Single review: Perfume - Cling cling

Single review: Perfume - Cling cling | Random J Pop

Perfume won't take a seat for the whole of July until local hospitals are full of women in the A&E department crying to be giving an emergency lace-front or a black shower cap, because they seem hell bent on scalping. The past 2 months has been a continuous roll out of news and material from the holy trinity that is Perfume. But when all is said is done and we pin everything down to the music, how does their 25th single really fare?

When I first heard "Cling cling" I was extremely disappointed, because Yasutaka Nakata had essentially given Perfume a Kyary Pamyu Pamyu song and insisted they sing it just like her. Just when I thought he had finally gotten to a point where he had found a way to diverge their sounds from one another, he goes and pulls this shit with "Cling cling". The song itself isn't terrible. It's well produced and at the evry least Perfume have never done a song like it before. But it leaves a much more sour taste in my mouth because when all is said and done it is still a case of Perfume singing a Pamyu Pamyu song as Pamyu Pamyu would sing it. If any of us wanted to hear a Pamyu Pamyu song, we would listen to Pamyu Pamyu. Not Perfume. I don't know if Nakata is trying to use "Cling cling" as a furtive way of selling more copies of Pika pika fantajin, but the ultimate shortcoming for "Cling cling" is that it doesn't feel like a Perfume song. It has grown on me consdierably as a result of their live performances, but I still don't like the song itself. Even with the whole chip-tuned video game vibe and the Final Fantasy key, I just can't get into the song unless I'm watching the girls perform it.

"Hold your hand" (or "Sweet refrain 2.0" as you could very easily label it) was a wrap from the day the preview leaked online. The song itself isn't completely terrible. But it came too soon after "Sweet refrain" which did everything "Hold your hand" tries to do, only better and in due course. So much time has passed since we first heard "Hold your hand" and everybody has pretty much forgotten about it because it is so indistinct from "Sweet refrain" and it's just an indistinct song in general. Then there are Perfume's vocals which are shriller than normal and venture into a register during the pre chorus which is so high that it becomes white noise and Dogs start barking for their life. "Hold your hand" could work with a few tweaks here and there. But as it is there just isn't enough to latch onto that we didn't already sink out teeth into with "Sweet refrain". If there's one song this era we can do without on Perfume's fifth studio album, it's this one. But chances are it will make the cut, seeing as it was tied to a TV drama and it has itself itself a music video.

"Display" was full of promise from the day the raggedy footage of the commercial hit the web, giving us a taste of the song. Dissapointgly we don't get a great deal more in the full version that we didn't hear in the preview. Normally with Perfume songs the preview is deliberately truncated in a way which leaves us wondering what the rest of the song will sound like and 90% of the time there is a switch or a shift nobody saw coming (i.e the chorus key change in "Glitter", the brightness of "Spring of life", the whole of "Party maker"). The beats of "Display" are pretty hefty, but not the hardest and whilst the wub wub isn't the most menacing, it's all dialled up to a higher level than you'd expect from a Perfume track. Nakata has been dabbling with lite variations of dubstep for a while now, but this is his best iteration of it he has delivered thus far. There are lots of great little nuances in this track, such as the piano in the intro, the shift from a smooth dancefloor stomper to the distinct stutterings of dubstep and the vocal repetitions of the word 'Display' which are actually each of the girls individually taking turns to sing the word. It's been quite a while since we got something this edgy and hard from Perfume. Even in the wake of "Party maker" which was still tame in comparison to the likes of "Edge" and "Game". I can't wait to see the girls perform this song in its entirety - as much like "Edge" and "Game" the song seems geared more towards them putting on a show with it. I would not be surprised this "Display" got the album mix treatment and was made a minute or two longer. The full version definitely needs that extra something to truly give it that spark.

The B-side "Ijiwaru na hello" is the sleeper on this single. I had no expectations of this song and was expecting something really pedestrian and forgettable like "Koi wa zenkei shisei", but what we instead get is something which is strong enough to constitute being a contender for an album track and could have very easily had been a single in its own right. It is a Summer jam. Fans who have been painting red lines on their foreheads and hanging themselves out of windows outstretched like they're on Pride rock in a bid to get Yasutaka to throw Perfume's sound back to the days of Game must be dead right now - because that's exactly what he's done for this song. The song feels like an even brighter version of "Fushizen na girl" with a strong 80s vibe which surfaces during the hook rather unexpectedly, as the verses give no indication of the direction of which the song will go initially. As has become more and more prominent on Perfume's songs as of late, there is also a great deal of vocal layering and some nice harmonies which are used throughout the song to such an extent that they almost form the music itself. Whilst Perfume's vocals don't ruin or harm the song in the same way they do on "Hold your hand", I am beginning to tire slightly of Nakata's insistence that the girls sing in such a manner. Hearing the girls sing this song in their natural voices or at the very least a more toned down manner would have been amazing. A normal vocal with some soul and range behind it would have made this song killer. The likes of Crystal Kay would have absolutely murdered this song. I could have done without the inclusion of the East Asian beat switches. This song featuring on the same release as "Cling cling" gives it some context, but outside of this it feels too random. But even these are hot and sound manage to sound better than the whole of "Cling, cling". It a shame Perfume didn't shoot a video for this song. Hopefully their choreographer Mikio will hook it up and the girls will perform it live at some point.

"Cling, cling" is a very safe offering and also one to be concerned about. Whilst it's nice to have a diverse offering of songs with no two sounding remotely alike, at this point I am wondering what Perfume's next album will sound like and already it seems as though the consistency of Game or even Triangle is heading towards a window. Worryingly, the two weakest songs on the album are the ones which show the shift in the Perfume sound. As good as it is that Nakata is trying new things with the girls, I do not want an album of overly cute songs like "Hold your hand" or Pamyu Pamyu cast off's like "Cling cling". But then again, as much as I like "Ijiwaru na hello", I don't want an album full of songs like this neither and this is what worries me about the "Cling cling" maxi. It leaves me wondering if Nakata is even sure of where Perfume's sound goes from LEVEL3 or if he's sure of where it should have gone from JPN.

RATING: 5 / 10

Buy "Cling cling" at HMV | CD Japan | iTunes


  1. Chris Redfield15 July 2014 at 13:39

    after listening to display i felt completely cheated. this is not kpop people neither a YG album where the teaser has nothing to do with the song! it really upset me that this song proved nothing more than a few more "displays" and a piano intro. the other tracks are ok i guess...

  2. Chris Redfield15 July 2014 at 13:41

    after listening to display i felt completely cheated. this is not kpop people neither a YG album where the teaser has nothing to do with the song! it really upset me that this song proved nothing more than a few more "displays" and a piano intro. the other tracks are ok i guess....

  3. Chris Redfield15 July 2014 at 13:44

    i absolutely agree! although they are serving the whole "techno pop" genre it's time we get some cleaner vocals. they proved they can do it and they are old enough to sing something that doesn't sound like a kiddy techno song.

  4. I don't know about the full Display. Less is more -- I must say the 'teaser' for Cling Cling was way better than the full as well, way more intriguing. Then again, I hated Party Maker when it first came out too and later couldn't stop listening to it. Anyway, the Display commercial was out of this world.

  5. The routine is hot. I'm digging the live performances, but the song is still crap.

  6. Can't be bothered to even look at any performances after the first one.

    Really couldn't care less about anything to do with any bit of this single.

    Songs suck AND performance sucks too.

    This has become a long trend. Their teasers show promise, their full packages suck. Or the teaser sucks from the get go.

    Perfume is officially just not special anymore. They just go through the motions, yasutaka included, and I just can't call myself a fan after being made to sound like a hater for so long due to the crap they insist on putting out.

    Their look and packaged aesthetic is apparently all I'm a fan of and that should NEVER be enough.

    I'll pay attention to their releases for now, but I am no longer a fan and eventually I'll stop checking on them.

    Just like I did Kumi Koda and ayumi hamaSUCKY.

    I can't even hate on ayumi properly anymore because I don't know what the h311 she is doing with her life.

  7. :/ I just think Nakata has lost his creative streak, and I don't know if he'll be getting it back. It's kind of like how T.Kura used to make them hits for Namie, and now his musical output is a bit shit. Their past few singles have been disappointing. The last era I was really feeling was Spending All My Time, and I know that fans were even divided on that single.

  8. The amount of hair dye and makeup this woman must run through on a daily basis must be crazy as fuck... Gotta hand it to her tho; she is dedicated to her two alter personas and band.

  9. Totally agree with the disappointment. The instrumental is better than the song or MV. I was hoping they would be singing like it was Dream Fighter/Baby cruising love times but the dance and outfits are still awesome.

  10. I think Nakata has forgetten that his robo hos actually age and are human. Being human also includes wrinkles and reinvention. This kind of stuff was cute during their debut... Please give these girls club tracks and not some phony high pitched crap!

  11. Callie Jocelyne1 August 2014 at 07:03

    Cling Cling has been making me Cringe Cringe. I've given the song sometime to digest and I STILL hate it.

    I don't mind when the girls do higher register vocals if the tones of the song balance it out! A lower, deeper, and fuller overall beat mellows out their register. But not this "Cling Cling, I'll throw a shit ton of bass in with this whiny ass EDM Enter the Dragon" Street Fighter Reject track.

    It's whiny, and honestly I feel the girls are past this. I refuse to cosign on these Nocchi/Kashiyuka bitchass diva glares if they are singing at me like the Chipettes from Alvin at the Chipmunks. They are grown. I will not have my edges faded by a bunch of Hatsune Miku level robohoes.

  12. Nocchi is working this routine like her position in the group depends on it. She was getting it and serving face, arms and legs like she was told Kawayuka was coming back unless she put it that work.

    LMAO! Your blog is my favorite Jpop blog!

  13. Idk this seems like more like tommy feburary6 to me.


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