|Album Title:||K-ON! Original Sound Track|
|Release Date:||June 03, 2009|
|Purchase at:||CDJapan, Play-Asia|
|1. Have some tea?||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:49|
|2. Morning dew||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:44|
|3. Isoge ya Isoge!||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:34|
|4. Kawaii Inbou||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:42|
|5. 2 Hiki no Koneko||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:34|
|6. Ii Yumemite ne||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:48|
|7. Cotton candy||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:52|
|8. Virtual love||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:51|
|9. Tanpopo Takkyuubin||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:40|
|10. Ukkari-kun no Tameni||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:38|
|11. Genki!||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:39|
|12. Obaa-chan no Tansu||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:49|
|13. The other side of evening sun||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:49|
|14. Dead soldiers (笑)||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:45|
|15. Hold on your love||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:57|
|16. Falling reinforced concrete||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:50|
|17. Small flashing||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:39|
|18. Kendama-kun||Hajime Hyakkoku||0:09|
|19. Karui Joudan||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:38|
|20. Crepe wa Ikaga?||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:33|
|21. Happy languidness||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:38|
|22. Emerald green||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:34|
|23. My hometown where it snows||Hajime Hyakkoku||2:03|
|24. Ginsekai no Asa||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:47|
|25. Tea at the night of Christmas||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:58|
|26. Koneko no Ensou Kai||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:34|
|27. Patrol of stroll||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:39|
|28. Doki Doki Friday Night||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:43|
|29. Ringo… Ringo… Ringo…||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:47|
|30. 15sai no March||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:39|
|31. Jajauma 3nin Musume||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:47|
|32. Hesitation||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:59|
|33. Pinch Daisuki!||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:45|
|34. Dress ni Crepe wa Niawa nai?||Hajime Hyakkoku||2:02|
|35. Ano Hi no Yume||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:44|
|36. Happy End||Hajime Hyakkoku||1:39|
Review: K-ON! is destined to fade away into the mists of time since the series offers little in the way of ambition and enjoyment and unfortunately, the soundtrack takes after it distressingly well. While the soundtrack’s lack of ambition is not a huge issue given the show’s scope as a moe slice of life, the soundtrack’s blandness is problematic and completely inexcusable especially when one compares it to other shows that occupy K-ON!’s niche. Hidamari Sketch x365’s music stands out by virtue of its catchiness and generally pleasant melodies. And even a cursory listen just shows how wide the gap is in the quality of Tomoki Kikuya’s compositions versus Hajime Hyakkoku’s. K-ON!’s music is so boring that I’d venture to say that I wish it’d violate my musical sensibilities because that way, I can derive some sort of value from the listening experience. At least that’s better than being put into a catatonic state by this dull affair.
If nothing else, this soundtrack manages to stay true to the concept of light music. Each track is simple to the point of being nothing more than ditties, but Hajime Hyakkoku delivers a consistent effort in sticking to this framework while conveying many different moods and feelings through his music. For example, “Have some tea?” presents a lackadaisical melody that fits in perfectly with the light music club’s slacker tendencies while “Morning dew” has an upbeat tempo that is suggestive of a bright, sunny morning packed to the brim with possibilities. Both tracks also succeed at being fairly nondescript. The former sticks with a repetitive melodic line that becomes grating after about the third listen and the latter has all the flourishes necessary to display its upbeat feeling, except that it’s marred by a feeling of soullessness. These two issues aren’t isolated to these tracks alone. As you go through this album, you’ll recognize that the problems are pervasive and although they will be an annoyance at first, the feeling of boredom will be exacerbated as you move further along.
Have some tea?
And it doesn’t even take all that long for that to happen since the succeeding tracks bring forth the same sort of bland inoffensiveness that afflicts the first two tracks. “Kawaii Inbou” and “Virtual love” both attempt to throw funky electronica for a bit of variation, but those efforts fare poorly since both songs focus so much on the beat that it comes at the expense of their melodies which are far too dull in their repetitiveness to be enjoyable. “Genki!” is different in that there’s some effort put into the track, which is fine if it didn’t try so hard to convey that upbeat feeling. By coming across so strongly, the track feels disingenuous as though Hyakkoku were trying to get in your face in his attempt at emphasizing the amount of energy that “Genki!” possesses. As you move further along, “Karui Joudan” will jump out, mostly because this track feels like Hyakkoku’s attempt at channeling Koji Kondo by composing a piece that’s close to Kondo’s compositions for Nintendo’s Mario franchise. Unfortunately for Hyakkoku, “Karui Joudan” demonstrates that he neither possesses Kondo’s skill or execution in composing memorable themes, rendering it completely forgettable.
You still have to give Hyakkoku credit for making an effort to make sure that the rock-oriented aspect of the show isn’t overlooked, even if some of the pieces fall flat. The rock portion starts with “Dead soldiers,” which is an abrasive piece that feels like a cheap attempt at conveying a grim mood because the piece’s blaring approach is excessive to the point of being unconvincing. “Hold on your love” is a slight improvement because it actually puts forth some amount of emotion into the melody, making it a decent listen. The improvement in the rock-ish vibes culminates in “Falling reinforced concrete” which feels really out of pace in the series since the tempo and melody are more suited towards a racing video game (Bowser’s castle came to mind when I first heard it), but at least I can at least enjoy what it has to offer.
Falling reinforced concrete
That rock segment is decent enough relative to other tracks on this album though by no means are they the only decent tracks. While the best tracks in this album barely reach the point of being above average, look hard enough and you can find a few. “Ii Yumemite ne” is enjoyable since the keyboard’s slow, meandering, mellow atmosphere feels serene, as though it were depicting a sense of security and tranquility. And as far as piano goes, “Hesitation” isn’t too bad either since it does carry a sort of tension borne from uncertainty as though it were describing someone soul-searching and encountering some difficult obstacles, whether they be physical or mental. The only thing to note though is that while these tracks are decent enough, in a better soundtrack, they wouldn’t really stick out as being particularly remarkable. Given the sorry state of this album, I’ll just have to take what I can get.
As you approach the end of the album, you will come across a few arrangements which run the gamut from being noticeably better than the original tracks to being as drab as the originals. “Tea at the night of Christmas” falls into the former category because I enjoyed the way it infuses some energy into the piece, making it a nice picker-upper once the main theme in “Have some tea?” makes its appearance. “Dress ni Crepe wa Niawa nai?’s” execution makes it more enjoyable than “Crepe wa Ikaga,” because the arrangement succeeds in bringing forth a wave of hope tempered by a sense of melancholy while the original sounds muted and boring to begin with. However, “Koneko no Ensou Kai” would fall into the latter category because its simple melody fails to be engaging by sticking to the same uninspired melody that mars the original track. At least the album makes a valiant attempt at ending on a happy note with “Happy End,” even if the generic melody becomes painfully obvious in the first few seconds.
Koneko no Ensou Kai
It doesn’t take long for the disparity in the quality of the vocal songs and the soundtrack to become apparent, which just goes to show how much thought and care (or lack thereof) was put into the background music. This soundtrack was an utterly dull, uninspiring state of affairs that amounts to little more than a waste of time. Although an argument can be made that so long as the music manages to fit the series, it has served its purpose, but even if it is looked within the context of the series, K-ON!’s BGM is so generic to the point that it sticks out like a sore thumb. So my message to Hyakkoku, should I ever meet him, is this: Take some risks! Be controversial! Do anything to avoid being boring!
Rating: Not Good
(Added note: It seems to me that Hyakkoku could have had a decent career being a composer for Nintendo since his style isn’t all that different from many of Nintendo’s composers.)