As April approaches, many gamers are looking forward to Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly. As I personally prepare myself for this sequel, it dawned on me that I (and we collectively at RPGFan) have not given adequate coverage to the first game’s OST. Thus, here I am, prepared to give you my take on Coffee Talk Official Soundtracks! by composer Andrew Jeremy.
The trend towards chill, lo-fi beats and keyboard was ramping up throughout 2019 and 2020. Coffee Talk landed at just the right time to catch this wave in early 2020, even though Andrew Jeremy had ample experience writing for this and other genres for some time (see examples on his SoundCloud page). The soundscape Jeremy crafted for Coffee Talk truly sets the tone for the game, making one feel like they are enjoying time at a coffee shop. Whether alone or with others, whether it’s sunny or rainy outside, the moods set by this music make me want to linger at the café or just enjoy a cup in my home while getting some work done.
When listening to this soundtrack, a few things in particular stand out to me. First and foremost is the intentionally mixed-in “scratchy record playback” artifact meant to simulate listening to an actual vinyl record. This is one of the hallmarks of the lo-fi digital music scene, and while not used in every track, the tracks employing it sound gloriously chill. “Cup of Sweetness” and “Hot on Cold” stand out as great examples.
Then there are the drum loops. Simple, soft, jazz- and ballad-adjacent drum loops are one of the most consistent aspects of this soundtrack. One can easily imagine a subdued rap or R&B vocal track built around these tunes. Honestly, I would love to hear a hip-hop artist freestyle over tracks like “The Last Time” or “Tenderhearted.” At that point, this music would be very fitting as background music to scenes in whatever the next Persona game turns out to be.
The rest of the soundscape? It’s what one might expect from this genre: smooth bass, gentle guitar, and lots of work on the keyboard: from bright piano to warm synth pads, keys dominate the tonal aspect of these tracks.
Given this soundtrack is like a smooth slightly-caffeinated treat, I feel comfortable recommending it. However, much like the varying espresso drinks offered at your local café, there are multiple variants to the Coffee Talk soundtrack. The one I’ve opted to drink (review) is the longest and most thorough among them, entitled Coffee Talk Official Soundtracks! This version is the first version of the soundtrack published, and it is digital-only. Of the 27 tracks featured here, four of them are unique to this release, not found elsewhere: “Rough Day,” “A Bit Relaxing,” “Way Too Soon,” and “You Don’t Mind.”
Then there’s Coffee Talk Soundtracks!, a 2CD set with 24 songs, one of which is a bonus track that only exists on the physical print: “Yours Truly.” This 2CD version also released as a first pressing bonus alongside an art book.
A year later, Coffee Talk Official Soundtrack was published by Black Screen Records, likely in response to the music’s growing popularity. This is yet another 2CD set with 24 songs, but this time there are two bonus tracks exclusive to this physical print: “The Way I See” and “Dance In The Shower.” The audio on this version is also remastered, so that’s even more variation to consider.
Finally, there is (fittingly) a 2 Vinyl LP set, also from Black Screen Records, that only has 14 songs due to space limitations. Additionally, this set features no exclusive tracks.
If you’re an avid collector, you can string together all 30 tracks Andrew Jeremy wrote for Coffee Talk. For myself, I am satisfied with the 27 on this digital-only release. That being said, I am jonesing for some more coffee-infused lo-fi tunes. And, again, that’s why I’m writing this review. I’m reflecting on the subtle tones of this album as I prepare my mind for Coffee Talk 2. Andrew Jeremy, I can’t wait to check out what you’ve brewed for us in 2023!