Thursday, December 19, 2013

Holly Jolly PV Week: Perfume

I know what you're thinking: when the hell did Perfume release a Christmas PV!? Well, technically they didn't. But Baby cruising Love counts in a way, right? What? I've already reviewed Twinkle Snow Powdery Snow! This is the closest thing to a Christmas PV besides that!

Okay, so maybe it's not the most Christmas-y PV I could have found. But may I point out that my first day of Holly Jolly PV Week starts out with the "least" Christmas-y PV of the seven Christmas PVs? Look, the thing that happened was that I was originally going to review Tanpopo's Oujisama to Yuki no Yoru for Holly Jolly PV Week. See, I thought I had an HD version of that PV saved on a disc. I like screencapping my PVs in HD because the screenshots are a lot less blurry. But what to my surprise when I opened up the disc and found the PV for Oujisama to Yuki no Yoru absent!? I did have Be Happy Koi no Yajirobee and Motto on there, but neither one of those are Christmas PVs. So I was left with quite the quandary: where to find a new Christmas PV that also happened to be in HD? Christmas idol PVs aren't something I exactly stockpile in my computer, and I don't like using Jpopsuki to download older PVs since it kills my ratio. But if there's one thing I have a lot of on my computer, it's Perfume PVs. One of those being the PV for Baby cruising Love.

So then I thought to myself, "Could this be a Christmas PV?" Then I remembered, this is my week of holly jolly PVs, so if I think Baby cruising Love is a Christmas PV then it's going to be on Holly Jolly PV Week! So bottom line is due to the lack of Oujisama to Yuki no Yoru, Day 1 of Holly Jolly PV Week instead features Perfume's Baby cruising Love. It's a fair trade, right? So yes, we are kicking off Holly Jolly PV Week with Perfume! But first a little history about the release of Baby cruising Love. The last single of the Game era, Baby cruising Love was one of the two double A-sides, the other one being Macaroni. The single was released on January 16 of 2008. Yeah, it's a January single... this really isn't helping my case, is it? I swear I have a reason for including this on the list! Just let me finish! Anyways, the single reached #3 on the Oricon charts and went on to sell 65,686 copies. Not too shabby, especially as a follow-up single the to breakthrough hit that is Polyrhythm.

However, numbers do not effect the quality of a single. If AKB48's quality were reflected in their numbers, they'd be internationally and critically acclaimed. But back to Perfume. Some of you may know that Macaroni is one of my favorite Perfume songs; it's on my list! Baby cruising Love, on the other hand, is not. Does that mean Baby cruising Love is a bad song? Of course not! In fact, I very much like Baby cruising Love. It's just that there a lot of other Perfume songs I like better. It's hard to explain; generally, I like about 83% of Perfume's music. No seriously, I did the math. So I like Baby cruising Love. I really like it. I do think it is one of those songs I had to get used to though. When I was first getting into Perfume, Baby cruising Love was not one of the first songs that popped out to me. Electro World, Polyrhythm, Secret Secret, Chocolate, but not Baby cruising Love. I think my first impression of the song was that I liked it, but that was about it. I was just so distracted by the wave of other Perfume songs I'd found. But after I'd been into Perfume for several years, this song began to grow on me.

Baby cruising Love is a slow Perfume song... and at the same time it's not. It's a little hard for me to explain. The song starts out slow; the opening chorus is a bare-bones kind of opening, carried by the girl's vocals. The chorus is really the driving point of this entire song. What I like about Baby cruising Love is how the chorus changes just a little bit every time it's repeated. In the beginning, it's very slow and subdued. Then it gets a little more energetic the next time. Then a little more emotional the next time around. It's like this very slow buildup, and by the time the girls' vocals start overlapping in the final chorus, Baby cruising Love has reached the peak of its very, very gradual crescendo. This is one of those songs, where at first, I'm kind meh on listening to it, but by the end I've got chill bumps. I think it's that slow, deliberate sound of Baby cruising Love that makes it such an interesting song to listen to. And so while it may not be my favorite Perfume song, I still like Baby cruising Love a lot.

So why in the wide world of sports did I consider this to be a Christmas song? Well, if you read my preamble to this entire thing, I said that I selected the songs and PVs for one of three reasons. One: because they're iconic within the idolsphere. Two: because they represent Christmas well. Three: because I personally enjoy listening to them during the Christmas season. Baby cruising Love falls into that third category. I know that a lot of idol fans probably wouldn't see this as a Christmas song, and I can see why. The lyrics have nothing to do with Christmas, let alone winter. Baby cruising Love is about the desire to be with someone, no matter how intimidating the task may be, and going to whatever lengths to achieve that. Every time I listen to Baby cruising Love, I always like to think of it as a cosmic love story of two beings light years away still doing everything they can to close the distance between each other, no matter what the consequences. That's just my interpretation, and it obviously has nothing to do with Christmas.

Despite that, I think Baby cruising Love is a great winter song. This is the kind of song that I could snuggle under the blankets with, a book in one hand and a cup of hot chocolate in the other. Preferably with snow falling outside, but as long as I live in the South, there's a fat chance of that happening. It's kind of how I feel about Twinkle Snow Powdery Snow, although Baby cruising Love is a song that isn't restricted to just one season of listening, before I grow tired of it. There's something about Baby cruising Love that puts me in a very calm, content mood. And isn't that how Christmas should be? Christmas is a time in which I believe everyone deserves to feel content, even if that can only last for a day or a week or until the New Year arrives. For me, Baby cruising Love is a song that makes me feel content. Is it the quintessential Christmas song? Far from it. But when Christmas arrives, I can't help but start playing this song in heavy rotation. It's a wonderful, surprisingly emotional Perfume song, and a great song to be released in the winter.

I may not have been able to convince you that Baby cruising Love makes for a good Christmas song, but maybe I can convince you the PV does. Maybe. And no, I did not choose Baby cruising Love so that I'd just get another chance to review something Perfume-related. This was honestly a spur-of-the-moment decision, but nonetheless I shall do my best to show that Baby cruising Love can be a Christmas PV. And I shall do it through screencap!

The PV drops the title by very cleverly showing it through what looks like a video camera.

See,? Isn't this lighting kind of warm and Christmas-y?

Now those lights are definitely Christmas-y! They look just like the ones I hang on my Christmas tree!

And here's the lovely silhouetted Perfume!

Will Nocchi use her magical orb for good or evil?

Aw, look at their cute little wintery outfits! I think they're adorable!

This special effect is one of the more memorable parts of the PV.

But hey, it's really entrancing to look at!

In motion, the orbs look really fluid, almost real!

Yep. Look at them go. (this is one of the more awkward Perfume dance moves)

There's nothing more adorable than side-bangs Kashiyuka!

Oh, see? The wall is red and green. That's Christmas-y.

Yeah, this isn't exactly the most complicated Perfume dance...

Still, it's got a fancy light-up wall! Maybe it's not light-up dresses but it's still a wall!

I think A-chan looks absolutely beautiful in this PV. Her hair, her clothes, just everything about her!

Poor Nocchi's all alone back there while A-chan and Kashiyuka conspire.

Looking at these shots is strangely therapeutic. Try it!

Look! The dance move they referenced in Perfume no Okite!

I miss Nocchi's bangs. They were so snazzy.

The setting for these close-ups is so simple, but I think it's really pretty.

The lighting just illuminates the girls in such an enchanting way.

If a magical orb really existed, you could write all sorts of things like... oh... I'll just leave it that.

I wonder if those lightbulbs get hot after awhile... I assume not since the girls don't seem to be bothered by them.

There are some parts of this dance that are cool. Like this part!

I think the director really liked the wall for this PV.

The girls of Perfume channel their powers together to take over the world with magical orbs!

I wish these close-ups were featured more in the PV, but most of it takes place around that wall.

And in this area. Not that I'm complaining much.

A swirl! How cool!

I love that one of the last shots of the PV has the little heart in it. Very sweet!

Okay... so the first PV of Holly Jolly PV Week isn't the most Christmas-y PV ever... and I probably could have picked something else... But it's not completely dissonant! Besides, even if most people probably wouldn't see this as a Christmas PV, I still do! I probably should clarify why though. Admittedly, the PV for Baby cruising Love is more of a winter PV than Christmas PV. Which is quite the feat considering there isn't a single flake of snow in this PV! The winter vibes come mainly from the outfits the girls are wearing. The girls are each bundled up in scarves and sweaters and boots, not exactly the clothing you'd see in a summer PV. The fact that they're all wearing white adds to the wintery feeling of the PV. The Christmas elements of the PV are mainly the colors. The dance shot has a red and green background, and certain close-ups show the girls wrapped up in Christmas lights.

The thing about Baby cruising Love is that it's Christmas-y in a very minimal way. It doesn't show Christmas trees or the girls frolicking in the snow or wrapping presents. There are merely elements of Christmas that don't necessarily have to be interpreted as such. What I wanted to do with Holly Jolly PV Week was start with a subtle Christmas PV then slowly get more holiday-themed PVs and finally end Holly Jolly PV Week with a super Christmas-y PV. Even though Baby cruising Love is a very subtle PV, I still can't help but really get into it around Christmas. Like the rest of the year, I think it's an all right PV, but it's not exactly a PV I always find myself watching. But when December starts approaching, the PV for Baby cruising Love just fits with the month. I can't explain why, and it may very well be my own opinion. Or maybe it's just my love of Perfume. After all, Christmas is a holiday that's all about love. Perfume is a group that I love very much. And I think it's that sentimental love that makes me see Baby cruising Love as a Christmas PV. It'd be foolish of me to try and debate whether Baby cruising Love is a Christmas PV or not, because it isn't. It's just a PV I personally enjoy watching around Christmas.

Now beyond that, is there anything else that stands out about Baby cruising Love? I'll admit, when I first watched this PV, I wasn't super impressed. Keep in mind, I'd also watched the PVs for Electro World, Twinkle Snow Powdery Snow, Polyrhythm, Macaroni, and Secret Secret around this time. Compared to those PVs, Baby cruising Love just didn't stand out as much. I remember not thinking it was a terrible PV, but definitely not one I watched frequently. Until now, I hadn't really taken the time to properly dig into the PV for Baby cruising Love. And going back and screencapping this PV has made me realize... this was kind of a cheap Perfume PV. Well, okay, there are some pretty neat effects in this PV, but Baby cruising Love is still a very minimalistic music video. It may have been intentional, but I'm not sure. All the sets are really barren, save for the close-ups filled with Christmas lights. The dance shot has nothing more than a light-up wall. And honestly, that wall is fine, but it gets a little dull to look at after awhile. It doesn't help so much of the PV is centered around that gosh-darn wall.

I'd have much preferred to see more scenes with the orbs. That was in my opinion, the coolest part about Baby cruising Love. It was so entrancing to watch the girls draw with these glowing orbs and make all these neat shapes. The orbs were a simple, but neat effect. The rest of the PV for Baby cruising Love is more-or-less all right. Have I seen better Perfume PVs? Well yeah, they're freaking Perfume, of course I have. But I still think there's something strangely mesmerizing about this PV. I don't know if it's the way the PV's shot or the lighting, but something always seems to draw me in to Baby cruising Love. For its time, Baby cruising Love really isn't a bad PV. It's simplistic, but the visuals are sleek and clean, even if they're a little bare-bones. As a Perfume PV, it'll never be my favorite, but when Christmas comes to town, I can't help but enjoy this simple little PV that makes me get all nostalgic for the earlier times of Perfume.

So what does the first PV of Holly Jolly PV Week get? Three and half fruitcakes! Not bad for the first day, but since Baby cruising Love is debatable as a Christmas song, I can't give it the same number of apples were this just a regular review. Personally though, Baby cruising Love is a song I like to play around Christmas, and although the PV is a little bare-bones, it does capture a sort of wintery feeling. By no means the most Christmas-y PV ever, but still one that I like around the holidays!


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