I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Katsuhisa Hattori -- Pizzicato Surprise

OK, I gotta admit that this song has thrown me for a fair loop. In fact, it's gotten me so fascinated that I may need second opinions from the collaborators and commenters at large. I mean, if this is the type of tune you like.

Back in December, I wrote about "Secrets", a track from Katsuhisa Hattori's(服部克久)"Juicy and Crispy" album from 1985. That song was so romantically AOR, it hurt. Well, just a few tracks down from that Smooth Jazz classic, we have "Pizzicato Surprise".

This is a completely different animal by Hattori. It's a short and quirky track which is so reminiscent of the type of music that adorned 1950s and 1960s sponsor segments on American variety shows that I half-expected to get my pack of Philip Morris cigarettes and Betty Crocker cake mix in the mail the next day. Oh, those plucky strings combined with those crazy sound effects. Then the plucky strings turn into those shimmering strings taking us on a smooth sleigh ride up and down the hills of Vermont.

At first, I'd assumed that "Pizzicato Surprise" was an elbow nudge of respect to the band Pizzicato Five, thanks to half of that title and the music. But then, I looked at the album and the release date: 1985. Pizzicato Five had indeed debuted in that year, but I couldn't say that the Shibuya-kei genre had coalesced into them at that early point in time. I think P5 was more of a quirky technopop unit along the lines of PSY-S back then, and "Pizzicato Surprise" to me is also a creation that I could imagine another Shibuya-kei mainstay Fantastic Plastic Machine whipping up.

Looking up the meaning of pizzicato, I was reminded that the term referred to "...plucking the strings of a violin or other stringed instrument with one's finger" (Google), and indeed that's what I got. Still, I was surprised that Hattori may have unintentionally or presciently made a tune that would be perfect for a future genre half-titled with one of the most famous bands representing that very genre. Indeed, this is truly a pizzicato surprise!

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