Written by Colin Burns // Edited by Andrew Busch // Header Image courtesy of Kinda Funny Forums
Video game music is sometimes so understated that you can make it through a whole game without even acknowledging it. When the game is stripped away, you can really begin to appreciate some of this incredible music. Every week I will share a few of my favorite songs from one of my favorite games. Some of these games will be classics while others may have been regrettably forgotten or overshadowed. This week we face out, hold out and reach out for Persona 4!
Persona 4 is one of my favorite games of all time. It became a cult classic when it released on the PS2 in 2008, and found much more success recently with the enhanced edition for PS Vita. No matter how you play the game, you will fall under the spell of its amazing music. The soundtrack is primarily written by Shoji Meguro, who should be more of a household name (he is in my house). His songs capture the modern and fun spirit of the game and feature some rollicking guitar parts played on his trusty Stratocaster. Much of the games success can be attributed to the music.
Track 1: Pursuing My True Self
I went into Persona 4 knowing next to nothing about the game. As soon as this song started playing, I had a feeling this would become one of my favorite games ever; it did. This is such a strong opening jam! The electric piano stabs and heavy kick drum are so funky and they set the tone for the rest of the soundtrack. Shoji Meguro is a master when it comes to reworking melodies so that all of the songs share motifs and sound like they come from the same game. The saxophone licks are amazing and the rap like vocal is was unlike anything I had ever heard before in video game music. I know all the words (or at least, I think I do)! The chorus is so poppy and it really gets you pumped to play this game. It all ends with those same piano stabs and kick drum and you know you are in for a good time. “Quickly reaching maximum capacity”!
Track 2: Junes Theme by: Ryota Koduka
This is absolutely the cheeriest song in the whole game. The main hook and everyone’s favorite jingle of “every day’s great at your Junes” is so catchy that even in game characters like your “little sister” Nanako can’t help but sing it. The rest of the song is jolly to the point of perfection. When I hear this song, I can almost picture myself hopping on Goombas and exploring warp pipes. This song would be right at home in any Mario game but instead you get to listen to it while you and your rag-tag team of investigators discuss a murder. When this song is playing, nothing can get you down! “Every day’s great at your Junes”!
Track 3: Your Affection
Your Affection is the song that plays on sunny days in Inaba and this track just exudes warm feelings. The bass line is so fuzzy and funky running under the light and airy melody. This is one song you will hear a lot while you play the game and sometimes you may just find yourself sitting there with your hands off the controller and nodding your head while you try your best to sing along to this song. There are not a lot of parts to this song so it gets stuck in your head all too easily. This is one song that I have yet to figure out the chord progression to. There is a video of a kid playing the bass part and man does he nail it. “Past will tell you when to make yourself a hero”!
Track 4: Who’s There?
This is the freakiest song in the game. Again, I had never heard anything like this. Persona 4 is a murder mystery and anytime something mysterious happens, this song is there to keep you on edge. The unorthodox structure and discordant notes make you feel very uneasy. This really is an amazing composition. It is so understated and minimalist but very atmospheric and capable of conveying an entire mood. I have yet to hear something this eerie in any other game. ~ No lyrics for this one 😦
Track 5: Nevermore
Nevermore may very well be my favorite song in the entire Persona series. This song plays when you get the “good” or “true” ending. This is another great example of Meguro keeping everything cohesive. Nevermore follows the same melody as the song in the start screen. It is truly an excellent main theme. This song is celebratory and rightly so. Again, it is very simple but still impressive. If I had to use one word to describe it, I would call it solid I have no clue what is now “nevermore” but I’m sure proud of myself for beating the game. It is awesome to hear the original piano melody come in with the new drum beat and instrumentation. You have really got to check out this live version. It’s hard to watch it and not get goosebumps. “Mini coke soup and then Hermione cheese!”
These have been a few of my favorite songs from Persona 4 by Shoji Meguro. Persona 4 has become a bit of an obsession for me (it is 1:30am and I am writing about it) and the music is a huge factor. Really every song is memorable and deserves to be spotlighted but that would take too long! You should definitely check out the entire soundtrack as well as the Persona 3 one. They are both perfection and I constantly debate with myself about which I prefer. Right now, P4 but next week, it could be P3. Shoji Meguro is a genius and his music is a major part of why the Persona series is so popular. If you have not gotten around to playing Persona 4, you really must.