Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Top 20 Perfume Songs [UPDATED]

"I'll probably do a longer video of their songs as a whole sometime in the near-future."

- 2011 Nia

Near future? So much for that... Well, about one year after my first post ever made ever in my wonderland of idol music and Perfume, I decided it's about time I finally update this post. For awhile now I've felt like I wanted to redo this post because the list just didn't feel complete to me. I didn't take into consideration all of their songs and I was still developing my style of writing. Looking back and rereading this post made me realize that I really needed to update this. So I have! Why? Because Perfume is my favorite group and I intend to give them the best treatment possible! That and I love any opportunity I have to praise their music. Yeah, yeah, it's no secret that I love Perfume and their ever-present flawlessness. So I decided to show my appreciation of their music by redoing my list of songs I find to be the best of their best! These range from A-sides to B-sides to albums songs and I judged them on musical composition, instrumentals, live performances, PVs, lyrics, and everything else you do when judging music! 

So let's get started on some elaborations! Using my now-updated video as your guide, together we shall venture into the world of the techno trio known as Perfume! You may agree, you may disagree, but if you're new to Perfume then I hope that this little list will introduce to some of the best of Perfume! Now it's time for me to shut up and get on with this list! Perfume awaaaaaaay!

20. Before you go any further, #20-16 are not in the video but can be found here. Along with more ranked songs that I wasn't compelled to include in this post... What can I say? I love Perfume but I'm lazy. In case you're lazy like me and didn't bother to watch the other video, starting off this list at number 20 is My Color, one of the most recent songs on the list! My Color is my favorite of the four new tracks on JPN because it sounds the most refreshing and energetic! It reminds me of a much more toned down Dream Fighter with less techno effects in it! But it's actually a very nice balance of technopop and their natural voices! The melody has this happiness in it and makes me feel getting up and jumping around! The instrumental also works nicely with their vocals! Not to mention in concerts Perfume sang this LIVE. So take THAT, "Perfume's stupid cause they lip sync!!!!" haters! And they sound beautiful in the live performance, with even more energy and happiness in their voices! Overall, My Color is a fun, light-hearted song with a bunch of exuberance and energy!

19. The best thing about The best thing is I always make unintentional puns in my reviews about The best thing. I can't help it! It's so much fun, like my own little inside joke only I understand! Eh heh... maybe I need to retire that joke now that I think about it... Meh, who cares!? I run the show here, I'll write whatever I damn want! The best thing about The best thing is that it really grew on me over time. At first, I thought there was just a little too much Autotune on the song but as my ears grew accustomed to it, I really starting liking the song! What surprised me about this song is that the entire chorus is in English; I couldn't tell when I first listened to the song! Yeah, Perfume's Engrish was well... Engrish. But after looking up the lyrics, I really like them! The chorus is cute and very cohesive; I could see those lyrics being in an English song! The rest of the lyrics are rather... stalker-ish. Not edge-level stalker but definitely a 7 on the scale of 1 to stalker. Still, I think the song's adorable and the lyrics are sweet in a stalker-ish kind of way! Some people might not like all the Autotune layered on top of it but it makes for an interesting contrast to a lot of the lighter material we see today!

18. Plastic Smile took awhile to grow on me. When I first downloaded GAME, I liked it along with the whole album but it didn't jump out as something I'd go ecstatic for. But Plastic Smile is like wine; it gets better over time! One of the things that automatically stuck out to me was the neat title. The words "plastic smile" indicate faking a smile and pretending to be happy. The actual lyrics talk about discontentment in a relationship and attempting to hide those flaws so it matches up with the title nicely! The song itself is one of the catchier songs of Perfume's discography and that's probably why it grew on me over time! The chorus in particular is what stayed in my head at first and soon the whole song was stuck in my head! I really love the bounciness of this song and for the live the dance is pretty much them just jumping around (I'd imagine they'd get tired doing that but hey, they're too awesome to let that get to them!). Highlights of the song include the irresistibly catchy chorus and the repeated "crack a smile", "flash a smile", etc. phrases littered throughout the song. Plastic Smile is also very peppy despite the slightly sad subject matter but the dissonance works well! The energy's high in both the recording and the live performance, making it one of my favorite tracks off the already amazing GAME album! I think it's one of the more overlooked songs from the GAME album and I'm glad that it grew on me so much!

17. My absolute, absolute favorite part of the song is the opening! It sounds like something you'd hear in an episode of The Jetsons! Yeah, overall the song has a very retro-future vibe to it which I like! It's not a sound I hear very often from Perfume and they pull it off very well! There's also some Engrish thrown around in the chorus but it works very nicely! As you can guess by the title Night Flight the songs based on... wait for it... wait for it... AIRPLANES! Who'd a thunk it? I actually really love the use of the airplane theme in this song with lyrics like "Make a new flight" and "Have a nice flight" and the adorable little stewardess costumes they use in the Pino CMs! The dance they also do has some stewardess/airpilot moves in it! I think it's neat how they were able to base a song around airplanes that was creative and catchy! I'm always a sucker for catchy songs, especially when it comes to Perfume! What I like about the song is how it builds up almost like a plane is taking off and then after the last chorus is sort of fades back down as though said plane is now landing after completing it's night flight! The song is a lot of fun to listen to and it has it's own quirky little retro melody to it and that is why it's one of my favorite Perfume songs!

16. Perfume is rarely sexy. Take me Take me is an exception. From the GAME-era, this song isn't exactly sexy but more... sensual. The title isn't overtly seductive and neither are the lyrics but the basic meaning behind the song is "seduce me tonight." Is it crude to put it that way? Yes, but Perfume takes a crude concept and turns it into something emotional and beautiful! The lyrics to this song are all in English but for most part it's not too Engrish-y save for a few lyrics that aren't "take me take me." The lyrics aren't deep and are only a few simple phrases repeated over and over but for some reason the song doesn't come off as repetitive to me. So what makes that different from Spending all my time, which has repetitive English lyrics too? I can't stand that song yet this one's in my Top 20 list! What puts Take me Take me as an amazing song for me is the overall tone of the song. You can hear the passion behind both the instrumentals and the vocals, as if the song is reaching out and speaking to you. The live also conveys the passion of the song with the "chair dance" Perfume does; it's one of their best and most creative dances and definitely the most sensual. Some might find the song repetitive but I love this song for being a successful interpretation of seduction without coming across as raunchy or fanservice-y!

15. Okay, I admit one time or another I've found myself humming Can't stop feeling fushizen na girl. I think that opening was verse was what really grabbed me and kept me listening to this song. It set the tone for the rest of the song and I really enjoyed how different it sounded from some of their past singles! To me this song had a kind of... zonky feel to it; I swear that's the only word I can think of to describe this song. But I think that's what makes the song stand out, that zonky, kinda off-beat sound. It's definitely one of their artsier songs; in fact, it wouldn't sound out of place in some obscure hipster art museum! The accompanying PV also deserves a mention because it's incredibly artsy. The PV isn't too elaborate but with the geometrical effects and the mind-screw choreograph of the slightly creepy backup dancers, the PV is very memorable. And naturally Perfume's dancing is top-notch; Fushizen na Girl has some of my favorite choreography in it! So with a distinctive beat and melody and an artistically mind-bending PV I think this was an excellent A-side to start the post-Triangle era for Perfume!

14. Who would have thought a song with the title "Macaroni" could be anything but silly? But Perfume does the amazing again and to me, this was their first real ballad. Unlike previous releases at the time, the tempo is slow and soothing which I think provides a good balance to Baby Cruising Love. Despite not having as much energy as BCL, it works for this song and sticks out to me more than the other A-side. Everything in this song is done slowly and kind of wandering; that feel is what really made me love this song. The best time to listen to it is when you're lazing around and generally doing nothing of importance. I don't want to say it's lounge music because it's not but I think it's in the vein of lounge music.  Did I mention I love the cinematography in this PV? I'm a sucker for vintage-y cinematography despite its over saturation as of late. The grainy imagery and the slow pacing of it give the song this almost nostalgic feeling. Nowadays with all this Instagram and vintage-style cinematography in style, the PV does stand out to me as much as it used to but there hasn't been another Perfume PV like it since (well... Kasuka na Kaori's kinda similar). But hey, it goes to show that Perfume was cool before everyone else!

13. Chocolate Disco has become sort of an icon in Perfume's discography; its constant heavy rotation on Kimura Kaela's radio show gave Perfume their first big break and introduced a lot of people to their music, including myself. I first heard Chocolate Disco way back in 2007 in a top 10 list on Youtube and now the sheer TITLE of this song makes me want to get up and jump around singing "Chocolate DISCO!" over and over again! Because this is the one Perfume song I know all the lyrics too! To be fair, it's not that hard... but it's still an accomplishment for me! This song is just so much fun. To me this is probably the catchiest song Perfume's released; it will NEVER get out of your head. Ever. Now you can't say I didn't warn you! For some people, the repetitiveness of the song makes it less enjoyable but personally I don't mind. For songs like this, sometimes simplicity isn't a bad thing (something I can't say for Spending all my time) And although the lyrics maybe be too simple for someone's taste it's such a mindlessly upbeat song it doesn't matter! The PV had about as much substance as the song but the funky costumes and flashing lights were enough to distract me! The dance complimented the song and it's one of the more well-known Perfume dances as of today!

12. This was one of the first songs that really stood out to me after I discovered Chocolate Disco along with another song I'll talk about later on this list. To me Computer City was when Perfume started developing their style. It was at this point I could tell that Nakata was finally figuring out what he was going to due with the little technopop trio from Hiroshima. Don't get me wrong, their past indies and debut single were pretty good but this songs holds more meaning and is more interesting both musically and lyrically. It's the perfect bland of cute technopop and darker undertones. I looked up the lyrics to the song because with a kickass title I figured it had to have some kickass lyrics. So I read them, and I was very pleasantly surprised at the substance the lyrics had. From what I can gather from the translation it's about a utopia where everything has been delicately constructed to be absolute perfection. However, the narrator feels nothing but depression in this utopia and longs to break down the barriers that keep her constrained inside of it. The haunting message of the song combined with the catchy instrumentals make for a good and subtle approach to sadness in perfection. I think it was a smart move to go in this direction, because obviously we might not have gotten the amazing Perfume we have today!

11. Let's play the game. That has got to be one of my favorite lyrics from Perfume's discography! In fact, all the lyrics in this song really shine! There aren't many since they're dragged out but I really like them! They match with the song. The basic message of GAME is what else? Playing a "game." But the way it's delivered is so badass; I never thought Perfume could sound so hardcore and badass until I heard this song. I like the tempo of the song too; it's very slow but very deliberate. It actually felt like I could be playing a game while listening to this song. With the cool instrumentals and the even cooler lyrics, I could easily see this song being featured in some kind of video game. What kind? Well... eh, Portal? Okay, I don't specifically know which video game; I just know it would sound good in one of them! And this another one of those songs that looks and sounds great live, especially in the Tokyo Dome performances! Perfume used lightsabers. Glorious lightsabers! Overall, this is a great title track with cool lyrics and the first of Perfume's more "hardcore" songs.

10. Puppy love and Song #6 constantly flip-flop back and forth between my favorite tracks on GAME. Puppy love concludes the album, ending it on a carefree and happy note. When I first heard this song, I was immediately drawn to the opening because it reminded me of the Linus and Lucy theme from Charlie Brown just with more... techno. I was in love with this song on the first listen; it's just so adorable! The lyrics are adorable, the vocals are adorable, this whole song is so sweet! Whenever I listen to the song I always feel happy afterward, as though I'm floating on a cloud. Puppy love is also one of the few Perfume songs that I know all the lyrics to mainly because it has such a catchy hook and the chorus that I can easily remember! My favorite part is when we hit the chorus and the tempo gets really fast along with the vocals; it's like the narrator of the song's getting excited then calming down and getting excited again! In a way, I think this is one of the more emotional songs by Perfume even though the subject of the lyrics is simple. There's just a lot of heart coming from Perfume and I can't stress how much I love the tone of this song. This was a great way to end GAME and Puppy love's an amazingly sweet and thoughtful song!

9. I remember when I first heard this song way back in 2007... has it really been that long? It feels like just yesterday they were releasing Polyrhythm... But Perfect Star Perfect Style always brings up these nostalgic feelings of the older Perfume whenever I listen to it. It really makes me think about what would have happened if Perfume had never gotten their big break. After all, the song was originally intended as a farewell from Perfume and it definitely feels like they're saying goodbye in the song especially with the lyrics it has. The thing was the group and Nakata both thought Perfume was on its last legs and wouldn't last much longer. So if you factor out their imminent success, then it would be appropriate to make a song that could be a goodbye to the little number of fans they had at the time. Some other fans have commented that it sounds a lot like an anime ending and I guess it does but I'd have to watch anime to know if it did or not. I really love how upbeat it sounds and I wish Perfume would do another song like this again. Maybe when they disband? No, I don't want to think about that! That's a horrible thought! Anyways, I love Perfect Star Perfect Style and I'm glad Perfume was able to stick around long enough so they could do more amazing songs!

8. Believe it or not, VOICE, didn't do much for me. Luckily, 575 did. So after being thorougly disappointed with the A-side I took my love out on the B-side and it was totally worth it. You should have seen the way I acted when I figured out what the song title meant. It a took me a few days too! Wracking my brain, I finally realized 575 referred to the number of syllables for each of the three lines in a haiku. And so the whole song is (save for the rapping... I'll explain that in a bit) sung in the format of the haiku! And trust me, I know; I counted! Geez, I felt so accomplished when I figured that out... I'm always a little hesitant when I hear a song's a ballad but this is probably Perfume's best and most interesting ballad, if you could call it one. I think 575 borders on being a ballad with the rapping thrown in. Yeah about that... I actually enjoyed the rapping (and this is coming from someone who loathes most rap). I like the haiku verses just a teensy bit better but the important thing was both parts of the song played off each other and melded into one beautiful and thoughtful ballad. The entire song has a sort of longing and melancholic sound but a the same time sounds really upbeat; it's an interesting combination making an interesting song that also happens to be part haiku!

7. Love the world!? More like love the Perfume! Bad puns aside, I love the message in this song. Casual fans might know love the world as Perfume's first number one song and currently their best selling one. When I found out this song had ranked number on on Oricon I think my jaw dropped with happiness. If there was song I'd want Perfume to get number one for, it would definitely be this one! Like I said, I really just adore the message in this song! The message is nothing more than don't give up because there are so many other great things in the world we haven't discovered yet, but you know what? I love that! I'm always up for uplifting songs and love the world is very uplifting! I also love the opening of this song; it's probably one of my favorite Perfume openings! It sets the happy tone the rest of the song carries! Love the world is just so happy and light that it feels like for that moment I have nothing to worry about! I'd recommend watching the PV too because it's so artsy and interesting to watch! I'd also check out the instrumental version of this song; it sounds like something you'd hear in the future! Maybe this was when people starting calling them "the near future technopop unit." Whenever it was, I love the world, the song, and the Perfume!

6. What drew me in to Secret Secret was the PV. When I first saw the PV for this, I had no idea what it meant. All I knew was I really, really loved it. Secret Secret is one of the more interesting songs musically from Perfume as it has a lot of different elements put together that work well. Like the beginning actually fades out then fades back in before reaching the actual opening of the song. But when it gets there... it's really transfixing. And then it's like one new thing on top of the other until it's all come together and the end product is something really beautiful. The verses are slow but the chorus is upbeat; in fact the whole song sort of goes up and down like a wave. It's quite the spectacle when performed live too! I loved the song and I loved the PV but still didn't know what I had just watched. So I went on Wikipedia and found a (hopefully truthful) interpretation of the video: it represents Perfume's rise to fame. And it's an endorsement for chocolate! I love chocolate! And after watching it again and realizing that I adore this song even more. The song itself is also everything I love about Perfume: catchy, thoughtful, and loaded with technopop.To be honest, I could probably put all the GAME songs as #4 but to me Secret Secret sticks out the most. The song is beautiful and interesting and the PV gives its own unique storyline

5. Electro World has got to be one of the most hauntingly upbeat songs I've ever listened to. When I'd just gotten into Perfume it was one of the first songs that really, really impressed. One of the main reasons why is because of the dark subject matter in the lyrics. Electro World is "a poetic but depressing tale of dystopia" and the PV appropriately matches that melancholic, dystopian mood the song has. Ironically, before I read the translation, I thought the song would be more hopeful to match the upbeat sound of the lyrics but it's not. It's about the loss of an Electro World, like a land after the collapse of Computer City. I always kind of thought those two songs should have been a double A-side; they compliment each other very nicely. Electro World is one of the saddest songs from Perfume but while it's so heartbreaking it's also a strange kind of beautiful. I even got a little teary-eyed when the song ended! There are so many layers to this song and the construction of it is what makes it so flawless and complex. The contrast between the upbeat sound of the song and the sad, dystopian lyrics is what makes Electro World such a memorable song and it helped shape the Perfume we know and love today. It's a beautifully depressing song and my favorite from the Complete Best Era.

4. Why the hell wasn't this an A-side? It has to be one of the coolest songs Perfume's ever released! Don't get me wrong I like Nee, but Fake It blows that out of the water! More hardcore songs from Perfume are a rarity and Fake It is about as hardcore as Perfume gets! Right from the opening, the tone of the song is set! The opening is unforgettable and definitely my favorite part of the song. The song then goes into the equally amazing chorus and the verses, rinse and repeat! The entire song has a very distinctive sound and instrumentals to it which you'll either love for or hate. There's just a lot going on with this song that all works very nicely! I admit I wasn't quite as impressed by the live performance as I thought it would though. Like I had in mind another edge-type live performance but it wasn't quite as intense. Granted, it was still amazing like 95% of Perfume lives but I just think they could have done more with it considering the material they had to work with. Nevertheless, Fake It is one of the best B-sides I've heard from Perfume with its great instrumental, cool verses and chorus, and killer opening and ending.

3. Everyone knows this song. How could you not? If you don't... listen to it already or leave this site! It's the song that catapulted Perfume into fame and success and for good reason. It's awesome! The song starts off at a certain level of energy and from that point, on the energy just keeps getting a higher and higher until you reach the chorus and amazing polyrhythmic bridge! Ironically that bridge we all know and love was almost cut from the song because management though the uncommon time was too radical for an idol group! Thank god Nakata saved it; that was the best part in the song! The bridge performed live is also amazingly done and one of the best parts of seeing Polyrhythm done live! The vocals also contribute to the high quality of the song with lyrics that stay in your head and compliment the instrumentals! What really shines the most in this song are the instrumentals. Nakata doesn't hold back; there is so much stuff going on in this song and Perfume pulls it off so well that it doesn't come off as over-the-top. The song was innovative for an idol group and it totally deserved the impact it made on Japan and the attention Perfume had been needing was finally acknowledged! I was so happy when this song came out and Perfume hit it big; that feeling when you see a group you know and love reach success is just... I can't explain but it's wonderful. I love Polyrhythm; it not only stands as a symbol of Perfume's fame but it's also one of their strongest releases.

2. I had a hard time deciding if Dream Fighter or Polyrhythm should take the number 2 spot. Eventually I decided with the former because the difference between that song and Polyrhythm is that this song is more sentimental to me. 2008, the year it was released, was been a very tough year for me and everything felt like it had been going the complete opposite way I intended it to be. I just wasn't a very happy person that year. So it was just an ordinary melancholic day and I listened to this song. I don't know why but after hearing it I felt just a teensy bit better. Then I listened to it again, then again. I then looked up the translation online and realized this song was about not giving up on your dreams even when everything was letting you down! Be a dream fighter! So I decided I would be a dream fighter too and hold on to my dreams no matter how much of an upward battle it was. Pretty corny, huh? I didn't care; the song made me feel happy again. Apart from my own personal feelings about it, this song is incredibly uplifting and it really helped me push past all the shit that had gone down that year and keep going forward. The instrumentals and vocals are beautiful and have so much energy behind that I can't help but feel better every time I listen to it, even when I'm in a sour mood! So all these years later this song holds a place in my heart and slowly I'm starting to reach my own dreams. Now every time I play this song I get all warm and fuzzy inside when I think of how much this song effected me. Up until this point, I'd been following Perfume but Dream Fighter was the point where I became a fan.

1. edge (⊿-mix) is about as close to trance as Perfume's going to get and many fans consider it their best song, myself included. A number of factors put this song above the rest but what puts edge (⊿-mix) at the top is the music. Nakata throws everything he can think of into this song and it all works so well together. When listening to this song, it's like you merge with the song and your feelings are reflected off what part of the song you're listening to. When edge (⊿-mix) wants you to feel transfixed, you're transfixed. When it wants you to feel sad, you're sad. This song has so many different moods and tones and you're pulled in to every one of them. It's like this emotional roller coaster and every time I finish listening to this song, I'm simply blown away. The lyrics are simple and few but very poignant and almost sad at times. Parts of the song sound like the narrator is stalking someone and other times she's reflecting on the fact that someday she'll be dead and she wants to experience love before that happens. I really love the tones of the song and for an 8-minute long song, it never keeps more bored for a second. What also makes edge (⊿- mix) my favorite Perfume song is the live performance. It's got to be hands-down the best live from Perfume. You'd think it would get old being 8 minutes and all but they keep such energy up and pull one move right after the other, all matching perfectly with the song. The live is what makes me really appreciate all the hard work Perfume puts into their performances, even if they mostly lip-sync. edge (⊿-mix) is about as close to perfection as Perfume gets and stands out from anything else they've released.

So there you have it! My updated list! If you're a Perfume fan (and if you're a new one), what are some of your favorite songs?