Archive for the ‘Off Topic’ Category

My First Music – Picky Picnic: Cynical Hysteria World

November 1, 2021


This entry starts off our small OFF TOPIC series on Sony’s “my first Sony” products. It does not contain anything computer-related. It’s still vintage and collectable, though. This thing is even very rareā€¦

If you are a global Consumer Electronics brand like Sony and you have a line of devices since 1987 aimed at children (which probably sells very nicely), you are always on the hunt for new products that you can sell to this specific target audience. Now, in 1988 you have bought the CBS Record Group for US$ 2 billion. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to sell a “my first music” (and “my first Sony”) line of records in 1989 to these customers so they can feed their “my first Sony” cassette or CD players?

Cynical Hysteria World

And that’s exactly what Sony did in Japan (only). They used the color scheme of “my first Sony” products (mainly red), slapped on a picture of a child holding a cassette player as well as the “my first Sony” logo on the package, and sold cassette and CD versions of these records (there were no record players in this line-up).

This all makes sense, and would only be a footnote in a book on the (hypothetical) Complete My First Sony Line-Up, stating that these products are very rare indeed.

Or at least it would be if not one of the releases (and, I have to admit, the only one I own, or could find any information about) would be a very strange one. Not indecent at all, just very very strange, given the age of the target audience and the assumption that probably the mass market was targeted.

Because the release that I recently bought is “Cynical Hysteria World” by “Picky Picnic”. Like you, I have never heard of this group or the record before. On the surface, the songs sound very child-appropriate, in the style of songs sung by a kindergarden choir.

In reality, though, Picky Picnic was an avantgarde, Japanese, New Wave band whose role model was the New German Wave, avantgarde band “Der Plan” (and which was, therefore, distributed in the beginning by the Der-Plan-label “Ata Tak”). Extremely niche.

The release itself is a 1989 re-release of the original 1986 EP. It consists of the cassette or CD and a A5-size color book(let) with the Japanese lyrics (see for pictures). The price was 1700 Yen. You can listen to the EP using the first link of the references below.

I have the feeling that all “my first music” releases are extremely rare. On the Internet I found a few informations (and pictures) on the CD version, but not on my cassette release.

I do not have the lyrics of the songs, but if I would have to guess, these would be completely harmless. So, from a music label perspective either a release decision by someone not really understanding the concept of the band, or by someone understanding it exactly and either giggling secretly for a long time or being cynical (or savy?) enough to monetize a record otherwise not commercially usable.

P.S.: I checked my favourite “my first Sony” reference picture,–~B/aD0yODY3O3c9NTQ3MjthcHBpZD15dGFjaHlvbg–/ (because it contains many of these products in one image). On the left, you can see three “my first music” releases, none of them seems to be “Cynical Hysteria World”. But: the right most release seems to be the album cover of another Picky Picnic release, “Kuru Kuru World” (see which is their 1990 LP. Wow, I want that!