Puffy Ami Yumi
As you might have guessed from the cover, this record is an example of that ever so troublesome genre label, “J-Pop.” Typical of this genre are strange Japanese extrapolations of American pop themes and girl pop stars who make careers out of exploring as-yet-uncharted levels of cheekiness.
Puffy Ami Yumi have been playing this game for about eight years now, and this is their American label debut. It is a “best of” from their domestic releases since 1996, and shows some musical diversity. Diversity, not progression. See, they are not a band, just like Britney Spears is not a band. They are a product; their music is cynically calculated by handlers for maximum cuteness exploitation potential. Not necessarily always a bad thing; it is pop after all. This is the music we should be hearing at malls and bowling alleys instead of the pseudo-edgy R&B and knowing domestic pop we have now. It may be fake, but at least Puffy Ami Yumi sounds fun.