The Remember 11 vocal collection consists of various songs with vocals about or inspired by the game. The first thing that grabbed me was the cover art. The character designs displayed are excellent and distinct from those of prior Infinity games. I notice earthier colors used in the characters than in prior games. This is interesting because prior games had more watery settings (i.e. the beach, an underwater theme park) and the character designs used brighter, less earthy colors. By contrast, Remember 11 takes place in the mountains.
The first two songs are "Little Prophet" and "Darkness of Chaos" which are the opening and closing themes of the game respectively. Both are great songs with poppy catchiness and good depth due to the layered instruments and use of minor keys. KAORI sings "Little Prophet" and she's a great vocalist. The vocalist on "Darkness of Chaos" is no slouch either. I really liked her voice too, as it was slightly deeper and huskier than those I normally hear in anime/game based J-pop songs. There are also instrumental versions of these songs on the CD, and they are great to hear. Both songs have interesting arrangements and it was fantastic to hear the songs stand up well on their own even without the vocals. Some people may even consider the songs better without vocals.
The next song "CROSS HEART" comes out fighting with catchy modern pop rock guitar riffs and big drums with a helium-voiced female vocalist layered on top. I know the combination sounds worse than anchovies and peanut butter, but somehow it works. It's really catchy and I liked it.
"Labyrinth of Memories" also comes out fighting with crunchy metal riffs, then a smooth voiced male vocalist comes in. During the chorus, a female vocal is thinly layered below his voice adding a really nice effect. I was happily headbanging along with this song.
"Proud of Alive" breaks up the rock with a more traditionally poppy song. I didn't like this track. It sounded like a very generic, plain vanilla J-pop song. There was really nothing in this song that really grabbed me or held my interest. Maybe it's not a bad song but merely that"CROSS HEART" and "Labyrinth of Memories" are tough acts to follow.
"The Wind's Whereabouts" is an upbeat, bouncy pop song that grabbed my attention right away. Songs like this are the reason I first got into anime music in the first place. I was giddily grinning as I listened to this song. Very catchy instrumental, solid vocalist, and a good song, but I cannot help but feel such an upbeat, bouncy song seems a bit out of place in an ominous game about a plane crash and an eerie mental hospital for the criminally insane.
"STRAY" is easily my favorite song on the disk. That song flat out rocks, even during the quieter moments. This song has big drums, thick pounding bass, loud overdriven guitars, and smooth female vocals. The hook in the song is great and the way the vocal melodies transition between the verses and choruses are great. This song also has that intangible mojo that just makes me go "whoa!" There are other really good songs on this disk, but "STRAY" is just awesome.
But after the best song on the disk comes one of the worst. "Tears" is a very generic and rather boring J-pop ballad. Like "Proud of Alive," the song just feels plain vanilla without anything to really grab me or hold my interest, save for a rather nice guitar solo in the middle of it. It's not a bad song per se and perhaps it suffers from having to follow the incredible "STRAY," but it's nothing special either.
The songs "CROSS HEART," "Labyrinth of Memories," "Proud of Alive," "The Wind's Whereabouts," "STRAY," and "tears" are each about a particular character in Remember 11. As can be expected from an Infinity series game, the tightly knit cast is small but very diverse, hence the diversity in the songs.
"Will Theme- I Cannot Stop a Doll Dance" takes one of the in-game themes and adds some really cool vocals to it. "Will-Theme" is one of my favorite tracks on the Remember 11 Sound Collection CD and the added vocals are a nice touch, but I didn't think vocalist KAORI's voice was that great. If her voice was less grating in the song, it could have been like a just-right amount of a particular condiment to enhance the flavor of a good food to make it great. Unfortunately, this vocalist was the wrong condiment and it ruined the flavor.
All in all, the Remember 11 vocal collection is a good soundtrack. Sure there were a few clunkers, but the overwhelming majority of songs were quite good and one was even stellar. Even without exposure to the game or the series as a whole, the music can definitely be appreciated by listeners.
Reviewed by: Neal Chandran