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Persona 2 Eternal Punishment - Punitive Dance :: Review by Chris

Persona 2 Eternal Punishment - Punitive Dance Album Title: Persona 2 Eternal Punishment - Punitive Dance
Record Label: Enterbrain
Catalog No.: FMCD-1002
Release Date: November 30, 2000
Purchase: Buy at eBay


The original score for Persona 2: Eternal Punishment restored the dark and experimental focus of the series, yet its arranged album is one of the more conventional of the series in spite of its outlandish name. That's by no means a bad thing since Persona 2 Innocent Sin - The Errors of Their Youth alienated Western listeners with its drama and vocal focus. That said, Persona 2 Eternal Punishment - Punitive Dance does have a concept in that it arranges the original themes in the style of dance music. All the dance styles remain relevant for certain contexts, but are quite diverse, whether waltzes, raves, flamencos, calypsos, or wedding dances. Let's take a closer look.


The album opens on an upbeat note with a less than likely source, "BGM II". The once sedate melody is transformed as the basis of an ecstatic instrumental dance-pop remix. Unfortunately, it's all too clear the the source material was sparing given how many times the same passages repeat in the arrangement, though it still serves as decent background music. There are plenty of other themes that broadly constitute electronic dance music. "Satomi Tadashi Pharmacy" is given an equally joyous arrangement with its blend of quirky vocals and electric beats. If you liked the original, then it'll sound better than ever, though naturally some will hate it. The modern feel is also maintained in "East Asia Defense", which would seem ideal for a rave in Thailand. The arrangers certainly know how to excite listeners with their offerings of punchy melodies, ecstatic beats, and even a few Asian influences.

Quite a few originals are adapted into Spanish dances. "Red Lantern Shiraishi", for example, really emphasises the flamenco flair of the original. The Spanish guitar appropriately takes the lead with a mixture of straight playthroughs of the melody and conventional improvisation while the underlying strings and castanets add to the passion. Once again, though, there is little timbral variety during the four minute playtime meaning it doesn't fully explore its potential. This influence is exerted even more strongly with "Nichirinmaru" using rasgueado guitars and rich vocals. This time, however, the extensive repetition is deliberate and advantageous since it adds to the entrancing sound as the rhythms build up. "Peace Diner" is written in the style of a standard Argentine tango. While the arrangement is broadly competent, the original material seems too light and cheesy to evoke any really passionate emotions.

Looking at more diverse entries, "Opening - Shall We Dance...?" is a surprising ballroom interpretation of the once dark theme. The piano takes the focus during the romantic introduction, though there is later jazzy interplay between piano and chimes plus a passionate harmonica solo. "Padparacha" takes listeners on an easygoing Caribbean expedition with slow steel drum rhythms and even some occasional trippy vocals. "Etheria" also inspires imagery of dancing by the sea, yet takes a much folky approach culminating in some tin whistle solos. Maintaining the nautical theme, "Jolly Roger" is a conventional orchestral whistle that would be ideal for a naval formal. Listeners are also treated with a 1950s jives and boogies in "Penthouse" and "Memories", although they seem more focused on chord progressions than any impressive melodies or chord progressions. At least the latter eventually transitions into a relaxing calypso piece...


The concept of Persona 2 Eternal Punishment - Punitive Dance is pretty interesting. The arrangers did a convincing job transforming the often unlikely source material into a wide range of dances. While they are capable of emulating the basic features of each dance, they're not always so able to offer interesting development in the form of secondary sections, solos, or simply timbral variety, thus giving many pieces a repetitive feel. Furthermore, only a few pieces have much individuality in comparison to their originals and sometimes seem like emulations of mainstream dance music. That said, the album is impressively diverse, competently implemented, and melodically engaging. It's worthwhile for those looking for an accessible yet different interpretation of their favourite Persona 2 themes.

Overall Score: 7/10