Among all of the Lunar soundtracks one can hunt down through various message boards and auctions, Lunar Songs 2 is the second-to-rarest, only slightly more common than the oldest Lunar CD in existence, The Silver Star OST. Not surprisingly, Lunar Songs 2 opens with a song once found only on that OST, the opening theme song “Lunar.”
Those of you familiar with Working Designs’ English release of The Silver Star for Sega CD will recognize the melody, but will not recognize the Japanese lyrics. You may also notice that the original version lacks the “hey! hey!”s found in WD’s English version (which can be heard also on the Silver Star Story Complete CD). Nonetheless, this is a quality track: the only problem is that the sound quality itself, on the CD, is very low. The song needs to be remastered so that we can hear a more full sound from this 80s-style theme song.
Next up is “Wind’s Nocturne”, known to American fans as “the Boat Song.” This is another classic vocal: soft and beautiful, even if the Japanese vocalist does have a more nasal voice at times. This one doesn’t even need my comments: all RPG Fans should know this song by heart.
“Pretty Girl” is one of many character songs found on the “Lunatic” half-drama discs, this one originating from Lunatic Festa Vol.3, and sung by Jessica. Like many of these female character songs, I am oftentimes dumbfounded by the “cuteness” of the voice: I can only take so much of it. However, the music behind the voice is solid, which is to be expected, because Noriyuki Iwadare is amazing. Let us never forget this fact.
“Money is Best” is Lemina Ausa’s character song: are you surprised? This song is one of the rarest finds of all, as it only exists on this CD and a rare five track “sampler CD” that came as a bonus with the Japanese version of Eternal Blue. Not only does this song feature an arranged version of a classic Lunar song, but Lemina’s singing is top notch (the actress singing if Megumi Hayashibara, known for such roles as Rei from Evangelion). For being a fun and silly song, it’s amazing that I would like it enough to rank it as one of my three favorite Lunar vocals. Give it a chance, listen to it for yourself; I suspect you’ll like it as much as I do.
“Magical Mobile Weapon Nash” has one of the best background arrangements ever: I really wish someone had released a karaoke version of this song, because Nash’s vocals absolutely ruin an otherwise perfect song. Japanese male vocals must be an acquired taste, because generally I loathe them: this is the worst of the worst, a grating annoying voice that you’ll want to be rid of as soon as possible.
Things get good for the next two tracks. Lunar: Eternal Blue had two endings, and these two songs are the respective ending theme songs. Previously, I had only known these songs in their English incarnation (from Working Designs on the PlayStation release of Eternal Blue Complete). These songs aren’t as phenomenal as, say, Rondo of Light and Shadow (my all-time favorite Lunar vocal track), but they arelengthy. I mean this in a good way: they aren’t filled with boredom, but rather with solid musical content. Listen to the sample of “Distant Journey” to hear some of this six minute ballad: if I could include the whole thing, I would also tell you to listen for the ending minute where a choir of voice actors sing “la la la” and sound decent, despite being way off pitch. “Eternal Sentiment” has a strong melody, and great instrumentation from Iwadare (of course!). The chorus is something you can’t forget easily, especially because it is a melody found often within the game itself. This song rings out the word “nostalgia” to any fan of the series.
Suddenly, and without much warning, this great collection of Lunar vocal tracks takes a turn for the worse in the form of “bonus” songs. First is “Money is Best” sung by Borgan, which is meant to be a silly joke. This vocal is found on Lunatic Parade Vol.1, and is probably the worst vocal you’ll ever hear. The humor of this song is lost for the foreigner who knows nothing of the Japanese language. I’m sure it’s not even that funny to native Japanese speakers either…it’s really just a silly and annoying thing the Lunar developers did for fun.
Speaking of silly and annoying…”Take a Shower!!” is definitely something for the Japanese fans: I don’t get it at all. The song’s chorus says (in English) “Tuesday Midnight Silver Star Story.” What does that even mean? The lyrics seem to be a hodge-podge of silly and somewhat meaningless things that are common in the lives of game developers. The song in itself may not be too terrible: what is terrible is that this song is being used to quite literally bring a close to a fantastic musical era, dare I say to a whole era of gaming. As Sonic the Hedgehog would say, “that’s no good!”
Overall this is another great album for the Lunar series. But, of course, I must giving the warning that this album is generally “for collectors only.” I don’t like giving a good album that sort of title, but when you can’t get a CD for less than $50, and you have to spend months looking for it, that’s when you say to yourself, “well, I suppose I can go without it.” And, if you’re already looking to purchase all the other Lunar albums, then the “Songs” albums are truly for collection only, since none of these songs are unique to the album.
Tuesday Midnight Silver Star Story!!!!