Welcome to a new series here on this website, simply titled the “More Than” series wherein we take a look at a band/singer/whatever and then look beyond their most remembered hit. This might end up like the Hallo Hallo Café/iSchool reviews wherein it will not be a regular thing so let’s see where this will go.
In this edition of More Than, we will be looking at a one-hit-wonder band, at least here in the Philippines, called Pizzicato V, Pizzicato Five, whatever.
Context: Pizzicato Five has initially been a five-piece band that was formed back in 1979 and after some rotating band member changes in the 1980s, with the roster consisting of singer Maki Nomiya and instrumentalist Yasuharu Konishi, they became one of the prominent figures of the Shibuya-kei movement of the 1990s but that’s a story for another time.
How did they become a one-hit-wonder here in the Philippines you ask? Their 1993 single “Sweet Soul Revue” from the album Bossa Nova 2001 was used as accompanying music by GMA Network to promote Ranma ½ and then it became synonymous here with the anime ever since.
It is interesting to see because the same song was used as advertisement music in its home country of Japan by Kanebo Cosmetics to promote their Navi Revue makeup brand.
That’s about it with the context section of this episode. Let’s take a look at what other songs you can enjoy from this band if you decided to follow their discography. For the purposes of this review, we will be looking at the compilation album Singles: Pizzicato Five in Triad & Readymade Years because that’s where their most popular songs seem to come from and a great jumping point to start P5.
Metropolitan Symphony aka I Heard a Symphony – Track 10 from 1998’s The International Playboy & Playgirl Record, Metropolitan Symphony is a bombastic entry into P5’s discography compared to Sweet Soul Revue and most of their songs before and during this time.
A Message Song – Guitar-heavy and not as bombastic as Revue and Symphony, Message Song is an excellent showing of Nomiya and Konishi’s more sentimental side, in terms of melody and lyrics. The solo, in the end, reminds me of some mid-60s Beatles songs, considering Shibuya-kei has some inspiration from the 1960s mod movement of the UK.
Baby Portable Rock – The second song I heard from the group outside of Sweet Soul Revue. This song goes back to their jazz-themed roots instead of the Shibuya-kei movement they were part of at the time. Both this and A Message Song were released as non-album singles so if you’re a collector, you can listen to them only via compilation albums.
Is it worth it to collect their discography? – If your introduction to P5 is Sweet Soul Revue, I don’t think it’s worth going back to their roots because what came before Revue and what came since are totally different and the tonal shift between that period can be a bit jarring for some. If you’re into ’60s house music, their early works like Twiggy vs James Bond would be up your alley.
I’d suggest listening to their singles compilation albums first then if you wanted to dig more into it, go start with their early works like The Audrey Hepburn Complex and compare it with Revue to see the difference.
For more information, English Wikipedia has it here.