The Persona 4 The Golden Original Soundtrack features the new music for the Playstation Vita enhanced remake of the PlayStation 2 original. Featuring new music by original composers Shoji Meguro and Atsushi Kitajoh, there is a mixture of vocal themes, new instrumentals, and remixes. How does the album compare to the original soundtrack and does it fit with the styles of the original?
Before moving into the new material, there are two arrangements of existing Persona 4 themes that should be mentioned. The first, "Never More ~okaeri~," by Atsuhi Kitajoh, is a beautiful yet very short rendition of the ending vocal theme of the original soundtrack. The other, "Shin Mitsuo Tensei," is a basic chiptune arrangement of "I'll Face Myself -Battle-" from Kenichi Tsuchiya. While both of these tracks are nice bonuses, they don't really add much to the soundtrack, although the latter is definitely quite enjoyable.
When it comes to the opening theme, "Shadow World," this track will most likely be a hit or miss for most fans of the older opening themes because it is so different. It features a much softer soundscape, reminiscent of a 60s' music atmosphere or a similar era with a jazz influence, which supports the technicolor opening animation. Fortunately, the chorus is extremely catchy and the instrumental sections are quite beautiful. "Kioku" is a nice, ethereal take on this theme featuring an outstanding piano melody.
The new battle theme, "Time to Make History", is also a fairly successful track. Sporting a rock atmosphere, it fits right in with the battle themes of the original game. As with all modern Persona battle themes, it features some female rap vocals that go well with the rhythm. In addition, the chorus is quite catchy and the bass guitar work featured in it is equally as catchy. "True Story" also features a rock vibe with a pretty catchy guitar solo, but comes off as a bit generic.
"SNOWFLAKES" is a beautiful pop theme with a jazz flair. While it doesn't do anything extremely attention grabbing, it does manage to craft a nice wintery atmosphere. Speaking of "SNOWFLAKES," Atsushi Kitajoh offers a remix of this track on the album titled "SNOWFLAKES -powder snow mix-." Unlike the pop-flavoured original, this one is much more jazz influenced, featuring some beautiful piano lines that really set it apart from the original in a good way.
Themes like "Umi e Ikou ze," "Everyday Sunshine," "Mayonaka Oudan Miracle Quiz," and "A Sky Full of Stars" all offer a nice jazz atmosphere in varying styles. However, they all come off as a bit generic and uninspired they fit with the overall flow of the album, but make little impact of their own. Lastly, "Utsuro no Mori no Shoujo" is a pop-flavored instrumental ballad that is enjoyable, but once again not terribly creative.
In the end, I feel that the new music for Persona 4 The Golden is not as strong as the original soundtrack, nor do I feel it matches the quality of the music heard in Persona 3 Portable's new music. Aside from a few standout themes, this album offers an enjoyable, yet generic, soundscape that fits within the Persona 4 universe. I'd advise passing this one, unless you are adamant about getting all the music for the game.