Liner Notes: Guilty Crown Original Soundtrack

One of the more fascinating aspects of listening to music in general has always been in wondering exactly what sort of thoughts and inspirations transpired as composers scribble down notes and, in doing so, conjure wondrous (or boring) melodies for us to savor and enjoy. These sorts of musings can usually be found in an album’s liner notes; the problem when looking through anime soundtracks (for me anyway) is the inability to read Japanese.

Until now…

Well, OK, not really. Much of the thanks for this goes to ottocycle who did the heavy lifting translating Hiroyuki Sawano’s thoughts when he composed Guilty Crown’s soundtrack. So without further ado, here’s Sawano on Guilty Crown after the jump!

Amongst all the music works I have been involved in so far, this production is the one which features the most vocal tracks. I have considered creating a work of this nature from time to time in the past as well. One reason I’d say that I got the offer was that the director happened to like the material from my original album “musica”, which happened to have quite a few vocal tracks featured…(haha) Back then I also remember the producer of the anime giving me free rein to do what I like with this, so voila! What a convenient explanation!

As you can probably tell, some parts of the above were more in jest than anything else.

Moving on, as this was a production whose concept and content translates into many different possible musical approaches which could be experimented with, I decided on converting thematic tunes into what I feel matches the sound of “song”, as one of my foci in this particular work.

As a result, I can say that, this soundtrack feels like one which I have expressed the most naturally, and the feeling might’ve been similar to that when I was making my original album.

I’ve also had the opportunity to make rearrangements of vocal tracks found on this album which can be found in the limited edition home video bundles. The production team had generously afforded the musicians and me to revisit the tunes again, and it felt so happy, yet extravagant to have been able to do so.

While the OST CD versions of the respective (rearranged) songs were recorded before their alternate versions, it is up to the listener to decide which one is the main version, since both turned out convincingly satisfying. With all said and done, these are my thoughts right after working on either version, so hopefully you would not place either one on a pedestal before comparing them both (haha).

By: Sawano Hiroyuki (originally in Japanese, in the Guilty Crown OST CD sleeve)

Brief thoughts: I haven’t listened to Guilty Crown’s OST all that closely, but I can say that the number of vocal tracks on this album was a surprise, but not unwelcome as most of the artists’ performances were solid and I look forward to hearing the arrangements of those tracks should copies of those ever come forth. The BGM is also enjoyable for those who’ve found themselves enthralled by Sawano’s previous scores; he doesn’t stray too far from the bombastic blend of orchestra and electronica that has become his signature for quite some time. All in all, the stellar work that comes forth from Guilty Crown’s soundtrack should be a treat (one that doesn’t deserve an anime as flawed as Guilty Crown) and if nothing else, effectively cements his status as the Japanese Hans Zimmer (AKA the guy who scored the music to the movies Inception and Gladiator, to name a few).


Anime Instrumentality's Founder and Editor-in-Chief. As you can probably guess, I'm a big anime music junkie with a special love for composers who've put out some beautiful melodies to accompany some of my favorite anime series. I tend to gravitate towards music in the classical style with Joe Hisaishi and Yoko Kanno being a few of my favorite composers, but I've come to appreciate jazz and rock as anime music has widened my tastes.

8 thoughts on “Liner Notes: Guilty Crown Original Soundtrack

  • January 28, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    The vocal tracks were a nice surprise, in my opinion. I thought it was interesting that they were all sung in either German or English too.

    As for Sawano, I’d also like to know what he’s thinking when he comes up with the track names for his soundtracks. They’ve been getting more unreadable with each new soundtrack he puts out.

    I think I’m going to check out his original album “musica” now.

    • January 31, 2012 at 3:16 am

      Yeah, I guess with Sawano’s use of German vocals in Gundam Unicorn effectively set the precedent for him using that once more in soundtracks where he’d get more freedom to develop his themes. And judging by the notes, that certainly was the case here. I also got a good laugh out of the VGMdb thread talking about this soundtrack. That sure is one messy tracklist, isn’t it?

      Finally, thanks for adding “musica” to the database!

      • February 4, 2012 at 3:36 am

        I actually hadn’t noticed that there was a German track on the UC soundtrack. I guess the German was just more evident in the tracks on Guilty Crown’s soundtrack. I do hope he continues to experiment with other languages because the results have, so far, turned out to be quite nice. It seems like Mika Kobayashi will perform any language he decides on – she’s already done Japenese, English, and German now.

        His tracklists have been getting messier with each new soundtrack he does. I do like how there are cleverly named tracks like “gエ19” though. Anyways, Who knows what his next one will look like.

        I listened to “musica” and it was more relaxed than his other works. By this I mean there was only one rock and one orchestra/electronica track. With a few piano centered tracks, it was much calmer than what I’d have expected after listening to Guilty Crown’s soundtrack. Nice listen, however, and recommended if you’ve enjoyed his other works.

  • January 29, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    I actually really liked Guilty Crown’s soundtrack. There were a lot of epic orchestral tracks and a surprisingly large amount of vocal ones. I loved “close your eyes”, “Release My Soul”, and “βιοζ-δ”. The English singing was actually near perfect, which was a surprise.

    There have been a lot of soundtracks where the music is made to fit the anime but fails when it is standalone, but I think GC’s OST is the opposite. The music is excellent as a standalone album but doesn’t seem to mesh with the anime that well, especially for a crappy anime such as Guilty Crown. As an example, I believe Gai’s introduction had “Ready to Go” playing in the background. I think the song was trying way too hard to scream “Look at this character! Isn’t he the coolest person ever?!” and shove that in the viewer’s faces.

    Now, I’m going to follow the person who post before me and go check out his original album. More Sawano Hiroyuki can only be a good thing.

    • January 31, 2012 at 3:25 am

      @Suzushina Yuriko
      One comment I got from elsewhere is that this soundtrack’s quality was unfortunately hidden amidst a great deal of Guilty Crown’s general level of crap and that seems to be the general consensus. Glad I didn’t have to sit through too much of it. Sitting through the soundtrack is still enjoyable though.

      Also, count me in as someone else who basically has “musica” on his list of stuff, but still backlogged by far too much stuff at the moment.

  • February 13, 2012 at 12:57 am

    I am absolutely in love with the OST after a friend recommended it to me!

    Would you mind giving me some further recommendations of OSTs – something along the lines of what the Guilty Crown OST has?


    • February 19, 2012 at 10:39 pm

      Sorry that it took so long to reply, but you seem to like what Hiroyuki Sawano offers up. To that end, try checking out the music he did for Sengoku Basara or Gundam Unicorn. The former blends in a lot of different styles while the latter is more bombastic orchestrals. Both should provide quite a treat in terms of a great musical experience!

      • February 20, 2012 at 12:52 am

        No worries!

        And thank you, I have already checked out Sawano’s other OSTs after listening to Guilty Crown. I’m currently listening to Gundam Unicorn’s OST, but will check out Sengoku Basara soon as well.


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