Enter the Sphere
Spring of life (Album-mix)
Magic of Love (Album-mix)
Mirai no Museum
Furikaeru to Iru yo
Spending all my time (Album-mix)
1. Enter the Sphere
Opening the album is quite an interesting way to kick things off. Technically, the main melody is something we have heard of. Actually, it was the FIRST thing we heard when they switched to UNIVERSAL. I loved that instrumental so much and was more than happy to see Nakata finally taking advantage of it (though still waiting for “Perfume no Okite”. I’m surprised though Nakata took it further and added Perfume’s voices onto it and really working with it. It does feel like it’s mostly an intro because there’s not a lot of lyrics presented, but I feel like it does its job quite nicely. Awesome song overall and a great way to start!
2. Spring of life (Album-mix)
It was surprising to see that 3/4 of the A-sides released during this era got touched up for the album (shocks that the worst one of them didn’t…). The first single after their label transfer, Spring of life for me was a pretty good start and listening to the album version, I instantly fell in love because they took the mid8 section and applied it to the beginning and near the end and still kept the song mostly intact with its original counterpart. I still love the song, but I think the whole club ending (where it goes from full arrangement to a pounding beat, was cheap and didn’t really go into “Magic of Love” smoothly).
3. Magic of Love (Album-mix)
When I got into the new version Magic of Love, I felt like Nakata used some Kyary sounds in there which really freaked me out. After that intro, it does sort of follow along the original arrangement, but not to the point where I felt like it was safe Perfume (like I reflected on when I reviewed the single). The new take of the song makes it different and while it did lose it’s interlude that many people liked, it wasn’t entirely a miss…though I don’t think the song deserved a change on the album.
As we get into some new tracks, I was curious to what Perfume and Nakata had up their sleeves for LEVEL3 and Clockwork was such an interesting track to listen to. I kind of thought the song was going to have a focus on ticking and such and it sort of does with the beat. When I get further in, the song really has this strong New Wave/80s vibe that made the song become instantly enjoyable. Definitely an ethereal but totally chill song to listen to.
As the album’s promotional track, 1mm was definitely one of those songs that really caught me off guard. People have compared it to “I still love you” and I can totally agree because it’s another ethereal and chill track from the group and yet it has something fierce going on in it that I just can’t help but say it was a solid choice to have been promoted. Plus, solo lines are done so nicely! I have to commend Nakata for this atmosphere and amazing arrangement here…it’s definitely one of my favorites from the album!
6. Mirai no Museum
I can never get the fact on how Mirai no Museum was not changed for the album because it’s a REAL sour note for the album’s flow and sound. As the group’s 3rd A-side released, MnM really has this idol feel and their vocals aren’t as modified like in other tracks, but this song is sugary cute and I still don’t enjoy listening to it much but it’s not as shallow as another track on the album. Maybe it would’ve been better as the final track, but it really does not belong on this album (would’ve MAJORLY insisted on “Hurly Burly” being in this spot).
7. Party Maker
Everyone in Perfume’s fandom has been wanting an awesome power track from the group and while JPN totally snuffed on that, we finally get a banger, a near 7 1/2 minute track! While I am a little surprised that like “Enter the Sphere” the lyrics are not the main focus of the track which lead to Nakata doing all the magic. This song is a very cool song for them and I’m loving the harder sounds moreso than when Perfume actually sings their lines…weird right? After the 2nd time, I thought it was sounding better and stronger. Though like the SoL mix, I don’t get why it needed to go into *typical club ending*. Overall, this song is pretty strong for a Nakata track, as a Perfume song…I kind of wish they were more evident…but still awesome!
8. Furikaeru to Iru yo
An electro-reggae song from Perfume. I guess you can’t deny that Nakata is stepping out of his zone on this album. I love the beats and bass synths all over this song…it just calms me and hearing Perfume singing along together just soothes me. Though for a song that’s over 6 minutes, it does rather drag after while (Reggae is a style that’s much better in short doses than longer ones). It’s nice, but only in short doses because like I said…it’s one that will mostly drag for listeners.
Then we get into the series of B-sides starting with the B-side from “Spending all my time”. Granted I think both this and “Hurly Burly” should’ve been put on the album. Like “Mirai no Museum”, this song doesn’t exactly fit on the album either, but the biggest difference is…….I enjoy this song regardless. I still think the song sounds like a perfect song for a Katamari Damacy game and yet this song is dreamy enough to slightly fit (maybe it would’ve worked better next to “Clockwork” if anything). Nice track though!
Moving to the B-side from “Mirai no Museum”, Daijobanai back then reminded me of the horrors from “Communication” because it had a repetitive arrangement and just didn’t stand out. Nowadays, Daijobanai has grown on me a bit, but I still do feel like the song is still repetitive as hell and most of the time I’m kind of forgetting a lot about it, but the arrangement has gotten easier to stand. Still not near the top, but at least I can respect it!
11. Handy Man
Then comes the B-side from “Magic of Love” and honestly minus “Hurly Burly” this is the best B-side they’ve released in this whole era. I’m loving the whole Arabic sounding arrangement and it isn’t repetitive as hell like a lot of B-sides have been. It’s definitely taking the most ethnic sounding track from the album altogether. Overall not bad and definitely was happy to see it make the cut.
12. Sleeping Beauty
Running into the final stretch, we begin with Sleeping Beauty. The intro reminded me Ami Suzuki’s “climb up to the top” but once the synth melody started up, the song IMMEDIATELY sounded like “Butterfly” and it keeps that up the rest of the way which kind of bored me because the latter track has more lyrics to it. Most of the time, it’s the ladies going ~ahhhhhh~. I mean once it passes the 3-minute mark, then you hear the girls actually say the title of the song and that’s it. I’m quite disappointed with this one. Just seemed to lack a LOT of character and well…seemed like a very vague song.
13. Spending all my time (Album-mix)
Ahhh yes, the song that split the fandom…Spending all my time was also another track that changed around for it’s album appearance and actually most of us have heard it as the *Cannes* mix. The beginning and the final chorus is the only thing that remains from the original. Everything else is new, which is toning the song down and giving a rather fashionable sound. To be honest, while many people will enjoy this new version, I actually prefer the original…I personally think it has more oomph than the album mix tbh and I think there could have been more to the mix…but it’s just me.
14. Dream Land
Entering our final song, that intro reminded me of Kyary’s “CANDY CANDY” with the instrument!!! Anyways, as the final track, it kind of felt like it was a solid choice to end the album because it’s unique and very airy to listen to, especially with that clicking instrument (I have no idea what it is). I think it was perfect to put that feeling of a dream land in our minds. Very solid choice to have ended the album!
Song of Avoidance
I have to say this now, LEVEL3, DEFINITELY surpasses their last two albums by a long shot! Though it still isn’t going to pass up “GAME”, but it’s quite good. I have to say, as their first album on UNIVERSAL, LEVEL3 did a great job giving us Perfume and Nakata also putting more effort into them here worked out. I will say a couple issues happened. I think I’m done with wanting Nakata to do album mixes (2/3 didn’t really need them but w/e) and Sleeping Beauty…but that’s a singular problem there. Overall, this is a GREAT album for them and I’ve missed this side of Perfume a lot (plus more bangers warms my heart xD).