Perfume's “Star Train” gets flipped twice in the TBS J-drama Fight Song

Perfume's “Star Train” gets flipped twice in the TBS J-drama Fight Song | Random J Pop

TBS drama Fight Song has been airing for a couple of weeks now, so fans and the general public have had the chance to hear parts of a brand new Perfume song titled “Flow”, which is the theme song for the show. But fans who tuned into the very first episode were given a nice surprise, which wound out being a bigger deal than the new song. And that was Fight Song including a version of Perfume’s 2015 song “Star Train”.

When we’re introduced to Hanae, she participates in competitive karate, and she has a favourite song that she plays before fights to help her focus. And it turns out that the titular fight song in question happens to be Perfume’s “Star Train”. Or rather a variation of it. Haruki is a musician who fictionally wrote and released the song. So the version of “Star Train” in this show is slightly different to the original and is sung by him. The song is retitled as “Start Line” (which is a lyric from “Star Train” itself) and is flipped into a punk rock song.

But this isn’t all.

As J-drama universe fate would have it, ex-karate girl and the guy that wrote “Start Line” would have a chance meeting as a result of the Hanae now working as a housekeeper called to clean his house. When Hanae puts on her iPod, Haruki asks what she’s listening to. She shows him her iPod and it’s his song “Start Line”. Haruki then walks over to the piano and starts playing, and we get a second version of the song with “Start Line”, now flipped into a ballad.

Both versions of the song sound great.

“Star Train” suffered in a way that I think many of Perfume’s songs have done for a while now; which is that the vibe and the music is good, but the vocals and some of the lyrics don’t punch through the way that they should. There’s always an imbalance with Perfume’s songs these days. “Start Line” inadvertently addresses the issues with “Star Train” by having vocals in both versions of the song matching the sentiment of it, which also fit better with the new arrangements. Perfume’s style of singing is so flat and child-like, that no matter the subject matter of the song, it never truly evokes it. Perfume’s vocals on songs are a non-factor, and yet they’re the factor which can make a song difficult to listen to. Hearing “Start Line” adds fuel to something I’ve continually said, which is that Perfume need to start having Nakata or somebody else re-arrange their songs. How amazing would it be if Perfume had 2 variations of “Star Train” in their back pocket for setlists? This would give them an uptempo, mid-tempo and slow version of the song to mess around and be flexible with.

Hearing these two versions of “Star Train” was a bigger highlighter than hearing “Flow”. I can't comment too much on the song having not heard the song in its entirety. Based on the snippets I've heard thus far, it seems pretty underwhelming, and to be a case of shitty verses and a good chorus. But let's see how the full thing shapes up. Although I wonder how full the song will be, given that Nakata has a thing for giving Perfume incomplete songs, and refuses to write their shit with more than one verse.