I've been listening to what may be safely called the Long Version of the opening theme of The World God Only Knows. At over eight minutes, it is Long indeed.
Apparently it is divided into five lyrical "chapters", each with its distinctive style, and what is heard in the opening animation is from chapter two, and even then cut short. Hearing the whole thing at once brings to mind strange baroque imageries, musical tapestries underlaid by harpsichord and rock guitar. Reactions I have seen have likened it to something liturgical, which may or may not be fitting. I can only imagine what keyword spam will arrive in the comments this time.
Parts of it remind me naggingly of some of Queen's works, although I cannot quite name the tune beyond knowing that it is somewhere in my collection. (Before anyone suggests, no, it is not particularly bohemian as such.) Is it a good tune? I'm not entirely sure. It seems to hit the right internal buttons, but I am as yet unsure if they are the same buttons hit by, say, a Michael Bay movie: impressive and enjoyable, but not particularly deep. My knowledge of musical theory does not extend so far.
In other news, I'll be heading down to Anime Festival Asia X tomorrow. I'm still not entirely sure what I will be doing there.
Since I don't rightly know if putting the actual music onto my blog will make Maestro yell at me, I'll just use the Youtube versions for now.
There's something about the simple, catchy tunes in a certain sort of anime BGM that appeals to me in a deep, primal way. They would probably not win any music awards, and bear more similarity to muzak than anything else, but it's the happy, bouncy sort of backgound noise that sticks in the mind as indelibly as the girl from Ipanema.
I suppose I noticed it first with Azumanga Daioh and "Saa, hajimari yo", which later acquired vocals in "Kaze no Iro March". It's the sort of BGM which fits a slice-of-life series, and I admit that I only use "slice-of-life" as a convenient well-recognized term to differentiate from, say, sports or action anime. What I mean by "slice-of-life" is the sort of story which does not focus on being the strongest or the classical Hero's Journey or some sort of dramatic revelation or other. Rather, it's the quiet, everyday, unremarkable happenings of the characters going through their daily routines. A group of friends, being friends.
This can obviously be present in an anime of another overall genre, since character interactions are an important part of almost every story, apart from the more Artsy (or grandfathered) sort. What I speak of are the moments where sweeping orchestral scores or ominous Latin-esque chanting would be out-of-place, as are delicately sorrowful strings or lonely soloists. Moments of simple happiness, the sort we can experience ourselves in our own lives. I'm a great believer that life should have its own soundtrack, and these tracks make it all worthwhile.
Admittedly, I usually have to have seen the source anime before the full impact of the BGM can be felt. This may be why I tend to mentally recite the spiel about the nonexistence of Santa Claus whenever my mp3 player turns up "Itsumo no Fuukei".
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I admit that I'm not entirely certain what to think about hearing "Koi no Mikuru Densetsu" as played by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.
There's something strangely compelling about listening to pop music, as in popular music that is of interest to the teeming masses, as played by an orchestra. Or a full choir chanting something vaguely Latinesque, going "Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine" or "Rex tremendae majestatis" or "Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi" and so on to the tune, because apparently Mozart's Requiem Mass in D minor is just about the only piece of music in Latin many popular composers are willing to make use of.
That might be a bit unfair, of course. We've got our own example of an alternative, Mahler's Symphony No. 8 ("Veni, creator spiritus, mentes tuorum visita") in the sixth chronological episode of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and occasionally composers make up their own ("Cum historia mutat valde, Razgriz revelat ipsum primum daemon scelestus est"). But I digress.
Part of it might be the sheer effort required in getting all these people together, in a setting normally expected to be a stuffy, bourgeois concert hall, performing with great pomp and professionalism something that was originally sung (badly) in MIDI by a combat waitress from the future in a bunnysuit. The incongruity makes such an arrangement unlikely, which is why it is so fascinating when it actually happens.
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