It’s taken me a long time to convince myself to get this album. First, it took me a year just to work up the nerve to buy it. Then, it took me three weeks after receiving the CD just to listen through the whole thing. Why, you ask? The first song!
Oh, sweet mother of Paul Bunyan, the first song is terrible. If hell could be transmuted into a waveform, it would sound something like this. Cheesy chord progression, annoying crunchy keyboard sounds, off-pitch whiny cutesy female vocalists: it can’t get worse than this.
But then, one day, I decided to simply put in the CD and skip the first track. Then, I was finally able to experience some decent music. Mind you, not all of it is worthwhile, and a few tracks are nearly as bad as the first; but let me tell you what good I found on this album.
First of all, the majority of the songs have great instrumentation. The performances are half-decent, and the composition (by Kazunori Ashizawa) sounds like some classy 1980s pop music. There are a variety of styles represented on the album, but the majority of them were popular in the late 1980s: seriously.
Vocally, I was surprised to find that my favorite songs were from the male vocalists. Generally, I have a hard time appreciating male Japanese vocalists, but these guys do a pretty decent job; at least, compared to the females, they’re on-pitch the majority of the time.
Each song is a vocal performance from the various characters of Growlanser IV. I have no experience with the game, so perhaps for fans of the game, the songs will have more value and meaning. As for me, they’re just happy-go-lucky vocal tracks from another anime-style PS2 RPG. I’m sure that’s how the majority of you VGM fans will label this album anyway, and that’s fine with me.
A “special” treat at the end is “SAILING,” which puts all of the vocalists together for a last hurrah. The males take one melody while the females take another. This song sounds like a contemporary Christian worship piece, again from the 80s (not to say that this is a bad thing, but there is something saccharine and non-genuine about the sound in general). Be sure to listen to this sample.
Even with the more impressive songs, I still doubt this album is worth the material it’s printed on. If you ever find it used for a low price, it might be worth adding to your collection; otherwise, it’s just another mediocre vocal album that you can probably do without.