Puffy’s “Splurge”

Puffy / Splurge / June 28, 2006
08. missing you baby / 13. Security Blanket

It’s hard to believe that I actually met Puffy during their first US tour in 2002. Before that, they had been a band since 1996, hosted their own television show, and virtually gained enormous popularity in their native Japan. After that, they created their own television show in the US which airs on Cartoon Network, Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, which is sort of a semi-biographical exageration of their musical lives, and changed their international name to Puffy AmiYumi (due to that one rapper guy). Who knew they would get so popular in the United States? Certainly not me. In fact, when they autographed a CD for me, all I pretty much knew about them was that one of them had been married to Takanori Nishikawa from T.M.Revolution, who I was really into at the time, and that their compilation CD released in the United States was pretty horrible. In fact, the only song I really liked was “Kore ga Watashi no Ikiru Michi” and the rest left me bored. I was still heavily into X Japan and hide at that time, and the ABBA/Beatles/punk references did nothing but annoy me because I didn’t remember the Beatles ever being that bad.

In fact, it was only listening to this new CD that I can see where all of these references might stem from. But if we’re going with the Beatles comparisons, I would say early Beatles, but less catchy and more poppy. The sounds used to produce the album are all soft, using minimal electric guitars. The biggest instrument that stands out to me is the drums and the synth sounds created on the keyboard (as in the 50’s prom song “Koi no Echuudo”). If you’re looking for something more Camera Obscura this summer, I guess this CD would be for you. Many of the songs have a late 50s, early 60s pop sound with a perhaps slightly vintage early 90s anime sound evidenced in “missing you baby.” There’s even traces of 80s alternative, if I dare say. On the plus side, it’s certainly a change. For everything reminiscent, the CD plays fairly well.

Four years ago, songs like “Radio Tokyo” and “MOGURA LIKE” would have fallen on completely deaf ears, but today, though the CD still seems somewhat flavorless to me, I do enjoy it. It’s innocent, enjoyable, and upbeat. A fluffy marshmallow, if you will. There’s even a cover of Green Day’s “Basket Case”…but I’d rather forget that’s on there, if only because their vocals are way too thin for the song and prove the stereotype of Japanese rocker chicks (light, high-pitched vocals against sounds way too harsh to mesh with their tones).

This CD continues to grow on me today, which is the sign of a longtime keeper. I just wish I had appreciated them as much as I do now when I had met them.

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