Rainy Mondays, vol. 9 – “Mugen Mirai”

I’m calling it now: if the Chihayafuru manga maintains consistent quality as it goes on, this site will become a dedicated fansite for that series.

This is Perfume’s latest single, released last Wednesday, and as with every Perfume single since 2011, it is a tie-in song. This one is the theme song for the third live-action Chihayafuru film, released in Japan last weekend. You may recall in my review of Chihayafuru vol. 1 that Perfume previously recorded a theme for the first film.

Perfume is my favorite pop group of all time. At their best, their music was mysterious and sophisticated, but wrapped in an indelible and inviting package. They single-handedly turned the way I think of pop music upside down, and it’s thanks to them that I’m willing to take it more seriously.

In my opinion, hey’ve been on a steady decline in quality since 2013; LEVEL3, which was released five years ago this October, was their last work that truly wowed me, and even that was a shocker, since the singles leading up to it weren’t exactly stellar. Its follow-up, Cosmic Explorer, was an out-and-out mess. While their live shows are still a treat (I opted to see them on the Cosmic Explorer tour despite my feelings about the album and had a blast), I feel like being a fan of theirs for the last several years has meant settling for less and being okay with diminishing returns.

This single, “Mugen Mirai,” is undoubtedly their best single from this era. I love the simple melody in the verses coupled with the Super Nintendo-esque synth pads. I’m not a fan of pop music with instrumental choruses, nor am I a fan of producer Nakata Yasutaka’s style of future bass, but he makes it come together here. The title means (as far as I understand with my limited Japanese study) “Infinite Future,” and listening to it feels like watching the skies open up in front of you. It feels good. Certainly it’s no match for the likes of “Secret Secret” or “Baby Cruising Love,” but it works well on its own merits and also fits thematically with Chihayafuru. Give it a shot!

“Mugen Mirai” is available on iTunes.

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