Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Perfume -- Daijobanai (だいじょばない)
Well, year-end is coming, and my favorite new song of the year was, once again, provided by Perfume (and Yasutaka Nakata, of course). That’s “Daijobanai”, the coupling song (or b-side) for Perfume’s childish Doraemon theme song, “Mirai no Museum” (未来のミュージアム), which was released as a single in February 2013.
While almost everyone in the international fandom was annoyed by how “Mirai no Museum”, the lead track of the single, turned into a childish and kind of flat song, “Daijobanai” was, at the same time, a pretty surprise. If I had to describe it in just one word, it’d be “busy”. The song is really busy, which means it’s full of sounds and different ideas thrown into one big mess that actually works. It's also a great example of Nakata's well known maximalist approach in pop music. With some infamous dubstep “wubs” (wobble bass), chopped vocals, dizzy synth melodies and highly repetitive/addicting lyrics, “Daijobanai” is a short trip that ends after just three minutes. The song seems raw, and maybe unfinished, but, at the same time, Nakata is known for his precise control and perfectionism when it comes to his compositions, so “Daijobanai” is not an imperfect work. Actually, in a kinda bad metaphor, it’s like a really good candy that you can’t eat too much or you’ll get sick of it very fast. Based on that, the song could not be longer at all.
In an interview about the “Mirai no Museum” single translated and posted in the Perfume City Forums (source is here), Kashiyuka (かしゆか) said that Nakata introduced the lyrics for the song to them with the phrase: “this song IS cool” (emphasis on “is”)*. Based on that, we can see how Nakata was excited about this song at the time. And yes, “Daijobanai” can be called a cool song. Going deep on the electro-house road and some post-disco influences of the early 80s, it has a very unique sound, even for Perfume’s standards. Almost like an illusion, it even makes the listener find the song faster than it really is. According to the Virtual DJ software, the song is played at 128 bpm, which is typical of house music. What makes it sound faster is the combination of the chorus repetitive and sped up vocals with some always present frenetic synth melodies. In the end, Daijobanai is not THAT fast, but just a short piece of amazing electronic music. Personal best song of the year, HANDS DOWN!!!
The “Mirai no Museum” single reached #2 on the Oricon charts and sold over 92,200 copies (source: generasia). “Daijobanai” also got a spot on Perfume’s “LEVEL 3” album, which was released in October 2013. The album reached #1 on the Oricon charts and, to date, sold around 230,337 copies. All things related to the song (lyrics, composition and arrangement) were, or course, done by Yasutaka Nakata (中田ヤスタカ).
To finish, here are some photos of my “LEVEL 3” album. I randomly got the fluorescent pink case, which was easily my favorite since the covers were publicly announced (the other options were fluorescent yellow and clear white).
Beautiful Kashiyuka (left) and "Daijobanai" lyrics (right)