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Persona Original Soundtrack (Japan) :: Review by Resk

Persona Original Soundtrack (Japan) Album Title: Persona Original Soundtrack (Japan)
Record Label: Atlus
Catalog No.: Promotional
Release Date: April 29, 2009
Purchase: Buy at eBay


When I had the chance to take a look at the albums for the very first Persona game, I was thrilled. I was very interested in seeing the roots of the music I've come to know from the latest instalments of the Shin Megami Tensei series. This game was originally released as Persona: Be True Your Mind in 1996 and has been re-released this year with a re-worked score for the PSP. Across two reviews, I am going to take a look at how the two versions of the album compare, looking at the origins of Meguro's style and how he has since evolved. Packaged with the PSP game, the Persona Original Soundtrack features arrangements of the PlayStation score intended to bring the game's music into the series' modern style. Shoji Meguro leads the way, assisted by Kenichi Tsuchiya and Ryota Koduka. Let's see what they achieved...


The two versions of the Persona album are night and day when compared together. This can't be more obvious with the inclusion of a brand new vocal track to open the new Persona album, "Dream of Butterfly". It's upbeat, it's pop-tastic, and it sounds like exactly what we've come to expect from a Persona game. Almost. If anything, one common theme throughout this album is that there's a careful mix of all Shoji Meguro's previous work in the series. Some pieces are reminiscent of Persona 3, while others have some of Nocturne. Others still have Digital Devil Saga, with some Devil Summoner and some Raidou Kuzunoha thrown in for good measure. But even with all these influences, it still stays true to some of the roots from the original version of the album.

"A Lone Prayer" and "Bloody Destiny" are great examples of the mix of some of these styles. The tracks are vocal pieces, but bring together the harmonic elements from Persona 4 with the driving electric rhythms of Digital Devil Saga. "Image Police Station" does much of the same thing, with a heavy electronic beat and driving bass line. "Let Butterflies Spread Until the Dawn" reminds me a lot of Persona 3, particularly the final battle theme in terms of the drum and guitar work, while "Lost Forest" reminds me of many of the beautiful piano themes scattered throughout the series.

As I mentioned before, while there is a lot of new content on this album, some of the themes have been revised from their original incarnations. "Sebec" and "Pandora - Last Battle" are two examples. One thing both of these tracks have in common is that have much more presence this time around. For example, when I heard the original "Pandora...", it didn't really strike me as anything interesting. This new version, however, is bold and in-your-face. However, the really cool thing about the track in both versions is that it is reminiscent of Persona 4's final battle theme — it's a great example of this early work influencing the new.


Overall, it's been a very interesting experience comparing these two albums together. In terms of the composition style, I vastly prefer the new version, although that might also be because it's closer to what I've come to expect from a Persona game. In terms of the score of games in the Megami Tensei series, they have a certain flair and individuality that really makes the series stand out. The new version of this album keeps to that individuality, while the original does not. Although series' purists might enjoy the original album better, I would definitely recommend the newer, up-to-date version of the album as the one to own.

Overall Score: 8/10