Hi Hi (Epic)
by Michael McCarthy
This compilation is the official soundtrack to Puffy Amiyumi‘s animated series, Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, presently airing on Cartoon Network. It’s far superior to the 2002 compilation, An Illustrated History Of (on Bar None), because of the inclusion of the irresistible “Planet Tokyo” from 2003’s Nice (also on Bar None) and its sole but fantastic new track, the “Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi Show Theme.” The amazing thing about these songs is that they’re energetic and silly enough to grab children’s attention, yet intricate enough to appeal to connoisseurs of truly inspired, artistic pop. Their secret weapon has always been Andy Sturmer, drummer of the late Jellyfish, an extraordinary producer. Jellyfish were certainly ahead of their time, and the highlight of this disc may very well be a cover of their song “Joining a Fan Club” getting its first U.S. release. The drums are like an enjoyable caffeine overdose, and if they don’t shake you, then the hypnotic guitar wizardry will. Ami Onuki and Yumi Yoshimura might not be superb singers, but most of these songs are so damn catchy that you’ll be too busy singing along to notice.