Persona 3 – “Aria of the Soul” (Shoji Meguro)April 21, 2010
Here’s another piece by Shoji Meguro, “Aria of the Soul” (aka “The Poem for Everyone’s Souls”), the music that plays in the Velvet Room of Persona 3 (2006), a space-time portal where you can fuse Personas, or facets of the psyche. Each Persona is a god or magical creature. Despite the creepy Persona dealer, the Velvet Room is a calm refuge from the monsters of Thanatos.
Because the player will be spending a lot of time in here fusing Personas, the theme is quite long (2:45 loop) and also calming. The transitions between sections of the song are very smooth and perfectly executed by vocalist Tomoko Komiya. Komiya’s silvery voice is pure and strong, able to hold firmly to the long, clear notes with strength of devotion. She is supported by strings and piano woven into a rich tapestry that builds to a bold finish with trumpets and organs. In this regard, I think the second title, “Poem for Everyone’s Souls” is more fitting because the aria’s devotional or prayer-like composition serves as a reminder of the purpose for why they are fighting against the shadows.
The other interesting thing about “Aria of the Soul” is that elements of it are used in “Battle Hymn of the Soul“, the penultimate boss music. Actually, “Battle Hymn of the Soul” seems to be a dark rock rendition of “Aria of the Soul”. The combination of guitar and piano adds gravitas and sadness to the piece, a nice brooding theme for a dark monster of the id. I happen to like both songs quite a bit. Customers who bought first prints of the game in the US received a small sampler CD, which contains both songs.
Persona 3 was the first soundtrack where Shoji Meguro was able to express himself to the fullest with game audio, thanks to the high quality samples allowed by the PS2. He complained about the low-quality audio he was stuck using with Persona 2 – using better audio would have undoubtedly given the game better reception.