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A bit of a theme with Perfume’s music over the past couple of years (or at least of them) is that they are being undersold by song structure and arrangement choices. This is one thing which made Plasma a bit of a weird album for me, because Nakata’s choices in regards to these two things were so inconsistent. At least on Future Pop and Cosmic Explorer it was just a problem across every song. But on Plasma, it was torture, because it was like ‘DUDE. HOW DO YOU GET IT SO RIGHT ON ONE SONG, BUT THEN NOT THE OTHER!?’. “Spinning World”. Worked. “Drive’n the Rain”. Worked. “Android&”. Worked. But then you had “Flow”, which didn’t fully work. “Time Warp”, which didn’t fully work. “Mawaru Kagami”, which didn’t work and was worse than the original version. And then there was “Polygon Wave”, which JUST about worked.
The greatness of some of these songs feels like it is being capped because they’re so half cooked. And this is how I feel about “Moon”. There’s so much good in this song, but Nakata didn’t allow us to really sit in any of it long enough or create an experience for us with the music he had created. So this Extended Mix is me just trying to unlock the song. And I’ll admit. I listen to “Moon” more because of this version.
Short, rushed, incomplete song structures isn’t a Nakata specific thing though. It’s unfortunately become an industry-wide thing. Even songwriters and producers who have been in the game for decades and were crafting four minute songs with intros, middle eights, bridges and modulations are now stripping their songs of all that stuff and just giving us verse → chorus → verse → chorus in the shortest of forms and the bitch is done.
Perfume’s songs have never been overly complex structurally. That’s part of their charm. But Perfume songs used to feel like peeks into different universes or worlds, which allowed us to sit in them for a while. Where-as now it feels like the door is being opened and then closed in our faces. And I also think this is why Perfume’s material these days doesn’t stick as well as their older stuff. It’s not always the sound of the songs. It’s the fact that they are so damn short. Even “If You Wanna” from Future Pop had the potential to be become a setlist fixture and possibly a Perfume classic, but the song was too damn short and didn’t go anywhere. And it’s unfortunate that at a time when Nakata is finally getting the sound right, that he’s letting the side down with song structures.
“Moon” deserved better, because there is a GREAT song in here and the sound is so right for Perfume. But, gurl. The song structure and arrangement choices.