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(10th Anniversary) Perfume – Perfume ~Complete Best~ June 3, 2018

Filed under: ~10th Anniversary Reviews~ — solarblade @ 2:13 am

perfumecomplete

Track Listing

  1. Perfect Star Perfect Style
  2. Linear Motor Girl
  3. Computer City
  4. Electro World (Album Version)
  5. Inryoku
  6. Monochrome Effect
  7. Vitamin Drop
  8. Sweet Donuts
  9. Foundation
  10. Computer Driving
  11. Perfume
  12. wonder2

1. Perfect Star Perfect Style

This song always confuses me because I can never tell if they are saying ~Star~ or ~Style~.  Yasutaka Nakata has created Perfume, with this poppy techno dance group Perfume, though this song wasn’t a single this could be as good as the single of this album.  Hearing piano adds more originality!    Also, the chorus has some of the best sounds found on it.  This song is really catchy too!

Seems I can’t even begin reviewing the album right huh?  Yeah, Perfect Star Perfect Style is technically the “best album’s” only new track and considering it’s only after 8 singles, I can see why they would want to begin the album off this way considering the rest of the album are singles & B-sides.  Considering I knew what I was getting into with Perfume, the expectations were pretty much leveled with this techno-bop.  Of course, I was wrong that Nakata created Perfume, but he has (and since their 3rd indies single) been their main producer and the early Perfume days kind of shown where both artists were at (mostly Nakata).  I do like the crunchy synths on top of the cutesy idol-esque groove to kind of mesh into this futuristic, yet cute concept for an idol group.  Perfect Star Perfect Style is a realy cool way to kick the album off and show the continuation of the trio with Nakata after the 6 singles that were released when he took over as their produce and yes, the chorus is still the catchiest parts of this track!

2. Linear Motor Girl

This song is repetitive, but it doesn’t take away from the fun.  Song starts out them repeating the title, and slows and gets quiet then ~Are You Ready?~ then it comes back as like Nintendo music lol, which I enjoyed immensely.  I love the acoustic guitar during the chorus, really adds an anti-melody to it, that fits like a glove to the song. Very memorable song…hmmm i wonder why.

Moving onto the the group’s major label debut, Linear Motor Girl today doesn’t quite stack up to its following A-sides, “Computer City” or “Electro World” in memorability which is pretty sad considering this was when Perfume moved to Tokuma for their releases.  Its still a nostalgic track for me, but the repetitive nature of the song, but I definitely hear the capsule-esque sounds that carried over from stuff like “Sugarless GiRL”.  I do like some parts like the arrangement and verses, but the chorus being only the title kind of irks me some.  It still gets plays occasionally by me, but it’s not one I would constantly go back to.

3. Computer City

Starting immediatly at the chorus, it’s a very techno song also, obviously.  Now this song’s lyrics are sad, and yet they also use technology to convey their feelings as well.  Same thing here too with the acoustic guitar, it’s placed well within the song. The verses are pretty catchy with the trance beats thrown in the song.  If it wasn’t for the next song this would have been my favorite song on the entire album.

Moving directly to the 2nd major label single, Computer City felt like more of a shift for Perfume from the idol-like sounds of the previous track to more of a somber and serious electronic track for the trio.  It definitely reminds me of stuff from capsule’s “Sugarless GiRL” album with the more aggressive beats and use of both electric & acoustic guitars as well in the arrangement.  I’m a smidge bummed that it was only 2 verses & 2 choruses, but for some reason, it’s just a very cool song.  It’s definitely a track that happily sticks out on the best and one of their bests still.

4. Electro World (Album Version)

The album version is different from the single because, it has a prolonged beginning. It starts out with an ethereal sound but comes in with the bleeps of the synth, then the chorus starts the song.  Interesting to hear e. guitar is very prominent in the song.  Now this is also my favorite and 1st song I heard from Perfume.  Lyrics are pretty well done here also.  The only thing I kinda didn’t like was that it felt short, if it was a little longer OMG…dream come true! 

I’ve always wondered why of all the songs that Electro World was given an extended intro unlike the other older songs.  Nowadays, I actually don’t like the intro as much (weird, but I enjoy the sudden introduction of the chorus of the single cut instead).  Just like “Computer City”, more of that acoustic/electric guitar mixed with electronics are really nice and the song has a bit more oomph too giving it a harder punch.  I do still think the song goes by too fast, but its structured differently than most other songs in their discography.  Either way, it’s still one of my favorite Perfume songs to this day and it doesn’t feel like its aged at all since us fans first heard it.

5. Inryoku

Inryoku means Gravity…Well this song is very much unusual, you hear ~Inryoku~ many times throughout the song. The beginning is the best example.  Now this starts off the uber poppy techno stuff.  Which I’m kind of lenient against.  Now like i said, in the verses they say ~Inryoku~ alot, why are they saying Gravity so much?  Well, what they mean by it is to Gravitate, like an attraction of sorts.  This is definitly a filler track, if it does that a lot.  I didn’t like this song much

Y’know, I’ve always wondered why they plastered Inryoku in the middle of the album because when I look at the tracklist, I thought they had some kind of lineage to it (new song, major A-sides, indie A-sides, B-sides), so to see this B-side from “Vitamin Drop” smacked right here is a little bit jarring after “Electro World”.  Moving back to the sugary cute electro stuff Perfume was putting out in their indie days, Inryoku gives me some pico-pop vibes (ala early capsule during the “phony phonic” era) and I understand the connection and it was cute, but the song feels maybe a little too robotic and repetitive for me to keep around.  There’s a lot of depth to the song and the later half is a LOT more intriguing than the first half which should say something especially since some of those parts were like “Linear Motor Girl”.  It’s grown on me and I’m pretty much OK with the song as background noise for the most part.

6. Monochrome Effect

Yea, this song I can picture Morning Musume doing 0.o  Anyways, it’s a little slower around the tempo.  It kind of gets boring to listen to after awhile, and I blame it on the tempo altogether, if it was a lot faster, I would’ve enjoyed it more.  I can’t believe they made a PV for it too, I was like ugh.

Not quite sure why I hated the song back then and this is even before the song became popular due to it making an appearance on the FOX show, American Dad.  It’s kind of funny because I compared it to Morning Musume when the reverse has kind of been happening XD.  While it did take a little bit to get used to the slower tempo (it was also the 2nd single with Nakata at the reins).  I think of all the songs on the album, this one feels like it comes off as an idol song and not the futuristic group they would grow into.  Hell, we get to hear Perfume’s natural vocals and yeah…not the greatest at hand.  Still, it was the song that a lot of Americans got a first taste of Perfume so I suppose it has its place in history with the group

7. Vitamin Drop

Now this is a good song, best known for the song used in Densatsu no Stafy’s 3rd game’s commercial.  This song has a very good beat, and the ladies voices aren’t synthed up as much.  It actually does sound like your on an adventure. How they say the title is just too cute.  They might sound a bit bored, but it actually works for this song, which is very unorthodox.  Anyway it’s their best indies song.

Thinking about it now, I was surprised at how natural the trio sounded during their indie days and it shows back then how surprisingly weak they were vocally at the time of this release and how much Nakata helped them out when they released “Linear Motor Girl” after this.  The tune itself feels like a bridge from their idol-like stuff to the more electronic, cold vibes of the major singles.  I still do think it’s their best of their indies stuff, but still a far cry compared to most of their future releases.  I do think the monotone verses (and well overall feel) is a bit meh here and there, but because none of the three are under heavy auto-tune (or even at all) it does feel a bit boring?  Either way, its still a fun track for them and the PV was adorable as hell!

8. Sweet Donuts

Oh gosh, we get more bubblegum, with this song, it’s just too much to handle.  Sweet Donuts is also their shortest song on the album.  Which is at best a good thing, because any more of this, I might have to turn it off.  At least it isn’t the single version which was doubled the time, so here it fits a bit more better.  They sound pretty well, once again how they say the title is just too cute for one’s ears!  Thank gosh, for the next song.

I’m actually rather curious why they never specified why this is a shortened version of the song on the album, cutting more than a minute off the track on the best album.  I mean I’m not going to argue because this song is diabetes in a song because of how hyper and genki the track comes off (though it was also their first time working with Nakata and their 3rd indies single).  Since the first time I reviewed the album (and single), the song has grown on me and it’s catchy and because there’s next to no vocal filters, the song just sounds VERY idol-like and fun.  It’s just super cute!

9. Foundation

Since we’ve gotten ourselves outta the uber pop side, we are introduced back to the B-sides of the 3 major singles: LMG, CC, EW. Foundation was found on Linear Motor Girl’s single.  This song is laidback compared to most of the other songs on the album.  It’s pretty mellow throughout, and the girls don’t push they vocals too much, it’s a calm song and a good listen

Moving onto the B-sides section of the album, we come across the first B-side from “Linear Motor Girl” and boy did it take me a while to remember these songs (I wasn’t a HUGE fan of the B-sides).  Foundation sounds definitely like we were heading back to more of the futuristic side of Perfume and this tune is pretty mellow in comparison to most of the other songs here.  It just flows smoothly throughout and while it doesn’t do anything bad, its a song that doesn’t resonate or leave much of an impression.

10. Computer Driving

This song; also found on Linear Motor Girl is a good medium between the two other songs found on the single, it’s not overly repetitive and sugary and it has calm qualities about it.  This song is my favorite B-side for that reason.  For some reason this song, actually has me thinking of driving.  I don’t exactly know what the lyrics means, but I hope it’s about driving XD   BTW props on the saying of the title ladies!

I would say after listening to this album, it feels like this song should’ve been placed as the bridge from “Vitamin Drop” to “Linear Motor Girl” because it retains the bouncy and cutesy idol sound, but the synths are a bit punchier and has a bigger effect…but it does feel like more of the former track to the point where I feel like they’re maybe a smidge too similar, but this one leans more to the electronic side.  I don’t know, its like how I feel with “Foundation”…not bad but not the best.

11. Perfume

Odd, the track named from the band!  There’s alot of things going on in this song, there was the beginning, which sounded epic *ok, maybe not that epic, but enough.  Then this collage of synths and such enter in and at 1st it sounded kind of messy but then when it comes to the main synth melody it made much more sense.  It’s fast, It’s cute, but controlled cute.  This B-side is found on “Computer City”

Ahhh, we finally have Perfume’s namesake track next up!  As the best album’s longest track, Perfume is the longest track as well clocking above 5 minutes in length.  As a B-side, the tune kind of was the anti-thesis to “Computer City’s” more colder sound with the arrangement sounding like something from a video game and the group while not heavily under auto-tune and filters, is still evident.  This is a pretty genki track and feels like a nod to their indies releases.

12. wonder2

Found on Electro World, this song is very, different from the other songs.  It starts out ethereal, then the major synths come in but retains the ethereal feeling throughout, now when I go back to this song, I think winter song.  It has that wintry feeling also, This is a great way to end the album with a song like this.

The album closes out with the B-side from “Electro World” and its pretty appropriate because the song feels more like a ballad than may of the tracks on the album.  It begins ethereal-like and kind of keeps up this mood for the song giving it somewhat of an 80’s new wave kind of flow.  I wasn’t too into the mechanical output for the girls and the arrangement feels like it gets in the way of the lyrics sometimes.  Like “Vitamin Drop” though, the song feels very one-note and with the robotic feel from the trio, it just kind of was boring to me.

Tracks Recommended

  • Electro World (Album Version)
  • Computer City
  • Sweet Donuts
  • Perfume
  • Perfect Star Perfect Style

Song of Avoidance

  • wonder2

Perfume’s first “whole” album was a weird one, i mean it only had one new song on it. Then came the trio of the Yasataka Nakata “masterpieces”, then came the indie songs they did, and then the major singles’ b-sides….What a weird way to put this album together, I was almost wanting to stop right at “Sweet Donuts”.  It got to poppy, they really needed to spread all the songs out in the album, altogether this album really showed us that techno-pop is raring to come back to the top.

Coming back to Perfume’s kind of swan song of an album (back then they weren’t even sure if they were going to continue past this album), Complete Best isn’t quite as complete as it feels (missing their Akihabara singles and B-sides of their other indie singles as well).  Perfume did get the bigger songs which were nice and it was a mix of futuristic and idol-pop, considering Nakata did all the producing here.  Still there were some boring tracks (most of the 2nd half was kind of filler to me).  Not bad coming back to review this 10 years later…but some of these tracks have grown on me while some fell back.

 

 

(10th Anniversary) Nami Tamaki – greeting May 19, 2018

Filed under: ~10th Anniversary Reviews~ — solarblade @ 3:14 am

greetingnami

Track Listing

  1. Eternal Voice
  2. Believe
  3. day by day
  4. Complete
  5. Be Positive <Hikari no Naka de Kagayaite>
  6. NEVER STOP MY HEART -Kimi to Iu Kiseki ni-
  7. Shining Star Wasurenaikara
  8. Realize
  9. Naked
  10. Destiny
  11. Ashita no Kimi
  12. Prayer
  13. Believe -Evidence01 Mix-

1. Eternal Voice

Wow, the 1st song from the 1st album…It starts off in the chorus with little background noises, but when she starts the 2nd half synths and percussion blares in. Now, this song right here is a slower dance song *oxymoron* but my favorite part was the bridge, it just sounded too friggin awesome!. Great way to start Nami’s album

Wow, boy was I a noob back then reviewing my first song for this blog huh?  Yeah, the album opens up with Eternal Voice and back then I was really getting into J-pop and Nami Tamaki was the first artist I clung to heavily because of the GUNDAM themes she had in her repertoire.  Eternal Voice was the first taste of album songs and I was completely fine with her songs sounding similar to her anime themes and I easily fell in love with it.  Compared though, it was a bit slower but it had an epic kind of tone as it opened the track.  I also mislabeled, but my favorite parts were the pre-chorus actually…it just hit something cool in my mind and I really dug that.  Still a nice way to open the album up I’d say.

2. Believe

Uh-oh 1st single alert!!!!  Anyways, this song was played in the Gundam series and is very well known amongst the fans. Opening sequence = best ever. A very trance-like aura is emanating from the song as well. Seeing as how Nami’s voice matured now, she can really hit or miss that high note, and you guys know where I’m talking about.  Either way, this song put Nami on the map for sure.

Yeah, it seems because of the sheer popularity this song gave Nami, it wasn’t too surprising to see her debut come next on the album.  It’s been 10 years and I’ve still got a HUGE soft spot for this song despite that the numerous tries (self-covers) she does don’t quite do the justice the original did.  I still do love the grittiness of the synths and cool, dark vibes it gives off on top of Nami’s striking vocals.  It’s a song that definitely molded my love for J-pop and I can’t deny that I have a huge bias for this one!

3. day by day

Oddly enough, this is an R&B like track. Now, to me when I think J-pop R&B, I instantly think of Utada Hikaru’s song “Automatic” and it actually almost sounded like it too like in beats and rhythm. I love the final chorus of the song the best ~I can fly to your love, because I say “I love you!~ it just got stuck in my head and made me love this song even further

Before I started getting critical to album’s flow, I was just a nut that liked songs.  Coming back to this album now, I’m starting to notice that this album was kind of all over the place, (especially knowing the singles that came prior to this album).  day by day was a stark contrast to “Believe” & “Eternal Voice” that nowadays, it made me wonder why SONY was trying to make her more poppy.  I do like the 90s R&B/Pop vibes I get here and the tune while slightly hokey, definitely suited Nami’s vocals for some reason.  It has a certain kind of flow that just made you tap your foot and yesh, I still do like the run in the chorus with the surprise English!  Still, it’s a bit of a shock of a shift of moods.

4. Complete

Well, is it rock? Is it pop? w/e….This song has Nami giving an atittude…Which is always nice but it’s like her voice is different through the verses, maybe giving it a further explanation on her attitude throughout the song…Background voices we’re pretty nice to hear too…though the guy…was just not needed.  Even through that this song was catchy.

Moving into one of the B-sides that made the album’s cut, Complete (from “Believe”) also cemented the feeling that SONY wasn’t sure what to do with Nami.  The overall groove is a bit more aggressive which shows equally with Nami’s vocals which sound more deeper and has a lot more oomph to it than in previous tracks.  I also like the similar 90’s Hip/Pop vibes and it suits coming after “day by day”.  A song that I’ve come to grow to like despite that the fade-out was a bad choice to close this out.

5. Be Positive <Hikari no Naka de Kagayaite>

So it’s slow pop time, I like this song, even though it’s slower. Her voice was nice throughout the song and it was enjoyable, if Nami had made this a single, I would’ve bought it!. This song is just nice. Great to know Nami wrote this song, a trait she starts using on each album.

So yeah, this was one of the few songs Nami wrote and likewise, it’s also the first slow song off the album, but it’s not entirely a ballad.  It’s kind of like a Britney Spears-ish way to have a ballad (at least something from her “…Baby One More Time” era).  Thinking about why I didn’t say too much about, I actually think now its one of the more boring tracks on the album, lol.  I think I was more excited that Nami was doing more than powerful anison tracks.  I do think it has a smidge of an ending theme kind of feel, but otherwise despite Nami’s decent vocals, this one just doesn’t stick out in my mind as much as it did back then.

6. NEVER STOP MY HEART -Kimi to Iu Kiseki ni-

Now it’s ballad time!  Really, I’m not a huge ballad fan…So I’m not too fond of this song.  The chorus sounded like she was straining her voice for them high notes.  Another one of those songs that she’ll prolly never perform live.  Either way, at least she has a ballad on the album.

I do like the way the album does slow down to this point of the album to stick in this B-side from “Prayer” and like I said in the above track, it definitely has a 90s bubblegum pop kind of tone to it that I wasn’t really here for.  I definitely didn’t realize the after-chorus has some like odd harpsichord (and maybe harp?) either way, as grandiose it tries to be, the song just feels cheap and Nami shows off her vocal weaknesses especially in the chorus where she seems to be struggling with higher notes.  It never was a high-hitting song for me so I’m surprised my opinion hasn’t changed entirely.

7. Shining Star Wasurenaikara

Sampling “Twinkle, Twinkle, Litte Star” for its entrance, you’d think it’s a ballad also. THINK AGAIN!  You are totally in for a surprise, it’s a catchy little dance tune.  She’s singin her heart out throughout this song.  Backup singers that sing the important English parts kinda disappoint me because you’d think Nami would do that. Beautiful song overall.

I’ll never understand why Nami chose this to be the 4th single, because of the 4, this one seems the corniest in reality with the song sampling “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” in its melody.  I mean it only comes up occasionally, but its such an odd decision here.  At least the verses make up for that up until the chorus where it feels like Nami takes the backseat while the backup vocalist get the hooks and longer lines.  I think nowadays, this song is more like a guilty pleasure than anything else.

8. Realize

Another of them awesome Gundam songs, Realize is a lot more lighter on the synth this time around.  Guitar is pretty prominent in the song which is a plus. The bridge, like Eternal Voice is the best part of the whole song.  I heard this song many times live, and before Speciality/Don’t Stay she was pretty bad at it live but when her Graduation DVD came out she sang this song to awesomeness.  One of her best’s of this album

Used as the 2nd ending theme to GUNDAM SEED Destiny after “Believe” (and her follow-up single), Realize fit the bill no doubt, but it was a much ligher affair in comparison, giving it a more hopeful sounding atmosphere on top of the happier guitar & synth riff that was blaring in the arrangement.  Yeah, the pre-chorus of this song still is one of my favorite parts, but I LOVE this song a lot more than I used to…it even rivals Believe as best on this album unironically!

9. Naked

*cough* what? A song called Naked? WTF!  Anyways the beginning starts with the guitar playing 4 notes and stopping abruptly repeatedly.  Then she comes in with the chorus like a bunch of her earlier songs. Sadly, this song didn’t keep my interest up for too long. Prolly least favorite from this point

Yeah, I’m not sure why I made that lewd comment, but here we are I suppose.  Seems we jumped back to the 90s bubblegum pop sound for Naked which made me think of both “day by day” and “Be Positive” and it kind of threw me off that the album we hop back to that style.  I’m not sure what she was going for her, but the song seems rather uncharacteristic for this album and breaks the album’s flow.  Sometimes I seem to forget that this is indeed a track Nami did.

10. Destiny

Starts with the chorus *sighs* I’m shocked that this song was put here because Naked was at a medium tempo and the next song is a ballad…Ok, it’s got that Gundam speed like in Believe and Realize, but then again. it was used on Gundam DUH!.  Good thing about this song is that it has equal synth and guitar unlike Believe = synth in the forefront and Realize = guitar in the forefront. Real good song. BTW that note she hits in the chorus…yea It’s strained to no end.

As the last of the new tracks from greeting, Destiny kind of immediately kicks off with its chorus which is an interesting startup to say the least.  Yeah, I still agree that the high note she goes on every once or twice in the choruses is a bit too high for her, but I mean it’s not too detrimental to the song.  The tune does remind me a LOT of “Eternal Voice” in just sound which is odd, but I think its a cool song nonetheless.

11. Ashita no Kimi

Ballad, and it starts in the chorus! Her voice does have an angelic feel to it, which is nice. It sound like a wintry song. It kinda picks up speed, but barely in the bridge, but goes back to slow in the chorus. In other words this song was subpar against the whole album making it, a filler

Moving to the B-side from “Realize”, Ashita no Kimi wasn’t the first choice to have chosen to be on the album, but I suppose they had to somehow slow the album down once again after “Destiny”.  Like “Be Positive”, the song is a bit cheesy for me, but I don’t seem to like this one much either.  I think its the chorus that just makes me want to press next because it’s just kind of boring of a song sadly.  I mean, Nami sounds good, but yeah not a good song.

12. Prayer

A single as the last song? *shrugs* As usual it starts off with the chorus. Prayer, like Realize also is driven mostly by guitar, which is pretty cool, because it’s also has a wintry feel, if the PV didn’t already show that XD.  I liked the whole chorus, it just made me wanna get up and start doing the moves from the PV itself!

Still interesting she chose Prayer to close the album out instead of “Ashita no Kimi”, but it is what it is.  As the 3rd A-side she released, Prayer was the first that didn’t have a tie-in to the GUNDAM series, but that’s quite alright because regardless, she did keep the anison synth/rock feel but made it more mellow and less like a repeat to other tracks.  I still do find myself loving the song today and its just a cool bop of a song…still odd way to finish the album…

13. Believe -Evidence01 Mix-

As much as I love trance/dance music, Believe couldn’t have been a better choice to be put in ballad form, I really enjoyed this remix. Even though I wanted to hear Realize as a ballad….oh wait, they did do that!  Either way great way to end the song and album itself

Though the album actually comes with a bonus track, a ballad version of her debut, Believe.  Though it’s funny because it was already released as part of that “Believe Reproduction” single.  I think cutting out the energetic and aggressive arrangement was a good choice, but I’m not impressed from the lack of actually resinging the tune.  They just added some echo filters to make it more well-rounded.  Plus, the chorus just sounds odd as a ballad-centric chorus too.

Tracks Recommended

  • Realize
  • Believe
  • Eternal Voice
  • day by day
  • Prayer

Song of Avoidance

  • Ashita no Kimi

Greeting was a real awesome debut for Nami, and I praise it…but majority of the songs started off in the chorus…which was totally unusual. I guess it can get better from here. A nice variation of songs too.  Though the album did feature too many poor choiced B-sides, it turned out all right.

Wow, my first ever album review on this blog and boy not much has totally changed on my feelings on greeting initially.  Some songs have stood the test of time for me luckily and they’re still listened to frequently on my end.  Though when it comes to the album as a whole, greeting does feel ike a bit of an identity crisis.  I’m not sure whether SONY wanted to make her an anison singer or just an idol singer because half the album is epic GUNDAM-like songs and the other half is 90s cheesy pop songs.  Yeah, this album isn’t quite as amazing as I initially made it out to be, but it’s one way to start a career right?