no matter what time you listen to it, this b-side from “One Room Disco” is sure to delight. The song fits the whole late-night theme it is trying to convey. Its smooth, relaxing, and loungey. The vocals are adorable and not too electronic, like we are used to when listening to Perfume’s other work. Nothing about this song is over-the-top and that’s why I’m so obsessed with it. Its a refreshing change from other Perfume songs.

Tsukiyo Koi Kaze- Ikimono Gakari: This is the second b-side from the single “Akaneiro no Yakusoku.” I would venture a guess that this song is widely overlooked because its barely two and a half minutes long. The song makes me think of swimming on a warm summer evening. The instrumentals give off watery nighttime vibes, and Kiyoe tones down her vocals significantly to sing this one.

And now, for my favorite b-side ever…

Suddenly- Gackt: This song was found on the single “Lost Angels.” Don’t get me wrong, “Lost Angels” was amazing, but my issue with it was the length. I never like when epic songs are incredibly long because at that point I find them to be over-the-top. I want a song like that to leave me wanting more, not waiting for it to be over. At 5 minutes and 33 seconds, “Suddenly” is also insanely long, but as it is not nearly as dramatic as “Lost Angels,” I find this acceptable. I love almost everything about this song and it sounds like it would have been right at home on “Diabolos.” I did, however, find two flaws with the song. The first was the “dial-up Internet connection” noise in the beginning of the song. It felt out of place and screamed “MIRRORCLE WORLD!!!” The second was the return of that infamous guitar riff that has been in nearly every Gackt song since “Jesus.” You know the one. Hopefully someone else has noticed it…

~Alisa~

Let’s talk about your top three b-sides! Leave a comment!

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