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  • Nice
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4.7 out of 5 stars54
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on August 23, 2005
First off, don't be scared off by the "J-pop" label people keep attaching to this band here. Puffy's music has no relation whatsoever to popular Japanese singers like Utada Hikaru, Ayumi Hamasaki or Misia, which have more in common with their American equivalents Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera (to give you a comparison you'd probably be familiar with). Pigeon-holing Puffy into this category really does a great band a serious disservice.

Puffy is hard to categorize, but they call themselves a rock band. But don't call them "J-rock" either - their music these days is mostly written by Jellyfish veteran Andy Sturmer, who is also their mentor (along with Tamio Okuda). It has a decidedly western sound to it, which makes the juxtaposition with their mostly Japanese vocals just that much more striking. (Despite their appearance, Ami and Yumi are both also older and more experienced than most of their Japanese contemporaries - both girls are now in their thirties.)

It's this blend of east meets west and this mish-mash of styles and influences that make them as interesting and as listenable as they are. Their music is immediately appealing the first time you hear it, and it only gets better from there.

"Nice" is, in fact, an album probably more tuned to American tastes than Japanese. It was released after their American debut and is a much harder, heavier album than any they've released previously. That's not to say all the songs are that way, but the overall effect is a sort of folk/pop/rock/punk fusion that leans heavier towards punk than their previous efforts. "Urei", for example, is a particularly loud and noisy song, but with such a powerful and (dare I say it) beautifully melodic tune that it will be difficult to get it out of your head once it's in there.

Several of the album's songs are instant Puffy classics, including the hard rocking "Planet Tokyo" that comes off as a true anthem (also presented in its original Japanese as "Red Swing"); "Invisible Tomorrow", the Japanese version of "Friends Forever" (with a different vocal arrangement - your taste may vary); and the ska-influenced "K2G". In fact, there's really not a bad song on the album; I could list almost every song as a potential highlight.

Since their Japanese debut nearly 10 years ago, Puffy has been marching steadily towards this heavier sound, and when I saw them live just a few nights ago in New York, you'd have been forgiven if you didn't think they were an outright punk band. Some people may prefer the new image to the old, some may feel the opposite, but all of their music is great and all of their music is stamped with their unique personality. When all is said and done, though, "Nice" does stand as one of their best works.
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on September 13, 2003
I have been a fan of Puffy AmiYumi for two-three years now. "Fever Fever" was my first introduction to the Japanese power pop duo because I had a friend who talked incessantly about them to a point where I had to check them out. I have been an enormous fan of the group since "Fever Fever". I may not understand Japanese but I sure know a good hook when I hear one. Puffy AmiYumi puts out some of the catchiest and infectious pop songs since the days of ABBA. I was more than annoyed when that idiot P. Diddy threatened to sue the duo for using the name "Puffy", yeah like he is still going by that name today. I was thrilled when their music started to enter the US market because I paid an arm and a leg for import versions of their albums. Their last album "Illustrated History" was basically a compilation for the US listeners, and "Spike" was the US version of the Japanese album (which I own both versions). I recently came across "Nice" in the used cd bins and immediately snatched it up. The cd artwork is a take off on the infamous bedroom scene with John Lennon & Yoko Ono. Once again, I was not disappointed with the new music by my favorite J-pop duo. It is really difficult to categorize Puffy AmiYumi's music. Their music is a mixture of pop, rock, lounge, ska, country, basically everything but the kitchen sink theory. Most of the songs are sung in Japanese however the first track "Planet Tokyo" is sung in english which is always interesting to hear Ami and Yumi sing to. I particularly enjoyed songs like "Tokyo Nights" and "Angel of Love". They are incredibly catchy thanks to ex-Jellyfish, power pop genius Andy Sturmer. "Nice" definitely fits the bill when it comes to describing the album's content. Puffy AmiYumi can do no wrong with this fan.
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on March 6, 2004
Every so often during the recording of this album, Ami or Yumi would say "This track is pretty good, but it only has five entirely unrelated brilliant things going on in it. Can we have seven more please?", and Andy Sturmer (for it is he) would pick a random album from his collection and add the ABSOLUTE BEST BIT from that album, and then they'd do it again and again until every single second of every single song made them all want to jump for joy. This is the only theory that adequately explains the facts of this album and is therefore SCIENCE. They steal more shamelessly than any artist other than Robbie Williams, and more widely than he would ever dare, and they bring you an album where you feel like you know every song already and yet it's still fresh. Five stars aren't enough.
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on June 18, 2005
See, I'm a huge fan of everything Japanese and animé, so of course, I love this CD. I just bought it today and haven't listened to anything else.

The tracks that really stand out to me are:

Planet Tokyo

Angel of Love

Invisible Tomorrow (I love the ska influence in part of the music)

Your Love is a Drug

K2G (LOVE LOVE LOVE the ska sound with the Japanese lyrics)

Shiawase(Happiness)

Urei

Teen Titans Theme (love the B-52's-style sound)

Red Swing

Hell, I love the whole CD. What got me interested in this group was the show 'Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi' on Cartoon Network.

I recommend this group to everyone.
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on August 17, 2003
Puffy AmiYumi are nothing short of a phenomenon in their native Japan. Coming together as a twinkle in the eyes of Japanese rock star Tamio Okuda and influential pop demi god Andy Sturmer (ex Jellyfish), Puffy have been churning out awesome CDs for years. "Nice," is their latest and GREATEST (as well as being the first produced in its entirety by Sturmer). The songs and performances are first rate, and the girls have never sounded better. Unlike some of Puffy's past efforts, Nice NEVER gets thin. Every song here is a gem. Most are sung in Japanese, but some, like "Planet Tokyo,", "Your Love is a Drug," and "Teen Titans," are sung in english. Listen to the beautiful, "Angel of Love" and "Thank-You," and you'll hear echoes of "Ram era" Mc Cartney. "Red Swing" or "Invisible Tomorrow"? (Ramones/Strokes) rock intensity at it finest. "Nice," has wonderfully eclectic surprises around every corner. and will undoubtedly be wearing out any J-Pop enthusiast's CD player for the unforeseeable future. I love this CD, can you tell?
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on November 9, 2003
This being my first introduction to the Japanese pop duo, I was very impressed. My original intent on making this purchase was to have the theme song for the Cartoon Network series Teen Titans (the full length, three minute-plus version is displayed here), but luckily the rest of the album is very enjoyable as well.

A few of the tracks (so I have read) have been rerecorded in english to help accomodate it's release in the States, but that doesn't seem to effect any quality of the vocals at all.

Also, the video footage is another great addition for those who didn't know much about the band before purchasing this album (like me). You get to see them at work live in concert during their recent U.S. tour and they are just as good live as in the studio.

All in all, an enjoyable listen and viewing experience throughout. I'll probably be picking up a few of their previous albums in the near future. And I recommend you do the same.
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on August 12, 2003
Although this is the US release and has a few more songs sung in English it will more than likely be the same fun, beautiful and exciting Japanese release I've enjoyed since February of this year.
Puffy AmiYumi are two beautiful Japanese women who were thrown together after being discovered in a talent search. Their voices are so similiar it sound like they're double tracking the vocals, but it's just them singing in unison. They have a compilation out called "An Illustrated History" that I highly recommend as it was the disc that turned me on to them. It also has a few songs sung in English, and they are written, as are all the song on "Nice", by ex-Jellyfish lead singer/songwriter/drummer, Andy Sturmer, who produces and plays almost everthing on the record. This is the closest we'll get to a new Jellyfish album. The songs run the gamut of styles and genres as all the Puffy AmiYumi CD's do. The Beatles, The Who, the Buggles, ELO, Abba, Queen, Jellyfish, of course; a plethora of classic rock influnces that keep the record moving constantly. I know some will be jolted by stylistic changes, but all the songs are so well written and arranged it won't even matter- even if you can't understand what they're singing. I've learned to sing phoneticaly! The Japanese have done this with American music for years! Basically, this album smears the line between east and west pop/rock.
If music is the universal language
then Puffy AmiYumi speak volumes.
Enjoy!
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on June 6, 2005
I don't own this Cd, but I sample it a lot! I think all of the songs are great! they all have great beats to them and good vocals also. I have been a big fan of puffy amiyumi so I really want this CD! It's The Best!
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on December 25, 2004
I just got this CD today for christmas and I loved it! I liked all of the songs!, My favorite songs are K2G, planet tokyo and the Teen Titans theme, whoo!. But all the songs were great!, now I heard one person complain that the song planet Tokyo song number one was rerecorded with english lyrics, FYI the 13th song Red Swing is actually a bonus! It is the Japanese version of planet Tokyo! I don't mean to be a spoiler but I figured I'd bring that to everyones attention. Puffy ami ymui have a very unique style. It's like a the beatles/beach boys/j-pop/rock style. K2G, a fast beat song is a fun song to listen to Planet Tokyo a fun rocky song is a great song! Another bonus is the Teen Titans theme. It's not the tv version it's the whole song! I wish as a bonus, they had the japansese version of the teen titans song along with it but, who cares this was still an awsome CD! must buy for puffy amiyumi fans/ j-pop fans!
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on February 18, 2003
Being a non-Japanese speaker it is sort of odd that I really enjoy Puffy. After a whirlwind purchasing of all their albums I think they are a great duo whose popularity in Japan might be as high as their obscurity is in the US. For fans of Puffy this album is as good as they come.
Nice is a solid effort from the center to the outer edge of the CD. Fans of Puffy's work with former Jellyfish member Andy Sturmer will be happy to find he is involved with every track on Nice. I think this lends to a better consistency to the album that some of Puffy's others might have lacked, but maybe a little at the cost of one REALLY good song (r.e. Stray Cat's Fever, True Asia, Love So Pure, etc..).
In other words what are you waiting for? (unless it is for the US release slated for sometime in 2003...which is okay...I guess..)
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