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Persona 4 Original Soundtrack (Japan) :: Review by Calvin

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


I can't describe the joy I felt when Shoji Meguro was confirmed as the main composer of Persona 4. His previous works, Persona 3 and Digital Devil Saga, left a deep impression on me. Since listening to these works, I couldn't help but be addicted to his music. In contrast to Persona 3 which has pop feel, Persona 4 music is perhaps best considered as retro music reminiscent of the late 80s. I praise this album very highly as it is even much enjoyable than Digital Devil Saga which I previously considered his finest work to date. Persona 4 is one of Meguro's definitive masterpieces and this album is an outstanding and prominent example of how a video game musician can develop his musical style.


Persona 4 opens with theme song titled "Pursuing My True Self". It's quick-beat hip-hop music with occasional grooves that only lasts a minute. However, it is catchy enough to make you listen it again and again. The next track, "Glimpse of a Memory", is the dramatic main theme for Persona 4 that is reused several times in the album. Many part of the albums are filled with happy-go-lucky music. The overworld themes are unique because they are vocal tracks, but uniquely not repetitive. "Your Affection" is probably my favourite vocal track on the entire album; this hip-hop and jazz infused song is full of optimism and heroism that is simply heartwarming. It's beautiful enough to put it on loop for hours.

A discussion about Meguro is never complete without talking about his trademark: hot battle music. If you are bored to death with "Mass Destruction" in Persona 3, fear not as the battle music in Persona 4 is much better and more timeless. "Reach Out To The Truth" is one of the most awesome rocking themes in this album. It opens with Engrish rapping, nonstop guitar work, and a powerful beat. The heroic lyrics and riffs make it very enjoyable but it's nonetheless great battle music in context too. "The Fog" is also a powerful battle theme that proves Meguro's competence composing thematic battle themes. It's full of vigour but there also hints of sadness and tragedy.

"The Almighty" is probably one of most powerful battle themes Meguro has composed. It opens softly with distorted guitar and gradually becomes faster and more dramatic. After a quick pause, a riff appears followed by Meguro's characteristic electric guitar. I can't praise this track high enough. The hidden boss battle theme "The Genesis" is the longest track in the entire album. The slow opening of this track inspires an image of a powerful boss, but it makes the track less enjoyable and even dull. This track also proves Meguro is not too good when arranging orchestral work so I think it's better to stick with his usual style. By the end of this track, there is also a reprise of "Reach Out The Truth", a optimistic theme which seemingly intended when all characters have deal the finishing blow to the hard-to-beat boss. Happy, satisfying end, our heroes save the day.

And finally, we come to the beautiful ending theme "Never More". A reprise of the main theme, it's a bittersweet song sung beautifully by Shihoco Hirata. If you listen the music while reading the lyrics, you will be surprised by how they intersynch so wonderfully. This song is very satisfying and will remind listeners of the similarly sad Persona 3 Fes ending theme. A minor complaint is that it's really strange that Meguro put a filler piece before the ending theme. I think it would have been much better if the ending theme were put after the last track, a retro arranged track of "Velvet Room". It's kind of out of place where it stands and I always skip it since it ruins the overall mood of the album and isn't as enjoyable as the original.


In conclusion, the Persona 4 Original Soundtrack is a definitely a must listen album. Most of the tracks are easy to listen to and heartwarming so I think most people will enjoy the album regardless of whether they have played the game. Shoji Meguro has incredibly improved his style since Persona 3 and this album is definitely worth calling a masterpiece. Any complaints aren't really a big deal since there is so much to enjoy.

Overall Score: 9/10