01 - March On
02 - Revelation - Flower -
03 - March On - jp -
04 - Twister [The World Ends With You - Solo Remix - PV Ver.]
05 - Someday - Kingdom Mix JP Ver. -
06 - Jump Over Yourself (papapayapa)
07 - Owarihajimari - x-tended ver. -
08 - Twister - Novoiski Remix -
09 - Make or Break remix for qanchis
10 - Satisfy - Galaxy Dub -
11 - Calling - T$UYO$HI Remix -
12 - Twister - T$UYO$HI Remix -
13 - Calling - Kingdom Mix - (Live Ver.)
14 - Twister (Live Ver.)
15 - Twister - Crossover - (Live Ver.)
Five years after its initial release, The World Ends With You still remains one of the most unique and stylish JRPGs I've played in recent memory. Among its many standout aspects is a soundtrack whose compositions are inspired by hip-hop DJ-style remixing and other urban/street styles of music. This album contains remixes of TWEWY's music, including a few live performances. Do these remixes do the original tunes justice, or is it remix overkill?
Two of the most recognizable tunes from the game are Twister and Calling, each of which is represented multiple times in this soundtrack. There are two renditions of Calling and five of Twister. My favorite Twister remix is the Novoiski remix, which gives a slightly darker and heavier edge to the music. The T$UYO$HI remix of Twister is good too, but Novoiski's resonated with me more. T$UYO$HI also did a remix of Calling, and I did not like it at all. Parts of it were good, but once it veered off into dissonant dubstep, I did not want to listen any more. It also had some very choppy transitions into different styles. After his smooth handling of Twister, Calling was rough listening.
Other songs represented here are SOMEDAY, Jump Over Yourself, Owarihajimari, Make or Break, and Satisfy. Compared to the more elaborate remixes here that feature tons of bells, whistles, and everything but the kitchen sink, SOMEDAY's clean and stripped-down arrangement was very refreshing to listen to, except for the part where the singer distorts her voice by singing too close to the microphone. I also liked the funky-as-hell Owarihajimari. I heard elements of Parliament/Funkadelic, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and even lounge jazz. The other tracks were too busy, too long, and/or just plain forgettable. I heard a few cool moments here and there (e.g. the climax in Make or Break), but SOMEDAY and Owarihajimari were the only standout tracks for me.
I don't recall the song "March On" from the game itself, but English and Japanese versions of the song are both on this soundtrack. The song itself was not bad, but it got really repetitive and could have easily been cut by 1 or 2 minutes. As far as vocals go, the singer performed quite well in English, but her Japanese language performance sounded stronger and more natural.
The last three tracks consist of a live version of Calling and two of Twister by The Death March. I was not too thrilled by these, unfortunately. In the first rendition of Twister, the vocalist sounded listless and monotone. Her shouts had little energy, her rapping was meek, and when she had to sing, her voice was often flat and she hit a lot notes out of tune. I couldn't bear the almost 9 minute closing track for more than two minutes, because the backing vocalist had a jarringly screechy voice and harmonized noticeably out of tune, which seemed to throw off the main vocalist, whose attempts to compensate resulted in continued out-of-tune singing. Their rendition of "Calling" was perhaps the most bearable, but even then, the out of tune vocals killed it for me.
I play in a gigging band myself, so I could make a million excuses for this. Maybe this performance was late in the tour and the vocalists' voices were shot. Maybe the sound engineer at the venue did a poor job and the vocalists couldn't hear themselves or the band properly in the monitors. Maybe some of the band members had an argument on their way to the show and it was an off night. But none of that matters to the average listener. When a live performance is immortalized onto an album, it had better be on point, because there is no visual performance to hide behind.
To address the question I posed in my introductory paragraph, a couple of the songs do the original tunes justice, but most of them are overkill. Many of the songs are overdone, throwing far too many random elements into their remixes. The ones that showed subtlety and restraint are the ones I favored the most. I was also disappointed that the live tracks featured subpar vocal performances. I really cannot recommend this soundtrack, which is a shame, because the game itself has a terrific soundtrack that offers a lot for remix artists to play with.
Reviewed by: Neal Chandran