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Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi

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Album Review

Despite being huge stars in their native Japan and releasing three brilliant albums in the U.S., Puffy AmiYumi have never made much of a splash with record buyers. The band may finally change that with the release of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi Music from the Series. After performing the theme for the Cartoon Network show Teen Titans, Puffy and the network decided to create their own animated series revolving around the band. The boisterously delicious theme ("Hi Hi") kicks off this disc of singles, album tracks, and rarities that is a necessity for already devoted Puffy fans and may just win them some widespread acclaim. The tracks are taken from the group's two American releases with four songs ("Boogie Woogie No. 5," "Love So Pure," "December," and "Into the Beach") coming from 2001's Spike and one ("Planet Tokyo") from 2003's Nice, their first single (1996's "True Asia"), the Scooby Doo 2 soundtrack ("Friends Forever"), their 1997 album SoloSolo ("V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N"), singles ("That's the Way It Is"), and rare tracks ("Forever," "Sunrise" and a rollicking cover of Jellyfish's "Joining a Fan Club"). Every song collected here is first-rate sunburst pop that manages to pull off the rare trick of being cute without being cutesy. The duo has so much good cheer, energy, and spunk that any charges of preciousness leveled at them can just be laughed away. It also helps that the two men responsible for crafting their sound, Tamio Okuda from the legendary Japanese pop band Unicorn and Andy Sturmer of the legendary American pop band Jellyfish, fully understand Puffy's appeal and craft perfect pop songs for them, delving into punk, new wave, girl group sounds, and even rockabilly and giving everything a bubbly J-pop twist. Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi is a great introduction to the group. It doesn't provide the most rounded picture of the group — look to 2003's Illustrated History for that — but it does round up a batch of their most glittering and poptastic tunes, and is sure to be a hit with the same people who would be drawn to the cartoon. [The 2006 U.K. expanded edition includes three bonus tracks.]

Biography

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Puffy AmiYumi are a Japanese pop group who have achieved the status of a minor industry in their homeland, where their records have sold over fourteen million units, they've successfully marketed a dizzying variety of merchandise (from the traditional T-shirts and souvenir books to dolls, bow ties, and underwear) and starred in not one but two successful television shows. The duo has also enjoyed considerable critical success for their infectious and energetic pop music, in which vocalists Ami Onuki...
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Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi, Puffy Ami Yumi
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