Welcome to a crash-course in the most successful “spin-off” ever in the realm of JRPGs. The Persona series is a cousin to the main Shin Megami Tensei series. The 3rd and 4th entries in that series (both for PS2) have proven to be wildly popular on both sides of the Pacific. This success is, at least in part, due to the strange and wonderful musicianship of one Shoji Meguro.
Meguro-san can do a lot of “modern” music and do it right. From pop, to rock, to R&B soul and jazz, this guy has his bases covered. And though some listeners will always cringe at the female vocalists’ “Engrish” or the typical nonsense rap lyrics, there’s so much to love in P3 and P4 that all I can say to the haters is “get over it!”
Obtaining the full Persona 3 and 4 soundtracks, as well as the FES expansion soundtrack, is still a pretty easy thing to do. But, again, this is a crash-course. Offered as a promotional item by Atlus in Japan, the Persona Compilation CD Box features selections from P3 (including FES) and P4. Split the two entries up by disc and pick the best of the best tracks, and there you have it. That’s what this collection is all about.
It had been awhile since I last indulged in Persona goodness. So I decided to give this a listen. Though I think the arrange albums and live performance albums are the best of the best in Meguro land, this “best of” collection is nothing to scoff at either; especially if you’d never heard the music before. It’s a clarion call to “snobs” who will only take their music in their preferred genres (hard rock, orchestra, chiptunes, etc). Taking a “base” art form for the masses like R&B and giving it that special modern Japanese pop culture touch is … well, it’s something special alright. Make it work for a game about demons, Hindu deities, and struggling to find oneself in the midst of many “selves,” and you’ve definitely done something special.
All of that said, I can’t wait for whatever Meguro rolls out next. Yes there is the “Catherine” project; but we all really want Persona 5. In the meantime, this little collection will do my heart good, especially since I don’t own the full two disc OSTs to either title anymore.