Product code: TKCA-73320/73325
Release date: 2008.04.16
Highest Ranking: #1
Label: Tokuma Japan
Limited Edition: DVD
After releasing their best-of album, the Nakata Yasutaka produced trio Perfume released “Fan Service (sweet)”, a new single with two songs that was their highest charting to its date, as well as “Fan Service (bitter),” their first live DVD. Then, in 2007, their next single “Polyrhythm” was used as the theme song to NHK’s nationwide recycling campaign. It projected the group into the spotlight, charting as high as #7, staying on the chart over numerous weeks, and selling almost 60,000 copies.
In early 2008, Perfume then released their next single “Baby cruising Love/Macaroni.” Despite a lack of tie-in for either of the A-sides, the single shot all the way up to #3 on the Oricon, sold more than 60,000 copies, and is their highest charting and best selling single to date. In the span of just two singles, Perfume turned from a minor girl group to a household name. They became featured on prominent television shows, and during this time their best-of album began charting again. After releasing a box-set collection of their indies singles, Perfume announced the release of their first studio album, “GAME.”
The album starts off with “Polyrhythm,” arguably Perfume’s most well known song. It builds the tension slowly, adding more elements, until the beat really fills out. It has an infective tune that can stand up to numerous listens. However, the repetition of “polyrhythm” and “polyloop” drags on for just too long – while I do enjoy some repetition, it’s taken too far in this song and makes those parts hard to stand. It’s a shame, because the other parts of the song are amazingly catchy and fun.
2. Plastic Smile
”Plastic Smile” is lighthearted and simple. Compared to some of their more recent songs that utilize more complicated vocal lines and composition, “Plastic Smile” has a more standard tune and beat. The simplicity works though, and the song is very enjoyable.
Immediately “GAME” starts off with heavy bass – it’s definitely a heavier sound that anything that Perfume have every put out before, and leans more towards a trance sound at parts. The vocals are in a minor key, which creates a different sound from the usually cheerful Perfume sound. This is a song that focuses mostly on the beat than the vocals; although at times I found the bass too overpowering, for most of the song it adds attitude and is an interesting twist on Perfume’s usual works.
4. Baby Cruising Love
Before “Baby Cruising Love,” would you have thought it possible to have a danceable techno ballad? The mix of piano with the synth sounds and beats gives the song a delicate sound without sacrificing the rhythm. The vocals here are also not as electronically altered (speaking only in comparison, of course), giving the song a laid-back feel. Everything combines together beautifully – Perfume can do the danceable techno ballad, and they can do it well.
5. Chocolate Disco
It’s hard to pinpoint what it is about “Chocolate Disco” that’s so wonderful – the lyrics are extremely repetitive, something that hurts a lot of songs. But somehow, although the chorus only consists for the most part of two words, it manages to be repetitive without being overly tedious. The song has a charming melody and twinkly synth backing; although all the girls sing for half the song is “Chocolate Disco,” it still feels fresh.
“Macaroni” actually starts off with a drum set as opposed to their normal drum machine beats; indeed, the whole song sounds more raw and acoustic. It’s not a dance number but instead a mellow mid-tempo. The song has a relaxed and easy going atmosphere; the backing track is simple and light to match the simple vocals.
This is the only single that has its music video included on the DVD. It’s unlike Perfume’s other works: the video has no dancing, special effects, or even lip synching – it’s just filled with home-video style slow motion shots of Perfume walking around town and having fun. The song and video show another side of the usually highly polished Perfume, showing that they can sing slower songs like this too.
7. Ceramic Girl
The tension picks up again with the cheerful “Ceramic Girl.” The chorus is infective and sweet, while the other lines has a unique and cheeky flow to them. This song has a lighter, more pop beat than many of their techno-infused works. Overall, “Ceramic Girl” is lighthearted and fun song.
8. Take Me Take Me
While most Perfume songs are danceable, sing-along songs, “Take Me Take Me” is a little different. It’s accompanied by some more conventional instruments and has a dream-like quality both in the delicate singing and the repetition of spoken word. It’s a lot more experimental and alternative, and would sounds almost like an interlude except it does include vocals. A while unorthodox of a typical album track, “Take Me Take Me” is hypnotically ethereal.
9. Secret Secret
“Secret Secret” builds off of the atmosphere of “Take Me Take Me” by starting with a mysterious sound – but almost bursts into a high powered dance song. It has a painfully addictive chorus line. There are nice touches throughout – the heavy bass around 1:10 was a shocking surprise the first listen, drawing attention to the song as if saying “don’t get bored, you’ll never know what’s in store.” It works in the danceable beat and catchy tune of old Perfume, but integrates new sound elements at the same time – the end result is fantastic and one of the best songs on the album.
The beginning of “Butterfly” integrates, of all things, rainforest sounds, before exploding into the beat. The song uses looping synth runs and a heavy techno beat to create a mix of ambient and danceable sounds. There’s so many different elements of this song that don’t seem like they would fit together – delicate trance-like vocals, heavy dance beat, simple scales – but they click together and create a unique song.
11. Twinkle Snow Powdery Snow
“Twinkle Snow Powdery Snow” is Perfume as we best know them – a cheerful danceable and catchy techno tune. The song has a great chorus tune driven by its beat. The song isn’t new or experimental, and since it was the first single released after the best-of album, it makes sense that it fits in perfectly with their previous techno-based singles – and, just like those songs, is catchy and fun.
12. Puppy Love
Last on the album is “Puppy Love,” a song that starts with acoustic bass guitar sounds. It has a pleasant melody set to softer, laid-back vocals but paired with a fast, poppy beat. It ends the album on a happy, uplifting note.
Conclusion: Perfume is still often described as a techno pop group, but they would best be classified as electronicpop instead. While most techno music suffer under sounding similar, Perfume’s album sidesteps this easily. The songs on “GAME” are all electronic, but range from laid back midtempo songs to cheerful dance tunes to heavy trance. Many of the new songs on the album sound more experimental than the more poppy and fun singles, giving the album a lot of variety in terms of sound.
There really isn’t a single bad song on the album: all of them are intricately crafted and slickly produced. In many ways, the album isn’t by Perfume but by Nakata Yasutaka featuring Perfume’s vocals; Perfume themselves are far more oriented towards the performance than the music itself. However, no matter who the music represents, it is good music in an album full of experimentation and innovation while still firmly keeping a toe in mainstream; it is interesting and varied music that is still pop enough to be accessible to the general public. “GAME” is the first electronic album to reach the top of the Oricon chart in years for a good reason: Nakata’s detailed production of Perfume’s sweet, charismatic vocals creates an irresistible listening experience.
- plastic smile
- Baby cruising Love
- Chocolate Disco
- Ceramic Girl
- Take me Take me
- Secret Secret
- Twinkle Snow Powdery Snow
- Puppy love
- Polyrhythm (LIVE at LIQUIDROOM, November 8 2007)
- SEVENTH HEAVEN (LIVE at LIQUIDROOM, November 8 2007)
- Macaroni (Original Version) PV
- Ceramic Girl (Drama Another Version) PV
- Macaroni (A-CHAN Version) PV
- Macaroni (KASHIYUKA Version) PV
- Macaroni (NOCCHI Version) PV