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Shin Megami Tensei Persona 4 Soundtrack Side A (US) :: Review by FuryofFrog

Shin Megami Tensei Persona 4 Soundtrack Side A (US) Album Title: Shin Megami Tensei Persona 4 Soundtrack Side A (US)
Record Label: Atlus
Catalog No.: Promotional
Release Date: December 9, 2008
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Atlus is often fond of distributing soundtracks with their games. Persona 4 was no exception. These soundtracks are typically high quality samplers that in reality hold a large portion of the music from the game. Sometimes the track selection is sufficient for most not to require an import soundtrack whereas other times the track selection is abysmal. Where does Persona 4 Side A one of the aforementioned?

Track-by-Track Reviews

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) 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

3) 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)

4) 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)

5) 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)

6) 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)

7) 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)

8) 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)

9) 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)

10) 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)

11) 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)

12) 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)

13) 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)

14) 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)

15) 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)

16) 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)

17) 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)

18) 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)

19) 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)

20) 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)

21) 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)

22) 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)

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) 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)


This selection is a great one indeed. If anything can be said of Side A, it is that it is certainly a very poppy, guitar driven disc. A few vocal themes are inserted in this album to go and assert the new Persona flavor. There are few themes that are awkward here like "Junes Theme" and "Border of Insanity". Overall, though, this is a great selection. It's obvious that great care was taken putting this promotion together and the disc succeeds because of it.

Overall Score: 8/10