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True Love Story 2 Vocal Collection :: Review by Chris

True Love Story 2 Vocal Collection Album Title: True Love Story 2 Vocal Collection
Record Label: First Smile Entertainment
Catalog No.: FSCA-10108
Release Date: October 20, 1999
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Enterbrain frustrated listeners on True Love Story by spreading the vocal themes across four separate releases. They returned to basics with the True Love Story 2 Vocal Collection, offering 12 full-length vocal themes from the game uninterrupted by drama and instrumental tracks. A couple of vocal themes were nevertheless exclusive to the True Love Story 2 Original Soundtrack. It features a variety of upbeat and sentimental pop themes sung by female vocalists representing characters from the game. This vocal collection was later completely reprinted on the seventh disc of the True Love Story Special Song Box. Time for a closer look.


"Shoot from the Heart" opens the vocal collection with a typical cheerful vocal melody against functional pop accompaniment. The melody itself is pretty average and not that memorable, although it strangely has a sing-along quality to it. A bit of dynamism is provided by the backing singers and Rhodes organ while the solo from the 2:30 mark is relatively 'out there'. The jubilant sound of the vocal collection is maintained in different stylistic settings with the light rock anthem "Story" and the Caribbean dance "Photogenic Love". Both songs feature particularly memorable vocal sections, although the instrumentation probably provides the highlights. "I Rescue You!" is a rare track on the franchise since it features a male vocalist. It feels quite refreshing after so many songs featuring similar youthful female vocalists, although the intonation of the singer and substance of the instrumentals leave quite a bit to be desired.

There are also a fair number of slower entries to the soundtrack. "Sky" offers a nice feathery soundscape for a female ballad to emerge from. After a number of mixed vocal performances, Tomoko Kawamaki's naive yet endearing voice seems ideal for the song. Despite the solid instrumental set-up, "Without Touching" doesn't quite evoke as much as it aspires to due to the weak vocalist. Her voice is once again overly mild-mannered, out-of-tune, and prone to cringe-worthy Engrish pronunciation, particularly with the line "Don't you know I need somebody to love tonight?". "You & My Friends" is relatively solid and the combination of Yoko Asada's voice and the simple acoustic guitar backing is quite lovely.

There are a few tracks a little different from the rest. Opened with the atmospheric sound of rainfall, "Endless Rain" emerges into a lounge jazz track featuring a soothing vocal performance. It's quite relaxing overall, though occasional accentuations from deep blues chords emphasises that storms still brew outside. "Splash! Splash!" is a 'feel good' piece driven by the distinctive rhythms and instrumentation of the salsa. It eventually descends into a "la la la" fest, but the instrumentation never loses its panache. "Let's Pinky Swear" rounds things off nicely with a positive yet reflective vocal performance set against light pop accompaniment. There is a slight funk vibe throughout, especially in the extended steel-stringed guitar solo, that provides a dash of innovation.


The True Love Story 2 Vocal Collection stands out as a high quality and diverse collection of vocal themes presented in a straightforward manner. Although many themes suitably adhere to clichéd pop formats, there is quite a bit of variety beyond that, ranging from Caribbean dances to lounge jazz to rock anthems. The composers and arrangers ensure that the instrumentation is generally solid, even though it varies from functional to extravagant, regardless of the style. Unfortunately, the vocalists are much more varied in quality with many performances lacking "oomph" and others suffering from intonation and pronunciation problems. As a result, the vocal collection fails to be a consistently enjoyable experience, but has enough high quality tracks and variety to still be worthwhile for its target audience.

Overall Score: 6/10