Monthly Recommendations – Your Song in April

You may have noticed that just yesterday I posted my review of the second half of Your Lie in April, a show that featured some of the best music I’ve ever heard. So we’re going to have a month of musical masterpieces for you all to appreciate.

Your Lie in April

Our first set of recommendations has to include the inspiration behind the theme, of course. Your Lie in April revolves around a pianist and a violinist, so music is a central element of course. While every part of this show’s music is amazing… I’d like to focus on one unique element: the characters’ performances. Our two protagonists have a duet, and several side characters have their own as well. You get full classic pieces performed for the show, and they are incredible. At the end of episode 8 is my favourite of the series, and my hair stood on end during it.

YLIA-Surreal

Final Fantasy XIII-2

I’ve recently been playing Final Fantasy XIII-2 on my stream and my time with the game has reminded me just how good its soundtrack is…. for the most part. There are a couple of tracks that are so bad they stick out like a sore thumb, but they are an extreme minority. The rest of the soundtrack is simply superb and contains several tracks that will stand the test of time alongside previous Final Fantasy greats like ‘You’re Not Alone’, ‘To Zanarkand’, and ‘Forever Rachel’.

 

Hope you’ve enjoyed those past two recommendations – but it’s time for week two of our music themed recommendations!

Asura Cryin’

Asura Cryin’ had some of the most memorable themes I’ve heard. These songs still have a strong place in my heart regardless of how long it has been since I’ve watched the show. Both Spiral and Alternative – the show’s two opening themes – are among my favourite songs of all time. Alternative, in particular, always amazes me with how incredibly talented its singer is. It even made my list of best anime openings of all time back when I did it in 2013.

But more than just great themes, the show also did a good job in terms of general sound design. The music was used to great effect within the series. There were a few moments in particular that stood out, but my favourite was the way they tied the series together with music right near the end. It helped to make up for a relatively weak ending overall.

Child of Light

Child of Light was an interesting game… inspired by JRPGs, written in verse, and with a story that hearkened back to the fairy tales of our childhoods. And while it was a stellar game in general, one of the best of the year in fact, what has always stuck out to me about this game was the absolutely amazing soundtrack composed by Coeur de Pirate.

This soundtrack does a great job throughout the entire game of building ambience and emotion while setting the stage for every big moment. But, beyond even just being great for the game… it is a simply fantastic soundtrack just to listen to and enjoy. In fact, I liked it so much that almost immediately after completing the game I went and purchased it. And you should too.

 

It’s time for week 3 of Your Song in April!

Journey

Journey’s soundtrack is an absolute masterpiece, composed by Austin Wintory. It is so well done that it was nominated for a Grammy – the first videogame soundtrack to ever receive a nomination. It is also one of the only soundtracks that I like every track from.

This game’s soundtrack, more than any other, is absolutely integral to the game. The orchestral tracks are subtle yet memorable, and help to build the experience is such an incredible way. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but there is nothing quite like Journey… and the soundtrack is a big part of that.

Trinity Seven

Trinity Seven’s soundtrack features a wide number of unique remixes of the show’s themes that are used throughout. It’s a very cohesive soundtrack where everything ties together nicely and works incredible well to help support the show’s action and story.

But my favourite part of the soundtrack are the ending themes. Over the course of one season they had four separate ending themes, each of which were sung by a duet of the show’s female protagonists’ voice actresses. My two favourites are Beautiful Sentence – sung by Arin and Lilith – and Restart the World – performed by Liese and Selina. But all four of them are fantastic, as is the show’s opening theme Seven Doors, which was sung by ZAQ.

 

And it’s time for our final week of Your Song in April! Here are the last batch of recommendations!

 

Transistor

Transistor was my game of the year for last year, so it goes without saying that I loved the game. But it did a few really special things on a music front… first of all, the protagonist Red was supposed to be a professional singer who had lost her voice, so the soundtrack consisted of her songs and variants of them and it is one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever heard. Amazing to have two such incredible games come out in the same year – both Child of Light and this.

But my favourite musical touches lie in how the music is integrated into the game. First of all, the game features a hum button – a button that, if you hold it, Red will hum the song playing in the background. It’s such a beautiful use of an idle button, and it is even made use of at one point – there’s a spot where if you hum, the enemies nearby will all visibly listen. Additionally, certain game mechanics will trigger alterations in the sound effect that just seem really fitting.

HaNaYaMaTa

I don’t recommend HaNaYaMaTa often enough. It was the best anime of the year, and it was the show that changed the way I look at slice of life. The soundtrack was in general very good, with a few different unique musical elements. First off is one of the character’s all girl band who performs a few really cool light rock songs. Additionally, the show’s ending is glorious and is performed by the entire cast for the final episode – by Tami’s voice actress for the rest of the series.

But most notably is how catchy and fun the show’s opening is. I don’t speak Japanese, but with how often I’ve listened to it I can practically sing along – and no, I won’t force you to listen to that. What is particularly special about it is that it also has special meaning within the show.

 

Hope you’ve enjoyed these recommendations! We’ll be back next week with a new theme!