|Ristorante Paradiso Original Soundtrack – musica paradiso
|ko-ko-ya; Lisa Komine
|June 03, 2009
|1. Hoshi Furu Yoru no Ristorante
|3. Sirhoi Tablecloth
|4. Tokubetsu na Ichi Nichi
|5. Ame to Wine to
|6. poco a poco ~ Chotto Soko Made
|7. Ai no Arashi
|9. Yureru Kokoro
|10. Tsuki no Manazashi
|11. Kinou Kyou Ashita
|12. Bon Appetit!
|13. Futatsu no Gelato
|14. Ortho March
|16. Nazo Nazo Warutsu
|17. Madame no Yuuutsu
|18. Anata no Soba de
|19. Taiyou wa Hitori Bocchi
|20. Otome no Sakusen
|22. Machikado Swing
|23. Nicoletta no Koi ~piano solo~
|24. Palette ~Petit Short~
|26. Minna Genki
|27. Azalea Garden
|28. Suteki na Kajitsu (Acoustic Piano Hikikatari Version)
Review: Anyone listening to Ristorante Paradiso’s soundtrack is well-advised to keep their expectations under control and not let the inclusion of Sasago Shigeharu of Choro Club fame within ko-ko-ya’s ranks inflate expectations. That’s not because this album is bad because on the contrary, it is a pleasant listen; filled to the brim with laid-back and emotional tracks that carry with them a classy, European flavor. But be warned: it doesn’t exactly meet ARIA’s lofty standards.
Now before we go any further, realize that there is a danger in this comparison because ARIA’s music sets a ridiculously high bar since it is possibly the best soundtrack from the slice of life genre. ARIA stands apart because its tracks are distinct, each with its own memorable melody. In contrast, Ristorante’s music is amorphous, and while one can classify Ristorante’s tracks into a few general categories, it takes a lot of effort to differentiate between tracks within the same category, especially when one listens to some of the moodier pieces.
But at least the album starts off strong. “Hoshi Furu Yoru no Ristorante,” gets the listener acquainted with the show’s mood through a flowing violin melody with a guitar accompaniment that channels Ristorante Casetta dell’Orso’s soothing aura. The atmosphere calm one’s nerves by making the restaurant into a sanctuary where one can seek refuge from the hectic-ness of day to day life. As one listens to the music, one can almost hear the clattering of silverware on plates, quiet conversations, and the sound of the waiters moving about to ensure that its patrons are having a good time. What makes this particular piece stand out is its ability to distill the essence of the dining experience into one track, allowing the listener to relax and be taken in by the restaurant’s serene environment.
Hoshi Furu Yoru no Ristorante
The two tracks that follow after “Hoshi Furu Yoru no Ristorante,” “Innocent” and “Sirhoi Tablecloth,” complement the above imagery by delving into different aspects of the restaurant experience. “Innocent’s” violin and clarinet melody makes one feel at ease as one enters the restaurant and is graciously received by the maître d’ and directed towards a table where a smiling waiter is ready to serve. “Sirhoi Tablecloth” picks up where “Innocent” leaves off by depicting the excitement one feels as the waiter recommends dishes that are sure to please one’s palate, before taking the order and leaving, bowing gracefully on the way out to allow one to enjoy the pleasant surroundings.
“Ame to Wine to” is the first of the moodier tracks, and the music brings to mind a lonely, rainy evening where one sits in quiet contemplation while swirling a glass of wine. The melody is filled with longing and regret, a tone that is explored further in “Ai no Arashi’s” worrisome, tension-filled melody created by the background guitar’s faster tempo and “Discordia,” which makes one feel emotionally lost. The melancholy mood reaches a high point in “Yureru Kokoro’s” overwhelming tone of despair, indicating that it will not be easy to ameliorate the pain. Through the piano music, one can feel some degree of empathy for the person who is in that hopeless state because “Yureru Kokoro” hammers home the sadness effortlessly, a feat that will not be duplicated quite as successfully later on.
The reason for this is because the later tracks do not succeed in engaging the listener. For example, “Nostalgia” has a pensive quality to it, but it isn’t on par with “Ame to Wine” because “Nostalgia” feels so nondescript in comparison. “Taiyou wa Hitori Bocchi” is also not all too compelling either since it opts for a slow melody that, while somber, is bland, rendering it incapable of triggering an emotional reaction from me unlike “Yureru Kokoro.” Many of the other tracks like “Uramado” and “Shuuchakukei” suffer from this issue too, which is why after a while, these pieces start blending together to the point where it becomes difficult to tell them apart without making a serious effort.
Taiyou wa Hitori Bocchi
Of the middle tracks, “Bon Appetit!” and “Anata no Soba de” are among the few that stand out. Both tracks carry the restaurant’s atmosphere well with the former track having a waltzing quality to it as though it were depicting a waiter bearing a serving tray full of delectable entrees while sidling past the other tables and catching the patrons’ eyes with his elegant and graceful movement. “Anata no Soba de” complements the former by working its swing rhythm in such a way as to capture the listener’s attention and keeping them entranced similar to how one is entranced by an entrée to the point where one pays attention to nothing else as the flavors tantalize one’s tongue, putting the diner in a state of rapture.
Before I touch upon the end, some of the vocal tracks deserve attention. On the whole, add to the soundtrack by channeling a whimsical quality that helps one enjoy the atmosphere a little more. “Poco a poco ~ Chotto Soko Made” is relaxing and the vocalist’s tones mesh well with Ristorante’s mood. “Futatsu no Gelato” feels more on the silly side given what I think the song’s subject matter addresses, but its upbeat delivery is what makes it such a fun track to listen to, but the best song by far is “Palette ~Petit Short~” because the singer’s delivery is smooth and classy with an emotional lilt that might catch some off-guard. By the time the song finishes, one can’t help but feel a sense of closure, and even though the experience is about to end, the precious memories will stay with the characters forever and bonds of friendship will never be broken.
Palette ~Petit Short~
The album’s concluding tracks the pleasant feelings to linger behind. “Minna Genki” carries an air of optimism as it uses a violin and clarinet duet to create a fun piece that is bursting with joy as the characters are celebrating one last time. The atmosphere calms down in “Azalea Garden,” which conveys a sense of warmth and comfort, leaving one feeling ready to continue walking down one’s path, wherever it leads, allowing one to take in more memories, form more bonds, and experience the wonderful moments that life has to offer.
Unlike many other soundtracks, this one succeeds in being enjoyable without using repetitive tracks that other soundtracks are prone to do. That’s not to say it is faultless because in a sense, it suffers from the same issues that the show does. Sorrow-kun’s review of Ristorante Paradiso cites an issue with the characters in that
a lot of the character’s stories were similar. This was done to allow for comparisons between the characters and the different ways in which they approached their problems, but it caused the stories to blend into each other and become a little difficult to discern. Sometimes it took a bit of mental effort to try to remember who’s a divorcee, who’s a widower, who’s into his second marriage, who’s single, etc.
The same can be said for some of the tracks, which can be difficult to meaningfully differentiate, and some diversity would have made it a better album. Despite this, the album still yields a pleasant experience overall, especially if you enjoy atmospheric and moody pieces without needing to cling to every note and chord to derive pleasure from listening to music.
Rating: Very Good
Author’s note: While this review encompasses mostly the soft and squishy part of music reviewing (i.e. what I felt and whether I was engaged by the music), a deeper analysis of the music’s structure can be found here on lelangir’s blog.