Never More -Reincarnation: Persona 4- :: Review by Don
Never More -Reincarnation: Persona 4- is the arranged album for the fourth game in the series, similar to the Reincarnation version of the Persona 3 soundtrack. Featuring arrangements of some of the more popular themes by both Shoji Meguro and Atsuhi Kitajoh, it stays true to the styles of music heard in the original soundtrack. Is the end result satisfying?
The album opens up with "Pursuing My True Self," a track that stays fairly faithful to the original. However, Meguro adds a rap section that features some gospel-like keyboard work and an airy flute solo. Overall, it's an enjoyable, stylish enhancementt, but it doesn't deviate too much from the original formula. Similarly, "Reach Out to the Truth" feels more like an extended version of the original, rather than a true arrangement. It will have a huge fan appeal, but isn't exactly creatively inspiring. The same applies for the title track "Never More", a fan favourite that is largely preserved here.
Fortunately, Meguro does provide some quite entertaining arrangements that considerably enhance the originals. "Heartbeat, Heartbreak" is given a much jazzier gloss with more compelling rhythms and accompaniment and a fuller vocal section. Likewise, "Your Affection" provides an updated take on the original. I like how Meguro includes a soft vocal section to open the track accompanied by some romantic strings, while the string harmonies are also incorporated in a romantic manner into the main tune.
One of my favorite arrangements by Meguro is his reimagining of "Heaven." While the original is quite fast paced, the arrangement is a very sultry and romantic lounge jazz arrangement reminiscent of the slower section of the original, just developed in full. It has a smoky atmosphere and an intoxicating vocal performance that is very touching. While the arrangement of "Signs of Love" is a marked improvement over the original, opting for a big band jazz sound, I do find it to be one of the sloppier arrangements on the album.
The other half of the arrange album features arrangements by Atsushi Kitajoh. While he rarely takes major steps, he enhances most tracks with interesting touches. "Like a Dream Come True" still features the big band sound of the original, yet improves on it thanks to the inclusion of a beautiful jazz piano solo and abandoning the modern rhythms of the original. "Specialist Reverie" takes the original and turns it into a more poignant and heartfelt theme by once again abandoning the modern rhythms. When it comes to "SMILE", Kitajoh incorporates violin leads, while maintaining the same stylish touch. While the additions are small, the final product is far superior.
Fortunately, Atsushi Kitajoh shows a glimmer of creative license with "I'll Face Myself -Battle-." Rather than opening up with in-your-face rock, he implements a very touching, contemplative piano melody of the original and some nice R&B rhythms. Even when it comes to the rock portion of the track, which is retained, it stills feels like a superior product to the original; it incorporates a beautiful lead violin and some stunning piano accompaniment, not to mention some sinister electronic tones and some poignant sections reminiscent of the opening. Another liberal highlight is "Specialist", which combines a similar soundscape to the original with an exuberant jazz sound.
In the end, Never More -Reincarnation: Persona 4- is likely to divide fans of Persona 4's soundtrack. This will appeal to those looking for an 'best of' soundtrack will find that this album is worthwhile. It features most of the memorable themes from the soundtrack, while improving their sound quality and embellishing their styles. However, most of the arrangements stay so close to the originals that they won't offer much creative or novelty value to customers. This album will be most easily appreciated by those who enjoy the Persona 4 sound, but don't own the official soundtrack.
Overall Score: 7/10