|YMMV • Radar • Quotes • (Funny • Heartwarming • Awesome) • Fridge • Characters • Fanfic Recs • Nightmare Fuel • Shout Out • Plot • Tear Jerker • Headscratchers • Trivia • WMG • Recap • Ho Yay • Image Links • Memes • Haiku • Laconic|
Perfume are a three-person electropop Girl Group hailing from Hiroshima, Japan. Formed in 2000 as trio of standard fare pre-teen Idol Singers; it was the influence of Record Producer Yasutaka Nakata (of electro house duo capsule) that gradually transformed them into a self-described "near future technopop unit", although it was several more years before it translated into commercial success.
When success finally came, it made history - Perfume were the first techno act ever to debut at #1 on the Oricon weekly charts with their single "love the world". The album GAME was only the second-ever techno album to reach #1 in Japanese pop music history. Keep in mind, the previous records were set by Yellow Magic Orchestra in 1983 -- a band often called the Japanese Kraftwerk -- and YMO's biggest hit single only went as high as #2.
The group's name comes from the kanji 香 found in all three of the founding members' names; it means 'fragrance'...so yeah.
The members, easily distinguishable by their different hairstyles and way of dressing, are:
- A~chan (Ayaka Nishiwaki): Has mid-length hair which used to be wavy until recently, and is never not seen wearing a dress.
- Kashiyuka (Yuka Kashino): The one with the heavy bangs and long straight locks; wears her skirts shorter than A~chan.
- Nocchi (Ayano Oomoto): Highly conspicuous in her Bob Haircut. Usually wearing shorts. Joined the group to replace the spot vacated by Kawayuka.
- Former members:
- Kawayuka (Yuuka Kawashima): Left the group in 2001. Eventually showed up in another group called Risky.
Perfume are noted for their energetic & charismatic on-stage performances, complete with matching costumes and intricate choreography executed with military-like precision. And because they're seen as wholesome, naturally beautiful girls singing technopop that is accessible to the masses, they appeal to a wide segment of the population, from young girls to middle-aged men. (And whoever's in between.)
- AcCENT Upon the Wrong SylLABle: Well, they are Japanese.
- Audience Participation Song: "Chocolate Disco" always goes off live. The girls sing "Chocolate", the crowd screams "Disco" and it goes on like that for the next three-and-a-half minutes.
- For live performances of "Puppy love", the girls get the audience to fist pump in a certain way throughout the whole song.
- Band Toon: 'Happy', 'Chandelier House' and 'Love Party' are shows where the Perfume members interact in both scripted and improvised scenarios, often with popular Japanese comedians.
- Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: Loosely defined below.
- A~chan: Beauty. The Chick who plays the Team Mom role even though she's the youngest. The most emotional.
- Kashiyuka: Brains. Often the quietest of the trio, but very much in a Kuudere sense. A real life Meganekko.
- Nocchi: Brawn. 100% Otaku Surrogate. Is the often the butt of jokes, so has a bit of The Woobie about her.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: On their television show, Kashiyuka, the quietest and sweetest of the group, pulled out a baby python from a box and proceeded to chase the screaming cast members around the set laughing and giggling the whole way!
- Book Ends: Subtly used in the video for "VOICE." The girls are standing in the same positions in both cases but at the end, they're holding diamonds.
- Broken Record: The polyrhythmic bridge in Polyrhythm. Don't you dare call it an interlude. Nakata doesn't like that.
- Played with in the video: near-identical shots of the three girls repeat over and over during this section.
- Butt Monkey: Nocchi has traces of this, especially in Perfume no Chandelier House
- Cool Shoes: The brightly coloured four-inch pumps the girls are always wearing and dancing in.
- Cover Version: Among others, Marty Friedman (he of Megadeth fame) has covered Polyrhythm.
- Dress-Coded for Your Convenience: Only since forever.
- Dystopia: Their song "Electro World" talks about one. In contrast "Computer City" talks about a Utopia.
- Epic Instrumental Opener: GAME's intro goes for about 40 seconds; in the Triangle-mix of edge, the track runs for a minute before the vocals kick in.
- Epileptic Flashing Lights: Most of the PV for Butterfly consists of this.
- Greatest Hits Album: Perfume's first album Complete Best was a compilation of all their previously released singles, plus one new song; what's more telling is that it was initially limited edition. At the time (2006) they had only made the transition to a major label the year before, but both management and the girls themselves were unsure that Perfume had a future; hence all three girls enrolled into university that year.
- Idol Group: Surprisingly subverted as that the group started with a more idol-y feel (even doing non-techno songs) but as they've developed their style of technopop the girls have managed to successfully transition to a techno group.
- Intercourse with You: Not many, but a few songs such as Take me Take me have very sensual lyrics.
- In the lyrics of One Room Disco there's one line that talks about how the singer can't turn on the shower alone ever since her messy breakup, implying that they showered together.
- Loudness War: Nakata's production has been pushing the limits of what compression can do with every successive single. Their 2011 album JPN hit Californication levels of distortion, to the point where melody lines that are supposed to be dead centre are wobbling around the stereo field from all of the other instruments momentarily hogging frequency range.
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Electro World". The song is very upbeat in tempo, and the choreography is energetic. But check the lyrics and you'll discover this song is a poetic but depressing tale of dystopia.
This street continued to run ahead
It should have been written in a map but I can't find the town
And as I turned around to look at that place, the scenery changed
This world is our last electro world
The ground is shivering and broken
and the sun has fallen from the sky lightly into my hand.
- This has become standard across their music, as the lyrics are written by the singers and occasionally Nakata. Songs like "edge", about stalkers, and "One Room Disco", about pushing past a nasty breakup, aren't exactly normal subjects for an Idol group.
- This was a recurrent theme with their B-sides in the singles leading up to their third album JPN, with '575' being about uncertainly in relationships & 'Fake it' about a girl who can no longer pretend that the feelings she once had for her boyfriend are still real.
- Mind Screw: Some of their PVs
- There is a dance remix of Polyrhythm.
- Music for Courage: People were initially a little shocked by the uncharacteristic sentiments in Nakata's lyrics for love the world:
My darling, don’t give up
That precious little temper of yours
It’s exciting, hey, and wonderful
The world we see is shining
Even though I stumble blindly
I think I’m starting to understand a little.
- Non-Appearing Title: edge. The 'edge' is implied in the lyric, however (Throw yourself upon the most solid and sharpest part of me).
- The Not-Remix: There are three versions of "edge" - the original (track length 6:31) and the extended mix (8:41), both included on the single for "love the world"; and the version that came on Perfume's third album Triangle (8:43). The Triangle-mix incorporated some of the elements used in live performances.
- Obsession Song: "edge".
- The Pete Best: Kawayuka left not long after the band started, because she wanted to focus on her studies (all the members were still in junior high school at the time). After a consultation with her mother, who said a duo couldn't match the stage presence of a trio, A~chan asked Nocchi to join.
- Record Producer: Yasutaka Nakata, who also does double-duty as their songwriter and composer, exclusively producing them since 2003. Nakata's influence over their sound and even their image, is undeniable, but he insists that the girls sing the songs pretty much the way they want.
- Robot Girl: The girls play robots programmed to deliver pop music in their "Spring of Life" video. Possibly a Take That, Critics! to those who call their music over-processed and robotic, the video has the Perfume androids discover love, only for the feeling to overwhelm them so much that they accidentally cut themselves off from power, ending their lives.
- Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: A~chan reportedly 'confessed' her love to Nocchi during a Yokohama live in 2008.
- Shout-Out: The song "Monochrome Effect" appears in the American Dad episode "May the Best Stan Win", where Stan's future cyborg self comes back in time. While driving around with Francine, Cyborg Stan produces a CD of "future music," declaring the song to be Japanese funk. The song also plays as the episode is closing, showing Stan and Francine's skeletons happily lying together in the grave.
- Single-Stanza Song: "Take me Take me".
- Stage Names: Kashiyuka was initially known as simply Yuka (her real name) to differentiate herself from Kawayuka. She eventually reverted to her stage name, but in early "Monochrome Effect"-era promotional material she is still referred to as 'Yuka'.
- Tsundere: One of their early songs, Jenny in a Bad Mood, is about one.
- Uncommon Time: "Polyrhythm". The bridge has 5/8 and 6/8 vocal parts over a 4/4 drumbeat that switches to 3/2 after the vocal 'hiccups'; the low synth has a 7:6 polyrhythm. It was such a radical bridge for what is essentially an Idol Group that the company initially requested that the bridge be cut altogether. Yasutaka Nakata saw that the song was allowed to stand as is (although a radio edit without it was made in concession) and it became Perfume's first top ten hit, as well as the song that got most people into them in the first place.
- Wardrobe Malfunction: A Running Gag with Nocchi is the frequent number of times she loses a shoe, gets her clothing caught on something, has her belt come loose, etc. in concerts