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True Love Story Vocal Collection Vol. 1 :: Review by Chris

True Love Story Vocal Collection Vol. 1 Album Title: True Love Story Vocal Collection Vol. 1
Record Label: Wonder Entertainment
Catalog No.: WDCD-28017
Release Date: November 21, 1997
Purchase: Buy at eBay


There were numerous vocal themes associated with the original True Love Story, published across three vocal collections and one image album. It wasn't until 2003 that the True Love Story Special Song Box finally combined all these songs together into one big, expensive set. The True Love Story Vocal Collection Vol. 1 features ten songs mainly used to interpret the stories of major characters Ayane Katsuragi and Midori Amano. Though each is externally composed, they mainly feature light pop and jazz styles, as with Noriyuki Iwadare's background music. Between each song there is also a short monologue from one of the two characters. Is this first volume worthwhile?


"Tomorrow, I Will Be Brave" opens the album on a suitably commanding note. It features a strong melody interpreted by lead character Ayane Katsuragi's excellent voice actor. The accompaniment is merely functional, but the light rock beats and occasional solos add to the buoyant feel. Overall, a great 'feel good' song. "A Spring Day" suits its name well with its fresh vocal lines and radiant acoustic instrumentals. The underlying keyboard chords and eventual electric guitar solo add to the endearing glow while adding an appropriate amount of tackiness given the nature of the game. "Red Umbrella" is another especially lyrical theme featuring heartrending descending vocal motifs elegantly supported by string backing and countermelodies.

Digging further into the diversity of the vocal album, "Dash" initially suits its name with pounding drum beats and fast repeating violin. However, the vocal line is surprisingly mild in both shape and performance. While not as catchy, I guess some contrasting themes are needed between the high energy anthems. "Somebody's In Love" is an unusual combination of country electric guitar work with firm youthful vocals. In contrast, "Coin's Wish" experiments by blending similar vocals with playful tuned percussion. "Lu Lu Lun Girl" isn't quite as eccentric as the name implies, but the lyrics are a little more perplexing this time round and the funk influence is stronger. Once again, it's a competent, emotional, and charming production.

The monologues between each song are well done and nicely introduce each vocal piece. However, they will be potentially meaningless or annoying for those who do not understand Japanese, which is one more reason to consider the box set version instead. The final track on the album is "Simulation of Love", a duet between Ayane Katsuragi's voice actor Shiho Kikuchi and Midori Amano's voice actor Haruna Ikezawa. The vocals are upbeat and well-phrased, though perhaps the most enjoyable feature of this song are the peppy countermelodies from the trumpet. In the stand-alone soundtrack release, the track time is extended to 10 minutes since, after some silence, there is a conversation between the two voice actors about making the album.


Overall, there isn't much to criticise with the True Love Story Vocal Collection Vol. 1. It basically does what one might expect by offering a range of upbeat vocal performances in slightly different presentations. For the most part, the melodies are strong, the vocalists are powerful, and the instrumentation is well done. Even so, things were still composed in quite a functional way and nothing pushed even stereotypical boundaries. For example, it was frustrating that no instrumental solo went much beyond four bars. Nevertheless, those that enjoy cheesy upbeat songs might want to give this a try or, if looking to be completist, give True Love Story's box set a try.

Overall Score: 6/10