Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I hold in my hand...

...a copy of PUFFY AMIYUMI X PUFFY.

Unfortunately I left my phone at home so no photos right now. You'll have to take my word for it.

Full review coming in a day or two. The packaging is a little disappointing; it's got one of those really cheap jewel cases like American CD's come in, and believe it or not there are no photos of the girls. There's some cool artwork, and lyrics (which is nice considering these are all covers), but no photos at all. Definitely has the feel of a quick cash-in.

14 comments:

  1. I'm kind of fearful on buying a copy of this album... is it worth buying?

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  2. I'm glad to have it. I'm not sure it's worth the cost. It has good and bad tracks. But I'd feel worse about not buying it than I do about buying it.

    I'll probably do a track by track rundown in my review. I don't really know how else to review an album like this.

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  3. I'm not sure if the album is worth it, either -- though I say that as someone who already owned a majority of the tracks. The best thing about the album is now you don't have to track down a dozen albums, singles, and tribute albums to get the tracks if you're a collector.

    That being said, it's not complete -- it obviously wasn't going to include the recent Judy & Mary tribute song, but for some reason they left out "Hataraku Otoko" (I'd say it's because that song was already on "Hit & Fun" a couple of years ago, but this is the third CD in five years to feature "Joining a Fan Club" -- fourth CD in five years if you include the U.S. version of the "Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi" CD). "Hataraku Otoko" isn't one of their best covers anyway, but it's kinda weird they left it out.

    The better songs are the ones that have appeared on proper Puffy albums and singles; the "tribute" tracks are generally weak (though for some reason I really like the Seiko Matsuda cover). That being said, the only song that I feel the need to skip is the Cyndi Lauper cover -- I've never liked that song, and Puffy's version is almost identical to the original. It really stands out amongst the rest of the (mostly rock-oriented) tracks, and not in a good way.

    The oddest thing about the album, at least to me, is that it has detailed song-by-song liner notes. Why they powers-that-be felt a track-by-track rundown was necessary, when neither of their best-of albums had anything of the sort, I don't know.

    I still think it would have been better to release this collection during down-time, and not when they're gearing up to release an all-new album in a couple of months.

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  4. Maybe I mistook the liner notes for lyrics? I'll check again before reviewing. That does seem weird, though.

    A lot of things are weird about this album. The only thing I can think is that they realized they had a fairly decent number of cover tracks built up (16 plus bonus tracks is a pretty lengthy album for them) and that if they didn't release something now, then with whatever they have planned for the coming year, they'd either need to do it as a double album later or leave off a bunch more stuff and make it seem even less complete.

    I think I pretty much agree with your assessment of the good vs. weak songs. Though I need to go back before posting a real review to see where all of these songs came from, because I don't remember all of them now. One of my favorite tracks on the album is their version of "Don't Let Me Down", which I vaguely remember being released sometime in 2006 or so, but I never bought it and don't remember it being on a single. (I could see that being a love-it-or-hate-it cover, though; it is almost exactly the same as the original, but they sound really good on it.)

    I don't like "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" either... although I like the original better. Their vocals are a little sloppy, which actually makes me appreciate how Cyndi Lauper sang it more.

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  5. There are lyrics and liner notes. It's just hard to find everything with the odd way the booklet is folded.

    I really love the "Don't Bring Me Down" cover, too -- probably my favorite song from the "Hataraku Otoko" single. It is rather close to the original, but unlike "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," I like ELO. Plus Ami and Yumi's vocals on the song are superb.

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  6. I've put together a couple of "Originals" or "Roots" compilations, and let me just say that figuring out where someone got a particular song to cover can be pretty tricky! Unless you have the direct input of the artist, and even then their memories aren't always completely reliable.

    Puffy's sources seem to be pretty obvious, but bless 'em anyway if the individual song notes talk about the original artists, why they chose that particular song, and so on. Some future producer of "Puffy's Roots" (not sure I'd go with that particular title) may owe them a debt of gratitude.

    Btw, I'm wondering about that "Shiitaka version" of Frontier no Pioneer. What's that about?

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  7. I really don't know about the "Shiitaka version" of Frontier no Pioneer - it sounds like a very slightly different mix, but that's about it. Unless I'm missing something really obvious. I'll see if I can get a translation on the liner notes. I just did an A-B comparison with the original version, though, and I did hear a difference, but not a very dramatic one. Also, the run time is different by 1 second. Weird.

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  8. Ok, the deal with the Shiitaka version is that the drums were re-recorded. In the original version, they used a drum machine. The new version has actual drums (Shiitaka is the drummer's nickname).

    I knew something sounded different but I didn't pinpoint that. I definitely thought the maraca-like thing sounded different, and maybe that was part of the drum machine sound set on the original too. But I didn't consciously hear the difference in the drums.

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  9. Er, and by "maraca", I meant tamborine.

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  10. And now that I listen again and know what I'm listening for, the difference is really obvious.

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  11. Interesting. That's not what I usually mean by "maracas".

    Thanks for the explanation, Jeff. This sounds like a worthwhile enhancement of the song.

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  12. I had obviously made a little mistake and was jokingly trying to cover it up :)

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  13. LOL! And I was trying to make a little joke and probably turned it into a mistake.

    God... I wish my CD Japan package would show up and I'd have something to actually contribute here. It's finally in the mail, at least. ("Previewing" on YouTube just got a bit harder, as they seem to have blocked all third-party downloads as of last Friday.)

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  14. Upon comparing the two versions myself, the most obvious difference between the drum tracks is the fills. On the single version, the fills are all very similar (and sound more like a machine), while the "new" version has much more creative (and varied) fills. The most obvious place to hear what I'm talking about is right before the chorus starts: the single version uses a similar fill every time, while the new version has slightly varied fills each time.

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