Happy End of the World is the Pizzicato 5 album, above all others. Yeah, the five by five ep is of course excellent, but this record is among the definitive late-90s shibuya-kei records from the definitive shibuya-kei act. It’s chock full of that uptempo cheerfulness that one would expect to come from the bright lights of Tokyo, but it’s tempered with just the right amount of lounge-cool to keep it grounded. Enthusiastically detached is one way of thinking about it.
But most of all, this album is fun, especially It’s a Beautiful Day P-I-Z-Z-I-C-A-T-O-FIVE!. And the best part is that you don’t have to know a word of Japanese to enjoy this album. I barely know how to say “hello” and yet, when I finish listening, I want to hear the whole thing again.
It was on the strength of this record, which I picked up over the summer of ’99, that Istarted exploring the music that was coming out of Japan at the time. That was a journey that led to some innovative places, such as Cornelius and Nobukazu Takemura. However, my post-college years have left little time for further treks into j-music, but that’s ok. I’ll always have the end of the world.