01 - Shining Tears (Opening version)
02 - Minstrel's Melody
03 - Sortie
04 - Beneath the Banner of the Beast God
05 - A Place You Must Protect
06 - Forest of Spirits
07 - The Artisan of Flames
08 - Complications of Fate
09 - Bloody Battle
10 - Violent Assault
11 - Raid
12 - Advance
13 - Battlefield
14 - The Darkness Roars
15 - Light Force of the Gods
16 - Black Sacred Treasures
17 - Victory
18 - And Then, The Story Begins
19 - Tension
20 - Unease
21 - Unrest
22 - A Moment's Peace
23 - Grief
24 - Bondage
25 - The Spinning Threads of Fate
26 - Ruins
27 - Tactics
28 - The White Knight
29 - Mischievous Kitten
30 - Disciple of Darkness
31 - The Dragon God and the Shrine Maiden
32 - Advent of the Demon Beast
33 - Birth of a New Hero
34 - Requiem
35 - Minstrel's Melody II
36 - Silhouette of Light (Short version)
Shining Tears is one of the several games in the Shining series that went the action RPG route. Like many of the Action RPG installments, the reception of Shining Tears is mixed. The game did feature some cool characters and an interesting art style on the environments, but it's a slow and clunky A-RPG in the end. The music is composed almost exclusively by Kaoru Okada, but it did not fare so great either.
The album starts off with the opening version of the song, "Shining Tears." It's a nice, easy going J-Pop song with a cheerful melody and slightly rough vocals that grew on me pretty quickly. It started off slow, but the pace picked up nicely as the song got to the meat, and I liked when the vocalist said "Shining Teaaaaaah!" The pronunciation was a bit weird, but I found it amusing.
From there, the songs are all hit or miss. The primary theme is orchestral, consisting of heavy drum and brass beats, complemented by the violin for harmony or used as the main melody. In some songs, a chorus is used to add tension to some of the more intense or sophisticated song. Another batch of the songs is casual songs, using a flute or clarinet as the main melody with a guitar complementing.
I find the orchestral songs to be the weakest in the soundtrack. There is nothing wrong with the songs except that they are plain. I do not find them very memorable and a lot of them sound a little similar. The prime examples of using this style are the battle themes starting from "Bloody Battle" to "Black Sacred Treasures." With the exception of one, the battle themes all use heavy orchestral melodies to make the battles feel like you are fighting in an epic war. It worked pretty well for the game, but it does not matter much outside of it as the melodies weren't very interesting. I did like "Advance" as it utilizes orchestra, but in a simpler matter, and I liked the melody of it. It goes to show that orchestra music does not need to be epic to make it enjoyable. Strangely, the boss theme is not present in the album at all.
A few other songs use a similar style such as "Beneath the Banner of the Beast God" when you select to enter a part of town. There's also tactics that is pretty typical planning music and "Tension" which is typical suspense music. Again, they work in the game, but they're not too interesting to listen to. "Advent of the Demon Beast" is a slower and more intense version of "Black Sacred Treasures." The intensity factor works quite well and it is actually an interesting song to listen to once or twice.
The casual style songs occur in different sections of the city and during numerous scenes. While I do not find the songs great, they are better than the orchestral ones by a long shot. One of my favorites is "Forest Of Spirits", a very tranquil song which an enchanting melody. I liked how it started off with the clarinet then the violins come in to radiate a feeling of magic within the song. A few others were enjoyable too such as "A Place you Must Protect" which is the kind of song that is relaxing to listen with the clarinet and guitar working together to create the feeling of a simple life. "A Moment's Peace" is similar to "A place you Must Protect," but a lot more heartwarming, giving you a sense of coziness for the short time it lasts. There are a few other songs with the same nature, but those are some that I wind up liking the most.
The album finishes off with the ending theme, "Silhouette of Light (Short Version)." The vocals are pretty good, but aside from that, I don't find the song too memorable. The female vocals in the background feel a bit tacked on and by the time I got more into the song, it was close to ending. I feel the short version is a bit too short to be able to get into the song.
The soundtrack is solid and these songs work well with the moments they are heard in the game, but that's pretty much it. The orchestral songs might be epic, but they are boring to listen and while I did like the easygoing songs, I doubt that they will stick with me in the long run. All the songs lack that magic that makes a song irresistible to listen to again and again. Like the game, get it if you are a big fan of the Shining series and want your musical fix. It wouldn't hurt to get it cheap either, but no need to go hunt down this particular album. It's nothing special.
Reviewed by: Dennis Rubinshteyn