Soundtrack
Cowboy Bebop OST


4.0
excellent

Review

by Eli EMERITUS
December 25th, 2010 | 40 replies | 9,187 views


Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "I think is time to blow this scene, get everybody and the stuff together. Okay 3, 2, 1 Let's Jam."

Cowboy Bebop has been lauded as one of the greatest animated series to come out of Japan. Praised for its humor, likable cast, and poignant story, the series has enjoyed incredible success, even outside of its nation of origin. Although it has all the makings of a groundbreaking, wonderful anime, it has something especially stunning, something intertwined into the very fiber of what the series actually is: the music.

What separates Cowboy Bebop from the glut of mediocre, poorly thought out anime so prevalent today , is the incredibly diverse soundtrack. Sure it truly is great on its own merits, but there is something special, something staggeringly profound about the music. If one were to have never watched the series, it would be difficult to gauge the soundtrack’s importance, and the impact it has on virtually every aspect of the series. Everything from the story and mood, right down to the episode titles is affected by music.

The soundtrack is so wonderful, so groundbreaking, and so unique because of one woman: Yoko Kanno. Yoko Kanno is the first and last word on anime and video game soundtracks, with her astounding vision and creativity being prevalent in nearly everything she composes. Being at the helm of several popular television series, such as Macross, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, and Wolf’s Rain, the forty-six year old Japanese composer has created quite a name for herself. She also leads The Seatbelts, a grandiose big band swing act. Added to that, Kanno has helped to launch the careers of many aspiring J-Pop musicians, and even has work featured in advertisements. However, her largest contributions have come in the form of soundtracks. While she has many impressive scores piled onto her résumé, none have yet to, nor may they ever ,surpass her greatest contribution to music in the anime world: Cowboy Bebop.

While the soundtrack embeds itself into the series, affecting it in many vital ways, it is still a wholly incredible experience on its own. It’s a smorgasbord of jazziness, with large doses of big band swing, folk, country, and of course, bebop. While this mixture seems gimmicky and convoluted, the end result is something with an obscene amount of character, personality, and variety. For example, “Tank!” is without a doubt the soundtrack’s most incredible track, featuring bouts of swing and jazz, moving with the pace of a freight train. It’s astoundingly catchy, and the individual parts for the horns, strings, and woodwinds have been written in such a way that they seem completely off the cuff, yet meticulously planned.

It is safe to say that “Tank!” was Kanno’s greatest contribution to the series. Being the theme song featured as the opener, it sets the tone for each following episode, as it is the epitome of the frenetic, yet chilled energy of the show. And while nothing can really match the excellence of “Tank!,” the rest of the soundtrack does an excellent job attempting to do so. Little details sparsely added to every song make the album pop. The mind blowing trombone solo on “Rush” is another highlight of the album, featuring an incredibly versatile musician with a flair for the bombastic and absurd. The harmonica featured on “Spokey Dokey” gives the song a bluesy feel, with the lax atmosphere making the track seem completely organic. Interestingly, “Bad Dog No Biscuits” opens up with a Tom Waits cover, eventually spiraling into a maddening reinterpretation. And while the vast majority of the album is outrageously fantastic, a couple of songs range from so-so, to downright terrible. The only track to stand out as expressly bad would be “Rain.” “Rain” is cheesy as hell, featuring an organ accompanied by some very sub-par vocals that amateurishly croon out some very stereotypical, very mediocre, lyrics. Other songs that struggle to impress are “Pot City,” which kind of bores, and “Felt Tip Pen,” which is fairly forgettable.

This particular work transcends anime soundtracks, being a different entity entirely. It’s so full of life, charisma, and heart, that it creates a completely vivacious atmosphere for the series. Cowboy Bebop is a fantastic series in its own right, but Kanno‘s work with the soundtrack has breathed so much life into the anime, that it simply cannot be ignored. There is just so much here to enjoy for fans of any and all forms of music. It is fun, poignant, and unique, making for a simply wonderful listen, whether you are a fan of the series or not.

See you, Space Cowboy.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
robertsona
Staff Reviewer
December 26th 2010



14989 Comments


shud be 5

Xenophanes
Emeritus
December 26th 2010



10585 Comments


Tell me how gay I am.


Either way, I've been wanting to review this for nearly a year, but it just didn't feel right when writing it.

Digging: United Nations - The Next Four Years

cvlts
December 26th 2010



8954 Comments


god so fucking gay.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
December 26th 2010



10585 Comments


Thanks. Yeah, I had it at a 4.5, but some tracks really brought down the score.

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
December 26th 2010



18050 Comments


Should be a 5. I got the last 2 sessions of Bebop this morning as well as the rest of Trigun.

This soundtrack is part of what makes it the best anime series ever created, and most definitely should be a 5.

Digging: Huerco S - Colonial Patterns

0vrot
December 26th 2010



459 Comments


Pos'd
But your fucking gay for not having it a 5

Manic_
December 26th 2010



447 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

classic soundtrack, great review. isn't this under the Seatbelts though?

darthbarf
December 26th 2010



445 Comments


I watched the cowboy bebop movie like 3 times last week. Awesome. Is this the soundtrack to the movie?

Irving
Staff Reviewer
December 26th 2010



7144 Comments


WHOA. Epic review, Space Cowboy! Have a pos! (consider it my Christmas gift to you =p)

Minor detail:

What separates Cowboy Bebop from the glut of mediocre, poorly thought out anime so prevalent today , is the incredibly diverse soundtrack.

Drop the space before the comma.

Well done Xeno, this was definitely a fun read. I don't know Cowboy Bebop, but I sure wish I do now! =S



foreverendeared
December 26th 2010



14678 Comments


I watched the cowboy bebop movie like 3 times last week. Awesome.


I think the movie sucks, but the show was really good. Actually just got finished watching the series for the 4th or 5th time last month. I really enjoy Samurai Champloo as well.

Oh and for fans of this show, watch the series Firefly. Very similar but equally good.

deathofasalesman
December 26th 2010



5811 Comments


Haven't taken the time to watch the show but now I got Netflix sooooooooo...

foreverendeared
December 26th 2010



14678 Comments


umm watch it asap

foreverendeared
December 26th 2010



14678 Comments


btw Xenophanes, you are a solid fucking user. seriously.

FadedSun
December 26th 2010



1244 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I love this soundtrack. Awesome review. Great closer to the review, by the way.

Meatplow
December 26th 2010



5524 Comments


some of the best anime theme music there ever was

Psilocyanide
December 26th 2010



1823 Comments


I've only seen the movie. Gotta get on watching the show.

RosaParks
December 26th 2010



14592 Comments


Tank is amazing.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
December 26th 2010



7144 Comments


btw Xenophanes, you are a solid fucking user. seriously.

Yes, a night with the 'Phanes is a night like no other.

skinthief
December 26th 2010



14 Comments


You should review the other volumes, since you did such a great job with this one.

Personally, I'm fond of Vol. 3, as it's got "Call Me, Call Me" (the song from Ed's farewell scene).



foreverendeared
December 26th 2010



14678 Comments


This is probably the only anime where the English dub is better than subtitles



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