Let’s go back to 2008, a better time, when there wasn’t a global pandemic and Perfume was ruling the Japanese charts for the very first time in their (at the time) 8-year career. Coming off from the success of their first album ‘GAME’, fans were anxiously awaiting for the next release and a lot of questions came up: how were they going to follow this up? Are they just a one-trick pony? Will they continue this same level of success?
Luckily, Perfume released their seventh major single, ‘love the world’, in July 2008 to huge success, becoming the first techno-pop single to reach #1 on the Oricon charts in its first week, and it ran on to be their best-selling single of their career. It did receive some critical success, as well, but how did I find the single myself? Was it as loving to the world as its title suggests, or is this only a one-way love? Read on!
The title track, “love the world“, is perhaps, at the time, one of Perfume’s most adventurous tracks, as it was around the same time that their producer Nakata Yasutaka was experimenting with incorporating 80s synth into his tracks a la ‘FLASH BACK’ (this was also evident in his works with both MEG and Suzuki Ami). The song begins with flutters of harpsichord along with a bubblegum synth-pop tune and overlaying synth bass to give this song the happy-go-lucky 80s vibe it aims for. Following suit is the extreme auto-tuning of the girls’ vocals to fit the Perfume mould, and then we are thrown for a loop into a joyous chaos of 80s electro meshed with robotic vocals for a ‘chu-chu-chu’ of happy emotions. This is a fun, hyper-happy tune and is so unique amongst their discography. An amazing song to follow-up from their first album, “love the world” will have you ‘la-la-loving’ Perfume eternally.
The B-side is one that I know fans did not see coming at the time, despite its title. “edge” is Perfume at their most experimental, opting for a feel and style that was not totally evident in their previous catalog. Beginning with breathy whispers, it extends itself into a warped ambient instrumental, looping, hypnotic. Before long, you’re thrown into a repetitive array of lyrics that get you ‘down, down’. Nakata Yasutaka’s music with capsule at the time had this similar edge, and it is very clear he needed to try this out with Perfume. If you were familiar with his work, much of it is incorporated here: obscure sampling, ear-piercing synth, and a full reliance of the instrumental to keep the flow of the song. Not to say this is bad! This was boldly executed well, becoming one of Perfume’s most-anticipated songs to see live, and it has given Perfume more of an edge in their music… pun intended.
If you think “edge” is too short (cutting it at a 6:31 length), then boy, do they have a surprise for you! “edge -extended mix-” is longer, adding more length to its haunting introduction with heavier drum beats, more length to the interweaving instrumental beats between vocal portions, and more distortions to the girls’ vocals in later parts of the song. It’s a fun little ditty that perhaps works if you were doing a DJ set, but as a casual listen, it runs at 8:41 in length, which is 2:10 longer than the original and might not be as fun. I will say, it’s a great drive listen, so if you know how to drive and want to get that dark 80s like feel, perhaps this is for you. However, it may still be too long for your liking.
It is a loving single, no doubt! A great return for the girls following the release of their first album, ‘love the world’ introduced Perfume (and everyone else) to a new world of techno-pop, and the joy from their success and labour to get where they were to that point was evident in both the song and its accompanying music video. Its c/w track, “edge”, also brought us a new darker side of Perfume like never before, transforming their already great catalog of songs with variety. I admit, this is one of my favorite Perfume singles, and it continues to this day. I’m in love with Perfume’s world, and I don’t think it’ll ever waver.
MUST-LISTEN: love the world, edge