Suzume (Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Suzume (Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Kanagawa rock band RADWIMPS had already scored two of Makoto Shinkai’s films—Your Name. and Weathering with You—by the time of the anime director’s Suzume. Fortunately, the group yearned for another opportunity to further hone its soundtrack chops when Shinkai called on RADWIMPS to work on the music for his 2022 fantasy road-trip flick. For a leg up, the band teamed with prolific film and video-game composer Kazuma Jinnouchi for Suzume (Motion Picture Soundtrack). The collaboration inspired the outfit to incorporate more jazz and traditional Japanese instrumentation into the music. RADWIMPS already excelled at soaring, piano-backed numbers, helping to bring out the sweetness in more emotional cinematic moments (“At Night in Ferry,” “Time For Two”). Jinnouchi, meanwhile, brings a lighter touch, emphasizing string sections to create a playful atmosphere (“Shinkansen Super Express,” “Hitchhike”). Owing to the film’s use of abandoned Japanese locations, both artists incorporate traditional Japanese instrumentation across the soundtrack, most notably taiko percussion on collaborative tracks such as “Abandoned Resort” and “The Other Side of the Door,” to play up the grand scale of Shinkai’s story. For RADWIMPS, this pairing with Jinnouchi pushes it outside its comfort zone to try new musical styles. The band’s contributions feature greater use of synthesizer and vocal samples to add depth and drama to the soundtrack. “Cat Chase” finds the trio creating zippy jazz inspired by Yuji Ohno’s scores for the LUPIN THE THIRD films. While the group still provides familiar slow-build ballads spotlighting Yojiro Noda’s vocals on songs such as “Kanata Haluka,” even these moments highlight lessons learned from its cinematic collaborations. The title track, featuring vocals from fellow singer Toaka, uses space, choir, and drums to conjure up excitement in a way RADWIMPS never has before.

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