Memories Off

[back cover]
Catalog Number: SCDC-00002
Released On: December 18, 1999
Composed By: Takeshi Abo, Chiyomaru Shikura, Hidehiko Katou
Arranged By: Katsumi Yoshihara, Sunflower
Published By: Scitron Discs
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 1 CD
Buy this CD from Play-Asia

02 - Memories Off Side Story 1 "Memories All At Once!!"
03 - Theme of Kaoru Otowa
04 - Theme of Koyomi Kirishima
05 - Memories Off Side Story 2 "Because I Always Want To Be Together..."
06 - Theme of Minamo Ibuki
07 - Theme of Shion Futami
08 - Memories Off Side Story 3 "The Most Important Person"
09 - Theme of Ayaka Hizuki
10 - Theme of Yue Imasaka
11 - This may be the last time we can meet
Total Time:

Dictionary.com defines mishmash as a confused mess; hodgepodge; jumble. I would use mishmash to describe this soundtrack, as within its 11 tracks lie in-game music, drama tracks, and promotional music not heard in the game. So does this smattering of material result in a worthwhile CD or does it seem like a hurriedly thrown-together lack of effort? Unfortunately, I think it's the latter.

The first track on the CD is one that thankfully was NOT in the game. It had an excellent instrumental with poppiness and some punch, but the vocals were terrible. I found the vocals overly cutesy with overdone echo effects that made them sound overly processed; as if the effects were only there to blatantly compensate for her naturally lousy singing voice. And, yes, during the rare moments of the song where there were no vocal effects, I found the vocalist's voice grating. The song was long too, so I couldn't wait for it to end. Where's a vocal eliminator when I need it? The drama tracks interspered throughout the CD were rather long as well, but are a great accompaniment to the Memories Off narrative if you understand Japanese.

So, after the opening theme and four drama tracks, we are left with a mere 7 tracks of in-game music. There are at least twice as many tracks in the game itself. The tracks on this CD are basically the six characters themes: one for each of the six ladies, and the ending theme. The tracks are fairly typical Takeshi Abo fare: melodic, synth-based compositions with layered harmonies. However, most of the themes, while good, sounded like generic love adventure music. Takeshi Abo's later work, particularly in the Infinity series of games, is much better. One thing I would advise is to listen to the songs with the bass boosted, otherwise they lack oomph. There is solid bass and a solid rhythm section hidden in these tracks, but when I listen to the music in the game, the bass is mixed too low. The ending theme featured a breathy helium-voiced vocalist singing over a sparse piano melody. I found the song rather boring. Okay, when the drums kicked in towards the end, that grabbed my attention, but it was too little too late. The vocalist did not impress me either. Her voice got really nasal when she tried to belt out the high notes.

The best track on this CD is easily Shion Futami's theme (track 7). Abo shows his penchant for emotional piano pieces here. This is one piece that I feel stands up to some of his best work with its great piano line and nicely intertwined synths. Excellent theme. THIS is the Takeshi Abo I know. In addition, I think the event themes in the game proper are more interesting to listen to than the character themes. Abo shined on those, hence it was a shame not to hear those on this soundtrack.

One thing that puzzles me is the purpose of this soundtrack. It only has the in-game character themes, an ending theme, some lousy song that's not even in the game, and a few lengthy drama tracks. In addition, I think two of the tracks were mislabeled on the CD sleeve. Track 6 is labeled as Minamo Ibuki's theme, yet in the game that song plays during scenes with Koyomi Kirishima (whose theme is labeled as track 4). I feel as if this soundtrack was a half-hearted attempt at something, but what is that something? Maybe if I understood enough Japanese to appreciate the drama tracks and the CD had arranged versions of the character themes I'd give it more due, but as it stands now, I found it to be a waste.

Reviewed by: Neal Chandran


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