Friday, September 27, 2013

Video Game Music Review - Persona 4 The GOLDEN OST

Album Name - Persona 4 The GOLDEN OST
Catalog Number - SVWC-7859
Released On - June 27, 2012  
Composed By - Shoji Meguro, Atsushi Kitajoh
Arranged By - Shoji Meguro, Atsushi Kitajoh, Kenichi Tsuchiya
Published By - Aniplex
Performed by -
  Shihoko Hirata (01,02,10,14)
  Rie Kugimiya (05)

Lyrics by -
  Benjamin Franklin (01,02,10,14)
  Yuichiro Tanaka (05)

The soundtrack of a remake of a PS2 game into a PS vita game, thats about says it all. Now first of all credits to the publisher that they put on the effort of putting on a whole new soundtrack (almost, except for 2 track actually) for this game. This OST is composed of 5 vocal tracks & the rest are instrumental among which two are arrangements of existing persona 4 themes ("Never More ~Welcome Home~" & "Shin Mitsuo Tensei"). I have some bad experiences regarding vocals in video game OST & is not actually very keen on the idea. So I was quite reluctant to pick this up at first, but due to a few good reviews I finally decided to check it out. And guess what my fears were almost correct, and the vocals do disappoint but does that mean that the whole album was disappointing. Well, not exactly.

As I was dreading, the vocals are mostly distracting and are always undermining the instrumentation underneath on most of the vocal tracks, except for only on "Snowflakes". For me these are actually not the vocals that should acompany an rpg ost. For instrumentation, the piano work was quite good throughout, so was the keyboard synth bits. The jazzy parts felt a bit forced at times though.

 The opening track "Shadow World" had a nice idea with the use of harmonica & other bits, but the too much pop influence really ruined it for me. "Time to Make History" tries a bit of pop-rock edge with the fast riffs & rap influenced vocals, but again it feels so much out of place. The next two tracks are instrumental jazzy pieces which tries too much but unfortunately doesn't really accomplish anything. Next up is the worst track of the album "True Story", those vocals are so awful they makes you cringe, I thought of throwing the album away after it. The next four tracks are short instrumental pieces that are not that bad but after the horrible first 5 tracks doesn't feel that special at all (although on further listen I really like the piano & synth/keyboard work on "A Sky Full of Stars"). After these "Snowflakes" is a nice change & a vocal track that really works, but the second version of the song (or the remix to be exact) is so much better, it has way better instrumentation and the beautiful vocal really compliments the music instead of ruining it for once. But the real surprise comes from the "Maiden of the Empty Forest" & "Memory", I really felt like I was listening to some other album as these two pieces are so much better than the rest of the instrumentals on this album, first one is piano driven melody with a haunting intro ending in a beautiful combination of instrumentation ( nice violin & synth work really), the second one is a more fast paced track which again is very emotional & all the various instruments gel so nicely into the atmosphere that I felt like it finally justified getting this album for me. There is another short instrumental piece after that followed by the far superior version of "Snowflakes". But the album doesn't really let you go empty handed as after that the last track is a nostalgic chip tune piece "Shin Mitsuo Tensei" (basically chip-tune version of "I'll Face Myself -Battle-" which is a very fitting way to end the emotinal and beautiful last half of the album.

On a whole while it may not be one of the best video game albums of 2012 as some people are saying the last 5-6 songs were quite good. So it gets 5 for the last 5 pieces, but the rest is so bland, boring & uninspired that it only just gets +1 from me. This is a must get album for Persona 4 fans, otherwise I am not sure it should be recommended to anybody else.

So, Overall Score  - "6 out of 10" 

If you want other opinion you can check out these fine reviews -

You can get the album at (among other sites) -

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