Well, here we are. The final stage of Perfumania: the PV.
So far I've covered the jacket covers and the song of Perfume's 21st single, Spending all my time. Now here I am, ready to review the PV. As for the song, I've already ripped that apart in another post. But to sum it up, I found SAMT too reminiscent of a lot of popular American music and disliked the fact that it was lacking in the style of Perfume. It seemed more like an attempt to pander to Western audiences than another musical experiment. The real stinger was that we fans had been told the group would not change itself for an overseas audience and when this song came out with its gratuitous English, repetitive and generic instrumentals, and overall laziness in terms of effort on Nakata's part, it was a real slap in the face. However, I did say at the end of my post that there might be a chance the PV might soften my outlook on the song. After all, even though music is one of the things I adore about Perfume, it's also their dances, personalities, live performances, and music videos that pull me in. Maybe, just maybe, this song could be saved. With the same director of Spring of Life, and a preview of the PV already out, it looked promising. But the big question is, did it live up to expectations?
Brace yourself for some fangirling, because it totally did.
It's Nocchi and A-chan!
Don't forget Kashiyuka!
I love those shoes. Can I
steal buy them?
And thus the Nocchan shippers rejoice...
I really love the hand motions in this PV... I heard that they're sign language!
I love that Kashiyuka's doing the "Rock on!" sign.
Now they're all doing signs!
I hate that these numbers were never really elaborated on in the PV.
Yay! Another foot dance! I shall call it the Sock Dance!
Nap time for Perfume. Because they can't be awesome all the time!
And so Perfume's rock-paper-scissors tournament reaches a standstill...
Another cool dance move. I should make a list of my favorite Perfume dances!
A-chan levitates apples before our very eyes!
Whilst Nocchi performs magic tricks.
You know what they say, diamonds are a girl's best friend!
Maybe A-chan's going to give that flower to Nocchi.
Nevermind, Kashiyuka won't let her!
I should be focusing on A-chan controlling the floating apple but all I can look at is the donkey in the corner...
And another shot that makes little to no sense. But hey, stars are pretty!
Ouch. The idea of having to hold that position for hours makes my legs hurt.
Wow, the Nocchi Stare makes perfect slices of apples!
And breaks expensive figurines...?
Hee hee, spoon...
For some reason, I really love Kashiyuka's face in this part. It's almost like she's saying "Yeah, I'm dropping spoons. You wanna try stopping me?"
Yay! The positions they're in remind of the ones they did in Electro World!
Ah, I get all nostalgic just screencapping this...
Finally! We get to see some of the dance! The dance performed live is especially awesome!
And thus the shippers rejoice...
A-chan's classy by drinking levitated tea.
Poor Kashiyuka, all alone while A-chan and Nocchi continue staring at each other.
Nevermind! Did Nocchi grow bored of A-chan and replace her with Kashiyuka for these shots? How rude!
There sure are a lot of apples in this PV. It definitely beats out One Room Disco for the number of apples!
TRIANGLE! Makes me think of the album!
All the hard work put in to that castle knocked down by Kashiyuka's ESP. Remarkable!
Remember, Perfume haters: Kashiyuka is watching you.
Classic Perfume move. How I love it!
And another repeated shot. You get a lot of those in this PV. Especially since those shots could be replaced with what the hell's behind that door.
Seeing all those floating apples all I can think is "It would really suck if one of those bonked one of them on the head!"
And then they all come tumbling down. The end!
And the verdict is... unsurprisingly, I once again find myself enjoying a Perfume PV. But let me make one thing clear before I go into fangirl-mode. I still don't like the song. Granted, the PV does make my bitter dislike for SAMT soften just a bit but overall I still think it's one the weakest songs from Perfume's discography. However, I've found myself viewing this song the same way I view Voice; I don't like that song either but the PV is fantastic. Like Voice, SAMT's PV is what saves it from being chucked into the metaphorical trash can of songs I don't have the heart to listen to because they're too generic. What works to SAMT's advantage is that its PV gives it a meaning the song itself couldn't carry, blending both the song and the visuals so that they play off each other. There's also the dance, or the hand movements that match the tempo of the song. Once again, Perfume pulls an intriguing and simple but intricate dance to leave me wanting more. But I do wish they'd done some more whole body movement; it might have even been cool if they merged the hand movements with the Sock Dance! Then again, you can see the whole dance live at the ROCK IN JAPAN Music Festival and I love it as usual. It's not as strong as some of there other dances but it's polished and I like that they incorporated some sign language into the dance. The dance fits with the song and that once again bumps up my approval of the song by just a little bit. But (and I'm trying to stress this) I still don't like the song. But enough about the song. I spent a whole post going over why I don't like it; let's talk about what I do like!
With that out of the way... this PV is impressive! Mainly because all it had to work with was some repetitive Engrish and an equally repetitive instrumental track. I'm just glad the director was able to find a direction that worked with the song! Unlike Spring of Life, which was more futuristic and technical, SAMT takes a simpler direction... with ESP! Yes, when the PV came out one of the fan theories was Perfume was at an ESP training school. The concept made me laugh when I though of that but after seeing the PV again, I definitely think there was some sort of ESP/superpowers involved. Throughout the video, the girls are seen levitating objects, knocking more objects down without touching them, and generally showing they've developed some kind of powers. And yet, why can't they still open that door at the end? At the beginning it was understandable since they hadn't developed their ESP powers but when they tried opening the door again it was still locked. This is the part where a million fan theories come pouring in and I'd like to pitch in my own two cents. I think the door is meant to symbolize something unobtainable, like a goal that can't be reached. When Perfume tries to enter the door at the beginning and can't do it, they train themselves in ESP to open this door to the object they want believing the practice will properly prepare them to try again. However, despite the fantastic level their powers have grown, Perfume still can't open the door. So why? Is it something that isn't meant to be reached?
But the PV isn't perfect. Unlike Spring of Life, where the plot was clear and defined with a beginning, middle, and end, SAMT's plot is... muddled. The problem is I'm not sure if what I'm looking at is supposed to be interpreted as something else or if it should just be accepted at face-value. Being the analytical person I am at times like this, I feel like the PV does have some sort of meaning to it; the problem is I'm not sure. On one hand, there's the fan theory that Perfume is at some sort of ESP-training school or that they're trapped in a room or that they're trying to get into a room... they're all good ideas but they're not very defined by the PV itself. Most of it is fan speculation with the holes filled up by fan theories. I'm not saying the director had to explain what he was trying to convey in giant, neon green flashing letters but there's a fine line between interpretive and just plain confusing and SAMT is precariously balancing on that line. It just felt like the PV could have been much more interesting and complete despite it already being decent. One of my biggest complaints is the door. That fucking door. I don't care if what was behind was supposed to be left to the imagination, I wanted to know what was behind that door! I wouldn't even care if it was AKB48 but they can't just leave me hanging like that and expect me to be okay with it. My point is, it would have been really cool if there had been something behind the door that could be the way to close the PV. Something else I didn't like was the overuse of the same shots. Normally I don't mind repeating a few shots but it was like the director got bored and lazily patched some existing shots again when he was editing. It might have been done with artsy intentions but to me it looked lazy. Still, overall the PV was good but could have been better. But considering the material it had to work with, I'm not complaining that much.
So that was the final phase of SAMT. And my verdict on the A-side as a whole? Skip it unless you're watching the PV. Hurly Burly and the little snippet of Point we've heard already sound much more captivating than SAMT; I might do a single review just so I can talk further about those two B-sides... Anyways, if you're new to Perfume, I'd recommend Hurly Burly or Point if you're looking for something more Perfume-y. As for now... all I can do is hope that SAMT isn't the directions Perfume's going to continue forward in. Because, come on. We all know they can do better than that. I eagerly await to see what they'll do next.