Wednesday, February 8, 2017

MIDI Week Singles: "Awe" - Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey (DS)

"Awe" from Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey on the Nintendo DS (2010)
Composer: Shōji Meguro
Label: Atlus U.S.A.
Developer: Atlus

Not having played Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey now for well over two years (maybe more), I had almost forgotten how much I both enjoyed the game and the music.  I picked this game up in late 2010, I think because I saw it described as similar to Pokémon, but with cultural demons instead of fictional pocket sized monsters.  The fact that it was rated "M" for "Blood, Fantasy Violence, Language, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes" was probably a bit of a selling point too what with there not being too many "M" rated games on the DS that interested me.  Most of what I experienced though was pretty mild with and probably could have received a PG-13 equivalent rating had James Cameron petitioned the ESRB.

This song "Awe" is probably one of the most frequently played songs in the game being the default battle theme, and therefore is one of the songs that I am most familiar with.  What I really like about "Awe" is that it at first seems to be comprised of three separate themes.  The first being the somewhat bombastic introduction which lasts until the deep male sounding chorus comes in at about 0:25.  I do not think that the chorus is intended to be singing anything intelligible, just guttural syllables in a very odd and, at least for me, hard to determine meter.  During most of this section, you can still hear the digital symphony in the background doing its own thing, slowly and subtly building and at around 0:50, a more dynamic and heroic sounding melody comes in.  Perhaps this is the part of the song that is full of "awe?"  Something else that I really like is how this section begins to fade out a bit, then the song in repeated, but I find that it is with this repeat that the beginning makes more sense in that it sounds similar to the third section.

But what about this song as the music that plays during most of the battles?  The first 25 seconds works very well while the middle section my brain sort of tunes out.  The third section though, if I know exactly what I am doing, is when I am able to finish the battle so the more victorious melody works out nicely.  As a stand alone song, I feel like it still holds up, especially if the song loops the typical two times with the fade out on the third intro, that way by the second time around you are more familiar with the song and by the third intro, you know how the song loops into itself.

Well, that is my Wednesday morning analysis for a song from a game that I have not played in quite a while, but I really should get back into and finish as I was at least 75% of the way through before I stopped playing for whatever reason.


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