Flashback Friday: Perfume - Secret, secret | The video done told us the tea

Flashback Friday: Perfume - Secret, secret | Random J Pop

Let's jump back for a second. And remember that period during 2008-2009 when Perfume's looks were all the way decent and their sound was pretty locked down. Because everything that went down during this period, would go on to set the course for Perfume in more ways than one. And it kinda all started with "Secret, secret". One of Perfume's best songs and the video in which they looked their best.

In fact, "Secret, secret" done told us everything about Perfume and how they ain't in control of a damn thing, and I didn't even know it.

Prior to "Secret, secret", Perfume's style was...a mess. You could see that they were still figuring the looks out and the music videos were a case of the budget not being there to bring the intended visions to life. Perfume were kinda poppin'. Not poppin' enough for their record label to give them decent advances. But poppin' enough for others to see the potential that Perfume had to stand out amongst a saturated crowd of girl groups.

The music video for "Secret, secret" was produced by MTV Japan and Morinaga milk, the owners of the Pino chocolate brand in the video. With that in mind, MTV were probably like 'Yo. Ya'll need to step that style game up and stop looking like daytime television trash'. And Morinana milk were probably co-signing that with 'Make our chocolate look sexy'. I'm joking, but not joking. Because this is the kind of shit that I could imagine major corporations saying to the management of a girl group.

Perfume's videos prior had been pretty budget. So we can see clearly see that MTV and Morinaga milk money. The product placement in this video is far from subtle. The whole thing is literally a chocolate commercial. After all, "Secret, secret" was not released a single. But it all feels so tongue and cheek, ridiculous and self-aware that it works. It also helps that "Secret, secret" is a fucking bop. But the music video also kick started a new phase in Perfume's looks, visual aesthetic and how they feature products in their music videos. It was the beginning of Perfume truly becoming a brand.

Whilst Perfume's style has... (is evolved even the right word?) ...'shifted' into the Super sentai looks we know and hate now, their music videos have barely budged. "Secret, secret" established something that worked for the group and was easily adaptable. The girls existing in a different world to ours. Not being completely real. The sense of surrealism. We'd see an almost identical music video 8 years later with "Pick me up".

But "Secret, secret" makes me sigh, because it makes me think about what Perfume could have become if their team had done things a little differently. How they could have had a lane in fashion. How they could have been so much more relevant in Pop on a wider scale. What kind of group they would be if their team allowed them to show a bit more character on screen. If they were allowed to grow up and give mus material more indicative of their age and their world view. If Nakata had evolved what he thought was the Perfume brand of pop instead of forcing the girls to front his. Whilst what's done is done; the shit that Perfume are putting out now make it difficult for me not to look back, because that's where the reminder of what I fell in love with lies.

It honestly feels as though Perfume are working in reverse. Perfume were releasing better singles back in the day and giving us videos with better looks. But we were also getting a great deal more charm and personality too. Looking at Nocchi in "Secret, secret" and looking at her in more recent videos is like looking at two different people. People change, sure. But there seemed to be a conscious decision made during the JPN singles run for Perfume to become canvases for whatever their team and fans wanted. Perfume would become almost omnipotent. Not real. There would always be a sense of un-attainability. There would be a clear line between Perfume as performers and the girls behind the group. Things which wouldn't be such issues if the quality of what they put out was still high. But it isn't. And now it's a problem.

But "Secret, secret" is also telling and reads to Perfume's current situation pretty succinctly. (It's like some Nostradamus type shit). Perfume are just there to sell the chocolate. That's it. They're there to sell a product. Perform and make it all look cute. That is all. Perfume have a job to do. It'd be great if that job involved them taking control of their career to stop it careening off the road, but it doesn't. It's not in their control. It's not their job.

"Secret, secret" planted the seed for the narrative that would go on to be that of which we know and are experiencing now. But is also reminder of a time when Perfume kinda had it all and they had the balance right. And I miss that. But it speaks to how good Perfume's shit was once upon a time that it still looks and sounds great now. Because I know when this Future pop shit drops, that I'mma be diving right back into the old shit. Shoot...I already have.