You know what's great? When a group you really like and follow releases something! Well duh, that's kind of why you follow a group in the first place, isn't it? Anyways, what I love the most is when Perfume releases another single and the period of time in-between this single and the last one isn't six effing months! Such is the case with Magic of Love. After the... divisive single that is Mirai no Museum, I really wanted to know just what in the hell Perfume was going to do to bounce back from that odd single. So did Magic of Love deliver? Was it another disappointment? Well, if you already read my PV review for Magic of Love, you know just how I felt about that song... But as per usual tradition on the Wonderland of reviewing anything and everything Perfume-related because I can, I still feel compelled to look at the Magic of Love single as a whole. After all, I haven't even talked about the B-side yet! So I've got my trusty Apple Rating System with me, a can of Coke, and some eager fingers for typing. Let's see just how magical Magic of Love is!
So something I think anyone can immediately notice about the two covers for Magic of Love is just how different they look! In sets, in outfits, the only aspect the Limited and Regular editions of Magic of Love have in common is the font used for the single's title! Personally though, I think it's kind of nice that the two editions for Magic of Love are so different; it gives me more to talk about! So the regular edition for Magic of Love (which can be viewed either on my PV review of MoL or via Google) is pretty typical for a Perfume cover. It has them posing in a set looking all Perfume-y and whatnot. Actually, the regular edition cover reminded me of the regular edition cover for One Room Disco, stylistically speaking. I don't know something about the rooms you see in each cover look similar through my eyes. As for the outfits used in the regular edition, some of you might be familiar with them! If you take a closer look, you'll notice those outfits are basically the same ones in the CM for Kanro that featured the first aired snippet of Magic of Love! They just have brighter, tackier coloring in Magic of Love's cover! Yeah, I'm not really feeling these outfits, especially since some stupidhead pointed out that the pink chest pieces in the outfits resemble uteruses. Ugh, I still can't un-see that. Even then, the outfits follow that style pattern Perfume's seemed to have been getting just a little too much of these days, where all the outfits look very similar with slight alternations made to each individual outfit. Overall, the regular edition for Magic of Love is okay for me, but by no means is it spectacular. Honestly, the limited edition cover was a lot more interesting in my opinion simply because it was a different look for Perfume! For starters, I love the outfits on the limited cover. They look like something that was grabbed from the 60s; they have this great retro vibe! Actually, the limited cover as a whole just gives off this retro look that I really like! I'm a sucker for retro... stuff in general so it's nice to see Perfume take a stylistic direction with that concept! Overall, I like both covers for Magic of Love! I like that they're different and I like that they look very cheerful and summer-y!
Magic of Love
Now onto the meat of the review: the A-side. Well, for a meatier review of Magic of Love alone along with its PV, you all know the drill. My PV review provides a much more detailed look at the song, along with the PV! But my condensed opinion of Magic of Love is... I like it! That was my first thought when I heard the brief, 15-second snippet of it back in April, and that's the same opinion I've stuck to until the day I'm posting this review! I like Magic of Love a lot! I think it's a fun and energetic song with a lot going on in it, particularly in the instrumental. It's kind of like a mix between Fushizen na Girl, Voice and Natural ni Koishite; in fact, the more I think about it, Magic of Love would have been a great Natural Beauty Basic CM song. But I digress. So okay, I stated that I like Magic of Love but do I love it? Well... I don't know. I mean, I don't think I'll ever appreciate Magic of Love the same way I appreciate 575 or edge or Polyrhythm or love the world. Because to be honest, it doesn't bring that much new material to the table for Perfume. It's a song that would fit right in with the JPN with raw vocals and a much more pop-oriented and upbeat style of electropop. It's just not that innovative of a song. Does that mean it's bad? Absolutely not! But if you're looking for something mind-blowing that presents a new musical style for Perfume, Magic of Love is not it. This is a safe song, one that doesn't take many musical chances but still isn't bland enough to be forgettable. Honestly though, I think Perfume needed a safe-sounding A-side. Look, this era has been a divisive one. And yeah, all eras are but I feel like the A-sides of this particular era have just really split the Perfume fandom down the middle, more than usual anyways. Both Spending all my time and Mirai no Museum were different sounds for Perfume, but they weren't necessarily good. Magic of Love is an A-side that's enjoyable but encompasses pretty familiar territory, especially if you've been a longtime Perfume fan. Personally, I like the song even if it doesn't really stand out amongst Perfume's overall discography.
The PV on the other hand is an eyegasm.
What? Tell me you wouldn't use that word to describe the PV for Magic of Love! First of all, the PV is directed by Kazuaki Seki. If that doesn't get you jumping up and down in excitement, clearly you haven't seen the PVs for Fushizen na Girl and Voice. For you see, this glorious director is responsible for two of Perfume's artsiest PVs in all their videography. Personally, I freaking love the PVs for Fushizen na Girl and Voice; if I made a list of my favorite Perfume PVs, they would definitely be near the top. Naturally, when I caught word that the same guy who directed those two PVs would be directing the one for Magic of Love, I was ecstatic. And luckily, Kazuaki Seki did not disappoint! I think Magic of Love got an awesome PV that has all the artsy imagery and visual trickery I loved seeing in Fushizen na Girl and Voice! What I love about Magic of Love is how bright the colors in the PV are; it's very refreshing to look at, especially since Perfume's past few PVs have had such dull color schemes. The PV for Magic of Love is delightfully retro, with that same 60s vibe I was describing in the covers for the single. I love that there are a bunch of different patterns to look at in this PV, especially the room the dance is shot in. I like that each of the four corners in the room gets its own style! It's very neat to look at, especially when the camera's rotating around the room. And that's just how the PV looks in terms of styling; the best part of Magic of Love is all the visual trickery in the PV! There was never a moment in this PV where I was bored, because one element on top of another kept getting tossed around. Magic of Love has so many entertaining moments, from the part where Nocchi rips off a Kashiyuka wig, to the multiple Perfume duplicates wandering around the same room, to all the amazing transitions. I think the best way to describe Magic of Love is this bizarro blend between the PVs for love the world and Voice, and it works so well. This is one of those PVs that is so well done, that it actually makes me like the song I'm listening to even more! The PV for Magic of Love is what makes the song sound... well... magical!
Magic of Love as a song gets four out of five apples from me. As I said, the PV is amazing and what really brings the song to life but standing alone, Magic of Love is your pretty average Perfume song. It's upbeat, happy, you know the schpeal. If you're a fan of the more pop-y sound of Perfume, then I think you'll like Magic of Love! It'll never be my favorite A-side but nonetheless, I still enjoyed it!
Ah, don't you just love it when you know absolutely nothing about a B-side prior to the release of a single? I've got to admit, it's both a nerve-wracking and exhilarating feeling for me. On one hand, the wait gets me all excited but on the other hand, I'm worried the payoff is going to suck. And believe me, that has happened with many a single before. Like with Daijobanai. But we're not going to talk about that single anymore on the Wonderland, 'kay? I will admit, when I first heard the title for Handy Man, I thought it was going to be kind of a silly song. You know, a Communication-type song with a really cutesy instrumental, staccato vocals, and an arrangement so catchy that I'll never be able to get it out of my head. That kind of song. I mean come on, Handy Man? The sheer title of this B-side screamed of ridiculousness! What in the hell was I supposed to expect for this song? Well, I had no idea until only a week or so before Magic of Love was released and a snippet of this B-side was finally aired. And... Handy Man was a pleasant surprise. Like a really pleasant surprise. Because oh my god, finally a different sound for Perfume! Someone alert the presses, grab the alcohol, we've got to celebrate! What I love the most about Handy Man is that Mideastern style the song has... it's like what would happen if you combined Japanese technopop and Bollywood. Or at least I think it is. And it works. Oh my god, does this song work so well. I love the Mideastern style in the instrumental, and I like Nakata's spin on it. I even like the vocal arrangement! It's catchy but not annoyingly catchy! I really can't emphasize how much Handy Man is such a breath of fresh air from what Perfume has been releasing lately. It's not that same lighter and happy technopop Perfume has been on a roll with, and that's what makes Handy Man stand out so much. I honestly think that this song is strong enough to be an A-side, I really do. All I'm hoping for now is that it makes it onto Perfume's next album! It's interesting in the best way possible and a nice compliment to the A-side of this single.
Handy Man super completely and totally gets five apples! It's one of those B-sides that outshines the A-side. Sure, Magic of Love is good but Handy Man is flipping awesome. I don't think I can emphasize just how much I enjoy this song! I love the Mideastern sound it has, the arrangement, just... EVERYTHING! Just go and listen to this song to hear what I'm talking about if you haven't already!
There comes a special time when Perfume releases an all-around strong single. This is one of those times. For me, Magic of Love is a single that plays to all of Perfume's strong points. Both songs on the single are catchy and while there isn't too much experimentation going on in the single, I think that was what Perfume needed right now. Both Mirai no Museum and Spending all my time were divisive A-sides, Mirai no Museum in particular. Magic of Love is a good but safe A-side for Perfume to release, going back to a more conventional sound for them. Needless to say, I still enjoy it a lot! I think it's a very bright-sounding song that fits well for the summer, and it's not like the song is particularly bland like that last A-side. All I'm saying is Magic of Love isn't a groundbreaking A-side but nonetheless it is still an enjoyable one! Handy Man brings much more interesting sounds to the table for this single, so much that I actually think I like the B-side on Magic of Love more than the A-side. Crazy, right? It's not like that's ever happened before except with
Voice, Nee, love the world, Spending all my time, and Spice. What I'm hoping for now is the announcement of an album. I actually wouldn't have minded if an album was announced after the release of Mirai no Museum, but now that I've heard the awesomeness that is Magic of Love, now I'm half-expecting an album. Maybe Perfume will announce one after they wrap up their 2nd World Tour, right? I just don't want another single-overload like with JPN. Not that all the A-sides on that album were bad by any means, but I prefer hearing more new material on albums. I think Magic of Love would be a nice way to end this era for Perfume's music; it's a well-done single that has an A-side and B-side that compliment each other nicely! I'm actually considering buying this single for my birthday it's so good...
But enough about me, let's give this single some apples! Much like the PV for Magic of Love, I give the single itself four and half out of five apples! Both Magic of Love and Handy Man are great songs, especially Handy Man. I'd highly recommend checking this single out if you haven't already!