Monday, June 30, 2014

Time Capsule Reviews: Electro World

The winner of June's Time Capsule Review poll turned out to be Perfume again! And not too far behind was Shoujo Jidai! I did get a request to review a Shoujo Jidai PV, so Paparazzi not winning is a bit of an inconvenience. But I'll still keep an eye out for them to release a new PV, or any older one that matches one of the coming months! Anyways, July's Time Capsule Review poll won't have any Perfume releases in it, so another group will have a shot! But we have one day until July so let's talk about Electro World!

Ah, Electro World. Do I even have to say anything about this single? I feel like this is one of those Perfume singles that's just one of their classics. You know, this single was one of the first Perfume singles I really liked. Electro World was released a year or so before I discovered Perfume, their last single of the Complete Best era and the single before Fanservice [sweet]. Perfume didn't reach the same amount of recognition with Electro World that they did with Fanservice [sweet] and Polyrhythm, but nonetheless, it was one of their better-selling earlier singles. And I think Electro World was one of Perfume's first singles to show that they had staying power beyond just a quirky little technopop idol group. Or maybe that's just me gushing about the old days, when Perfume was still such an obscure little group with great things ahead of them in the future. I sometimes wonder what it must have been like being a fan back then when Perfume debuted on a major label, and their tenure was so uncertain. Oh well, I was ten when this single was released. I barely even knew how to work a computer! Now eight years later, let's go back in time and enter Electro World...


I guess I should just title that heading as Cover/Outfits because only one version of Electro World was ever released. After the filter heavy cover for Linear Motor Girl and simplistic Computer City, Electro World's cover was the first of their major singles that I think looks really good. There's not too much going on with the cover, but there's still a sleek, futuristic quality to it. I love the way the wires extend outward and wrap around each of the girls. I mean, the single is titled Electro World, and the cover represents that very nicely. Perfume's outfits back in the day were a little iffy (and a few look rather dated now), but like the covers, I think the outfits for Electro World work too. A lot of Perfume's outfits look so similar now (especially now, I wish they'd try something different). I like how with the Electro World outfits, they all have the same general look, but each outfit is very distinctive.

Electro World

Okay, so on my top 20 favorite Perfume songs list (first post I ever made, revised in 2012), I put Electro World as #5. I've been meaning to revise that list, maybe do an updated version for my blog's third Cake Day. Because I've got several new songs from Level3 I need to put on the list, and there are songs on there that I just need to switch around. For instance, I want to move Electro World from #5 to #2. Why? Because I really freaking love this song. Hell, before I had to move all my songs from my iTunes library, Electro World was my most played Perfume song. I love to write to this song, I love to listen to this song, I love this song. First of all, I love what this song is about. Electro World is about the end of the world, a topic that I really wish Perfume would sing about again. As I've said before, I don't pay a huge amount of attention to lyrics in Japanese music, unless they're good lyrics. And there are so many lines in Electro World that I just want to pluck out and put in a little picture frame. I also love the lyrics to Computer City for the same reason, although I always took Computer City as a song about a utopia. Anyways, the lyrics behind Electro World are one of the strongest facets of the song, and you really should go read the lyrics to see what I mean.

What I love about Electro World is how it conveys such a wonderful feeling of hopelessness and sadness, but the song still sounds absolutely beautiful. This song is from Perfume's days as the "Near Future Technopop Unit" and it sounds like it. Around Computer City, Perfume started to shy away from their indie idol sound, and Electro World pushes that shift forward. I do need to clarify that there are two different versions of Electro World: the original no the single and the album version. Personally, I think either version is great. However, I do admit, I like the album version a little bit better. The album version has this eerie, ambient hum at the very beginning and then this little melody kicks in before the rest of the song starts. Other than that, everything about both version is the same, but that little touch at the beginning of Electro World (Album Version) is so powerful. But really, Electro World in all its incarnations is such a powerful song. I mean, the melodies, the lyrics, the arrangement, it's all this one big giant surge of emotion. There's a reason Electro World is one of Perfume's more popular songs. While maybe not as popular as Polyrhythm or Chocolate Disco, I stand by Electro World as one of the best songs Perfume has ever released. So please listen to it if you've not already done so.

The music video for Electro World is very similar to Linear Motor Girl and Twinkle snow Powdery snow's music videos. All three PVs feature copious amounts of CG and green-screen. The special effects actually aren't completely terrible in these PVs. I mean, it's obviously all computer-generated, but the effects could have looked a whole lot cheaper. Really, they could have been as bad as the PV for Monochrome Effect. In my opinion, I think Electro World is the PV that handles all the special effects best. All the scenery in this music video looks so huge and sweeping. In the back of my head, I know it's all fake, but the atmosphere still feels very immersive. And the aesthetic of the PV is the right blend of futuristic and gritty. My favorite part is where the girls are each standing alone in a bright white room playing some kind of game. I don't think it really served any purpose, but the effect was so cool to watch. Electro World's PV has a lot of shots like that. Honestly, I don't mind; I'm so busy looking in awe at the scenery that I'm too distracted to think!

The general theme of the music video very loosely matches the theme of the song. I do wish that the PV had explored more into the end of the world. There are several shots showing a giant sphere shattering. They're very pretty shots, but it's very abstract. And that's where the copious amounts of green-screen make the PV fall short. The members of Perfume look very immersed in the scenery, but they don't interact with the scenery. They just look around, because that's pretty much all they can do. Nothing in the PV is real, so there's nothing to touch. For instance, there are these little robot balls that look like the cores from Portal, and they just fly around in the dance shot. Again, no real reason, just for coolness factor. On the other hand, I don't really mind the fakeness of the PV. Actually, I suppose that sort of matches the song. The PV for Electro World is like this weird blend of futuristic and artistic. For that reason, I think it's the most well-handled of Perfume's futuristic CGI PVs from their early days. What works the best with this music video is how sweeping the scenery is and how small it makes the girls look. The emptiness of whatever world they're in emphasizes the meaning of the song itself. So yeah, it's not without its flaws, but I think the PV for Electro World is still one of Perfume's best.

In case my gushing hasn't clued you in yet, Electro World is a five apples kind of song. Not only is it one of my favorite Perfume songs, it's one of Perfume's staples and for good reason. Lyrically, there's never been another song like Electro World, and the way Perfume delivers it is perfect. Gosh, I think I'm gonna go listen to this song on repeat. It needs to be my most played Perfume song again.


Of course, Electro World isn't the only song on this single that gets attention. Wonder2 isn't quite as popular as the A-side, but it was still a staple of Perfume's earlier concerts. They'd usually sing Wonder2 (and live might I add) during their encores. It's a really sweet song performed live, with pretty much no choreography. Just the girls singing. Songs like Negai and Kokoro no Sports have taken up the role of farewell encore song in Perfume's later concerts. But I'd like to think there's still a special place for Wonder2. Who knows? Maybe even Perfume will perform this song during their 3rd World Tour! Then again, there's just as much of a chance they won't. Wonder2 hasn't made too many appearances lately. But I think it's a very good song! I think Wonder2 is more of a divisive song than Electro World is among Perfume fans. Often, I find that fans just... like it. Not love it. And yes, I will admit that Wonder2 is not one of my favorite Perfume songs. Don't get me wrong, I really like this song, and I think it fits nicely alongside Electro World. But it doesn't grab me the same way Electro World does, along with other Perfume songs. And I've noticed that a lot of fans feel the same way.

Wonder2 is a song that I've found takes time to grow on you. I had to listen to this song several times (along with a beautiful piano version I found on Youtube). While it still isn't one of my absolute favorite Perfume songs, I still love Wonder2. I love how ambient it sounds, especially in the beginning. Wonder2 has such a distinctive sound from anything else in Perfume's discography. I don't want to say that this song is a ballad like Negai or 23:30, because it kind of balances this line between a ballad-y and energetic. The chorus in Wonder2 is actually pretty fast. Overall though, Wonder2 has this air of sweetness to it. Kind, genuine sweetness. This is probably one of the sweetest, calmest songs I've ever listened to that managed to get stuck in my head. The la's in this song are so soothing, and they fade in an out so nicely. Actually, I love all the vocal editing in this song. Everything overlaps so nicely, never sounding messy. Contrarily, it creates an even more calming song. Electro World is such an intense song, and Wonder2 is like the calm after the storm. So no, maybe it isn't Electro World, but I still think Wonder2 is one of Perfume's B-sides to check out.

I still think Wonder2 deserves four and half apples. It's one of my favorite Perfume B-sides, mainly because of how different it sounds from anything else Perfume's released. I do wish they'd gone in the more happily ambient sound direction again. I loved hearing that with Wonder2.

The Verdict

Well, what else can I really say? Eight years after its release, Electro World is one of my favorite Perfume singles. But... I do think there's a little bit of the fan in me saying that. The reviewer in me can acknowledge that Wonder2 is kind of a weak song in comparison to Electro World. However, I personally don't think that Wonder2 is a song that completely ruins the single. I think what makes Electro World as a single work so well is that both songs blend very nicely. They both have this futuristic vibe that Perfume incorporated into their early major label singles. I mean yes, Perfume's a technopop group, so of course their songs are going to sound futuristic, but Electro World sounds like a single that really fits in the future. Or at least the dystopian future where our own technology does us in and the world ends. Cheerful, right? Electro World might not be the peppiest song from Perfume, but its upbeat yet depressing tale of a world ending always gives me chills when I listen to it. And then after all that melancholy's swooped in, Wonder2 comes right after with a soft, heartwarming little melody. Am I gushing too much? I should probably lay off on the gushing.

Actually, why not gush? Electro World was, in my opinion, one of the first Perfume singles where they really hit the mark. Sure, there are a few things that could have been tweaked, but overall, Electro World is such a solid single from Perfume. Both the A-side and the B-side are staples in Perfume's discography, whether as great songs or great concert songs. If you're looking to get a friend into Perfume's music, I enthusiastically recommend Electro World. The single is not only a look into the Perfume of the past but a glimpse of what they were going to become in the future. Electro World and Perfume ~Complete Best~ were pretty much the end of an era for Perfume. Their time as the Near Future Technopop unit from Linear Motor Girl to Complete Best. And the rest, as we all know, is history. I have such a nostalgia for Electro World, and I have no shame about that. When I listen to Electro World, I think of that small niche of fans and how it would grow outward to all around the world. Then Perfume would go one to release Polyrhythm, go to Budokan, perform at Tokyo Dome, and tour all over the world. And... that's incredible. Electro World is incredible. Go listen to it.

So with the power to type thanks to technology that hasn't ended the world yet, I bestow upon Electro World four and half apples! I'd really like to give it 4.75 apples, but my Apple Rating System doesn't work that way. Still, check this single out if you're looking to get into Perfume! As for me, I've got to put up the poll for July's Time Capsule Review! And once again I leave July's Time Capsule Review in the hands of you capable readers!


  1. Electro World was my first Perfume song and the first PV I saw from them! It was so fresh, it was quite a shock! I had never seen something like this before. I remember I wanted to find similar J-Pop acts but couldn't find any (I found out about capsule and Nakata a bit later).
    Since I discovered it in 2006, I can tell you how it was at that time. There wasn't much to see and to hear about Perfume, of course. I used to watch their videos on YouTube but beside their previous PV's (not all of them), I remember just a few free in-store lives and TV show clips. But there was already Perfume City, the fansite managed by Spanish fan Ekuseru.
    You can even have a look at how their Tokuma Japan Communications official homepage was when Electro World came out:

    1. So you've been a fan of them for nearly a decade! That's amazing! It sounds like following Perfume back then was pretty challenging. Seeing them go from this unknown little group to really famous must have been surreal! I sometimes wonder if that'll happen to any groups I blog about...

      I know Perfume City's been around for awhile! I used to go on there, but then I kind of developed a seething hatred for forums, so now I don't go on there anymore. Still, PC's a... convenient place for Perfume fans. And that's all I'll say about that.

      That archived homepage is like looking at a fossil! A... technological fossil found on the Internet and not in a desert. Very cool, thanks for sharing!