Ah, Persona 4. It’s easily one of my all-time favorite games, with a gripping story, lovable characters, and great music to boot. Luckily for fans like me, the upcoming PlayStation Vita version of the game features a glut of new content, which of course includes new music. Despite the fact that it was composed by two different musicians (about half by Shin Megami Tensei veteran Shoji Meguro, and half by Atsushi Kitajoh), the soundtrack for Persona 4 Golden is surprisingly consistent and fits in perfectly with the game’s existing music.
The new opening theme, “Shadow World,” is a peppy piece led by the harmonica, an unusual but effective instrument that lends the song a nostalgic quality. The steady percussive backbeat and passionate vocals do an excellent job of welcoming the listener back into the world of Persona 4. I immediately fell in love with the new battle theme, “Time To Make History.” Its fast-paced bass riffs and energetic drums amp the listener up and are sure to keep his blood pumping until he vanquishes whatever enemy stands in his way. The lyrics are very catchy, too, putting the song on equal footing with the iconic “Reach Out To The Truth.”
Songs like “Let’s Go To The Beach,” “Everyday Sunshine,” and “A Sky Full Of Stars” are wonderful at evoking the kinds of feelings brought on by spending time with cherished friends. “Snowflakes” is a melancholy vocal piece with a sense of bittersweet finality, of grey skies and reluctant goodbyes. “Maiden of the Empty Forest” starts off with crushingly forlorn piano, but by the end of the song, the listener is lifted up with hope. It’s powerful stuff that proves the composers’ mastery of conveying emotion through music.
If there is a weak link on this album, it’s “True Story,” a poppy song with gratingly high-pitched singing. The background instrumentation is solid, but I couldn’t help but cringe every time the female vocalist hit a high note. Seemingly out of place is the entirely chiptune “Shin Mitsuo Tensei,” an 8-bit remix of the boss theme “I’ll Face Myself.” For those who have played the original game, however, its inclusion makes perfect sense, and I look forward to seeing how it’s integrated into Persona 4 Golden.
Once again, my high expectations for a Persona album have been exceeded. I can’t wait to hear all of this music in context, so I can fully appreciate how it adds to the game’s richly emotional atmosphere. This is a must-buy for Persona 4 fans.