What you are about to read is an incredibly biased review. I cannot help but do otherwise: Michiko Naruke has captivated my aural heart, and I cannot manage to get it back. Every melody Naruke writes and releases to the public draws me closer to the vague entity that we know as the Wild ARMs series.
That said, don’t be at all surprised that I jumped all over the first opportunity to obtain a Wild ARMs Vocal Collection! Previously, all we had seen as far as soundtracks goes for Wild ARMs was OST material, though I’m sure a string-arranged album would’ve sold phenomenally well. What exactly does this vocal collection contain?
The tracks on this disc come from a variety of sources. Some come directly off of the OSTs. Some are the same tracks from the OST, but now “Full Size Versions”, longer than the original “Game Size Versions.” Furthermore, there are also completely new vocal tracks made just for this collection. The collection contains selections from all Wild ARMs games, as well as the Twilight Venom Animation, up to its time (Alter Code:F was released after this collection).
I will refrain from attempting a track-by-track review, much as I would like to. Suffice it to say, each of these tracks are beautiful. The title track, “alone the world”, is absolutely my new favorite vocal piece from any Wild ARMs title. Zephyrs’s, a disco-funk-jazz-esque piece, still ranks high in my book too; I like it more now than I did when I was younger.
Agh…I am simply at a loss of words to describe the magnificence of Naruke’s melodies and these vocalists’ performances. Of all the J-Pop out there, this is some of the best. One of the keys to good pop is not the vocalist necessarily, but the arrangement and selection of instruments backing up the vocalist. The percussion, piano, and BG vocals used on these tracks are all just right. The result is a simply splendid experience.
If anything, I would hope that this collection will sell well enough to prompt a sequel. Imagine, Wild ARMs Vocal Collection 2, with new vocal pieces, as well as extended versions of older pieces. Please help me in this pursuit and pick up a copy yourself before the CD goes out of print!