Thursday, May 16, 2013

Magic of Perfume

Ah, the sweet smell of Perfume is wafting through the Wonderland as I blissfully play Magic of Love and revel in the fact that finally, a song has come from Perfume that doesn't split the fandom right down the middle.

You know what feels even better than liking a song? Knowing that a lot of other people in the same fandom you're in also like that song. Especially when said fandom is one that you interact with somewhat. Such is the case with Magic of Love. And okay, I know that not everyone is going to have the same consensus on each Perfume song and there's always both positive and negative opinions, but damn were Mirai no Museum and Spending all my time divisive songs. When those songs both came out, I felt like there were really strong opinions from both positive and negative angles from fans. Especially with Mirai no Museum; it seemed like a majority of fans didn't take very kindly to that song. Spending all my time slowly grew on some fans but it also generated a lot of backlash. Even I didn't like Spending all my time when it came out but it kind of grew on me and it's kind of an okay song... Shut up. Personally, I didn't mind Mirai no Museum and I think it's a pretty harmless song but even I acknowledged that it was one of the weaker A-sides from Perfume's discography. Honestly, I feel like even more people disliked Mirai no Museum than Spending all my time. Both songs will definitely never make it into my coveted top 20 Perfume songs to say the least. Anyways, what was most dismaying about SAMT and Mirai no Museum for me was that they were two consecutively divisive singles. Was it just a coincidence? Or was this the level of quality we were supposed to expect from Perfume now on? A series of singles that would continuously garner extremely mixed reactions? I hoped not but I was a little uneasy about how Perfume's next single would sound. Was it going to suck? That was my big question and I crossed my fingers and prayed that whatever Perfume released next just wouldn't be... well... a bad song. I wasn't even hoping for a good song, just a song that wouldn't be so incredibly divisive.

Well, I asked for a non-divisive song and so I received Magic of Love.

Magic of Love is a breath of fresh air in this era of Perfume singles and not for reasons that you'd think. Back in March when the single was first announced like with any Perfume single announcement, I was ecstatic. I was also pleasantly surprised that Perfume was releasing another single so quickly after Mirai no Museum. Then again, maybe that's just because I had to wait six months between the releases Spending all my time and Mirai no Museum and the payoff wasn't even that great. The shorter I have to wait for new Perfume material, the happier of a camper I am. At that time, it was also announced that Magic of Love was a tie-in for Japanese candy Kanro, a candy that I've been told is kind of like Sour Patch Kids but I've yet to actually taste it. Now the last tie-in Perfume did with this company was with Communication, the B-side to Spring of Life and a song that I am not a huge fan of. It's far too cutesy to be a Perfume song I can really get into but it's not terrible. I was a little worried that Magic of Love would be in the same style Communication was with simple lyrics that were blatantly about the product the song was advertising and a staccato, almost 8-bit melody. That and Magic of Love was a tie-in and considering Mirai no Museum, their last tie-in was so... well, divisive, I was a little nervous. Still, I kept my hopes up because it's Perfume and I always like to positive when it comes to my favorite J-pop group! Shortly after the announcement about Magic of Love, a CM for Kanro featuring a 15 second clip of the song was aired. From the 15 seconds I heard of the song way back in April, I was excited. For once, the latest Perfume single actually sounded really catchy and not-divisive. I actually thought Magic of Love kind of sounded like a MEG song when I first heard the snippet but that might have been because I was on a MEG binge at the time. I guess it could work as a MEG song...

Anyways, now the full song is out and thank god Magic of Love is a song that hasn't been garnering strong negative reactions. And personally, I couldn't be happier with how Magic of Love sounds. I think it's a great Perfume song and I think it's a great song for the summer too! Oddly enough, parts of Magic of Love sound like Voice, particularly the verses. And even though I'm not the hugest fan of Voice, I like the verses in Magic of Love! I like pretty much everything in Magic of Love! I think it's an energetic song that has some really great instrumentals and a chorus that just flows nicely. Something else I noticed about the verses is that the vocals are pretty raw; still edited but by Perfume standards, pretty raw. It's kind of funny because Nocchi's voice really stands out in the verses because her voice is so different from A-chan and Kashiyuka's.  What I really like about Magic of Love is that there's a lot going on in the instrumentals; it kind of reminds me of the instrumentals for Voice (again) but less subdued. I keep making a lot of Voice reference to Magic of Love but really the songs don't sound that much alike. After all, Magic of Love has a lot more energy! And if you guys know my blogger schtick by now, you know that I love when a song has energy! Magic of Love is the kind of song that's just so upbeat and pretty. It's a very JPN-era song with rawer vocals and a more natural melody but I think it works nicely! Now something to note about Magic of Love is that while I think it's a good Perfume song, it also brings nothing new to the table. It's not edge or 575 or Polyrhythm; what I'm trying to say is it's not a song that's not trying to be innovative. I almost want to say it's a generic Perfume song but that makes it sound like I think the song is bad. I like the song a lot but it does have that very safe Perfume sound that doesn't try much new material. The most distinct aspect of Magic of Love is the film reel sound effect at the end of the song but I actually don't think that worked very well. But overall, Magic of Love is an enjoyable song and personally, it's probably my favorite song of this era.

Well hey, it wouldn't be a Perfume song without a Perfume PV, right? And it wouldn't be an artsy Perfume PV without getting the guy who directed Fushizen na Girl and Voice, would it?

And the PV opens with an eerily similar image to the regular single cover... coincidence? I think not!

-sigh- How is it Perfume looks consistently awesome?

I hope you like artsy PVs because this PV is about to get really artsy!

So if I get a magical frame, will A-chan appear in it?

The Mona Lisa ain't got shit on Nocchi!

It's nice to know that if Kashiyuka leaves Perfume, she can always become a magician!

I have to say, I  really like Kashiyuka's hairstyle in this PV! It refreshing from her usual style!

Ehmagawd. Kashiyuka. Is. NOCCHI!? My whole life has been a lie.

I have to admit, I don't like the dance outfits quite as much as the other ones. They're not as creative.

But the dance is cool. During the first watch, it looks like a normal dance...

...but watch it again and you realize that Perfume then does the dance backwards.

Do I even have to emphasize the awesomeness of multiple Perfumes in one room!?

Seriously, this effect is just so cool to look at.

Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who is the fairest Kashiyuka of all?

Yeah, I gotta go with beehive!Kashiyuka. Her outfit kicks ass.

I don't think there are enough emotional outbursts to compose two A-chans.

But I think two Nocchis would be effing awesome.

Goodbye, Nocchi #2! I must leave you to spread alpaca awareness around the world!

It's cool, Nocchi #1 'cause I found CONFETTI!!!

Yay! Back to the dance! Only this time it's with CONFETTI! YEAH!

Part of me wonders if Mikiko just told Perfume to improvise whatever the hell they wanted for this part of the dance.

By the way, have I mentioned how the sets in this PV are awesome and mod and retro and how I want them so much?

Nocchi just realized how boring those dance outfits look.

You might notice how this insanely cool effect is similar to another Perfume PV...'s like love the world in technicolor!

Man, I wish I had the ability to dance backwards...

As Porky Pig would say: That's all, folks!

Well, it looks like the title drop arrived four minutes late!

You know, I don't think I've enjoyed screencapping a Perfume PV on the Wonderland as much as I enjoyed screencapping Magic of Love! Well, okay, Spring of Life was pretty fun to screencap... and Spice was too... well, screencapping Perfume in general is just an extremely fun experience but anyways! I have to say right now that I absolutely loved the PV for Magic of Love. I even think I liked the PV better than the actual song. Then again, a good PV also does wonders on my opinion of a song. One of the many things I love about Magic of Love is that it has something that's been rather lacking in Perfume's current PVs: COLOR! Bright, happy colors! Magic of Love has so many bright and eye-catching colors that match perfectly with the tone the song is conveying. Watching Magic of Love is like watching a rainbow come to life and in a good way too! While I liked the PVs for Spending all my time, Spring of Life, and Spice none of those PVs were very colorful. They had other visual appeals going for them but color was not one of them. The styling for Magic of Love is really what makes the PV (and to a further extent the song itself) stand out so much. I love how a lot of the set pieces and scenery for this PV give off very retro feel, as if the sets were plucked from the sixties! It's a very mod atmosphere and it's really cool! And I freaking love the outfits Perfume is wearing in this PV; well, I like the outfits they wear when they're not dancing. While the dance outfits are okay, they're pretty generic and have that same style template Perfume's been going with for several concert costumes and performance outfits. Of course, it is kind of cool that Perfume got to wear more than one outfit in this PV! Anyways, the other outfits used in the PV give off the same mod and retro vibe that the sets do and the outfits are styled like something you'd see from the sixties. It was a different look for Perfume and personally, I think it was a look that worked really well.

But what makes Magic of Love an even more awesome PV is that not only is it a bright and colorful PV, it's an artsy PV. If there's one thing that Perfume handles better than symbolic PVs, it's their more artistic PVs that place more emphasis on visuals. You know PVs like love the world, Fushizen na Girl and Voice? Those are some of Perfume's artsy PVs and they also happen to be some of their best PVs. In fact, I think Magic of Love is what happens when you combine the PVs for love the world and Voice together! The end result? One flipping awesome and interesting PV. What I always love about Perfume's artsy PVs is that they always manage to keep me intrigued through the special effects. They range from simple to awesome and it's just really neat to see it on screen. So for awhile, I'd been hoping that Perfume would do another artsy PV, especially since their last PV that you could really consider "artsy" was Nee way back in 2010. When it was announced that Kazuaki Seki, the guy who directed the PVs for Fushizen na Girl and Voice, was returning to direct the PV for Magic of Love, I got psyched. I just knew that for whatever look this guy went with, Magic of Love was going to be an artsy, eye-catching PV. And... I was right! Look, I don't think my screencaps do justice as to just how awesome the visual effects are in this PV. Seriously, even if you don't like Perfume go and watch the PV to get a better idea of what I'm talking about! What's so great about these visual effects is that they're consistently coming in and there was never a moment where I got bored watching this PV. I think my favorite visual effect was when Perfume was doubled or even multiplied; it was cool to see it unfold on screen and surreal seeing the girls "interact" with doubles of themselves! The transitions were also pretty cool, very similar to the clever transitions used in Fushizen na Girl.

Finally, there is the dance for Magic of Love. I remember when I was first watching the dance for Magic of Love in a brief snippet of the PV that was aired, I wasn't too impressed by it. I've just sort of reached this level of expectations with Perfume dances and know that they're going to look really sleek and really cool with a bunch of complicated hand motions. The girls are great dancers and Mikiko's a great choreographer so I always kind of glaze over the dances. Don't get me wrong, they look cool but as someone who knows squat about dancing, normally, I can't say much beyond, "This dance looks complicated," or "This dance looks sensual." You get what I mean. So anyways, I saw the dance, thought it looked good, and promptly forgot about it. Until a day later when someone on Tumblr pointed out that Perfume did the dance in the chorus backwards. I watched the entire PV several times when it was finally released and noticed that oh my god, Perfume was dancing backwards! I think that just about blew my mind. Backwards!? Perfume was able to learn the dance backwards!? And no, the dance isn't just rewound, Perfume took the time to learn the dance backwards and then do it backwards in the PV! I just... I never realized how skilled Perfume was at dancing until now. I knew they were good but damn, I didn't know they were this good! The fact that there is a portion of the Magic of Love dance that is backwards is extremely cool to me and is one of the many elements that stands out in the PV. Oh hell, everything in this PV stood out to me. I might as well just go ahead and say that! Really, Magic of Love has got to be one of the best Perfume PVs that I have seen because of its use of visuals, the choreography and the sheer enjoyment of seeing the girls perform on screen. The PVs color aesthetic is perfect, the outfits are perfect, the dance is perfect... what else can I say other than that Magic of Love is a near-perfect PV that you should all go and watch?

Magic of Love completely and absolutely gets 4.5 out of 5 apples from me. The song itself is nice-sounding and very energetic, but a pretty typical Perfume song. Personally, I don't mind; I like the song a lot! The PV itself is perfect though; the dance is great, the styling is great, the special effects are great. I know that technically Magic of Love isn't a "summer PV" in the traditional sense, but honestly, it's the best PV so far that I've reviewed this summer! Well, the bar's been set! Let's see if any other idol groups can possibly achieve the same level of excellence that the PV for Magic of Love has!


  1. Great PV!!!!!
    Loved every second!It was really fun to watch it,and I agree with you,it's just another Perfume song,and it can be not innovative at all,but doesn't suck as MnM.
    Unhappily they are only dancing backwards on the second chorus...And the weird part is that everyone is doing this exact part(and just this part) on dance covers.

    1. Wasn't it!? Oh my god, the PV was what made the song so much more fun! By itself, Magic of Love really isn't that special of a song but it's not terrible either! I do wish they incorporated the backwards dancing more but oh well! I can't imagine it's very easy to do...

  2. This...OMFG! I'm now torn between AKB and Perfume!! Damn you, Perfume! Damn you for being so fabulous! The PV was just eye-candy; and the dance...*dead* asdfghjkl;' Up until I read your entry I didn't even realize that they were dancing backwards... I feel so dumb for a moment XD!

    To Nia: I've listened to most of the songs you've suggested to me and... let's just say that I'm left with conflicting feelings...(cough*HurlyBurly*cough)

    1. Well, if *I* were you, I'd go for Perfume. But I'm just a tad bit biased in case you can't tell... Someone else had to point out that they were dancing backwards before I caught it too! But yeah, the PV is flipping awesome. Like... I don't think there's anything I'd want to change about it!

      Well, I'm glad you've been listening to some Perfume! In the end, it's up to you about what kind of Perfume songs you're into! Everyone has their own preferences and you should just see what songs you personally like!

    2. ~Amai koi to ai wo egaite
      Kimi no koto toriko ni suru no
      Magic of Love sono mahou ga
      Moshi tsukaetemo dokidoki dekiru no?~

      It's me again!

      Nia, you know this site?

      When I go through the list you've given me; I can't help but spazz and just dance when I listen to Perfume! I even tried the Nee footwork; but failed miserably -_-''.

      And have you watched this?

      I'll just leave it there lol.

      P.S.: I'm having a hard time whether I should stay at the 48ship or jump towards the Perfume Cruiser.

    3. Oh yeah, I love Perfume Disco! They're on my blogroll if you look to the right sidebar of the Wonderland!

      Yay! I'm glad you're liking Perfume songs!! It's cool; I can't do the Nee footwork either... but dammit, do I try!

      Oh yeah, I have seen that! Very interesting cover but I think I like Perfume's version better!

      Weeeeell if you can't pick between either one... why not both? There's plenty of room on the Perfume Cruiser!

  3. I loved the song and the video...and handy man is even better shouldve been a single too.

    1. Don't even get me *started* on Handy Man! I'll talk about that song later in my MoL single review but man, that is such an awesome song. Both songs on this single are!

  4. I agree, this is a great song and the video is awesome... SAMT and MNM were nice songs, but they lacked something that magic of love definetely haves (especially Mirai no museum)...
    Handy man is a nice song too, people says that sounds like that belly dance music :)

    1. I too think Magic of Love is the strongest A-side Perfume has released lately, especially compared to Spending all my time and Mirai no Museum. Eugh. *Especially* Mirai no Museum. And Handy Man, the B-side, compliments the A-side nicely! It's got that Mideastern sound to it which stands out in Perfume's discography!

  5. The multiple Perfume members reminds me so much of the PV for Nee! ^__^