Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Perfume Goes on the Most Intense Shopping Spree

Previously on Nia's Wonderland, we relaxed in the city except not really because we relaxed in a light-up cube far away from civilization. Well, today we're going back into the city.

And we're going shopping. Metaphorical shopping.


What makes a double A-side work? My favorite double A-sides tend to be the ones where each A-side contrasts the other. For instance: one A-side is a calm, lighthearted little tune. The other A-side is an upbeat dance song with an insanely catchy hook. In other words: Relax in the City and Pick Me Up!

I honestly had no idea what to expect from Pick Me Up. I kind of knew what to expect from Relax in the City once I saw the cover art and especially after I heard the first snippet. But for Pick Me Up? Completely in the dark. Until one day the heavens opened up and a promotional snippet for Pick Me Up was released unto the world! Glorious day! In other words, Pick Me Up kicks ass, and I love it. Just listening to this song feels so damn satisfying. It's what I've wanted to hear from Perfume since this era started. Pick Me Up is stronger, more consistent, and more memorable than any of the other A-sides from this current era. Not to dismiss some of the other A-sides, but Pick Me Up works so well. I think the hook is great, the vocals sound amazingly clear, and Pick Me Up is consistent with Perfume's sound without sounding like a rehash of an old song. Think of Pick Me Up as the Laser Beam to Relax in the City's Kasuka na Kaori. Only Pick Me Up is not a 2015 version of Laser Beam.

There is a lot going on in Pick Me Up, a lot of which I like. This song could have sounded way too busy, but it strikes a nice balance. Pick Me Up alternates between a slow and fast tempo; I like how the verses start out very calm and slow but then get progressively energetic into the chorus. It makes lead-up to the chorus work really well! And the chorus itself is amazing. The chorus was the first part of Pick Me Up I listened to, and I was sold. Mainly because I couldn't get the chorus out of my head! Trust me, the hook in Pick Me Up will get stuck in your head. Whether you like that or not is entirely up to you. Personally, I enjoy Perfume's energetic dance songs so Pick Me Up is right up my alley. I also like that Pick Me Up is a dance song but it doesn't sound like a remnant from Level3. At least to my ears it doesn't.

A lot of the smaller components of Pick Me Up make the song stand out. For instance, the vocals. I never really say much about how the girls sound because most of the time their vocals are too edited. Amazingly though, I can actually distinguish the girls' solos in Pick Me Up. Like Nocchi's solo she belts out in the first verse. I can totally tell that's her singing. As nice as the girls sound as a unit, hearing them sing separate is always refreshing. And there's a surprising amount of high notes in this song. Nothing too extreme, but for a Perfume song, the girls sing relatively high. Especially compared to their last single! Lyrically, there's a good deal of English lyrics in Pick Me Up. Half the chorus is in English! That's more of an observation, but it does make singing along to Pick Me Up very easy! Some of the English lyrics sound a little strange such as, "Bright my life." What does that mean? Everything else sounds pretty normal, and I never pick too hard at English lyrics. Still, the meaning of"Bright my life" will elude me to the end of time.

Oh, and the instrumental! I love the instrumental to Pick Me Up. I feel like with a lot of Perfume A-sides, the instrumentals end up being just as good if not better than the vocal versions. The instrumental version of Pick Me Up is just as easy to dance to. Pick Me Up is very much a dance song, but there's this one part in the beginning verse that's only an acoustic guitar. It was so weird to hear that in a Perfume song, but I loved it. I guess because it's very different from how Perfume sounds. This is off topic, but I'd love to hear Perfume cover more of their songs on acoustics. Perfume has performed both Computer City and Inryoku acoustically, so I know they have the potential. Again, the brief guitar bit in Pick Me Up was one of the highlights of the song, and definitely my favorite part in the instrumental.

I have to say Pick Me Up really picked up the slack from Relax in the City. Get it? Oh dear, I need to pick me up some better puns. Anyways, I loved Pick Me Up! It's everything I wanted to hear from Perfume and an immensely satisfying listen after nine months of no new Perfume music. So yeah, no contest to which A-side's my favorite A-side off this single. I still enjoy Relax in the City, but Pick Me Up just has a lot more life pumping through it. I love Pick Me Up, and I think it can tide me over for the inevitable nine more months until Perfume releases something else!

But wait, there's more! A good song is one thing, but a good music video is another. A good song and a good music video though? That's a miracle. So get in losers, we're going metaphorical shopping!


We start in Shinjuku Tokyo, which is surprisingly lacking in people...


Although American alternative rock band OK Go is there!


You might remember Perfume appearing in one of their music videos!


Perfume appears in O.K. Go music video, O.K. Go appears in Perfume's. It's a nice quid pro quo!


But lo! The sound of Kashiyuka's voices pierces the night!


Followed by a temporary of lapse of gravity! Also those heels are really cute, and I want them.


Now it's time for Perfume to float out of Shinjuku, down the rabbit hole, and into Wonderland!


This is definitely not Wonderland.


Those clothes are cute but not, "Hidden away in an alternate dimension" cute.


I'm keeping my eye on this army of faceless mannequins. I do not trust them.


Wait a minute.... Perfume as mannequins... I've seen this before...


This is Secret Secret all over again!


Nocchi is killing her solo here, but what the heck is she wearing?


At least mannequin!A-chan got a pretty stylish outfit.


Yes, that is the appropriate reaction to being surrounded by faceless gray mannequins.


Why A-chan, what green eyes you have!


Now these outfits I dig. I love the skirts in particular!


That's right, run! Run away! Run far, far away!!!


Run to... the staircase room from Labyrinth?


Seriously, I don't think this is where the store would be.


It's weird, I didn't really like these outfits until I watched this music video.


A-chan's seeing triple!


Oh man, this is like the powerup in Laser Beam! Except with equations!


I'm so happy projection mapping was incorporated into one of Perfume's music videos!


Step right into the Store in Shinjuku, where the customers enter but never exit... alive.


This is the visual equivalent of finding the perfect outfit in a store, but it costs too much.


Buy me, Kashiyuka. Buy me!!!!!



Seriously, the need for clothes in this PV is intense.


What to do when an outfits costs too much? SHOPLIFTING!


YEAH! LET'S BREAK SOME LAWS!


Jump lightly? More like shop lightly. Please do not actually go out and steal clothes. I do not condone that.


A-chan is a law-abiding citizen, much to mannequin!A-chan's dismay.


I wonder if the projections in this video are actual graphs/equations.


Either way, they're rad as hell, and I love them.


Welp, looks like A-chan's busted.


Meanwhile, Kashiyuka makes a break for it!


And Nocchi gazes into the void!


Gaze upon it! Yikes, I would hate to be the one to jump into that thing.


Oh dear. This music video just jumped into horror movie territory.


Kashiyuka, do you need those clothes that badly?


I guess Nocchi does! Into the void they go!!!


And... back into Shinjuku? With shopping bags? Wait a minute.


This is like Natural ni Koishite! Except with faceless mannequins out to get you.


At least they got some clothes for their trouble.


Apparently, a night in Shinjuku is also life-threatening! But you get free clothes so it's worth it!

So if I end up walking by a store that transports people into an alternate dimension where they get free clothes, I would be totally okay with that. Just saying, next time I go out to the mall, I am completely up for that. Okay? Just putting that out there.

Who knew shopping could be that exciting? Or were they shoplifting? To be fair, I never saw A-chan, Nocchi, or Kashiyuka with money. Did they talk about having money in the beginning part? Because if they didn't, then I'd like to think that they robbed a store and that the store's security was an army of faceless mannequins who were previous shoplifters who got caught. Also witchcraft and science work somewhere into this story of mine. I doubt that's what the director was going for with this PV. Or maybe it was? The guy who directed Pick Me Up also directed Natural ni Koishite and Secret Secret, which explains a lot about this PV. I feel like Pick Me Up is a darker version of Natural ni Koishite. But it works! I think it's funny how some of my favorite Perfume music videos literally revolve around advertising. Like Secret Secret? Chocolate. Natural ni Koishite? Clothes. And now there's Pick Me Up. Although I'd hope shopping at Isetan is easier than this PV makes it look...

I can definitely see the advertising element of this PV, but it never feels forced. Had I not known Perfume were wearing outfits designed by Isetan, I probably wouldn't realize they were selling clothes until the very end. Even then, I wouldn't dwell too hard on it. While I am talking about the clothes, I have to admit I wasn't a huge fan of the clothes in this PV. The main outfits were great along with the casual outfits, but none of the mannequin outfits looked fantastic? Maybe I'm just not cultured enough to appreciate fashion. Mannequin!A-chan's main outfit looked really cute! But Nocchi and Kashiyuka's... not so much. Oh well, to each his own, and by no means does that make me enjoy the PV any less!

This is probably one of my favorite Perfume videos in their more recent years. I like how the music video for Pick Me Up works in a very engaging, very creative storyline while still selling its product. If I had money to spare, I would totally buy some of those shoes Perfume are wearing. I loved the visuals in this video, especially the main projection mapping in the dance shot. It looked so cool, just as cool as their concert projection mapping! Also, I loved the color palette in this PV? It was very bright, but then also very dark depending on which scene? I liked the contrast. All the different outfits and scenes gave the PV some nice variety too! The visuals in general were top-notch. I heard that the budget for this music video was bigger than normal for Perfume's music videos. If that's true, it definitely shows! I loved the scenes with the staircases, along with the army of faceless mannequins. Man, that scene was actually kind of creepy. Okay, it won't keep you awake at night, but for a Perfume music video, those mannequins were unnerving.

Also, the story was a riot from start to finish. I love music videos with plots, even if they're basic. Pick Me Up, however, was not. I don't completely know 100% what was going on in this story, and there's certainly a lot left up to interpretation. Who were the girls running from? Did OK Go lure them into the store? Were the mannequins projections of their ideal selves? It's up to the viewer. Personally, I interpreted the story as Perfume being broke with expensive taste. So they luck out when they find a magic store and decide to shoplift some clothes. Only security in the form of magical evil mannequins arrives, but the girls escape with their finds! There is probably an artsier interpretation of Pick Me Up, but I'm sticking to my version. Overall, the PV for Pick Me Up is fantastic. The story is creative, the visuals are stunning, the choreography is tight (as usual for Perfume), and screencapping it was a treat. And now I really want to go shopping...


It's been awhile, and Perfume delivered an awesome song and even more awesome PV. That gets Pick Me Up five succulent apples! Pick Me Up is a breath of fresh air and one of Perfume's strongest A-sides of this era. And with that strong A-side is an even stronger music video! I was completely into this strange story where the girls are zapped into this shopping dimension with evil mannequins and alternate versions of themselves. Pick Me Up could have been too weird, but it works!

13 comments:

  1. ''This is the visual equivalent of finding the perfect outfit in a store, but it costs too much'' LOL.... :D
    And that ''bright my life''thing?! When I first read the lyrics translation,I thought something fearful...but let's not take the lyrics so seriously...
    And yes, the chorus is addictive...
    But oddly, I prefer RItC more...just my taste... :)


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    1. I thought maybe "bright my life" meant brightening up your life in some way? Like making it better? Or it could be what you said, which makes more sense with the PV...

      Each to his own! I can see why you'd like Relax in the City. I do like that song, I just like Pick Me Up a little bit more.

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  2. At last, we see their voices actually being used on a single. The last time we saw their pure singing voice was in JPN Tour's Disc 2, if my memory isn't tricking me.

    I love when Perfume's PV have story, because they always do it in an interesting way. Like the Spy-Movie vibe that Laser Beam got, or Mirai no Museum's Saturday-Morning-Cartoon. The only bad thing is that we really need background info to get that story, and most foreign fans don't have this background info available for them easily. For a group that spends almost half a year on world tours, this may not be a good thing.

    Speaking of the actual PV! I guess that everybody gave that silly smile when OK Go appeared. If they went through the same experience as the girls, maybe they let their clothes down. Sorry, had to make that pun. I also thought that the clothes in it weren't THAT good. Well, that says something about Isetan, doesn't it? The projection mapping is also incredibly amazing! The equations are, most of the time, calculating triangles and squares, by the way. And it's amazing how the Pick Me Up outfits are gourgeous on the PV and only on the PV. No, really, most of the time those outfits are pretty bad.

    Musicwise, that's the Perfume that we saw on LEVEL3: Balanced, but still awesome. The buildup on the intro and the bridges to the surprisingly calm verses gives us a refreshing sound, that knows how to manage its energy (unlike Hurly Burly, that can get tiring for some for its constant high energy). And if anyone ever said that their voices were only good with Autotune, the (mostly)raw vocals here will shut them up.

    My opinions about the single as a whole will be on the next post.

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    1. YES. Oh gosh, I love how clear they sound in this song. Especially Nocchi! I think you're right; the last time Perfume really focused on live singing was JPN Tour. I don't even think they sang live at World Tour 3rd.

      Their story PVs tend to be a lot of fun. I'm just glad that Perfume has a large fanbase to translate some of these stories! I would have been completely lost on Mirai no Museum without someone translating those little text boxes. Amuse does an okay job of translating Perfume for international fans, but they could do so much better.

      Hahaha, someone else is getting in on the pun action! My mission was a success, the Wonderland is now retiring. But seriously, the clothes in this PV really weren't. The only ones I really liked were their street clothes and the ones they wore when mannequin!A-chan was centered. Maybe they look better off-camera? It makes sense the projects are triangle calculations! Perfume has quite the affinity for triangles. I think the outfits look okay outside the PV, but I still prefer the way they look in the PV.

      I do love the energy levels of Pick Me Up. And on a side note, I was never 100% in love with Hurly Burly. I feel like everyone was upset about it not making it to the album, but I am surprisingly okay with it. Still, when the mood is right I can jam to Hurly Burly. With Pick Me Up though, I love playing this song.

      I will get to work on my single review then!

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  3. I am very surprised with the quality of these songs! I'm listening to them as you release the reviews and, so far, they rock. Thank you for introducing me to another great artist!

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    1. I'm happy you like them! There's one more song on this single, so I hope you listen to that too!

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  4. Pick Me Up is a wonderful song (i mean, a "normal" Nakata song) and i think that this one and "Toumei Ningen" have a very "Wave Runner" sound. "Relax in the City" is more Pop, but a great song too.

    About the PV, i can only say that Nocchi look more beautiful every day. ^_^

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    1. I totally agree with you on Pick Me Up and Toumei Ningen. Again, I won't say much until the review, but they're both very Wave Runner-esque.

      Nocchi looks gorgeous in this PV. They all do, but her hair looks great.

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  5. I miss you so much! AAAA

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  6. Nia come home! Please... m(_ _)m

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  7. come back nia we want you back at least tell us where you went

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