When RPG fans hear the name Shoji Meguro, many know exactly who he is. Meguro uses the same instruments and style for nearly every soundtrack he composes. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4’s Side A soundtrack resembles his previous works, but becomes updated with a more upbeat and catchier tone than usual. The composer’s main focal instruments are still the keyboard and electric guitar, yet he amazes listeners with the incorporation of more vocal tracks.
There are two soundtracks to the North American version of Persona 4–Side A and Side B. Side A is the one that Atlus USA has graciously given us that comes with the game. Side B became available to US residents when Amazon.com advertized an exclusive Social Link Expansion that included the second CD. The original Japanese release combined both CDs into one album entitled, “Persona 4 Original Soundtrack.” Fans that missed out on the special Amazon.com offer can still purchase the original import version so that they have both “sides” covered. Sites like Play-Asia.com provide the album, with both Side A and B included, to purchase.
I think the Side A collection truly explores Meguro’s skills by making songs that helps to narrate the RPG’s plot through the different tones, pitches, and sounds that the instruments create. All of the songs center on using the electric guitar and the keyboard, producing a techno sound that brings familiarity to his older works, but generates a new experience. There are two of the same song listed on the CD, which gives us a different version of a really good track. I would have liked to have heard more various versions of the main themes that the soundtrack does offer.
The composer’s talent to provide fans with a new sound, yet still follow his “usual” style, is truly amazing. Meguro’s inclusion of more vocals in his music is a nice treat. In my opinion, this was a good decision, as the vocals help to attract and appeal to more listeners. Songs like Heartbeat, Heartbreak and Reach Out to the Truth provide both a different vibe and rhythm as the vocals enhance the sound of the instruments.
Without a doubt, this is a must-own CD. Whether you are a fan of the series or not, the music that Shoji Meguro creates is astounding. He makes his musical scores have a modern rockish feel as well as a soft classical tone. The Traumerei track is a perfect example of his style change. The twenty-four tracks provided on the Side A soundtrack are well worth the listen.