Is there anything that songstress Yoko Kanno can’t do? Starting out as a video game composer in her 20+ year career, she quickly moved on to other avenues such as anime series and films. Her ability to combine styles and influences such as jazz, classical, electronic, and rock music give her a unique and delightful sound.
Be Human, which serves as the 4th (!!!) soundtrack album for the anime series Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex, contains more of Kanno’s signature sound. This album, however, focuses on the robots of the series, called Tachikomas, and carries this underlying theme throughout the whole album. For example, the leadoff song, the titular â€œBe Humanâ€, is a dreamy pop song complete with mechanical whirring and beeping. â€œTrip Cityâ€ shows off Kanno’s rocker side, with lyrics from longtime Kanno collaborator Tim Jensen. â€œCreamâ€ combines a drum-and-bass rhythm with violin strings, while Japanese hip hop lyrics are sung over that. â€œWhat Can I Say?â€ instantly brings to mind the slow, moving songs from the old musicals of yore. But those are the good parts.
The rest of the album, quite frankly, feels like it consists of filler. Although the music itself is very good (and it’s hard not to like an album that jumps from the techno of â€œPatch Meâ€ to the whimsical â€œTachikoma No Iede (Runaway Tachikoma)â€, which includes a flute solo), it often feels incomplete; like fragments or snippets of actual songs instead of a full soundtrack. And that’s what Be Human ultimately is, a collection of B-sides punctuated by an actual song or two.
Be Human, then, should be recommended to fans of the show or fans of Yoko Kanno (who, in all honesty, are probably to be the one and the same). Otherwise, people who are just starting to listen to Yoko Kanno’s works should probably get a Seatbelts album to find out why Kanno’s music is much lauded in the anime world.
- Be Human (4:05)
- Trip City (3:55)
- Patch Me (1:33)
- Tachikoma No Iede (Runaway Tachikoma)
- Osanpo Tachikoma (Tachikoma Out For A Walk)
- Bang Bang Banquet (2:00)
- Fax Me (1:26)
- Rocky Wa Doko? (Where’s Rocky?)
- Spotter (5:56)
- Let’s Oil (0:45)
- Cream (3:54)
- Spider Bites (0:44)
- Good By My Master (2:09)
- Piece By Ten (2:50)
- What Can I Say? (1:11)
- Hi! (0:05)
- I’m Not Straight (1:23)
- AI Sentai Tachikomans (AI Combat Team Tachikomans)
- Pro Bowler Tachikoma (Professional Bowler Tachikoma)
- Don’t Sponge Me (0:36)
- Po’d Pod (1:02)
- Ciao! (0:07)
Released by: Bandai Entertainment
Release date: 2003
Total running time: 43:47