It's time for some of the amazing Asian pop music I keep threatening to write about but never quite seem to get around to. Sitting at the top of my much neglected "To Do" list is Perfume - Japan's hottest girlband. These three lovely ladies hail from Hiroshima, where they experienced some local success before packing their bags and heading for Tokyo to crack the big time. After a couple of misfires, Perfume finally hit the top 10 in late 2007 and their popularity has snowballed ever since. In July last year, they took things to another level by becoming the first "techno-pop" act (I guess we'd describe it as electro-pop) to score a #1 hit in Japan with the fabulous "Love The World". As much as I love that song and I love it A LOT, the follow-up is even better.
"Dream Fighter" is a truly spectacular pop tune. Released late last year in Japan (where it peaked at #2), the track is a rambling five and a half minute epic that keeps you hooked from the first kooky beat to the last. The girls sound amazing but much of the credit has to go to Yasutaka Nakata - the man in charge of Ami Suzuki's stunning "Dolce" and "Supreme Show" albums. His production is exquisite. I love the layers of sound, the quirky sound effects and the surprising flourishes of 70s space disco. Yasutaka's ability to avoid the coldness and sterility that commonly pervades electronic pop music is startling. "Dream Fighter" is deep, lush and catchy to the point of being ridiculous. I've been walking around singing the chorus for weeks and I can't speak a word of Japanese! It's only a matter of time before a western pop star comes along and hires this guy. I just hope it's someone worthy. Like a Minogue.
Make sure you check out the "Dream Fighter" video (below). It's a great example of a really simple concept executed brilliantly. The costumes, direction and special effects are all spot on. Then there's the loopy choreography. The girls from Perfume are almost as famous for their intricate dance routines as they are for their music and this clip demonstrates why.