Saturday, November 23, 2013
Spirited Away Soundtrack(2001) [Composed by Joe Hisaishi]
So today, I'm reviewing the Spirited Away soundtrack. Eventually I'll get to the actual movie, but I'm not as good at reviewing actual plots and such. On with the melodramatic ranting! :D And yes. I am going through this track by track. [headdesk]
Track 01: One Summer's Day
Obviously, this is the song that opens the movie. It starts out as a rather quiet song, but escalates to be larger at the end. It’s very beautiful, and you can hear it reprised several times throughout the movie. This song has that sort of bittersweet air, and kind of gives you the sense that something mysterious is about to happen.
Track 02: A Road to Somewhere
True to the mood that the last track set, this song is a little quiet, and builds to the feeling of mystery.
Track 03: The Empty Restaurant
I love the drums that start off this song. And there’s an interesting percussion effect that I can’t quite figure out what it is, but sounds kind of like a drop of water hitting a pond. There’s also more flute in this track. And of course, it’s very eerie. There’s a more dramatic reprise of One Summer’s Day in the second half, too.
Track 04: Nighttime Coming
This song has a lovely oboe and harp part. It starts rather quietly, but turns exciting really fast. In the film, I think this plays after Dragon Boy, but for some reason they put it before on the OST.
Track 05: Dragon Boy
This track is pure awesome. It’s an exciting song that plays twice in the movie, in scenes involving Haku. It begins with a harp repeating the same pattern, joined by a piano and rising in crescendo until BAM! You get hit over the head by a blast of brass. All through the song, the simple theme from the beginning is repeated in the background. One part of the song features tense violins, kind of Howard Shore style, and in another bit, some slightly off-beat Timpani gives the song a perilous feel. In case you haven’t noticed, I really love this song. Haha. Only two minutes, but a very exiting two minutes.
Track 06: Sootballs
Perky flutes start off this track. This song is kind of fun, it’s quirky and has an air of eccentricity. I have to say, great use of woodwinds in this song. I love the sootball sprites in the movie, they’re so adorable!
Track 07: The Procession of the Spirits
Not like it’s much of a surprise, but another amazing track. This song plays when the spirits get off their boat and come to the bathhouse (Yes, I realize what I just said.). It’s whimsical, awe-inspiring, eerie, and even has use of traditional Japanese instruments. Not to mention some haunting vocals. Like Dragon Boy, this song sends shivers up my spine.
Track 08: Yubaba
Where the last track was eerie in a wondrous way, this song is eerie in a downright creepy way. It uses the very highest keys on a piano, and the very lowest. There’s some absolutely freaky vocal work, and an incredibly creepy music box section. At some point, there’s this instrument, I don’t know what it’s called, but it sounds like a wail. Really interesting song, Haha!
Track 09: Bathhouse Morning
Much quieter and more laid back than the haunting Track 8, this song evokes the mental image of a dawn. There’s a quick reprise of the Sootball theme, played by flutes and bassoon. And we get the first hint of the No-Face theme, which is some kind of percussion and triangle riff.
Track 10: Day of the River
Aside from slightly different orchestration, this song is a direct reprise of One Summer’s Day, and a beautiful one at that. I have to say, when Oboe is played right it is so lovely to listen to. The same goes for French Horn.
Track 11: It's Hard Work!
More Japanese instruments, perky flutes, and awesome percussion. And again, we hear the No-Face riff. While it’s not as action packed as some other tracks, this is still really memorable for me.
Track 12: The Stink Spirit
Wow, Hisaishi-San! You’re my hero! I could just die from awesome percussion overdose. I love the violins sliding around, and that Japanese instrument that comes about a minute is so perfect. The song crescendos to sound so awesome and heroic, I feel like getting up, pumping my fists, and cheering. Haha! There’s a little bit of It’s Hard Work! in this track, too. And if you listen closely, a bit of One Summer’s Day.
Track 13: Sen's Courage
Right off the bat, the No-Face riff attacks us. Once again, the music is tense and eventually get action-packed. And there’s a little flute riff that I think I’ve heard in Ponyo, another Studio Ghibli movie.
Track 14: The Bottomless Pit
This song starts off loudly, it made me jump! Then suddenly, it swaps back to that creepy music box theme from Yubaba, and things get a little quieter. This track is probably one of the most action-packed of the OST.
Track 15: Kaonashi(Faceless)
The No-Face theme, previously only heard through short riffs, takes precedence in this track. It’s so haunting and perfect for the character. This song starts relatively calm, but escalates to something stirring and heart-pounding! Sort of Like No-Face himself, now I think of it… Yeah, a really awesome track. I could have sworn that I heard a bit of It’s Hard Work! in this one, too.
Track 16: The Sixth Stop
This track is mostly piano and strings, and gives such a wistful, haunting feel. It plays when Chihiro is riding the train to Swamp Bottom to apologize for Haku. It’s a mesmerizing song, very beautiful. Quite different from the sudden, pulse-pounding songs that have frequented the soundtrack.
Track 17: Yubaba's Panic
Whoa, we’re excited again! Though very short, this song manages to be pretty awesome. There’s a bit of Yubaba(the song) in this one, including some of that weird high-low key piano action, those eerie vocals, and the creepy music box theme.
Track 18: The House at Swamp Bottom
Now we’re calm again. This song utilizes harp and flute, and it sounds mellow and somehow cozy. Very beautiful music, even if the track is short when compared to the others.
Track 19: Reprise
This song is so beautiful, I almost have no words on it. It sounds so joyful and full of wonder. I love the use of woodwinds in this track, and the sense of soaring that you get when the music crescendos!
Track 20: The Return
This song starts out with such triumph, it makes we want to get up and dance! I think this part of the song was a reprisal of Procession of the Gods. Then, it quiets into a final reprise of One Summer’s Day, though with a climatic ending, whereas the song at the beginning ends leaving you wondering what happens next. It’s a beautiful song that sums up everything that the ending was supposed to make you feel. Happiness, a strange melancholy, and perhaps most importantly, a sense of wonder.(I'm going to hit myself for being so fruity. XD)
Track 21: Itsumo Nando Demo(Always With Me)
And now for one of the sweetest songs ever composed. This song plays over the credits, and sounds kind of like a lullaby. The only instrument used is a harp, and singing the melody is a lady who sounds like she could be the sweet dance instructor from ‘Shall We Dance?’. It’s a beautiful song, and even if I didn’t quite understand all the lyrics meant, it was deeply touching. The perfect way to end a spectacular film.
The Verdict: A+
Top Three Favorite Tracks: Dragon Boy, The Sixth Stop, and The Stink Spirit. (Though seriously, I would just put the whole soundtrack as my favorite. XD)