album review: Perfume “Triangle”

As I mentioned previously in some recent posts, I am getting back to finishing up a lot of backlogged reviews. Just recently, I finished reviewing three singles from Perfume’s catalog from 2008 to 2009, them being “love the world”, “Dream Fighter”, and “One Room Disco”. These three singles lead up to the studio album release of “⊿”, otherwise known as “Triangle”.

” is the second studio album release from electropop sensations Perfume, a trio of girls produced by famous electronica composer Nakata Yasutaka of CAPSULE. Having secured their status as a prominent force in Japanese pop with the release of their first-ever original studio album “GAME” in 2008, all eyes were on the girls for the follow-up sophomore album and interest developed on what sound it would tackle, especially with its three preceding singles having very unique sounds when compared.

With “⊿”, Nakata was going through a rebranding of his sound on his own right, and if you listen carefully to this album, you might just hear those influences bleeding into his works with Perfume. One has to wonder if this experimenting into what almost seems like an exploration into the 80s will shape this triangle to its right angles… the only way to find out is to take off into the night…



Perfume promoting Triangle

Take off

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are cleared for “Take off”!

Take off” is the introduction to the album, and it is purely a countdown to the next track of the album. It’s a stellar intro, with its ethereal melodies suddenly disrupted by an 8-bit melody that has you feeling like you’re in a dungeon fighting for your life. It only loses points for its horrible blending into the next track, but I wonder if that was intended as a gag on Nakata’s part. Whatever the case may be, it still gives off a great appeal as to what we can expect in the album.

Additionally, if you’re looking for a better cut of this song, check out Perfume’s Triangle tour edit version of this song… it’s incredible (and should have been on the album, frankly).


love the world

Rating: 5 out of 5.

It’s exciting! It’s wonderful! The world we see is shining.

“Take off” cuts directly into the beginning of “love the world“, and despite it not blending well into it, “love the world” still sounds just as fresh and amazing as it did when I reviewed its single.

Check out my review for the song itself here, where I just completely go off on how amazing this song, with its 80s influence, hyper-happy drive, and its positive atmosphere, is and how you should start loving Perfume with the world.


Dream Fighter

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Even if reality hits and you almost fall, look forward, and keep walking.

Dream Fighter” follows “love the world”, continuing the streak of singles being placed closer to the beginning of the album. You can check out my review for the single here, and if you want the song directly, check it out here.

In my prior review, I described the song as being darker in tone than its predecessor, but the positive and inspirational tone still remains – what I didn’t describe was how its lyrics are that of building one’s self from the ground and fighting towards the future. It’s a heartfelt effort that blends its words with its fight-like melody that will have you grabbing the tissue box; getting hit with that sentimental, relatable ‘fight-to-keep-going’ message will get those tears running, let me tell you.


edge (⊿-mix)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Take the hardest, sharpest part of me, and hit it.

edge (⊿-mix)” completely flips the previous positive messages and opts for Perfume to travel in turbulence.

Originally part of the “love the world” single, which you can check my review for its original song here (and its extended version here), the Triangle version of “edge” incorporates several new elements into its instrumental that honestly isn’t particularly noticeable. It is also MUCH longer, clocking in at 8:43 minutes. Are you willing to take on the edge of darkness with this one, as its message is very… ‘until the end of the world’, or is this version of the edge to sharp for your liking? Personally, the longer “edge” gets, the more it hurts to listen.


NIGHT FLIGHT

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I wonder what we’ll see from there that connects us to tomorrow…

NIGHT FLIGHT” is the first of the completely brand new songs of the album (as well as one of the few promotional songs for the album), and to this day, it continues to be one of my favorite Perfume songs. It’s an 80s-infused delight, with its 8-bit introduction that you just know should have blended with “Take off”, before taking off (see?) into the skies with its synthy-as-ever melody.

You can really tell “FLASH BACK” had a huge influence on this album, because Nakata sure had a blast utilizing everything in “NIGHT FLIGHT”. The girls’ vocals are tuned the heck out, but it adds to the appeal of what flight attendants would use to page travelers on the plane, and its hyper-speed instrumental has you feeling super speeder Judy Jedy on the plane. It’s a magical song. I’m taking a night flight for my next travels, so thank you Perfume for that trip’s soundtrack.


Kiss and Music

Rating: 4 out of 5.

You’re such a coward. Can’t you make the first step?

Kiss and Music” is the next new track on the album, and it takes me takes me back to the sexy jive the girls explored on GAME with… “Take me Take me”. It’s actually a fantastic song. It loses points for being much shorter than I would have liked, but let’s break down how incredibly fun this song is.

Its instrumental is so sassy, and it is once again harking back to the 80s, maybe even the 70s, with its sexy synth that will have Snoop Dogg visiting for sensual seduction. The girls ad-lib whisper vocalizations in between verses, so there’s no doubt the song is meant to provide the album with a ‘sensuality’. Its lyrics are spiiiiiicy, as the girls flirt with a man, begging him to make the first move. Damn. Nakata does it again, but I have to give it to the girls for knowing how to work their vocals to match the atmosphere. It’s a kiss and it’s music for me, thanks.


Zero Gravity

Rating: 4 out of 5.

To jump to the sky, is gravity really stopping us?

Zero Gravity” continues the streak of the new tracks, and it also continues the sensuality that was presented in “Kiss and Music”, though it’s just a tad bit subdued. There’s a nice summer feel to “Zero Gravity”, with its beach-like introduction and its quirky yet breezy instrumental that will have you feeling the wind on your face on a nice summer day.

The new tracks on the album continue to slap, and “Zero Gravity” is no exception. It’s a melody that is reminiscent of a lot of Nakata’s other works, but it still remains fresh, and while there are moments when the song goes off-key, it’s never a real hindrance (though it takes some adjusting upon further listens). In fact, it sort of adds to the song, giving it this strange element of disjointedness that you can hear in songs today. The lyrics speak of feeling free like gravity does not exist, and as you listen to this song more, it certainly does feel like you’re flying in air.


I still love U

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I can’t get over it. It’s like a labyrinth, and I can’t find the door.

The 80s influences are back in full storm with “I still love U“, which is the main promotional song for the album. It’s introduced by a hard-hitter of a drum instrumental with a heavy synth that feels almost like it belongs in an 80s television show. The melody then continues the hard-hitting instrumental over a solemn set of synth twinkles to give the song’s message of heartbreak more added effect.

It’s a fantastic song; interestingly, I recall, at the time, that people thought this could very well work as an anime tie-in, perhaps as an ending song, and I see it! It’s a very sad song, with its lyrics describing a relationship that’s soured and the heartbreak that ensues for the girls as they try to escape the feelings that have developed. It’s incredibly catchy for a song so filled with sadness, I almost forgot this wasn’t a Saori@destiny or Aira Mitsuki song. That said, I still love this song and can’t get enough of it as time continues forward.


The best thing

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

What are you waiting for? I’ll give you all of me.

One of my other favorite new songs on the album is “The best thing“, a sugary and sweet love song that infinitely loops synth melodies over each other to give it a twinkly atmosphere that matches the song’s pure love themes.

While I can’t say the lyrics are profound or thought-provoking in any sort of way, matching the in-your-face messaging of “I still love U”, it still is charming, as a major chunk of it is in English. It’s actually a stark contrast to the sadness of its predecessor song on the album, changing the overall mood. It is an incredibly catchy song, one that doesn’t quite escape your head, and much like the feelings of love that don’t escape the heart, perhaps that’s its best thing.


Speed of Sound

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Starting point. Engine. Landing. Take off. Turn. Nice flight.

Speed of Sound” is the last of the original new tracks for the album, and it was perhaps one of the more experimental tracks in Perfume’s discography at its time. Sung (maybe spoke, more like it) entirely in English, composed entirely of just words (check out its lyrics), “Speed of Sound” is what I imagine a capsule song being covered by Perfume is like (to this day, they haven’t done that).

With its chant of its Portable Airport-like terms, “Speed of Sound” is a thesaurus that’s accompanied by a worldly electronica beat that pounds with bongo drums, heavy bass and synth, and electronic horns. It’s a totally new sound for a Perfume song, one that is quite catchy. That said, it does feel like a filler track, or perhaps even as just an interlude to the album’s final act. Even then, it’s got quite the speed, it’s got quite the sound… so I can’t disregard that it is a fun track to listen to.


ワンルーム・ディスコ

One Room Disco

Rating: 5 out of 5.

In this new place, will I be OK?

The last song on the album without a remix, and the last of the singles to appear, “One Room Disco” continues to be my all-time favorite Perfume song, and perhaps it is the lyrics of heading off on your own, perhaps it’s the bubblegum-pop-like electro melody, perhaps its just its wholesome vibe, perhaps it is the fun that comes with listening to it.

If you want to see me go a little more in-depth, you can check out the review for its single and its song I did just a little while ago…

Whatever the case may be, when you’re sitting in your one room, I can guarantee that you’ll be disuko-ing to eternity.


願い (Album-mix)

Negai (Album-mix)
Translation: Wish (Album-mix)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

If I can’t find a little more courage, none of my wishes will come true… but if I keep saying “maybe”, our distance will be two parallel lines…

The final track of the album is “Negai (Album-mix)“, which takes the original track, which I reviewed here, and further enhances its melancholy sound, opting for a more finale-sounding album closer.

New additions to the song include a beautiful piano opener that signifies we are approaching the end, on top of strings to really accentuate its ballad flair. The song is significantly slowed down and the accompanying instruments from the beginning tag along to give the song some oomph. It’s a beautiful song, but it does tend to wane as it goes on.

Its lyrics are sad, putting contrast from the previous few songs, but there is a slight hope in its lyrics that I believe may be dedicated to the fans that continue to follow the girls in future efforts. I wish that this song didn’t feel so draining, but it is a nice way to end the album.


OVERVIEW

A fantastic sophomore effort from the girls!

On the scale, I would give this a definite recommend. There’s a lot of charm involved in this album, and a lot of it comes from their producer experimenting with his sound – that same sound is evident from the release of “love the world” and carries into this album released in 2009.

There is a song here for anyone and everyone; there’s glimmers of hope, lots of love, lots of fun, and catchy tracks that might be filler but have a slight essential feel to the album. In all honesty, this might actually be my favorite Perfume album, just because it continues to feel fresh and enjoyable after all these years. Definitely check out ““, as it’s got a lot of good angles going for it.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

MUST-LISTEN: love the world, Dream Fighter, NIGHT FLIGHT, I still love U, The best thing, ワンルーム・ディスコ

For more Perfume reviews, visit the archive!

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