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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Best Of The Best Of: Part Two

Hit & Fun (2007)


Tokyo I'm on My Way
Umi e To
Nagisa ni matsuwaru etc.
Hi Hi
Hataraku Otoko
Akai Buranko
Curcuit no Musume
Puffy no Rule
Kore ga Watashi no Ikiru Michi
Tomodachi
Mogura Like
Boogie Woogie No.5
Teen Titans Theme
Hito ni Yasashiku
Ai no Shirushi
Invisible Tomorrow
Hazumu Rizumu
Tararan
Asia no Junshin
Otomemoriaru
Call Me What You Like *
Go Baby Power Now *
TEEN TITANS THEME -POLYSICS' CR-06 MIX *
Basket Case (Live) *
* Bonus track on limited edition

“Hit & Fun” mostly covers the albums from “Spike” through “Honeycreeper” and I think this is a great selection of songs for the period of time between the aforementioned albums.  On the main disc, “Otomemoriaru” is the only new song added to the disk, but it is a really great song and highlights what Ami and Yumi can achieve vocally that almost no other artists can.    The bonus disc from the limited edition of “Hit & Fun” adds a couple of English language tracks, a remix and a live cover of Green Day’s “Basketcase.”  For a small amount more, that bonus disc really bumps up “Hit & Fun” as a compilation CD and barring a monstrous compilation cd this would be towards the top… which is what happened with the release of “15”.

Grading
Selection: A
Packaging: B+
Value: A (A+ with bonus cd)
Overall: A


15 (2011)


Disc 1
1. Someone
2. Kore ga Watashi no Ikirumichi
3. Oriental Diamond
4. Boogie Woogie No. 5
5. SWEET DROPS
6. Hi Hi
7. boom boom beat
8. Red Swing
9. Nice Buddy
10. Ai no Shirushi
11. MOTHER
12. Circuit no Musume
13. Hiyori Hime
14. My Story
15. Mole-Like
16. Nagisa ni Matsuwaru Et Cetera
17. All Because Of You
18. R.G.W.
19. Happy Birthday
20. Asia no Junshin

Disc 2
1. Shall We Dance?
2. Kimi to Otobai
3. Radio Tokyo
4. LONG BEACH NIGHTMARE
5. Violet
6. Jet Police
7. Hazumu Rhythm
8. Puffy's Rule
9. Security Blanket
10. Bring it on
11. Yokubou
12. Wedding Bell
13. Friends
14. Kirei na Namida ga Tarinai yo
15. UREI
16. Jet Love
17. Kimi ga Suki
18. Tokusuru Karada
19. Bye Bye  


Puffy celebrates their fifteen year anniversary with the release of “15” and it is a monstrous double disc release that eats every previous release for dinner.  If someone asked me “What best of album Puffy’s should I buy?” I would without hesitation say this is the one.  Rodney Greenblat makes a welcome return to doing a Puffy album cover and interior art.  This in itself is a greatest hits of his previous Puffy singles covers.  The twin disk set is packaged in a cardboard slipcase that really adds to the special nature of this compilation.  Additionally the limited edition included a towel with Greenblat’s art and that was well worth the few hundred extra yen.  The bonus DVD is not a big deal, though the Ami Yumi Emi version of "Asia no Junshin" is fun.

“15” covers Puffy’s career arc in a way no other compilation has to date save “Jet Fever.” 

As in my review of “15” I will note that some albums are disproportionately represented, specifically “Bring it!” which arguably Puffy’s weakest release.  I will say this is counter balanced by the inclusion or “Urei” which is not just a great song, it is one of Puffy’s greatest songs and deserving of being included in this retrospective.   

Anyways "15" is probably the best place to start for anyone looking to discover Puffy and it is a staggering release when factoring in every component of this compilation.  

Grading
Selection: A+
Packaging: A+
Value: A
Overall: A+
CONTINUED >>


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Best Of The Best Of: Part One

This has been rattling around in my brain for a while.  Puffy has a fair number of compilation / best of albums over the course of their career.  I thought it would be curious to see what the best of the best of were and see how they compare.  The is by no means a comprehensive fine toothed comb review, but we can get into those kids of details as a discussion.  I will be covering this in three parts and with that...


The Very Best of Puffy/Amiyumi Jet Fever (2000)


Kore ga Watashi no Ikirumichi
Nagisa ni Matsuwaru EtCetera
Asia no Junshin
Circuit no Musume
Umi eto
Ai no Shirushi
Nehorina Hahorina
Stray Cats Fever
Talalan
Toku Suru Karada
Nichiyohbi no Musume
Mother
V·A·C·A·T·I·O·N
Honey
Yume no Tameni
Puffy de Rumba
Jet Keisatsu
Dare ga Sore wo
Kore ga Watashi no Ikirumichi (Mandarin version)

Ai no Shirushi (Mandarin version)

If I were judging “Jet Fever” at the time it was released I would say it was more a capitalization on Puffy fever than a compilation people should run out to get as fans would likely have the underlying albums (“Puffy”, SoloSolo”, “Jet” and “Fever*Fever”).  Time, however, changes perception and for someone discovering Puffy “Jet Fever” covers a lot of ground in one release and could be a good pick up.    

The addition of two Chinese language tracks is fun, but as my wife puts it they are not executed well in a linguistic sense, whereas Puffy’s  English songs are usually almost as good as their Japanese counterparts.  
The album art is much driven by Rodney Greenblat, whose images of Puffy still remain connected to Ami and Yumi today.  

Overall I would say “Jet Fever” is a great disc to pickup as it is a comprehensive collection of Puffy’s early songs.

Grading
Selection: B+
Packaging: A
Value: A
Overall: B+


An Illustrated History (2002)



Love So Pure
True Asia (Asia no Junshin) (English Version)
That's the Way It Is (Kore ga Watashi no Ikirumichi)
Electric Beach Fever (Nagisa ni Matsuwaru Et Cetera)
Wild Girls on Circuit (Circuit no Musume)
Sign of Love Captain Funk's Puffy De Samba Mix (Ai no Shirushi)
Puffy de Rumba
Talalan (Tararan)
Sunday Girls (Nichiyoubi no Musume)
Friends (Tomodachi)
Mother (Okuda)
Neholina (Nehorina Hahorina)
Brand New Days (Atarashii Hibi)
Stray Cats Fever (Masanori Sasaji)
Puffy's Rule (Puffy no Rule)
Jet Police (Jet Keisatsu)

There is a soft spot in my heart for “An Illustrated History” as it is the first Puffy album I purchased and I’d say it covers the early portion of Puffy’s  adequately, but mostly focuses on Jet and Fever*Fever.  It is definitely an brief introduction to Puffy and definitely paint by numbers.  “Love So Pure” and the remix of “Ai no Shirushi” are probably the interesting choices, as the former was a b-side and the later from PRMX (which is not a great album, but this remix is quite good). 

However as fond as I am of “An Illustrated History” is probably is not a must have save on the used CD market in the US it can be had for about five bucks so with that consideration it is worth a flyer.

Grading
Selection: C
Packaging: C
Value: A
Overall: C+


Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi (2004)


Hi Hi
Friends Forever
Planet Tokyo
Joining a Fan Club
Forever
V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N
Love So Pure
True Asia
Boogie-Woogie No. 5
That's the Way It Is
Sunrise
Into the Beach
December
Teen Titans Theme
Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi (TV Mix)
Teen Titans Theme (TV Mix)

The only reasons I bought “Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi” is that I am a completist and Sony was offering a poster autographed by Ami and Yumi for ordering direct from Sony’s website.   Three versions of “Hi Hi Puffy Amiyumi” are included on the album, which is a song which for me is on the bottom tier of Puffy songs.  There are a number of songs shared between “Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi” and an “Illustrated History” which seems like a lost opportunity to introduce other songs by Puffy instead of similar ones.  I did like the additions of “Sunrise” and “Into The Beach” but that is not enough to really bump me off my opinion that this is at the bottom rung for Puffy compilations.

Grading
Selection: C
Packaging: C
Value: C- (A+ with the autographed poster)
CONTINUED >>


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

More End of Year Concerts: A Second Puffy Christmas Show and Countdown Japan 13/14

Another Christmas concert has been added in Nagoya on December 25th (so a figurative holiday concert and a literal one...), so that is good news. Hopefully this is an indicator that there was a lot of interest in the Kobe show. Doing some research it appears there are a lot of acts that do holiday shows, so I imagine there is a certain amount of plug and play at venues.


In Other Puffy performance news, Ami and Yumi are set to perform at Countdown Japan 13/14 on December 28th.


CONTINUED >>


Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Version Of "Asia no Junshin" That I Did Not Expect

At this point we have all seen a ton of awesome versions of Asia no Junshin... but an orchestra driven one with Puffy. Coolest thing I might see all week. Mike found an accompanying version of Nagisa ni Matsuwaru Et Cetera.







h/t to Ü 須玉湖 dh2 : New01 - x for the cap.



CONTINUED >>


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Puffy Dinner Show

Saw on Puffy's site they have their first holiday / Christmas dinner show which is a very interesting turn of events.



Here is the info from their English site:

17 years from PUFFY's debut and it will be the first time to have a dinner show!
Let's spend a wonderful Christmas with PUFFY while eating a special dinner.
<>
★Ami Onuki★
I've heard that dinner show's is the gateway to success for young artists.
17 years and finally...I'm too full for words.
Please enjoy a PUFFY-like dinner and show.
★Yumi Yoshimura★
Ever since our debut, the management's plan for us to wear thoses jeans and t-shirt...
Phew, we're finally free, and the time has finally come for us to change into our own dress!
Yippee, Yippee!
<
>
【Kobe】December 20, 2013 (Fri)
Hotel Okura Kobe 1F "Heian-no-ma"
Reception:17:30 /OPEN:17:45
DINNER: 18:00~
SHOW: 19:30~
Ticket: 36,000 Yen(Food・Drinks・Service charge included)
※children preschool age and younger not allowed
Reservation contact: Starts from Sept. 21日(Sat) via. telephone
【for 9/21 only】078-333-3800 (10:00~19:00)
【from 9/22日~】078-333-3801 (10:00~19:00)
※Hotel website:http://www.kobe.hotelokura.co.jp/

It might have been someone commenting here or from another blog (full credit to the original writer, I honestly can't remember which it was) discussing these holiday shows and how more established artists turn to doing these shows.  For about 360 dollars a head it is probably a decent revenue source, but finances aside it feels like Puffy has turned a corner in their career and I am not entirely sure I know how I feel about that.  Ultimately if it leads to more good music, that is not much of a worry at all.

Also noted it was in Kobe, which I also find interesting.  I wonder if it is a finding an opening geogrpahically or partnering with a hotel to host.  Probably great for people around the Osaka metro area, kind of a hike for folks in Tokyo. CONTINUED >>


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Finding Puffy in Tokyo

Got back from Japan a couple of weeks ago.  In short: Japan was everything I thought it would be and more.    I would go back again for a vacation without question.  I know what you are asking, did I find any Puffy items.  My first stop was in Kyoto but it  was not my first choice, my wife wa snot in the mood to go to a music shop when we were walking to the Nishi Honganji Temple.  There was a store called Book Off which probably would have been great as I suspect a used store might have more Puffy stuff.  But not worth pressing as the vote was 3 to 1 against me.

As we were walking up to Kiyumiza-dera Temple, which is basically a pedestrian mall filled with tourist stuff.  There was a store that catered to Japanese celebrity type items.  No dice, simply the young clerk giving me the X sign with his hands.  Which to me was about the only off putting thing in Japan, but that seems to be a young people thing and they can be just as annoying no matter where in the world they are. :)  Now my last chance was the final leg of the trip back in Tokyo.

In Tokyo stayed at the Marriott in Ginza (great location, three major subway lines right outside the door) and then time was running short.  Luckily the plucky hotel staff helped me out and pointed me to Yamano Music on Chuo Dori.  A five minute walk from the hotel (well for me... the advantage of being tall).  So we stopped by while looking for dinner and I met with some success.

(via Google Street View)




It was a bit of a bummer to only have recent singles to choose from but I try to make the best of a situation.  So I got the Sweet Drops and Datsu Dystopia singles.  It was a nice way to end the trip as the following day was our flight back to the States.

If anyone is interested I can post some travel pics and I promise I will keep them to a reasonable amount.
CONTINUED >>


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Wild Girls On Circuit Rarity

Once in a blue moon I find a fun rarity on Youtube. Not exactly sure where and why this version of Wild Girls On Circuit was used as the official PV is very different. It looks a notch above normal TV appearances, but there are some little items (like a car jump off the track and veering towards Ami's feet) that suggest this was a limited take (perhaps even one) performance.

Your guess is as good as mine (I would hunch Pa-pa-pa-pa-Puffy....).





P.S. Due to leave for Japan tomorrow via Singapore. Sadly the J-Music selection in Singapore has trickled down to nothing over the past years, so I am not surprised.  Not a lot of down time, but music shopping is on the list. If I get inspired or see Puffy related stuff I will post up.

P.P.S. More thinking about an expanded blog, now just a matter of starting the graphics work with another freelancer I know. CONTINUED >>


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Datsu Dystopia Single Review

After a modest hiatus Puffy is back with the Datsu Dystopia single.  The album cover(s) are nicely shot but do not really convey much beyond Puffy is back.  The upside is both Ami and Yumi look terrific and their new look works.  Hopefully this is a sign they have stepped away from the hobo fashion culture that they have been sporting for a few years (to be fair that just may be a Japanese fashion trend they were compelled to follow).  This review is covering the regular single, but almost everything is applicable to the deluxe version.


Datsu Dystopia is not a bad song, it simply is not the song I wanted.  Not like I get to vote. There are a lot of elements I like and the electronic influences and over the top synthesizers are fun changes.  Unfortunately the things I do not like about the track balance out the things in the positive column.  The pace of the song feels staggered and a touch manic, which doesn't quite work for me.  Ami and Yumi do a decent job singing, but at points it feels like the instruments overwhelm their performance.

My Journal is a solid b track and probably closer to what I like hearing from Puffy.  It probably is not as well engineered song as the title track but the weird part is that it is probably the better song and were it tightened up a little it probably should have been the a track.  I found myself enjoying the guitar focused instrumentation more than the synth heavy lead track.  More importantly there is a throwback feel to My Journal which is a better feel for what Puffy has done musically over the past decade and a half.

Ultimately after the hiatus Datsu Dystopia is not what I was waiting for and it doesn't leave me wanting for more.  I think the contracts with Dareka Ga in that was a single most of us can agree was a great single and created an enthusiasm for Thank You.  As with Dareka Ga I would be surprised if Datsu Dystopia made it onto the next album. If it does I won’t mind but I also do not want the that album to sound like Datsu Dystopia either.

Scorecard
Music: C+
Singing: B-
Instruments: B
Engineering: A-


P.S.  Have a happy Independence Day.  

P.P.S. I will hopefully post something up before I leave for Singapore and Japan, but I just might post up while I am overseas if I find some fun Puffy inspirations.  No luck on reaching out to Puffy, but I did not have high hopes to begin with.

P.P.P.S.  Strong odds I will be spinning another blog from Amiyumidas,at some point. Not am issue with Puffy at all, just that there is so much more I would like to talk about regarding Japanese music that is not Puffy.  You'll still see me kicking out content here, I promise. :)  

CONTINUED >>


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Teen Titans Go Remix

This one has been sitting on my shelf for a while, so I over looked it with the Datsu Dystopia singlke release. Cartoon Network is rebooting the animated "Teen Titans" series and the theme song by Puffy is getting a bit of a face lift via a remix by DJ Mix Master Mike.  He is well known for his work with the Beastie Boys in-particular.



Anything that keeps a lifeline from Japan to the US in regards to Puffy is a good thing, but my view on re-mixes is not a secret either.

P.S.  I have booked a trip to Japan this summer.  It looks like I am not lucky for any performances by Puffy.  Honestly were it in my power I would like to figure out some way to interview them for the site... but that is basically not going to happen. CONTINUED >>


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Datsu Dystopia Full PV

Here is the now full video for the new Datsu Dystopia video. We had gotten a snippet of the song for the HIS advert a while back and I liked what I heard. I am not entirely sure after an extended listen what I think. Datsu Dystopia reminds me of the on of the songs on "Bring it!" penned by Shiina Ringo, specifically Hiyori Hime). Is it a good song for the composer, but I am not sold on it being a good song by Puffy.


So far as the video goes I have a couple of random thoughts. Yumi's hair was redone between parts of Datsu Dystopia so the shaved side of her head and blonde tones are only in the travel agent set. It makes for an interesting contrast and puts some distance between the scenes. Secondly the Travel Agent scenes seem very thrown together, which kinda works. To me it feels like a call back to a cheesy 80's music video, which I thought was fun(or that the budget from HIS was not huge).

Overall I think I find myself wanting something different than what Datsu Dystopia is offering. I wanted more of an "uh oh here comes Puffy" type song as a lead off from their (well deserved) hiatus. Not to sound too negative, I am keeping an open mind on this. There are songs that did grow on me over time like Ai No Shirushi or Hiyori Hime.

h/t to tbb for filling us in with this find and some other great info in the below covers thread. Thanks for being our fan club insider!  Also h/t to Mike for the full link.  I found another source a couple days ago, but that was a d/l.
P.S. Also Youku fixed its embedding codes, so I did not have to spend a half hour trying to embed the video. CONTINUED >>


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Datsu Dystopia Covers

As the marketing for the new single Datsu Dystopia ramps up the covers for the regular and limited were released this weekend via Twitter and the official Puffy site. 



Yumi has completely changed hairstyles and Ami looks to have changed her makeup and both look great.  My daughter commented their shoes are hideous. So mostly a wins with Team Puffy's styling.  

P.S.  Did some minor layout changes today and after some minor hammering I got Puffy's Twitter feed working on the site.  I am going to revamp the entire look of amiyumidas at some point, but I'd rather write than code for the moment! CONTINUED >>


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

This is completely appropriate for today.*





Hope your weekend was great!

*Now I just have to remember not to recycle this for subsequent years! CONTINUED >>


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Puffy Is Back

Puffy's website has been revamped over the past week and for Ami and Yumi it looks like things are back in full swing. 



The new single "Datsu Dystopia" is set for a May 22 release and was produced by LOW IQ 01 (who covered "MOTHER" on the Puffy Covers album.*




Here is a snippet which is mostly in the background, but I like what I can hear.


 

Were I to make a guess, I'd suspect a new album is on the horizon, whether that means summer or fall is a bigger question.  For now a single is most welcome news.

 (* h/t tbb and Mauricamo6)
CONTINUED >>


Friday, February 1, 2013

NYAF 2010 Interview

I was looking for something else and came across this interview Puffy and Boom Boom Satellites, (whom I also recommend as a band to listen to) did for the NYAF festival (which some of you and our Amiyumidas founder attended).  I don't recall ever watching this*, so enjoy.




* It could be because I am drop dead tired...  CONTINUED >>


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Puffy Scavanger Hunt

Hey gang, it has been a little quiet. Holidays, work and some fun has distracted me a little as of late. I can across this track on YouTube and for the life of me I cannot remember which album (a single b side, a cover album... not sure) the below came from.




Your ideas?

Update... Turns out I had it all along, Tencho no Wink from the Puffy Amiyumi x Puffy cover album, here is a version by the original singer Matsuda Seiko:

CONTINUED >>



 
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