01 - "The Weather Tomorrow..."
02 - Firefly
03 - Frosted glass
04 - Eddy
05 - Stream
06 - Hawk
07 - Rare
08 - Wish
09 - Swallow
10 - With memories (Theme)
11 - A repeating life (Type-II)
12 - NOTHING (Type-II)
13 - Bustling time (long version)
14 - Help!
15 - Whisper of breeze
16 - Disordered heart
17 - Palpitation
18 - Love and paradox
19 - Pathetique -MusicBox-
20 - Reminiscence of raining
21 - Psychological distortion
22 - Rain then clear
23 - Memories off 2nd
24 - Tears -bygone days-
25 - Pathetique ~Real piano ver.~ (Beethoven)
26 - Liebestraume ~Real piano ver.~ (Liszt)
27 - Pavane ~Real piano ver.~ (Ravel)
28 - Ballade3 ~Real piano ver.~ (Chopin)
29 - "Orgel and Piano"
30 - Drama CD Innate Skill!? (Drama Preview)
Memories Off: 2nd is a sequel to the acclaimed love adventure Memories Off. Not only does the game find itself taking risks with the narrative, but composer Takeshi Abo seems to have taken more compositional risks here as well. The music to the first Memories Off game was rather innocuous "play it safe" music with a few memorable gems here and there, but this soundtrack has more songs, better songs, and songs that actually ask for attention.
The opening song is terrific. The main hook in the song sounds almost like the opening song to Ever17, and this is a good thing. This opening would lead any gamer to rightuflly believe that this installment of Memories Off is darker and more mature than its predecessor. I loved the vocalist's voice on this opening number. She sang smoothly without cracking on any notes and had a tonality to her voice that fell nicely between little girl and grown woman. I did not feel the same way about the ending theme. That vocalist was nasally with a cutesy sounding voice, and the group vocals in the chorus were cheesy. The instrumental had a very strong beat with punchy drums that sounded to me like it could be a good hip-hop beat. In addition, it's called "Orgel and Piano" but where are the orgel and piano?
The music is what I would expect from Takeshi Abo. Lots of layered synthesized compositions that convey a variety of moods, events, and characters. The compositions are a definite improvement over those in the first Memories Off game. Abo went from using mostly traditional synths and piano sounds in the first game to using a wider variety of instrumentation, such as wood flute in parts of "Frosted glass." I also liked that in pieces like "Eddy," Abo made the drums more punchy in some songs. I felt the rhythms in the previous game's compositions were a bit subdued, so it was nice to see them get some punch here and there. Speaking of the previous game's compositions, Abo remixed some themes from the first game to great effect, given them added instrumentation and more layering. The use of music box sounds and slightly airier synths in "Tears -bygone days-" gave it a different vibe from a track that I thought was one of the better pieces in Memories Off.
I found the compositions in this game reflected the slightly darker and more mature vibe of Memories Off: 2nd quite well. The protagonists in this game are slightly older than in the first game and the addition of break-ups and strained relationships in the game leads to some tracks having that slightly strained feel. Even the joyful tracks didn't feel completely carefree; it was almost as if they were fun, but there was still something nagging in the back of the mind. Admittedly, the remixed joyful tracks from the first game had a more carefree vibe, since despite the sad circumstances in the first Memories Off, it had a surprisingly carefree vibe at times. Tracks like "Help" indicated that characters in the game find themselves in more dangerous situations; this is refreshing because there was never an element of danger in the first game's storylines. I really liked the blend of piano with cloudy synths in "Disordered Heart" to really give that feeling of disorientation. Disorientation and confusion seem to be common theme in the games Abo composes for, and he does those really well.
Although I enjoy Takeshi Abo's compositions and have listened to, and reviewed, many of his soundtracks, I wonder what his compositions would sound like if some of the instruments weren't synthesized. I would think a blend of live and synthesized instrumentation would lend that more organic feel to the music, especially considering that the games he composes for are human dramas with a more organic feel than other types of video games I've played.
To be honest, I didn't enjoy the Memories Off: 2nd game as much as I enjoyed the first game, but I most definitely enjoyed this soundtrack much much more. Where I felt Memories Off's soundtrack was mostly generic and uninspired, this one for Memories Off: 2nd was a hundred times better. I listened to all 29 tracks the whole way through without once feeling bored (track 30 is a drama track, and it's not really made for the Gaijin's ears). Okay, perhaps the short track times helped, but I'd have dug it even if the tracks looped longer. Except for the ending theme, I'd give this soundtrack a thumbs up.
Reviewed by: Neal Chandran