Puffy AmiYumi

By Peter Hemminger

Music this unabashedly happy doesn’t come around every day. Sounds of anger, depression or coldly mechanical sexuality ring forth from the mainstream to the underground. So what better way to piss them all off than by playing an album that is unapologetically euphoric from start to finish?

Nice is the latest disc from Japanese stars Puffy AmiYumi, formerly known just as Puffy until an American rapper decided his nickname du jour took precedence over their seven years of international success. And nice it is, a genre-spanning piece that ranges from the disco-pop of "Tokyo Nights" and the White Album-styled "Thank You," to the hard rocking "Urei," the ska-inflected "K2G," even a "Secret Agent Man" ripoff in "Teen Titans Theme" (the theme to the Teen Titans cartoon).

Handclaps and harmonies abound in the nearly perfect production, transforming the album from bubble-gum pop to inspired bubble-gum pop, a world of difference.

The only real misstep is the ballad "Angel of Love," and even that track isn’t without its charm.

Don’t be concerned that Nice will probably play itself out within a few weeks, this is the kind of disc you forget about only to rediscover again and again over the years. And don’t worry that you can’t understand half the lyrics, just memorize them phonetically, sing them at the top of your lungs, and annoy the hell out of the depressed indie-kids in your car.


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