Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt - The Original Soundtrack

As I was discussing on Twitter just last night, I can't remember a more hotly anticipated anime soundtrack than Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt's.  Well, it's now here, so can it live up to all of that anticipation?

In a word - yes.  Sometimes a much-hyped track can prove to be disappointing when it's removed from the context of the show and (more importantly) strung out from a brief snippet within an anime into a full-length track, and I've lost track of the number of times my eyebrow has raised into a "that's it?" position when checking out an eagerly anticipated tune in full for the first time.

Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt's OST manages to avoid this with aplomb on two counts.  Firstly, it doesn't overly elongate tunes that work best as short pieces, such as the show's opening theme where thirty seconds is quite enough thanks, or tracks such as Pantscada or Juice that don't overstay their overly sexual and pornographic welcomes.

Where the real magic happens is with the show's most beloved tunes - Fly Away is probably the single most anticipated anime insert song of the decade, and it doesn't disappoint, leveraging everything that made it drop your jaw within its animated setting and blending it with other elements to perfection; it isn't overly repetitive, yet its unfamiliar elements slot in to the autotune'd, electronic aesthetic excellently.  D City Rock on the other hand is a track we're already familiar with, and it does its job slightly less well without that awesome MTV-style music video to back it up but it's still far from a poor track.

As the soundtrack progresses the awesome tracks really just stack up and up, whether it's the slightly chiptunes-inspired Cherryboy Riot, the unhinged Technodildo (yes, there is a track called Technodildo of course) or other fan favourites in Theme for Scanty and Kneesocks and Corset Theme, the former of which seems to differ slightly from it's TV counterpart thanks to a slightly less "harsh" countenance.

To be honest, virtually every track could be name-checked under the "awesome" banner or close to it, as it's effectively impossible to pick any genuine duds out of an album filled with so much energy and confidence; so much so that I'm not even going to try.  There are occasional tracks here that could (with a little tweaking) probably sneak into an early Prodigy or Orbital album, and this is a good thing indeed which affirms not just the quality of the content but also how successfully it integrates into the western "tone" of the anime itself - perhaps the main reason why this album has been so hotly anticipated from the moment the series began broadcasting.

The soundtrack as a whole also demonstrates the ability to change things up whenever required, with tracks such as CHOCOLAT (Stocking's "love theme" in the series) or the simply gorgeous end credit song Fallen Angel adding a smoother, less frenetic side to proceedings and again proving that these tracks are equally proficient in their full-length formats as the TV sized versions we were previously treated to.

This is the point where I should probably just stop gushing and come right out and say it - this is the best anime soundtrack of the year, period.  Sure, it's very different from your average OST and its content certainly won't be for everyone, but anyone who sat up and found themselves drooling ever-so slightly at the music utilised by the series simply have to pick this up and give it a listen - you won't be disappointed in the slightest.

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