Music Video: The Perfume tea in “Spinning World” is so hot, that Nocchi can’t even serve it

Music Video: Perfume performing in their music video for “Spinning World”. Wearing red outfits with flared skirts / gaucho pants, in a blue oriental themed set.

“Spinning World” is available on all streaming platforms and officially on TikTok, two weeks out from the release of their 7th studio album Plasma. Although Mikie Tsang has probably racked up more streams of “Spinning World” than Perfume actually will, given he uploaded the song to YouTube a whole month ago following its first play on the radio.

When I listened to said radio rip, I figured that whoever was on the boards at the radio station faded the song. But nope. “Spinning World” actually ends with a fade out. One of the rare instances where a Nakata Yasutaka production does such a thing. Maybe he’s warming to it, as “Natsuiro Flower” on Vroom Pussy Pamyu’s album Candy Racer also ended a rare fade out.

And with the release of the song, we also get the music video, which shares the same visuals as the Plasma album covers. I was really concerned that this video would offer nothing new, because Perfume were teasing so much of it over the past week. Even just from the few looks we got of the video from the special feature that Perfume shot for Panasonic, I felt that it was too much, because Perfume’s music videos tend not to feature numerous sets, multiple setups and varied locations. So whatever you see in a preview for a Perfume music video, is what you will get for the whole music video. And that is exactly the case with “Spinning World”. Although there is a cool twist. But then it’s back to the same ol’, same ol’.

This was a cool video. It reminded me a lot of “Spring of Life”. In fact everything about “Spinning World” reminds me a lot of things that Perfume had done during LEVEL3. The electro 80s sound could sit right alongside “1mm”; the video to which was also an album cover come to life, just as “Spinning World” is for Plasma. We got the whole life system in the back dealio from “Spring of Life”. Sitting at a table and moving shit around systematically from “Spending All My Time”. A trippy dual Kashiyuka mirror scene as we got in “Magic of Love”. And the whole video concept in general felt like one which would have worked for “Clockwork”. But “Spinning World” also felt like nods to things Perfume had done over the course of their career. Perfume powering down and needing to revive each other, as they did in “Secret Secret”. The orient theme from their VMA Japan 2012 look and performances, which we also saw in “Cling Cling”. The outfit silhouettes from “Flash”. It’s a very typical Perfume video, which I’m sure fans are going to love.

I like the video. Super clean. Super sharp. And a cool narrative twist which came mid-way through. It’s just a shame that Perfume’s videos tend to feel so one note. This is their thing now. I get it. But there are so many other shots and things that could have been introduced to have elevated the video a little more. Even something as simple as an overhead shot of Perfume sat the table, or an overhead shot of them spinning during the choreo, so we got something like the limited edition cover of Plasma. Or close up shots of them singing whilst in an intertwined pose, similar to the opening of “Fushizen na Girl”.

Perfume’s music videos these days tend to be a case of cool sets and concepts, but flat execution. “Time Warp” had such great set design, and great look. But it got old fast, because everything was shot the same, and not enough was done with the timing aspect. Even the “Polygon Wave” music video. As terrible as it was, it wasn’t the concept that was bad. It was the execution. The whole thing would have worked so much better if it were shot in a more interesting way which captured the energy of the song. And it’s telling that both of these videos and “Spinning World” were directed by long time collaborator Yusuke Tanaka.

There is very particular visual language that Perfume’s music videos have and have always had. And I respect it. But it’s getting less and less interesting, because so many of the videos are starting to feel the same, because they are all being shot the same way. Something can still be consistent and true to something, whilst being different, which is also how I feel about Perfume’s music. But I ain’t going down that road today.

Music Video: Perfume performing in their music video for “Spinning World”. Wearing red outfits with flared skirts / gaucho pants, in a blue oriental themed set.
Perfume - Spinning World | Directed by Yusuke Tanaka

The one thing that I feel really saved this music video was the choreography. The routine is great. In fact, all of Perfume’s routines from “Time Warp” onward have been pretty great. Even when I’ve not been a fan of the songs or the music videos, I can't fault the choreography.

Perfume’s routines featuring far more whole body movements and isolations, gives them a completely different dynamic than usual. But the end result is still a routine that looks and feels like a signature Mikiko / Perfume routine. It also allows each member to convey and express their own vibes a little more. I’ve always noticed the differences between how a-chan, Kashiyuka and Nocchi move. But it’s REALLY noticeable with these newer routines, where Perfume are moving their bodies, and there’s a greater reliance on rhythm.

It’s almost like the way they were dancing in their TikTok’s has made its way into their own song routines. Maybe fans were like ‘Dance more like this’ and Perfume took it on board. Or perhaps Perfume themselves were doing the TikTok’s and dancing differently, because they liked expressing themselves differently and moving that way, hence why it’s carried into their own song routines. Either way, it’s a cool development, and one which makes sense. Perfume are so adept with their own movement language having done it for so long, that they probably like a challenge and something a bit different. But also, Perfume are grown now. So their routines should feature more moments to express themselves a little more as women.

It’s just a shame we’re not getting this development consistently in their music or music videos. But “Spinning World” on all fronts is still decent. I pick Perfume’s shit apart, because I’d like to see and hear them reach their full potential before they call it quits. Because I know there’s more this group and their team can give than what they're giving.

Music Video: Perfume performing in their music video for “Spinning World”. Wearing red outfits with flared skirts / gaucho pants, in a blue oriental themed set. In this particular shot, Perfume are shown in silhouette form only, with pink lights behind them.
Perfume - Spinning World | Directed by Yusuke Tanaka

It’s a real shame that “Spinning World” didn’t kick off the start of Perfume’s new album phase. I think it would have gotten fans and the general public far more excited about what Perfume were cooking up, whilst also cashing in on the nostalgia of their older sound, that many still love and know them for. But this is that age old, raggedy Japanese singles and album release pattern for ya.

Perfume’s 7th studio album Plasma will release physically and digitally on July 27th, 2022.

💽 Revised editions: Perfume’s albums, re-sequenced
🎚️ A mashup: Whitney Houston x Perfume
🎛️ Perfume megamixes: Cosmic Explorer megamix | LEVEL3 megamix | Game megamix
🎧 Playlists: The Rest “P Cubed” | Perfume Pussy Poppers
💿 Single & album reviews: Flow | Polygon Wave EP | Polygon WaveThe Best “P Cubed” | Future Pop | Cosmic Explorer | LEVEL3 | JPN | Triangle | Game | Complete Best