Released simultaneously with Best: Ace, another compilation, Best: Joker, contains a series of hits from longtime J-rockers Porno Graffitti, normally a band that builds strongly around a core of power pop and balladry. On Joker, the band plays around with a bit more stylistically. In the minor hit "Yo Bailo," they introduce strong elements of nuevo tango, mixing power pop in with noteworthy efficiency. "Love, Too Death, Too" could have been penned by Yoko Kanno, given all of its jazz sensibilities. "Itaitachi Ichi" mixes surf rock guitars with a deep horn section, and "Gravity" utilizes something of an urban backdrop in its drum machines and balladry. And all of that is before they pull out the sitars for "Yokohama Lily." The duo behind Porno Graffitti has a wide spectrum of sound tricks in its toolbox. While most of the band's hits have come from the standard forms loved by Japanese pop audiences -- formulaic entries into the canon -- on the Joker compilation Porno Graffitti really get a chance to cut loose and try formats both within and outside of rock and pop proper to introduce their fans to something entirely different (and most likely, to please themselves with the art of exploration in sound). The songwriting isn't as tight as some of their more formulaic efforts (of course), but newcomer fans may be more excited by Joker than by similar entries on the market (Best: Ace, for example) for the sheer diversity of soundscapes used.
AllMusic Review by Adam Greenberg