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MIDI POWER Pro 4 ~Tokimeki Memorial~

[back cover]
Catalog Number: KICA-7791
Released On: September 26, 1997
Composed By: Konami Kukeiha Club
Arranged By: Haruhiko "Boot" Kuroiwa, Hiroshi "Ebi-chan" Ebihara
Published By: King Records
Recorded At: STUDIO YOU
Format: 1 CD
Tracklist:

01 - Surrounded by Flowers ~Nozomi, met by chance by the flower bed~
02 - Planetarium ~Planetarium Date~
03 - Battle Medley
    - What is this!? ~Encounter with rival~
    - A painful experience ~Encounter with Zako~
    - I am the gang leader! ~Battle with the leader~
04 - Seven Rising Dragons ~Fireworks Display~
05 - Amusement Park Medley with junk-monger
    - Ghost Banquets ~Ghost House~
    - On the verge of fainting ~Scary Ride Bibel~
    - Junk Shop ~Junk-monger Shopping~
06 - Central Park ~Central Park Date~
07 - What are you talking
08 - Christmas Medley
    - White Christmas ~Shiori, white christmas~
    - A cold body is warmed ~Mira, is given a coat~
    - Christmas is lonely ~Solitary Christmas~
09 - Epilogue
    - Confession
    - Reminiscence
10 - Psyth (non stop mix)
Total Time:
52'10"

It is getting more and more difficult for me to script creative openings to my Tokimeki Memorial soundtrack reviews. The sheer quantity of Tokimeki Memorial soundtracks out there outnumbers the fleas on an Old English sheepdog who's been lost in the woods all weekend. I know I've used that analogy several times before (because it's true), and I've repeatedly expressed how much I want to legitimately play one of these games in English. All of that remains true, even after listening to yet another TokiMemo soundtrack — this time Tokimeki Memorial, MIDI Power Pro 4. This soundtrack features arranged MIDI tracks from Tokimeki Memorial games, including some themed medleys, like a battle theme medley.

The tracks presented here are lengthy, ranging from 3:43 to 7:16. But what's great about these pieces is that they remain interesting, dynamic and varied throughout their durations. Even more noteworthy is that once I actually sat down in my chair at home to listen to this album, I sat still, relaxed, and just listened to it all. It's easy for me to sit down on the couch and read a book, but far more difficult for me to just sit down and listen to music. I generally only listen to music while driving or doing indoor cardiovascular exercise. Therefore, the fact that this soundtrack kept my inner ADD monster from diverting its attention hither and yon cannot be denied. (And, yes, I do have adult ADD.)

The first piece has this really funky jazz thing going about halfway through it, and I was grooving along with that killer bassline. Funky jazz grooves have always been a staple in Tokimeki Memorial's music, which is very favorable to me, since I enjoy jazz and funk with greasy grooves. Bass plays a big part in a lot of these compositions, like a really slick fretless bassline about a minute into Battle Medley. This sticks out to me because the "mwah" sound of fretless bass is not an aggressive sound at all and is more at home in jazz than rock. However, it works here in much the same way elite bassist Steve DiGiorgio makes fretless bass sound amazing in heavy metal contexts.

Another thing I've noticed in many Tokimeki Memorial soundtracks is that several pieces would not be out of place in epic RPGs like Final Fantasy. Granted, the game does incorporate many RPG elements like turn-based battles into its dating-sim fold, which itself is driven by character growth stats. Ergo, it's not too much of a stretch for the music to encompass RPG tradition as well. Planetarium Date starts off appropriately spacey but crescendos into something more and more epic as it sonically captures the feeling of traveling vast galaxies and exploring different worlds. This is the kind of music that would be wonderful in a space opera JRPG. Central Park Date, with its rippling water and chirping birds sound effects accompanying relaxed acoustic guitar lines, evoked images from various JRPGs I've played where the party finds a peaceful little town or oasis to take a breather from the tension of saving the world from evil empires.

Amusement Park Medley with Junk Monger is by far the most beguiling piece. The piece seems quite sinister, and I badly want to know the in-game context of this music. Normally, amusement park music in a love adventure or dating sim is very upbeat and happily romantic, since amusement park dates are a big deal in those games. With Junk Monger being involved, I wonder if this music pertains to a creepy abandoned amusement park that's gone into decay. What kind of storyline plays out here? I want to play the games and find out, but my command of Japanese isn't good enough to play even the simplest Tokimeki Memorial games and the chances of any English localizations are zip, zilch, zero, and nada.

Towards the end of the soundtrack is a song I was dreading: the 7 minute Christmas Medley. I am not a fan of traditional Christmas music and find much of it to be saccharine drivel. But let me tell you, if Christmas music was more like this medley, I wouldn't be grumbling "bah humbug" around the holidays. This Christmas Medley is an absolute joy to listen to. The simpler compositions therein inspire the warm coziness of being at home with people you care about on a cold winter's day, and the more complex compositions evoke feelings of reflection as we look back on the year that's gone by.

It's no secret that I love Tokimeki Memorial music and most of the soundtracks I've reviewed were reviewed positively. This one is excellent, because it provides a good starting point for someone thinking of delving into Tokimeki Memorial and its music. Power Pro 4 MIDI offers a wonderfully arranged cross section of what makes Tokimeki Memorial's music so special for fans, and earns a hearty recommendation as the gateway Tokimeki Memorial album.

Reviewed by: Neal Chandran



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