- plastic smile
- Baby cruising Love
- Chocolate Disco
- Ceramic Girl
- Take me Take me
- Secret Secret
- Twinkle Snow Powdery Snow
- Puppy love
Very rarely do I listen to an album and like every single track on it. GAME is one of those albums.
After six years of remaining in obscurity, the popular techno group Perfume hit their breakthrough single with Polyrhythm in 2007. For the first time, Perfume as a group was being recognized and the sales of Polyrhythm skyrocketed in comparison to Fanservice (Sweet), Electro World, Computer City and Linear Motor Girl. Did they sell millions? No, but they now had a foothold in the J-pop industry and Perfume’s follow-up single, Baby Cruising Love/Macaroni, also sold well on the charts.
And then came April of 2008. Enter the GAME album. With GAME, Perfume hit success beyond their wildest dreams.
The album debuted at number one on the charts and went on to sell over 400,000 copies, becoming the group’s highest selling album to date. The success of GAME and Perfume as a group paved the way for other electropop acts and songs such as Mitsuki Aira and Saori@destiny. For a group that was essentially considered an idol group at the time, GAME was a groundbreaking release in terms of sound.
GAME was released during the time I had just gotten into Perfume and was midway through binging on their past songs. You know that sort of… glow you seem to have when you discover a new artist? And how it feels like everything you listen to by them is absolutely brilliant and amazing regardless of its actual quality? As the “new fan glow” wore off of me, I began to grow more critical of Perfume’s past music and songs that I’d adored at the time of listening to them did lose a little bit of their luster. So how did GAME hold up? Pretty damn well.
The album consists of seven new tracks and the other five A-sides from Perfume’s recent singles at the time. Personally, I think that’s a perfect balance to have when making an album and one of the strongest aspects of the album is that each track has its own unique sound and style to compliment the many other styles Nakata incorporates into the songs? You want to hear a ballad? Macaroni’s a lovely ballad. Something harder and edgier? GAME and Butterfly are pretty hard tracks. A lighter and softer song? Puppy love!
Starting off the album is the A-side that went on to become Perfume’s Love Machine, Polyrhythm, and the song makes for a very strong opening. One of the most striking features of Polyrhythm is the uncommon time it has in the fantastic bridge and that’s my favorite part of the song. Another iconic A-side on the GAME album is Chocolate Disco, the song which also indirectly lead to Perfume’s success. It’s a highly catchy and upbeat song and has become a staple concert piece at Perfume concerts and I enjoy its catchiness a lot.
The slower A-sides on the album are Baby cruising Love and Macaroni, the double A-side released a few months before GAME and Perfume’s follow-up to Polyrhythm. While neither song had as much of an impact as Polyrhythm, I still think they’re great songs, Macaroni especially. I love the lounge-y house sound that song has and the slow, wandering tone the song carries. Baby cruising Love is slightly more upbeat and has a more driving sound and it nicely matches up the the tone of Macaroni.
The only A-side that I have mixed feelings about is Twinkle Snow Powdery Snow and that’s mainly because of its placement on the album. It comes right after Butterfly and compared to the more instrumental-laden and serious-sounding track, Twinkle Snow Powdery Snow is a bit of a mood whiplash with its perky melody and wintery instrumental. It’s not a bad song but probably my least favorite on the album.
And then there are the new tracks on the album. My absolute favorite track on GAME is Secret Secret, which I think is the most diverse track on the album. There are a lot of elements thrown into this song and they all work so well with each other. You have repetition, some bass, a futuristic melody in the instrumental and so much more in this song and it’s such a refreshingly wonderful song to listen to. The PV is also very interesting for a video based around chocolate and I’d check that out too!
Some of the other standout tracks on the album are the title song and Puppy love. I love GAME for its harder and more techno sound yet I love Puppy love because of its light and happy sound! The opening of Puppy love has always reminded me of the Linus and Lucy theme from the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. It’s a very sweet and heartwarming song and I think a perfect way to end the album! GAME is a stark contrast from the light and happy sound of Puppy love with hardcore synths and simple lyrics (remember when Perfume used to do edgy songs?). I think it’s a pretty cool song and the Tokyo Dome live should definitely be looked at!
Butterfly has that same hard sound GAME has and when I listened to the album I thought this song dragged. However, over time my opinion of this song has improved a lot and today it’s yet another song I think is really great on this album! GAME also has a nice balance of lighter songs as well! Plastic smile is energetic and catchy (but not as much as Chocolate Disco… then again, I don’t think anything on this album is) with a bouncy chorus! Ceramic Girl is a nicely energetic song too but that song gets really interesting when you hit the bridge. I won’t spoil it for you so check that song out!
Take me Take me has always had divided opinions amongst fans; some think that it’s a great song and others think that it’s too repetitive to be interesting. Personally, I love this song even though it did take a little while to grow on me. The song is about as sensual as Perfume can get and I like the use of simple English lyrics to convey that sensual feeling of the song. The live is especially good and very sensual with its chair dance. Definitely one of their best lives and it really improved my opinion of the song!
All the styles and directions taken in this album work so well and the songs fit perfectly with each other. There’s a great variety of different songs and I think everyone can find at least one song on this album that they like. Overall, there’s something I love about each and every single track on GAME and that’s what sets it above Triangle and JPN for me.
The problem that Triangle had was that although their was a lot of musical experimentation in it, it didn’t always work. JPN had the opposite problem in that there was little to no experimentation in it mainly due to the lack of new material. GAME is a perfect balance of genres and I don’t think Nakata has been able to recapture that balance ever since. I think there was just a level of effort and drive that both Nakata and the girls had in making this album the best it could be and that really shows. Unlikely as it is, I’m always hoping that someday Perfume will be able to obtain the same level of quality they had in their debut album.
I would highly recommend listening to GAME, especially if you’re new to Perfume. It’s the group at its best with a great diversity in the music and the sounds. It’s one of those albums that never gets old and to this day, I still love listening to it.