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Persona 4 Original Soundtrack :: Review by FuryofFrog

Persona 4 Original Soundtrack Album Title: Persona 4 Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Aniplex
Catalog No.: SVWC-7566/7
Release Date: July 23, 2008
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Shoji Meguro changed the face of Persona with his Persona 3 soundtrack. That soundtrack was an aural adventure for me, so I was excited to see what Meguro would do in its sequel. Has he improved his style? Did he get rid of those lame Japanese rappers? Given how delightful Persona 3 was, Meguro just keeps going up in my mind. Let's see how he fares here.

Track-by-Track Reviews

Disc One

1) Pursuing My True Self

The album immediately buzzes with some jazz containing Meguro's distinctive sound. Some catchy J-Pop singing is spiced up by distorted trumpets blaring in the background and some funky piano playing. "Persuing My True Self" is a bit of a short opener, but welcome the entire time. (8/10)

2) Glimpse of a Memory

"Glimpse of a Memory" gives an epic mood throughout its duration. The piano is punctuated pretty hard and demonstrates a sense of determination. Drums roll nearly the entire time and give a militaristic feel. Strings pursue in the background long enough for the track to dissipate. (7/10)

3) Welcome to the Limousine

Ooo, something very important must happen when this is played in the game. It's a short track but pretty enjoyable. The eerie vibe of the soundtrack begins to show through here. (7/10)

4) Aria of the Soul

Ah, "Aria of the Soul". This is the seminal song that is included in every Persona game, but this time it is completely unchanged from Persona 3. Intense strings, gentle piano work, and beautiful operatic singing once again return for a rich five minute contemplation. While this song is a staple of the series, it's a tad frustrating that it wasn't given a new rendition, at least in the album. It remains a strong arrangemnet nonetheless. 10/10

5) New Days

"New Days" features that signature breakbeat rhythm that Meguro is known for. The rhythm drives itself through the entire piece while light piano work serenades the listener. The track gains some steam and a rearing guitar transiently takes over before the track settles back into its chill roots. (8/10)

6) Signs Of Love

This track is built upon strong beats with a great disco inflection pool. The foreground is mainly compromised of well-stylized female vocals and some jazzy organ section, though can sound bare when some of the instruments drop out leaving only vocals and drums. The song nevertheless keeps a certain grooviness the entire time, but it does become a bit monotonous after a minute. (6/10)

7) Midnight Channel

One of the most ambient tracks in the soundtrack, this track features high-pitched string crisis motifs being punctuated by some deep low-pitched strings. The high strings are relentless with their continuous rhythms and increasing dynamic level, giving a sense of being chased. However, it's rather anti-climactic how the track suddenly just ends. (5/10)

8) Your Affection

A strange timbre is featured here. The keyboards have an almost bouncy quality to them whereas the drums have a refreshing tribal quality. Eventually, the J-Pop vocalist once again chimes in, but is tolerable enough. The track repeats a few times but it has enough variation to sustain its playtime. (7/10)

9) Like A Dream Come True

Finally some brass action! The trombone and trumpet work powerfully together here and really slam the high notes. They take a break before a jazz organ takes charge. The return of the brassy focus feels somewhat formulaic, but at least some piano chords colour the texture. It's very catchy regardless. (9/10)

10) Who's There?

This track recounts one of the features Persona is known for — frightening and abstract piano work. The minimalistic piano motifs really give a sense of a lurking evil while the strings swell to create an even more sinister tone. It's very effective in context and not bad on a stand-alone level either. (7/10)

11) Reach Out To The Truth -First Battle-

Now here's one to get listeners moving. Meguro offers a peculiar blend of surfing guitar lines and upbeat J-Pop vocals. It sounds a little off for a battle theme, but it is creative and catchy enough to be enjoyable nonetheless. The organ provides excellent backup filling in some melody when the vocalist is absent. Very satisfying indeed. (8/10)


At first, this seems like another pretty piano-led piece, but the track eventually evolves. The piano bows out while a fascinating synth line comes out to provide the melody. I found myself smiling at this one, just enjoying the dynamics between the two instruments. (9/10)

13) Studio Backlot

Now this is a punchy tune. Once again, Meguro shows his flair for creating contemporary yet novel traack by blending J-Pop vocals with march-like accompaniment. The instrumentation is very effective and the vocals create the right mood with even a little rapping featured here and there. Although the timbre is very interesting, there isn't enough variation during the development. As a result, the track becomes a bit of a bore when it loops. (5/10)

14) Deduction

"Deduction" features a nice blend of acoustic piano work and abstract synth. Although the drumming is of standard coffee shop variety, the trumpet and trombone work are more extravagant. Overall, the track brings a lot of elements together to create a perfect jazz hit. (10/10)

15) Castle

The more industrial side of Meguro rears its head here. Composed entirely of synthetic elements, the hard-edged beats and serious strings create a very devious nature. Eventually, however, an electric piano replaces the synth work and adds a very pillowy section into the mix. This is a perfect interlude since the industrial synth comes back and sounds even more urgent than before. (10/10)

16) Border of Insanity

This track seems to want to copy the previous one. Instead of sounding evil it sounds cheesy and retro until the guitars are shoved into the mix. There is a very intense section where the guitars battle each other, but this is ruined when the same cheesy 80s melody comes back in to annoy some more. (5/10)

17) I'll Face Myself -Battle-

This is completely rock-inspired track a little reminiscent of Digital Devil Saga 2. The electric guitar mainly brings the action here and the drums complement each part well. When the guitar bows out, the drums take the beat and produce some truly interesting rhythms. Pure Meguro rock through and through, this one is a keeper. (10/10)

18) I'll Face Myself

The same tune as the previous track is given an R 'n' B arrangement here. The piano replaces the guitar and produces a sweet tone. This is changed quite a bit when the trumpet takes on the melody. Overall, an inspired variation. (8/10)

19) Muscle Blues

The first of four contributions by Atsushi Kitajo, this is a very bluesy, jazzy piece that lives up to its name. It starts out very strong with a very interesting instrument choice; the saxophone takes a stranglehold on the melody and hires the organ to provide some backup. It only repeats once, which is a bit disappointing. (7/10)

20) It's Showtime!

This is a total switch from everything that has been played so far, created by Atsushi Kitajo rather than Shoji Meguro. It's a Latino piece with strong samba vibes. The melody isn't all that interesting but its solid nonetheless. However, the short track length doesn't really allow for any interesting development. (6/10)

21) Someone Else's Man

More Latino pieces from Kitajo! In contrast to the last piece, this track is more of a lovely tango. It is given a fair chance to develop and has a very interesting texture to it. The acoustic guitar is wonderful and the Japanese singing seems to complement the Spanish feel. Very pleasing. (9/10)

22) Quelorie Magic!

One last anomaly from Kitajo, "Quelorie Magic!" is a very bubbly and bouncy track. The brass provides excellent accents while the xylophone beats a very fun melody. It's hyperactive and makes you feel like you ate a bowl of sugar. It is a bit repetitive, but thankfully it's short too. (7/10)

23) Sauna

"Sauna" features heavy drum and bass beats for the most part. Head bobbers and robots are bound to appreciate the intense raver feel here. The track does the same thing over and over again, but within the timeframe, it's kind of cool to listen to. (7/10)

24) Awakening

In "Awakening", a sad piano strikes down and wavers in volume. The strings provide some backup and the piano begins to speed up. As the piano speeds up, the strings become more nefarious and lead to a metal fest for guitars. Unfortunately, the track doesn't last for long, so there is not much of an opportunity to hear the metal wail. (6/10)

25) Reach Out To The Truth

"Reach Out To The Truth" is a strong end to disc one. The J-Pop girls are back for revenge and drums are beaten harder than ever. Some of the energy from the previous track is channeled through and the vocals provide a very nice overlay to the guitar. The vocalist raps for a little and it's not unwelcome. She leads into a more intense section featuring guitar infusions and more gusto singing. (10/10)

Disc Two

1) Reach Out To The Truth -Inst version-

This version of the song is very much similar to the other one. The guitars still blare, the organ still fills in the odd holes, and even a few vocal passages remain. It's interesting hearing the song with the guitar in the lead, although it loses something without the vocalist. (8/10)

2) Specialist

This track is filled with techno and breakbeats aside the occasional jazz organ part. The track has a chill feel, but could do with more development or at least more emphasis on the jazz organ solos in the background. (7/10)

3) Striptease

This is another trance track amongst all the jazz and rock. A hushed female voice makes some creepy sounds while saying precious few words. It gives the track an interesting focus while adding to the ethereal sound. (7/10)

4) Heartbeat, Heartbreak

Once again, J-Pop rules the day in Persona land. A piano provides a backdrop for some pleasant singing, but the real treat is the funky underlying tones strings and percussion. Overall, a good unusual effort. (8/10)

5) Youthful Lunch

A reinterpretation of the previous track, the trumpet interestingly takes the commanding role here. It has more of a stifled beat, but lacks much variety during its playtime. The game show feeling adds a potentially endearing cheesy feel. (5/10)

6) Game

This seems to be a tribute to old-school game music. Distorted synth emulates the square and triangle waves of old, though gradually grows more dramatic and fuses the archaic sound with some more modern features. It's not very good for more than a minute though. (7/10)

7) Zone Time

The trance goes wild here. The electronic beats are exciting and the drums offer a fast-paced clicking sound in the background. Some strings are added to give some desperation to the already sinister theme. Despite this, the track is a bit stale and there is not enough variation to really write anything home about. (6/10)

8) A New World Fool

Wavering trance beats begin this piece and increase in loudness before a guitar busts in. Strings add power to the melody as the guitar jams onwards. The percussion is simple but effectively keeps the pace with the guitar. (8/10)

9) The Fog

Strings finally get a chance to take control in this piece. They blister through the first part of the track, but it doesn't take long for guitars to join in. The guitar adds some playful melodies to this piece before the loop. All in all, it's quite a vibrant effort and ranks among the favourites of the score. (8/10)

10) Period

"Period" is a faster trumpet and organ version of "The Fog". When the trumpet disappears, all that is left is monotony. (4/10)

11) Junes Theme

"Junes Theme" is a very peppy theme composed by Ryota Kozuka. The techno has a very cheery feel and more instruments are added to reinforce the joyous sound. Woodblock and dog barks are played in the background to add to the cuteness. It's not an amazing composition, but it all adds to the diversity and charm. (6/10)

12) Strength of Heart (P4 ver.)

A more ambient effort from Kozuka. The chanting vocals provide a nice intro, but after that the track really falls apart. The drums hit every two seconds with almost zero melody. It's annoying and repetitive with little variation. (3/10)

13) The Path is Open (P4 ver.)

This arrangement of "The Path is Open" emanates with brightness. The piano passages are played in a simple and peaceful manner while some underlying bells add a nice body to the piece. In addition, some angelic humming can be heard in the distance. The track doesn't overstay its welcome. (8/10)

14) Traumerei

Piano drives this melancholic piece. After some contemplation from the solo piano, hip-hop drumming is added and gives some depth to the piece. The track is simple with two parts, but is a much-needed break from some of the clutter of the other tracks. (9/10)

15) How Much?

Once again, organ and piano tag team here to present the happy-go-lucky melody. The guitar sneaks its way into the background and adds some flair to the tune. This retro piece stays very safe with its melody. (7/10)

16) Secret Base

This track is presented by a sad but determined piano line. It is embellished by some modern electronic instrumentation and some ethereal interludes reinforce the gentle nature. Overall, a meaningful effort. (7/10)

17) Heaven

"Heaven" has a bit of a confusing start, but eventually a trembling piano leads the song into its main section. The body of the track wavers between sections dedicated to a beautiful voice and those with a poppy mood. Overall, it sometimes sounds like a sexy jazzy love song and other times an upbeat pop song. (9/10)

18) Alone

Alone is an appropriate name for this track because the lead piano has a very depressing sound to it. The intro starts with some happy chords, but after the masking is over, the piano reveals the character's true feelings and the track descends into some sadness. The piece battles with itself since the character isn't sure what they are feeling. This gives the track an interesting dichotomy. (6/10)

19) Deduction -another version-

The intro of "Deduction -another version-" sounds exactly like the other version, but fails on making any progression. Instead the track feels like one extended intro. It's a boring take on the original. (5/10)

20) Long Way

Industrial stylings blare off into the night with this track. Vibrato strings bring a sense of eeriness to the tune before the piano takes the melody and provides a softer sound. Dissonant electric sounds can be heard crackling in the background, adding some extra flavor into the mix. (8/10)

21) Omen

The mainstay here are some stray sounds and electrical echoes. There really isn't anything else here. It's creepy, but not nearly long enough. (6/10)

22) Corridor

Gentle minimalistic piano work serandes the ears here. The strings waver in and out to bring an air of creppiness, but later provide a serene support to the increasingly more romantic piano work. This is a beautiful miniature. (7/10)

23) The Almighty

Meguro gradually builds a guitar-driven arena track here. The overdriven guitar plays the melody over fairly frisky drums. After a bit of messing around, the piano adds a more serious tone for this encounter. The result is a very dynamic and enpowering composition that entertains throughout its comparatively long 4:39 duration. (8/10)

24) The Genesis

The longest track on the album, the secret boss theme "The Genesis" assaults the ears with foreboding and bombastic low brass. Timpani blast out the beat and snares comes in to add a bit of a march inflection. The track is a bit on the repetitive side, but the build up can be interesting to listen to. If you can bring yourself to get to the five minute mark there is a reprisal of "I'll Face Myself" featuring especially compelling brass work. A great achievement, though perhaps overly long. (7/10)

25) I'll Face Myself -another version-

This version of "I'll Face Myself" is kind of neat. There is a simple hip-hop drumming in the background with the trumpet playing the main melody. The piano jumps in to take the melody for a little bit only to give it straight back to trumpet. They don't seem to want to share parts at the same time; it's either one or the other. (6/10)

26) Never More

"Never More" is a complete J-Pop version of "New Days". The breakbeat rhythm is there and accounted for, though is a bit slower than the original. The track takes its time, but it is completely worth listening to, especially with the trumpets blaring in the background. This piece never seems to get repetitive despite its six minute length since Meguro brings plenty of variety and freshness to the mix. (10/10)

27) Electronica of the Soul

So we have the now trademark re-imagining of "Aria of the Soul". How does this fare as an electronica song? Not very well I'm afraid. The main operatic section clashes so badly with the instrumentals that the Master of the Velvet room would throw the Belladonna out. The reinterpretation is appreciated but the song fails in so many aspects that I should go listen to the original to forget about this. Better luck next time Meguro. (3/10)


That was quite a trip. This is another solid effort from Meguro. Not everything in this soundtrack was completely pristine, but much of it was good. The album took more of a retro feeling instead of a hip-hop feeling, although the influence from Persona 3 is there. Again, Meguro offers an eclectic mix of genres in this album and merges them so well to create a distinct sound. The improvement of the vocal tracks covers up many weak points from the last soundtrack. If you enjoyed the Persona 3 soundtrack, you will love this soundtrack. If you were a hater of P3, then still give this one a try as Persona 4 is varied enough to inspire some positive feelings.

Overall Score: 8/10