The Best Of Godzilla: 1984-1995 is the second disc in a two-part set of the music of Godzilla (the first disc covered the years 1954-1975). This album contains selections from the films The Return Of Godzilla to Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, which also serves as the second “era” of Godzilla movies. Astute readers may notice a gap of 9 years between discs: This wasn’t a decision on GNP Crescendo’s part not to include those years, there just simply weren’t any movies being made then.
This compliation starts off with The Return Of Godzilla, which (as the name implies) marked the return of Godzilla to the big screen after a 9 year break. The first thing you will notice about the music is that, even though it was composed in the mid-80’s, it doesn’t contain the slick production style that marked so much of the music that came from this decade. The composer, Reijiro Koroku, also decided to keep the musical style of the earlier Godzilla films intact. This is a welcome change from the ’70s pop/disco-infused music that marred such films as Godzilla vs. Megalon.
This would not last, however. In the next film, Godzilla vs. Biollante, composer Koichi Sugiyama uses electric guitars and a heavy rock beat on the song “Bio Wars”, which makes it feel more like Cheap Trick than Godzilla. Needless to say, it’s sorely out of place, considering also that the other two songs that were taken from this film are more of a standard orchestrated style. Video game buffs will also recognize Sugiyama’s name — he’s the principal composer of the Dragon Quest/Dragon Warrior series.
Out of the remaning five films represented on this disc, four of them contain a nice surprise: original composer Akira Ifukube is back on board, and it’s easy to see why. His music is so quintessentially “Godzilla”, it’s hard to think that anybody would try to take his place. This stuff is easily the best on the disc, although he does occasionally lapse into a case of “of the times” and uses synths and other modern sounds and techniques (his remake of “Mothra’s Song” from Godzilla vs. Mothra sounds like it could have easily been performed by Todd Rundgren). Of particular interest is the song “Requiem” from Godzilla vs. Destoroyah: after a dissonant piano/string part, a lone instrument slowly builds up with a few strings until an entire string section plays while a female vocalization sings over it. That description really doesn’t do it any justice — it’s very beautiful, and shows how Ifukube was capable of putting not only suspense and action into his music, but also emotion as well.
This disc is a bit different than its precedessor. Since this compilation only covers 9 years of Godzilla movies, more selections from each movie were included, giving the disc a better overall feel. One wishes that GNP Crescendo could have split the first disc into two parts and not had to include 21 years worth of music on just one disc. Another thing I thought was strange, but welcome — the SFX that were liberally peppered on the first disc are nowhere to be heard here. Maybe it’s because the SFX from these movies weren’t as memorable, but I was glad they decided to focus on the music this time around. One thing, however, that I wish they would have gotten rid of: The closing track, a remake of “Monster Zero March”, once again performed by Neil Norman And His Cosmic Orchestra. Like the first disc, its addition seems wholly arbitrary, and adds no real value (especially on a compilation of the original soundtrack).
So, if you could only buy one of these discs, which one would it be? I would have to give the nod to 1954-1975 because it contains the original Godzilla music, but listening to that disc alone paints an incomplete picture. Both discs are essential to each other to give a complete overview of the music of Godzilla, and both casual Godzilla enthusiasts and hardcore kaiju fans will find this collection enjoyable. One wonders if GNP Crescendo will be onboard to give us a 1999- compliation sometime in the near future…
- Main Theme (Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah) (3:18)
- Main Title (Return Of Godzilla) (1:49)
- Take Shelter/Godzilla vs. Super X (Return Of Godzilla) (2:15)
- Japanese Army March (Return Of Godzilla) (0:47)
- Godzilla’s Exit (Return Of Godzilla) (1:51)
- Ending (Return Of Godzilla) (1:47)
- Scramble March (Godzilla vs. Biollante) (4:27)
- Bio Wars (Godzilla vs. Biollante) (4:36)
- Ending (Godzilla vs. Biollante) (5:00)
- Main Title/UFO Invasion (Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah) (2:57)
- King Ghidorah Attacks Fukuoka (Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah) (0:37)
- Get King Ghidorah (Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah) (1:41)
- Main Title (Godzilla vs. Mothra) (1:25)
- Mahara Mothra (Godzilla vs. Mothra) (0:55)
- Mesa March (Godzilla vs. Mothra) (1:55)
- Rolling Title Ending (Godzilla vs. Mothra) (3:40)
- Mothra’s Song (Godzilla vs. Mothra) (3:47)
- Main Title (Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla II) (1:35)
- G-Force March #1 (Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla II) (2:50)
- Prologue/Main Title (Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla) (2:35)
- Bass Island (Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla) (1:21)
- MOGERA vs. Space Godzilla #1 (Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla) (1:28)
- MOGERA vs. Space Godzilla #2 (Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla) (2:37)
- Crystal (Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla) (5:33)
- Main Title/Hong Kong’s Destruction (Godzilla vs. Destoroyah) (3:09)
- Attack Of Super X-3 (Godzilla vs. Destoroyah) (3:00)
- Mesa Tank Super Freeze Attack (Godzilla vs. Destoroyah) (1:55)
- Requiem (Godzilla vs. Destoroyah) (3:49)
- Ending Title (Godzilla vs. Destoroyah) (2:48)
- Monster Zero March – Neil Norman And His Cosmic Orchestra (3:04)
Released by: GNP Crescendo
Release date: 1998
Total running time: 78:31