Listening To: Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun Original Soundtrack

Tonari_No_Kaibutsu-Kun_OST_Cover

 

Although I had planned a review of another album today, I had listened to the soundtrack of the romantic comedy anime Tonari no Kaibutsu-Kun (Eng; My Little Monster) and I just had to talk about it. Now I watched the anime as it came out, and while it’s not one of my all time favourites, it certainly had a very strong and solid comedy element which I more than appreciated. It also, to my surprise, had an amazing musical score.

Certain tracks feature synthetic melodies while others are comprised of mainly orchestral symphonies. To call it diverse would not give it much justice. It seems that the soundtrack itself covers the emotional spectrum –  the album seems to tick off emotions; from melancholy to unbridled optimism. If anything, theres a track for any occasion, making it perfect for the anime – as although its primarily a comedy-romance, it does touch on the darker and somber aspects of life and love.

I find that the tracks consisting of guitar and/or piano leads were more defined and better suited to the overall theme of the show. Although it may be preference talking, I believe that they were considerably much more emotive and at a higher level than other tracks that focused their sounds on other instruments. Another worthy mention goes to the highly enjoyable tracks with a peppy, almost cocky tone, as well as those that were comprised of positive notes and rhythms. In saying that though, the more pensive tracks don’t, by any means, fail to please.

At the end of the day, the Tonari no Kaibutsu-Kun Original Soundtrack is an absolute delight to listen to. With a range of sounds and emotions to accommodate the daily lives of anyone, it came as a wonder to me that it’s not better known within the anime community. If you’re willing to take the chance and take a listen, I have very little doubt in my mind that you would be disappointed with this underrated gem of an OST.

Songs to look out for:

  • Tetsukazu no Kanjou 
  • Monster March
  • Yamaguchi-Sanchi no Kenji-Kun
  • Appare Sanningumi!
  • TEBASAKI
  • Memento 

Listening To: Pitch Perfect Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Pitch_Perfect_OST_Cover

Lately I’ve been moving away from video game soundtracks and a lot more into film territory. The latest soundtrack that’s been on repeat at my household is the Pitch Perfect Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. Now although all the hype over the movie has subsided, I’m still in love over the remixes of great songs. The fact that I also like the a cappella style of music helps.

It’s simply great that both the past and present in music are, well, remixed together. It’s new and exciting, seeing old hits given a complete and (Pitch) perfect make over. Songs that I haven’t heard in many years, and some I’d never think I’d hear again, were pleasantly accepted and enjoyed.

It’s no secret that the musical comedy took the world by storm. Starting in the West and gradually overcoming the worldwide music charts, many of the hits of the song just… connect. Even if you can’t understand English or don’t follow Western music, sounds and beats evoke certain emotions that are moving. And no, not in an emotional sense, but in a “move your body” sense.

I think the distinct voices of the singers make the album what it is. Obviously voices in a cappella songs are extremely important, but they are surprisingly unique, in turn creating unique renditions of classic hits. The ladies’ voices have a sense of power and strength that adds a torrent of emotion and feeling – something that audiences worldwide can appreciate. And the guys aren’t too bad either.

I have had this soundtrack saved, stored and replayed on my computer for the past month. It’s not just good – but great. The movie by itself was unforgettable and, like many others, I am looking forward to the sequel and what songs they’ll be introducing. To say the album is anything less than extraordinary is a mistake, and I’m sure that after hearing it – actually hearing it – you’ll understand what I mean. If you’re going to take the chance, be absolutely ready though – because you’re about to get pitch-slapped.

Songs to look out for:

  • Since U Been Gone
  • Cups
  • Riff-Off: Ladies of the 80’s & Songs about Sex
  • Bellas Regionals
  • Trebles Finals
  • Bellas Finals

Listening To: Rule Of Rose Original Soundtrack

Rule_Of_Rose_OST_Cover

It’s been a while since I last heard the soundtrack of the rare Atlus horror game Rule Of Rose. Only a few copies of the game exist within North America and its release in Australia and the UK was cancelled, making it one of the rarest PS2 games in the history of gaming. Despite this, it has gathered its own worldwide cult following, praised for its controversial plot, dark undertones and most importantly, its music. The official soundtrack, which only contains 6 tracks, showcases a mere portion of the musical masterpiece of the game.

The game itself is remarkably complex, filled with a variety of characters (most of which are children, save for 3 adults) that are unique (and nearly always sinister) in their own right. Rather than being a horror game filled with gore and violence, it plays on the mental and suspenseful aspects of horror, as indicative of Japanese horror games. These two facts are translated into the music of the game – all of the instruments used consists of string instruments, pianos and striking vocals rather than electric sounds. Yutaka Minobi, composer of the musical score, attempted to bring out the “human element” into the music as directed by the developers – and completely succeeded.

The result was a track that evoked a harsh sense of despair and darkness, an overriding theme in the game. It doesn’t stop there though – a sense of danger, distress and even paranoia comes through the music. It can be said that while the game already builds suspense through its plot, the music adds depth to our own humanly fear, creating the game into that can only be described as… unhinged.

As of lately, I’m still on my “Video Game OST” high. Sifting through the myriad of games I’ve played through, I immediately attempt to experience their soundtracks once again. Rule Of Rose is that exception – I’ve never played it (As I said earlier, it is banned here), yet I feel enamoured with its music. Although I’ll probably never play it, let alone find a copy, I’ll always have its soundtrack. And that alone is a victory for me.

Songs to look out for:

  • A Love Suicide
  • Piano Etude  I
  • Backbiting
  • Fear II
  • Bullying

Listening To: Suzumiya Haruhi no Gensou

Suzumiya_Haruhi_no_Gensou_Cover

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūutsu) was one of the first anime I ever watched to completion – and one that I still adore to this day. I recall completing a few of my art assignments in school on Haruhi, learning the dance sequence of Hare Hare Yukai (which I can still perform) and attempting to learn the opening song. I was beyond words when I learnt there was a concerto version of the music of the anime – and even more so when there was a CD of it available.

Suzumiya Haruhi no Gensou, or the Symphony of Haruhi Suzumiya, is an incredible concerto rendition of music from the anime performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. It was definitely interesting – fond memories were stirred up from the unfamiliar classical harmonies.  I must admit, whilst I have an appreciation for the classical genre, the renditions felt slightly unfamiliar – in a way too polished.

Don’t take it the wrong way; it was by no means terrible. In fact it was the opposite. The orchestra excellently executed the pieces with a sense of flair. But there was a lack of feeling, a lack of relation in the performance – It was technically perfect, not emotionally. In the DVD version, there were a few nods to the anime (which were admittedly pleasing) and Aya Hirano, voice of  Haruhi herself and Lead Singer, even performed the vocals for a few tracks (And mind you, she was amazing although I prefer the original tracks). It was things such as these that made the performance more believable and definitely more enjoyable for viewers of the anime.

As a whole, this special edition of the music from the anime was fantastic and nostalgic, albeit slightly disappointing. Hearing some of my favourite tracks in a classical tone was interesting to say the least, if not wholly uplifting. Although I believe its aimed towards fans of the anime, I recommend to give Suzumiya Haruhi no Gensou a listen if you’re interested in classical orchestra music.

Songs to look out for:

  • Koi no Mikuru Densetsu
  • The Usual Scenery ~ The Days Are Becoming Fervently Splendorous
  • Bouken Desho Desho
  • Lost My Music
  • SOS Brigade! ~ Something is Odd
  • God Knows

Listening To: NieR Gestalt and Replicant Original Soundtrack

Nier OST Cover

So lately I’ve been listening a lot to video game soundtracks. Whilst not the most popular or polished games of Square Enix (or any game for that matter), NieR stands to be a guilty pleasure of mine for two reasons – the plot and the music.

Now you may be thinking “It’s just video game music in a mediocre game“. Ah, but my dear friend, how many games have gone through the effort to complete all the vocals in a completely new (that is to say, non-existent) languages? Keiichi Okabe, the lead composer of the album has done such extraordinary work that rather than making the music fit the game – much of the game itself was changed to fit the music.

Perhaps it was the work Emi Evans. She was responsible for the interesting language of the album, incorporating French, Spanish, Portuguese, Scottish Gaelic, Italian, Japanese and her own “futuristic” language. Her vocals are just simply beyond what words can describe – I beg of you, please take a listen. The songs themselves are movingly melancholic, an indication to the overwhelming sense of hopelessness and despair posed by the entire world of Nier (If you’ve finished it completely, you would understand). But don’t take my word for it. While many gave the game mixed or negative reviews, it was often found that the soundtrack in a way redeemed it (Thanks Emi, really).

I personally listen to this soundtrack to calm down or to fly through the homework that piles up on my desk. It’s insanely soothing, and if you’ve played the game, strangely perceptive. I find that, while I don’t understand 99% of what is being sung, I wholly relate to it – and you would to if you would just take a listen.

Songs to look out for:

  • Hills of the Radiant Wind
  • Grandma
  • Yonah (Piano and Strings Ver.)
  • Emil Sacrifice
  • Ashes of Dreams -New-
  • Song of the Ancients (Devola Ver.)