Monthly Whisper #2 – Best Anime Soundtracks

whisper1

This month we have a top with some of the Best Anime Soundtracks, so expect some good songs. Now I know that it isn’t common to give that much attention to soundtracks, but for those of you who actually do, here are some good ones. This time around, instead of only choosing one track I’m going to chose several and present it to you, by no particular order, so be prepared for that, also I’m going to explain more of the overall emotion behind the OST than going with the actual” track by track analysis”.  Hope you enjoy my choices and let’s get started.

 

Shoji Meguro

ALBUM TV Animation Bleach Original Soundtrack 3
RELEASE DATE November 5, 2008

AnimeOST3The first choice is from the OST of the famous anime Bleach. Now, I know that for those of you who are fans, you may think that the anime itself has lots of good tracks, but this one in particular, has some awesome one’s, hence why I choose it. First and before most, I must say how well the whole “Spanish concept” turned out so good, especially the guitars that were able to be well incorporated with the strings and the rest of the instrumental, that being noticeable in La Distancia Para un Duelo. I mean even the titles of the tracks give the whole “Spanish vibe”, it is that element that also gives us the feeling of that “need to fight” present in almost all tracks. Throughout the OST we can really notice those elements incorporated and although some tracks may seem a little similar to each other, they’re not because they have different instruments incorporated and their tempo is also different. What I cannot forget to mention is how well Shoji Meguro knows how to incorporated different genres in one track, I say this because if you search for other OST’s he’s created you’ll notice that they normally sound different, even if we still can catch some remnants of his usual instrumentals just like I did. The contrabass is also incorporated in some of the tracks, like in Nube Negra, but the acoustic guitar and the strings are always there and also the drums (although they aren’t given any special highlight), emphasizing the idea of “having to fight”. At the same time, we also find tracks like Get Smart! that are more relaxed compared to the previous tracks with the trumpets and the acoustic guitar that now has a more of a background “position”, or with Quincy’s Craft that are more on the rock yet electronic genre with some guitars and “crazy” synths and at the same time with some strings along because we could no forget them making the track sound a little erratic, and Soundscape to Ardor that has a beautiful yet sad harp and also some strings that build up and add extra emotion to the song making this track definitely one of the best in this OST and of course it is the harp that makes us get the feeling of how sad and yet hopeful this track is, also this instrumental piece “spills out” feelings of loss, sacrifice and even despair and powerlessness. Surely, and if you want a rock track, we have Hollowed that fits the criteria completely, with the electric guitar and all but still with some strings, passing us the feelings of something unexpected that happened or even rebirth. This OST is definitely worth listening.

Ken Arai

ALBUM Kiseiju Sei no Kakuritsu Original Soundtrack
RELEASE DATE November 24, 2014

51DGw2oH2JL

This OST, unlike the previous one, is more on the electronic side so I begin warning you on that. Kiseiju was an anime that really fitted with the whole electronic with lots of synths and pads incorporated in the instrumental, so you do have to be prepared for that, but don’t get scared because there are, of course, many tracks that are definitely worth taking more time to explain them. We start this OST with a good track with synths, drum&bass and dubstep elements. Keep this in mind, these are the elements that we’ll listen throughout the whole OST combined with something more,  given the fact that those are the key-instrumental parts that gave further emotion and drama to the already powerful, emotionally wise, anime. It is around this universe that we have this OST creating the whole “futuristic” instrumental that suited Kiseiju very well.Being considered a very good OST, it is completely understandable if some of you disagree with me because in some tracks the dubstep is a little overpowering, so it might not be everyone’s “cup of tea”. Some of the best tracks are I AM, especially the strings that are well combined with the dubstep and drums&bass, really showing us that erratic and uneasy side of the instrumental, even though it has a slightly exaggerated part in the track.  The synths in this track really make us also think of something that happened, that made “our” world feel like it was ending, but at the same time the sense of obligation to accept what happened, which is a little paradoxical. HYPNOTIK‘s also an amazing track with the choir that adds some darkness to it plus the strings, really make it the perfect combo. The strings in this track definitely do make us sense the presence of that desire and struggle to protect someone and not knowing what to do, but at the same time give it all, despite being conscious of how frail “we” are. Once more we also have some electronic elements that are also well combined, I must say that Ken Arai’s forte must be how well he can mix such different elements that could result in failure if poorly combined. LUNA‘s also a subject of our attention with a mysterious intro with synths and a bass plus the slow tempo drums just make this track even more of an obscure instrumental, also we cannot forget the strings at the background that add some more emotion. JUSTICE, BLISS, HUMAN and NEXT TO YOU all have beautiful instrumentals with the strings and piano breaking the momentum, for the electronic elements, that were until these tracks, the “rule”, also making us feel like there, somehow, is hope of changing. COMPLEX somehow shows us some strength that was gained. NEXT TO YOU is, hands down, the best track in this OST but SOLITUDE is also a track you must not forget to check out. One thing you can also notice is that the tracks get more and more melodic towards the end of the OST, as well as sadder (especially the piano), instead of the once electronic tracks that we listened at the beginning and also the whole electronic and classical mix, gets more and more blurred making that feeling of a possible “inner conflict” disappear.

Hiroyuki Sawano

ALBUM Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan) Original Soundtrack
RELEASE DATE June 28, 2013

SnK_Original_Soundtrack_CoverHiroyuki Sawano is probably one if not the best composers ever, with each OST he creates we become more and more certain of that. He always manages to make his tracks sound so epic and grandiose. Hiroyuki ‘s definitely a “sure-fire winner” in this list, a complete genius. When we listen to this OST we must be prepared for the incorporation of electronic elements, such as synthetic drums and synths with orchestras and lots of strings, that give off feelings like powerlessness, struggle, weakness, loss and sacrifices that need to be done in order to protect something special. This OST definitely has lots of choir, powerful guitars, bass and drums, not forgetting the classical elements that, in my opinion, really make a difference, also we cannot disregard the fact that, for example, in the track, attack ON titan, we have Mika Kobayashi singing which really helps the song sound even better. Another thing you’ll notice when you first look at the tracklist is the unique way Hiroyuki has to title his tracks, letting us conclude that he does not give that big of an importance to the title, instead he gives the utmost importance in the actual track itself, taking us back to the tracklist, we can alos notice that he has two versions of almost every track in the OST. Although you might think at first that we won’t find any rock tracks, you’ll quickly forget that, just listen to The Reluctant Heroes, a really good track that still has some of those synths in the instrumental but they’re a little shadowed, also for those of you who already saw the anime and payed attention to the lyrics, you have  to agree with me when I say that they couldn’t be more appropriate, because it really portraits that loss, sacrifice and despair that I mentioned earlier, the same happens with Call your name. On one hand we have tracks that were sang, on the other we also have some beautiful tracks that really show off Hiroyuki‘s potential, Eye-Water makes you get goose-bumps because the instrumental is in such harmony it all resounds together creating an harmony.  立body機motion is really good to explain why I said that his tracks are grandiose and epic, the strings, drums and with the synths that are always present really creating the momentum and that imposing instrumental that is he’s trade-mark. cóunter・attàck-m’ænkάɪnd is also a perfect track to show more of his merging with the strings and the synthetic drums that make this track an equally good track compared with the previous ones I’ve mentioned.  army⇒G♂ is a track with an arabesque instrumental, with the cello, the rest of the strings and the drums.  One thing you’ll notice is that the tracks are so good that when they end it sounds like it was to quick and that is wasn’t enough. Hiroyuki has created some tracks that are sang and I must say that with each one you really get a grasp of how well it sounds alongside with his instrumental, he also has someone of equal footing singing his tracks. This OST is definitely worth listening, in fact, for those of you who are curious to listen to more of his works, please do so because you won’t be disappointed.

Yoshihisa Hirano and Hideki Taniuchi

ALBUM Death Note Original Soundtrack
RELEASE DATE December 21, 2006

VPCG-84851We now have the golden duo that created three OSTs for the same anime that was already a masterpiece. This OST portrays a calm, calculative, cold, collected story plot with guitars, bass and synths, so it’s a little different from the previous ones I mentioned. I must say that anime itself was pretty good, but with instrumental it just added the final touch. It really is a shame that will never again listen to anything from Hideki Taniuchi, because he was arrested for drug possession in 2012, since then he has been forbidden to ever compose music again, so if you really like his work I suggest you to search for it, but in the meantime enjoy this OST. Death Note was a psychological and dark anime with lots of double-crossing, deceive and mind-games, thankfully the instrumental was really able to capture that from the story plot and turn it into music. All of the tracks are good, they have the bass, the guitar with the most highlight and we then have the drums, I know some of you might be thinking that this OST has very little instruments, but trust me, in this case, less was actually more, Jiken is the track that can prove that. Light’s Theme shows us a more dark facet of the guitar, and once again I say, you don’t need super elaborate instrumentals to create good songs, though it just depends on oneself genre/preference. Although this track has a little of strings and piano here and there, they really sound good with the rest of the instrumental, and let’s just make a stop here and mention how well the bass sounds, amazing, just simply amazing. In one track or another we have some synthetic drums, for a little change of pace, also we have once again the piano and the bass that really has some highlight here and brings that darkness out. Kyrie, for example, has a powerful intro with the choir, that just added that extra dose of obscurity to the instrumental. Kinchou is completely focused on the bass which is like heaven for those of you who cannot ignore a good bass like myself. By now we can also mention the synth pads that are always in the background but actually have an important role in the instrumental. Senritsu has a beautiful piano well incorporated with the guitars and bass of this track. Yoshihisa Hirano and Hideki Taniuchi were also masters in mixing well the piano and strings into the rock genre. Kodoku is easily one of the best tracks, even though it has a simple instrumental it’s just perfect, but Light Lights up light is by far the best track in the whole album, the piano is good and the rock elements are also good, so what more could we ask?  Of course, if you are looking for a more orchestral track, than you have Low of Solipsism, it has all the elements that make it all the more eerie. This OST is yet another must, completely worth it.

Yugo Kanno

ALBUM Psycho-Pass Complete Original Soundtrack
RELEASE DATE May 29, 2013

SRCL-8295Yugo Kanno is the author behind one of the most epic OSTs, with a genre towards the cyber-punk. We have a combo of synths, strings and other electronic elements but surprisingly enough it still has some drums, bass and guitar, although they are a little modified. Of course, we cannot forget the piano that fits perfectly into the instrumental. Some feelings we get while listening to the tracks are sacrifice, hunt, grief, powerlessness, loss and desire of being acknowledged. So basically we have a mix between the classical and “refined” elements, and the futurist elements, like the synths, or the bass that is manipulated by the synths, making it a good mix. This OST is one of those that really relaxes you, because of how good it is.  Tracks like 法と秩序(Hō to chitsujo) really show us how well combined the classical instrumental is with the synths, making this track really show the anxiety and also a sense of urgency, especially through the strings in this track.  サイコハザード (Saikohazādo) shows us once again the perfect combination between the strings and the synths that Yugo Kanno does so well. Then we also have tracks like 光 (Hikari) that have a beautiful piano that is then accompanied by the strings, little by little become more noticeable, in this track we do not have any synths or other electronic elements. In the electronic tracks we can notice that we have almost always the presence of the bass and the drums, as well as the synths and the rest, but this two are definitely worthy of our attention. I remind you that this OST is not like the usual one that when we watch the anime we cannot recall it because it wasn’t memorable, by the contrary in this case we remember it very well and actually want to listen to it again in repeat. Throughout the whole OST we can indeed notice that the mix between the synths and the string gets better and better in the tracks where these two elements are together, making it seem almost seamless. Another good and definitely one of the best tracks in this OST is 命の在り方(Hinochi no arikata), its piano is playing its solo with some strings as the background, that help it pass the idea of solitude, sadness yet some hope, the strings then play a more important part later on the track making it even more beautiful. Another track worth listening is 甘い毒(Amai doku) for its synths pads that are really relaxing, also the piano. 支配と権力(Shihai to kenryoku),  槇島聖護 (Makishima shōgo) and 神託(Sintaku) are good songs with lots of strings that build up the tension in the tracks but they’re also the one’s that bring out those feeling of loss and despair. For those of you who already watched the anime, you remember the scenes when this tracks were playing were the most heated ones, also making them possible candidates to be the best tracks in this OST. PSYCHO-PASS Symphony for instance, doesn’t have any synths yet it is such a marvelous track with a shy yet amazing flute. I’m not saying the tracks with synths aren’t good, just mentioning that we have some good variety, which is perfect. This OST is best choice for those of you who are more into the futuristic instrumental, but even for those of you who aren’t definitely give it a try, because you won’t regret it one bit.

Yoko Kanno

ALBUM Zankyo no Terror Original Soundtrack
RELEASE DATE July 09, 2014

61AXszlZuGL._SY355_To finish off the list we have yet another epic OST, this time provided by Yoko Kanno. This OST gives off a completely sad, cold and above all desperate feelings, either be it by the instrumental or the vocal parts of the tracks. Zankyo‘s OST is on the electronic side but it also has a little of classical elements such as the piano, that once again is sullen. I warn you, this OST has three very powerful tracks, especially if you saw the anime and were emotionally attached to the main characters then you know what I mean, sang by Arnor Dan. Now if you listen to the song titled von you’ll really get what I mean when I say he really grasped the desperate and sad feelings. It’s so sad and hopeless the way he sings that it almost, if not, makes you cry and that’s not the end of it. You may find it strange when he starts to sing because he is singing in Icelandic, and actually the name of track, von, means “Hope”. As a matter of fact, all three songs sang by Arnor Dan are explosive, von, birden and  bless. The main feelings are really delivered by the synth pads, strings and piano, and of course, also by Arnor’s vocal performance. The other feeling that we can really notice present in this OST is the desire to end something quickly. In tracks like ess we no longer have that strong sullen presence, but we have despair, noticeable by the synths and the guitar. fugl shows us that pure desire to hope for something good to happen, that I mentioned earlier in the OST, this time presented to us by the strings and the piano, just like in walt. Throughout the instrumental there are some tracks that show us the “rebirth” or the “actual end” of all that sorrow that was present before, but we still have that sadness. Tracks like Fa really shows us that dark side of this OST, with the trembling strings and all. nc17 shows us that feeling, the desire to live and escape from all that sadness, this time delivered to us by the piano and the acoustic guitar. By now I know what you’re thinking, how are we supposed to get that from that track, but believe me if you know the whole concept/story of the anime and then listen to the whole OST you’ll see what I mean and not just with this OST but also with the others as well. bless shows us, once again, that feeling of rebirth and of closure, which should be happy/relieved but it still is sad.  You really, and I mean, really need to listen to the “explosive trio” that I mentioned before, because they’re, without a doubt, the best tracks in this OST.

So this was this month’s MONTHLY WHISPER. I hope you enjoyed and got to know some new things about this OST composer’s.  I know that this time the scheme was a little different from the first one, and it was a little bit more on the way each one interprets each song, but I hope you’ll like it and I’ll gladly see you on my next one.

Comment