This Bracket had a LOT of 80’s sounding tracks, including the sleeper hit “The Search of Odin”. I enjoyed most of them.
Wolf’s Rain – Gravity
This track is very classically oriented. Fairly competently executed, but nothing really compelling about it. The definition of “easy listening”. It does its job well, I suppose, but it’s pretty forgettable.
Aoki ryuusei SPT Layzner – Melos no you ni ~LONELY WAY~
This track is also pretty standard for anime, but has a nice 80’s vibe (and reminds me of New Order in particular). The bass pedal tone is going to be a recurrent feature in the songs after this one, since this bracket is strongly 80’s.
Winner: Lonely Way
I like New Order, so a song reminiscent of their style is fun to listen to. Gravity is exactly like 60-65% of the songs in this tournament, and Lonely Way introduces some decent variety. Besides, who doesn’t want to go around screaming “RONERY WAY” at the top of their lungs??
Darker than Black – Howling
I used to be a very ardent listener of thrash metal, and this guitarist seems to have gone to great pains to emulate the tone of Metallica’s Master of Puppets album. The drummer seems to be on board with the theme, but the vocalist simply is not, and in the chorus more or less forces everyone else to accommodate his style of singing. The song is half standard metal and half average anime Jrock.
Odin: Photon Space Sailer Starlight – The Search for Odin
On a scale of 1-10, this song is 85–1985 to be precise. The synths, gated reverb, vocals, pedal tone bass, and masterfully produced guitars all create a sound that can only be described as 80’s. A period piece through and through. Bon Jovi, Journey, Genesis, Duran Duran, Devo, New Order, Depeche Mode, and even some Smiths can be heard in this one track.
Winner: The Search for Odin
Is this even a question? Odin is everything I wish music was today: it picks an aesthetic and goes balls to the wall in adhering to it. We need more Odin in our lives. Sadly, it’s losing pretty hard right now. So vote for it. Please. Vote for it here, vote for it on all your mobile devices, vote for it on the main site. Give me Odin or Give me Death. And apparently I’m not the only Odin nut out there.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone complex – Inner Universe
This song is a well-executed fusion of EDM and J-pop. The vocals are especially interesting, and the lyrics are written in Russian, Latin, and English. Since just about everyone and their mother has seen Ghost in the Shell or at least given it a try, by and large most everyone knows this song. Iconic and memorable.
DNAngel – Byakuya ~True Light~
Very classical intro: Harpsichords, strings, timpanis, and bells all make a nice appearance in the first 30 seconds. It quickly becomes standard and boring thereafter though. Just your average bear of anime music. The vocalist is especially subpar; he’s a better singer than me, but that’s just because i’m horrible at singing.
Winner: Inner Universe
Another ridiculously easy pick. While True Light has fairly good instrumental work, none of it is especially compelling, and the vocalist would do better in a noise-rock band or some other genre where lazily monotonically reciting the lyrics is acceptable. Inner Universe is much better executed as a whole.
Aria the Natural – Natsu Machi
I’d forgotten that tracks like this exist in all the plethora of 80’s and Jrock that made up the tracks prior. A 6/8 crooner ballad through and through, I’m assuming that this fits the theme of the anime well (Aria the Natural is a very non-threatening title). The tambourine is a nice touch. The whole song works well towards its theme and is very cohesive.
Fruits Basket – For Fruits Basket
A very minimalistic piece; I’m tempted to describe it as a lullaby. The vocals are really quite good, and all the other instruments built around accentuating the vocals. Very soothing … *falls asleep*
Winner: For Fruits Basket
These two pieces are similar enough and well executed enough that picking one is a difficult task. I went with For Fruits Basket simply because I enjoyed the minimalistic premise and the overall vibe it created more than the vibe of Natsu Machi. It reminded me of “No Surprises” by Radiohead.