This week it’s back to music. Maybe because some people were kind enough to read and/or comment on my other small compilation of songs, maybe because what I intended to write is a bit more demanding than I thought. Or maybe because there are just too many musical pieces I want to share”
Probably a little bit of each. Yeah, that’s it
Persona 4 – Pursuing My True Self
Before playing Persona 4, I hardly knew anything about a series that would eventually become one of my all-time favorites. What initially drew me to it was the cover art by Shigenori Soejima, who designs in a style that I really dig. Then, when searching for information before the game’s release, I found the opening movie, watched it and was totally on board.
I love the soundtrack in general but to me, as the first one that you hear, it shows exactly what you can expect from this game: from the uplifting tunes to the jazzy vibes, “Pursuing My True Self” encompasses, in my mind, both musically and lyrically what P4’s all about. It also works so well with the video that I used to boot the game just to watch it (and then play it, because it got me so pumped). It’s colorful, it’s fun, and it’s great. For some reason, the image that really stuck with me was that clip of Chie being filmed. Maybe the attitude, maybe the smirk; don’t really know, it just stuck.
From what I’ve gathered over the years, the two aspects that tend to be more divisive among players seem to be the “happy-go-lucky” atmosphere and soundtrack. I honestly welcome this kind of vibe; not only to contrast with the sometimes “too dark” landscape the main series games (and others) are known for, but because it’s done in a way that, underneath the light-hearted surface, hides some serious and interesting subject matters, treated carefully and with respect in my opinion. The music complements it perfectly, differing from Persona 3’s heavier, more hip-hop oriented pieces.
As a series, Persona has a musical component that I love overall, but Persona 4’s my personal favorite. I hope to one day write more about my experience with this game, because I just love it so damn much!
No More Heroes 2 – Surf Santa Destroy
One of the things people criticized about the first NMH was the open-world – the lack of interactivity, of people roaming around and whatnot. You know what was one of my favorite things in that game? Riding around town. I always found those criticisms to be easily justified in my mind (it’s a town of assassins, people are killing each other all the time, it’s probably not the safest place available), as well as it being a satirical view of the open-worlds of other games, but the truth of the matter is I adore the layout of Santa Destroy.
When I think about where I would like to get settled, I have a hard time coming up with something. Some towns are just too remote and the access routes suck or they are cities that are just too big and where I don’t feel safe living. London is the closest real-life city I’d live in, but the way Santa Destroy is built just makes me want to live there (apart from the killing, I could do away with that).
But besides being one of my favorite places in video games, other reason for me to talk about it is that in Desperate Struggle they made away with it, for a menu-based approach. It was unfortunate for me, as I really missed it, but by contrast the song that accompanied the stage selection is this adrenaline-pumping, energetic piece that is basically the act of driving/riding in musical form. Even walking to the sound of this gets me really pumped!
Catherine – It’s a Golden Show
Atlus has an amazing sound team, it really does; and Catherine’s soundtrack certainly adds to that. The intertwining of more somber pieces with remixes of classical music works pretty well with the game’s setting and narrative. This song in specific is the one that plays in the initial menu, and the development it experiences in itself is a pleasure to listen to. Beginning with heavier, almost macabre undertones it then starts to resemble somewhat of an opening amidst the darkness. It picks up after that, and with the introduction of trumpets (I believe they’re trumpets, but I may be completely wrong and if so I apologize for that) the song gets to a point where it manages to capture aspects of those different periods it goes through to present a grand, final instance.
Also, I’d like to talk about Catherine, the game, itself. Just by being developed by Atlus – more specifically the Persona team – I was pumped from the get-go, but what I got was way more than I could have expected. With a narrative that I thoroughly enjoyed, to a kind gameplay I didn’t know I wanted, this is a game that usually takes the backseat in my “Favorite games” discussions, but I adore it immensely.
The World Ends With You – Calling
This is one of those games where I wouldn’t necessarily listen to its kind of songs, but they are perfectly in sync with the rest of the game that I couldn’t help but appreciate the musical and even listen to it outside the game.
“Calling” is not necessarily my favorite, but its lyrics represent beautifully the themes of the game, and the contrast between the more “psychedelic” qualities of the instrumental track and the softness of the vocals is a mix that just plain works for me. It’s great, and the entire freaking game is amazing. I don’t want a sequel, necessarily; just a game from this exact same team. Please?
Also, why isn't the entire OST in Theathrhythm? I'd (probably) buy every song. Just sayin'.
Virtue’s Last Reward – Virtue’s Last Reward ~Orchestra~
Yup, here it is again. I promise 999 will get its time in the sun if I do another one of these (I probably will). Well, it somehow does since this song is basically a remix of 999’s intro.
Honestly, this song is not named after the game for nothing – this song *is* the game, tone-wise. That sense of sadness, serenity and some insecurity we get at the beginning (with a touch of “Morphogenetic Sorrow” in there) creates a beautiful experience by itself. But then…then it starts building up to fear, mystery and the uncertainty, ending with the sound that alludes to facing an unknown situation and achieving a possible resolution. So many contrasting elements, but together they make an amazing musical piece.
I’m probably the only one that creates these narratives in these songs, and it’s really hard to express them. But when listening to them I am able to make up some kind of story in my mind to go with it, and when a song provides me with that I appreciate it immensely.
What’s your take on these songs? Let me know if you’d like to read some more of my ramblings related to music I enjoy, and please, by all means, do ramble down there in the comment section. Please share your thoughts, your complaints, your favorite ice ceram topping and whatever else you feel like.
Have a [insert time of day you're in when reading this] and enjoy life. Yours, preferably.