The Sound of Music, Pizzicato Five (1996)

Hi. I'm not an arts critic, but I play one for the Independent. I'm here to tell you about a fabulous new offer from that Japanese dance sensation, Pizzicato Five. Now, for only $11.99, you too can receive the Carte Pizzicato, your personal worldwide fan club membership card, which is good for "potentially free merchandise, membership in an exclusive fan club, and an increased sense of well-being." Moreover, if you act now, you will received free with your membership P5's newest album, The Sound of Music: 16 tracks of toe-tappin' marvels direct from the Far East.

"Pizzicato Five?" you may ask. Think Shonen Knife meets Deelite. Think Abba running into Aretha Franklin at a rave in Kyoto. Think a beaten-up but well-used jukebox in the corner of a disco club that plays songs one and a half times too fast. Think "Dance Hits of the '60s, '70s, '80s, and '90s" sped up and condensed onto one CD. See? The Carte Pizzicato actually saves you money.

Or, better yet, pick up The Sound of Music and find out for yourself. Unless you're one of those dour people with lead feet who "don't dance," you're going to find something to like on this album. Like House? Check out "CDJ." "Son of a Preacher Man"-era '70s? It's there with "Fortune Cookie." Disco? Got it with "Happy Sad" and "The Night is Still Young." P5 runs the dance gamut with surf punk ("Good"), Speed Racer groove ("Groovy is my Name"), Violent Femmes alt-rock ("Airplane"), Ambient Trance ("Peace Music"), and spacey techno ("Sophisticated Catchy"). Don't trust people who don't at least bob their knees to "If I were a Groupie," the high point of the album.

Pizzicato 5's The Sound of Music is the past, present, and future of dance music rolled up into one infectiously bubbly compendium. That the bulk of the lyrics are in Japanese only serves to illustrate the lack of language barrier in the world according to dance clubs. Have some fun -- get your very own Carte Pizzicato for $12, and receive free The Sound of Music. After all, membership has its privileges.

[First appeared in Harvard Independent, 1996.]

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