Skip to main content

100 Albums: "Cowboy Bebop Blue" by Yoko Kanno and The Seatbelts

Kurt is going through his favorite records. Read the explainer or view the master list.

Artist: Yoko Kanno and The Seatbelts
Title: Cowboy Bebop Blue
Released: 1999
Genre: various, but mostly jazz and rock fusion


Cowboy Bebop was a sci-fi-meets-spaghetti-Western anime that ran for twenty-six episodes from 1998 to 1999 in Japan. It was localized to America in 2001 as part of Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim" block on Sunday evenings, and it helped popularize that programming block, as well as being an introduction to the more mature version of the art form to Western audiences. For a more thorough tribute to the show and its influences, I recommend Beyond Ghibli's video essay A Fistful Of Woolongs. The key part of the show was the score, written by Yoko Kanno to evoke jazz, funk, and rock. Blue is the third full-length soundtrack album released for the series.

The highlight of the album is Mushroom Hunting, a delightful little jazz number arranged like a dance track. In terms of the straight instrumental jazz pieces that are most immediately assocaited wtih the series, there's Autumn in Ganymede and NY Rush. Steve Conte of New York Dolls sings on a couple of tracks, including the fantastic Call Me, Call Me. And then there's the truly weird track Chicken Bone by Sydney With Sister R, a choir performs Ave Maria, and the disc ends with a Japanese-language rendition of the series closing credits track, See You Space Cowboy (Not Final Mix Mountain Root), originally sung in English as The Real Folk Blues.

The album is best of the series OSTs, as well as the most musically diverse, but still manages to hold together into a single listenable whole. And, if you're a fan of the anime, you'll have a great time revisiting the aural textures that helped make the show so compelling.

Further Listening: All of the soundtracks have highs and lows, but if you were to pick one other than Blue, I'd recommend Future Blues, the soundtrack to the movie. It has Yo Pumpkin Head, DigginGotta Knock A Little Harder, and Mai Yamane's version of Rain. And if you can find it, the two-disc version includes a single-disc redux of the Cowgirl Ed and Ask DNA EPs, which makes for a disjointed listening experience that is nonetheless chock full of amazing music. I would not recommend the four-disc box set as an introduction to the music of the series. It's full of spoken-word tracks (in Japanese) and extended and alternate takes.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

...

21 people are dead that didn't need to be. My children go through active shooter drills at their elementary schools. Because people like you love guns more than humans. You fucking asshole. I'm so tired of all of this. ]{p

Memory Leaks: Contra

🎖️Running with the devil... Contra was the original run-and-gun shooter on the platform that made home video game systems ubiquitous. Originally an arcade game, the 1988 NES port is almost certainly the most famous entry in the entire franchise and one of the most popular third-party titles on the system. It was known for its punishing difficulty. It was also one of the first Nintendo games to employ 2-player simultaneous co-op, which sounds like it should make the game easier, but in practice meant you and your schoolmate would mess up each others' flow and cause each other to die. When you ran out of lives, you could steal one from the other player's reserve. Fortunately, there was widely known "secret" code that gave you an extra twenty-seven lives, and this code no doubt preserved countless friendships. How I Remember It... I had a friend named Bryan, and he and I would play it together a lot. He owned a copy first, and playing his is what got me to beg my paren

Sentinels of the Multiverse: Definitive Edition: A Thoroughly Unnecessary Review

 Time to save the multiverse A couple years ago I was blogging about my love of tabletop games and described Sentinels of the Multiverse  as being either my first or second favorite, depending on what day of the week it was. Then last year they announced a new "Definitive Edition" of the base game with expansion content to follow. This would be a ground-up rethinking and rebalancing that would, amongst other things, be mostly incompatible with the existing content. Of which I have a lot. This has been a "shut-up-and-take-my-money" IP for years now, so it's not like I  wasn't  going to buy it, but I was at first trepidatious. I mean, was this even necessary? And then I saw an interview with the creators where they talked about what they were trying to accomplish with the new edition, and I was on board. And then the Kickstarter launched and more information was available and I got excited. After all, as I mentioned in the above-linked write-up, the oldest Sen