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
Toku Suru Karada
Nichiyohbi no Musume
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.

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.

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

Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi (2004)

Hi Hi
Friends Forever
Planet Tokyo
Joining a Fan Club
Love So Pure
True Asia
Boogie-Woogie No. 5
That's the Way It Is
Into the Beach
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.

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

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