Sunday, July 15, 2012

"Tomodachi no Wao!" Single Review

As I am still in a holding pattern for getting "Puffy Covers," I decided to circle back and review Puffy's most recent single "Tomodachi no Wao!" I can, however, promise this is not going to be a long review as all four songs are variants of the title track, which are as follows:

Tomodachi no Wao!
Tomodachi no Wao! (Shimajirou to Asobo! Version)
Tomodachi no Wao! (Instrumental)
Tomodachi no Wao! (TV edit)

It took a little while for "Tomodachi no Wao!"* (to grow on me. It is not exactly in my round house so far Puffy songs as there is not a guitar anywhere in site and all instruments are synthesizer or programmed. This includes Ami and Yumi's vocals at times (specifically when they sing "wao"), which is an effect I do generally like. To me the instrumentals at times drift towards a Caribbean sound and the song has a playful and nice feel.

Over all the production is polished with Ami and Yumi delivering the good vocals I come to expect. This might be one of those songs you will never hear live or it will be heavily tweaked for a concert. The later piques my interest, the former would not surprise me. Whereas this is good, the rest of the singledoes not deliver the same kind of satisfaction.

Remember how I said "Wake Up, Make Up" was the absolutely worst thing Puffy has ever done? I stand corrected. "Tomodachi no Wao! (Shimajirou to Asobo! Version)" is abysmal and arguably the wrost thing I have ever heard credited to Puffy ("Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" cover also eclipses this track). For whatever reason someone thought it a good idea to have Shimajiro** screaching/yelling/singing into Ami and Yumi's vocals along with random sound effects interspersed throughout the song. To top of all this, the track is a remix, which to me is always a dubious prospect. While some guitars are added in, that is not enough to sway my opinion.

Maybe "Tomodachi no Wao! (Shimajirou to Asobo! Version)" was only included as a cross marketing effort for the TV show and to appeal to kids... and that is what I have decided to tell myself... and Ami and Yumi had to take one for the team. Which happens as Japanese media is far more amalgamated than the US.

Padding out the album is the instrumental version of "Tomodachi no Wao!" which is a common add on to Japanese singles. It plays fair-to-mid on its own, but a hook is missing as the instrumentals are not to the compelling part of the title track.
The final track is "Tomodachi no Wao! (TV size)," which is to the title track as to what fun size candy bars are to regular candy bars. All the basic goodness is contained within, it is not enough to be satisfying.

I had a difficult time with "Tomodachi no Wao!" once the title track was over. It is a good song and definitely a different song with it being backed entirely synthesizer and a vaguely Caribbean feel at times. The rest of the single comes off feeling like a forced and padded effort. Puffy has had better singles in recent years. If this is what we are left with while Yumi is on hiatus, it is something of a down note that makes me eager for the day Puffy kicks it back into high gear.

Overall Scores:
Singing: B
Instruments: C
Production: C

* per my friend Noriko-chan this translated to to circle of friends)
** from the show ‘Shimajiro no Wao!‘ of which "Tomodachi no Wao!" is the end credits music

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