Friday, February 26, 2021

Puffy really could cover "Yureru Omoi" by Zard

Yo Yoshida and Rio Suzuki have been doing Pokari Sweat adverts in Japan for a while and honestly they have so much synergy between with each other that I hope they do commercials with each other forever.  They are silly ads and simple.  Then something happened and they started doing the songs for the ads.  Then the songs themselves had a full length MV.  Most are fun and for actors singing come off very well. 

However a couple years ago they covered "Yureru Omoi" by the 90's legend Zard aka Izumi Sakai (who I have covered in a previous blog).  It works amazingly well and Yo Yoshida is of an age that Zard would have hit critical mass when she was younger.  Her excitement singing and going into the chorus is really heartwarming.    

My oldest and I were watching this and her comment was that Puffy would cover this song even better.  She was right, "Yureru Omoi" would be an incredible cover by them.  Especially with Puffy's more lean band line up so vocals would sound something like this but instruments something more like Zard. 

If you have not checked out Zard... well Izumi Sakai was a special vocalist so please do so.  Her positivity and powerful singing were something that resonated in Japan. My kid upon one listening started checking her out because her voice was second to none.

Despite her tragic death in 2007, she remains relevant today.  Concerts with her recorded vocals and live musicians still happen.  A cover band of young women, Sard Underground, carry the musical torch and they bring new life to Izumi Sakai's music.  

Izumi's death still gets me and makes me sad... yet happy because her music was special.  There was so much more she had to give to Japanese music. While she is now long gone, the world is better for her being in it, even if that time was short.

Here is one of the memorial concerts.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Hoyareho Lullaby

Hey Puffy fans... this new song, "Hoyareho", escaped me, which is a littl eembarrassing as I (like almost everyone) is stuck at home... listening to a lot of music. Anyways, Natalie Mu has a write up here... The song was composed by an AI, then Ami did thee lyrics and Shunsuke Watanabe did the arrangement.


 I would not call this an official release as it is not on the Puffy site as a single, I'd call it a musical experiment or project. I'll be honest it really is not my cup of tea, but I can see why it is a lullaby.  I am glad to see Puffy doing some work.

Anyways, I hope 2021 provides something interesting to write about and that where ever you are that you are safe and healthy.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Puffy's Song on the Gaki no Tsukai Annual Batsu "Don't Laugh" Extravaganza

The annual Gaki no Tsukai ended January first and for us who don't really speak Japanese the translation by Team Gaki was completed this past week. 

For those that do not knwo what I am talking about the annual batsu game, Don't Laugh puts the cast of Gaki no Tsukai into a job/theme for a day.  They must not laugh for the day, if they do then they will be punished.  The producers do an amazing job setting up gags and skits to make them laugh.  In all of this is a slew of Japanese actors, comics, musicians and celebrities making appearances in those skits.

Image courtesy of NHK / Gaki no Tsukai

Gaki no Tsukai is an amazing show on a weekly basis, but they pull out all the stops for the annual special  This year was really good with the Youth High School batsu.  It was a good combination of running gags and some new ones. The theme we saw early in the 2000s, which is arguably their one of their best NYE specials.  Anyways this year's special was remarkable and rumored to be the last, so it was neat seeing Puffy do the end song, which may be the biggest act to do it.

I was hoping for an original song recapping the batsu game, which I recall being pretty standard.  But nope it was "Kore ga Watashi no Ikiru Michi" with new lyrics recapping the special.  It is neat to see Puffy on a bigger stage than they usually get these days (probably 10-20% of Japan was watching*). 

But... and this is probably not a popular take... it was not great.  I think some of the issue may have been translation which didn't feel as tight as the rest of the show.  Maybe this is because translating lyrics is different.  Also the vocal delivery was not super energetic, which I could apply to a lot of what Puffy has done in recent years.  They just don't blow the doors off. 

Long story short, it was fun enough and I am glad Ami and Yumi get some serious TV time.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Loading Up For 2020 with a Asahi Clear Advert

It is good to see that Puffy looks to have an active year ahead of them.  Various festivals and other performances.  No sign of anything resembling a new album, which is frustrating as their last album was the fantastic "Thank You."

Anyways they have a new song for Asahi Clear.

Nothing earth shattering here, it sounds like a Puffy song made for a commercial.  Of course we are not hearing the whole song, but it is on brand so to speak.  There are two adverts in this campaign, this one I liked better than the other.  You can see more about the Asahi Clear ad campaign here.

Said this before and I'll say it again. the frustration here is if you add up all the side work and one off singles Ami and Yumi have done since "Thank You," they could handily spin up an album.  Some of this may be entirely out of their control, depends on who owns all the music as they shifted labels (they do remain represented by SMA which can be confusing) and commercials might introduce other complexities.

While it looks like 2020 has a lot on the calendar for Puffy, they have talked about ending their run this year so it will be curious to see if they hold to that or that was idle speculation their part.  My take is it seems like they do just enough to keep going.

Also a side note, I think they are a dark horse for the 2020 Tokyo Opening Ceremonies given they are one of a handful of Japanese acts to have a significant international following.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The Long Delayed... Part 3 Mike Toole's Write Up of Puffy's Boston show.

Some side conversations about Puffy's Anime Boston Appearance with Mike Toole.

Concerning how Puffy set up thir Not Lazy Tour.
I think it's fair for you to complain that their Not Lazy tour was... well, a bit lazy. After all, it has indeed been ten years! But the Shonen Knife thing... that's a pretty weird comparison, I think. Shonen Knife are essentially a sole proprietorship-- Naoko does all of the heavy lifting in that band, because punk rock keeps her young!! But Puffy still require a lot of support to travel and tour. They're small-time now, but still part of Warner Bros, so they have label people to deal with. As a unit, they're used to having stuff set up for the girls, separate accomodations for the band, plus travel/accomodation for management/merch sales. That's a lot of people and gear to move around. An act like Shonen Knife are going to be used to traveling a lot leaner, which lends a certain agiity.

The Future of Puffy's US Touring
That said, I do think that Puffy are overdue for a larger tour, and that it oughta be pretty easy for them to do a 12-20 city tour in North America at midsized clubs (400-1000 people) and do very well for themselves, especially if they offer VIP meets at some of the bigger shows. As Chanel discovered, there's a pretty decent number of people who are willing to drop an extra bill to meet Puffy and hang out with other nerds. With the band basically a nostalgia act in Japan, I honestly think it's a good time for them to hit the road for a world tour and make some money. Like I said, I just have this feeling I'll see them again in a year or two. I think they're gonna come back. I hope it happens!

P.S. Mike Toole did a great write up and I kind forgot I had a third post.  Sorry Mike, you are a great writer and deserved better out of me!