Music of Cowboy Bebop

The Cowboy Bebop anime series was accompanied by a number of soundtrack albums composed by Yoko Kanno and The Seatbelts, a diverse band Kanno formed specifically to create the music for the series, with a principal focus in jazz. The recordings were an international effort with many names attached, including that of recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder.[1]

Contents

Theme songs

Tank!

Tank! is the opening song for the popular anime series Cowboy Bebop. The song, written by Yoko Kanno and performed by The Seatbelts, has an extensive alto saxophone solo played by Masato Honda, as well as a fill part at the end. The song is a big band jazz piece in a hard bop style with a rhythm portion that combines a double bass and bongo drums.

"Tank!" is primarily an instrumental piece, though it does feature some spoken male vocals (provided by long-time collaborator with Kanno, Tim Jensen) in the introductory portion of the song, thematically jazz in style. The vocal portion provides a lead-in to the instrumental portion, and its final lyrics, "I think it's time we blow this scene. Get everybody and the stuff together. Ok, three, two, one let's jam," signal the beginning bursts of the majority, purely instrumental end of the song.

It has been featured on the soundtracks to the series and as the original opening theme it is somewhat iconic, one of several popular pieces which are still closely associated with the Bebop series. It has also been occasionally used as background music for some international commercials, such as a preview for My Own Worst Enemy.

A piano cover of Tank! appears on GAME, the debut charity album of Piano Squall.

The Real Folk Blues

"The Real Folk Blues" is the ending theme for Cowboy Bebop. The song was performed by The Seatbelts, featuring vocals by Mai Yamane. The song was composed and arranged by Yoko Kanno, with lyrics by Yuho Iwasato. The track appears on the series-related album Cowboy Bebop Vitaminless (カウボーイビバップ ビタミンレス Kaubōi Bibappu Bitaminresu?). The song is one of few songs in the series to be sung in Japanese.

The song is not used for the end credits in "Jupiter Jazz, Pt. II" and the finale "The Real Folk Blues". However, an alternate version of the song entitled "See You Space Cowboy" plays during the final episode as the prelude to the climax. It appears on the Cowboy Bebop: Blue album as a bonus track.

Studio recordings

Cowboy Bebop

Cowboy Bebop
Soundtrack album by The Seatbelts
Released May 21, 1998
Recorded Victor Studio
Z'd Studio
Sound Valley Studio
Van Gelder Studio
Plus XXXstudio
Soundtrack Studio[2]
Genre Bebop
Length 53:25
Label Victor Entertainment
Producer Yoko Kanno

Cowboy Bebop is the first album created for the series, and the most easily categorized in terms of genre, as an outlet for many of the trademark bebop tracks. It begins with the show's theme song, Tank! Also worth noting is Bad Dog No Biscuits, which opens with a cover of the Tom Waits composition Midtown, before diverting wildly in its interpretation.

The album received a 5/5 rating from Allmusic.[3]


Cowboy Bebop Vitaminless

Cowboy Bebop Vitaminless
Soundtrack album by The Seatbelts
Released June 3, 1998
Length 28:27
Label Victor Entertainment
Producer Yoko Kanno

Cowboy Bebop Vitaminless (カウボーイビバップ ビタミンレス Kaubōi Bibappu Bitaminresu?) is the first mini-album. It features the end credits theme from the series, The Real Folk Blues.

Like many other commonly revisited motifs in the soundtracks, the track Spy is an alternative approach to You Make Me Cool, which appears on the No Disc album.


Cowboy Bebop No Disc

Cowboy Bebop No Disc
Soundtrack album by The Seatbelts
Released October 21, 1998
Recorded Victor Studio
Z'd Studio
SoundCityStudio
Van Gelder Studio
Plus XXXstudio[1]
Length 50:23
Label Victor Entertainment
Producer Yoko Kanno

Cowboy Bebop No Disc (カウボーイビバップ ノーディスク Kaubōi Bibappu No Disuku?) is the second soundtrack album, which shows off a demanding stylistic variety unseen in its predecessor, incorporating bluegrassy banjo, heavy metal, Japanese pop, lounge, swing, chorale, and scat-singing among other styles, as well as the usual blues and jazz pieces.


Cowboy Bebop Blue

Cowboy Bebop Blue
Soundtrack album by The Seatbelts
Released May 1, 1999
Length 71:18
Label Victor Entertainment

Cowboy Bebop Blue is the third soundtrack album, featuring many vocal pieces, including a setting of the Ave Maria text, performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted by Anthony Inglis.[4]

It was released on May 1, 1999 and received a rating of 3.5/5 by Allmusic.[5]


Ask DNA

Ask DNA
Soundtrack album by The Seatbelts
Released July 5, 2001
Length 18:37
Label Victor Entertainment

Ask DNA was a mini-album released in 2001, an accompaniment to Future Blues. It consists of a few highlights from Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, including the title theme, "Ask DNA", a song which is more pop-oriented than anything else performed by the band.


Future Blues

Future Blues
Soundtrack album by The Seatbelts
Released August 29, 2001
Recorded Victor Studio
Soundcity Studio
Crescente
Soundtrack Studio
Riversound Studio[6]
Length 71:11
Label Victor Entertainment
Producer Yoko Kanno

Future Blues is the main soundtrack from Cowboy Bebop: The Movie. It explores additional styles even further, such as country-western and Arabic music.

The song 3.14 features Aoi Tada reciting the first 53 digits of pi to a tune. However, toward the end, she appears to say 751582 when the actual sequence is 7510582—easily rectified without disturbing the rhythm of the song. It is unknown whether she made a mistake or merely breathed out the 0 inaudibly.[citation needed]


Cowboy Bebop Tank! THE! BEST!

Cowboy Bebop Tank! THE! BEST!
Soundtrack album by The Seatbelts
Released December 22, 2004
Length 51:59
Label Victor Entertainment
Producer Yoko Kanno

Cowboy Bebop Tank! THE! BEST! compiles previously-released material, mostly vocal pieces, with three all-new songs written for the 2005 game, featuring the vocals of Ilaria Graziano. The first pressing of the CD included a bonus sticker. These songs were the last new material released by The Seatbelts.


Miscellaneous

Cowboy Bebop Remixes: Music for Freelance

Cowboy Bebop Remixes: Music for Freelance
Remix album by The Seatbelts
Released June 6, 1999
Recorded Various
Genre Jazz, Electronic music
Length 40:27
Label Victor Entertainment
Producer Yoko Kanno

Cowboy Bebop Remixes: Music for Freelance (カウボーイ ビバップ リミキシーズ ミュージック フォー フリーランス Kaubōi Bibappu Rimikishīzu Myūjikku Fō Furīransu?) is a collection of songs remixed by popular American and British DJ's, including many from the popular Ninja Tune label. Mr. Scruff spoke to British magazine Impact of his remix of Cat Blues, telling Andrez Bergen that he chose it "as it was a great, old sounding tune, simple with loads of personality. The parts were so well recorded that it was a pleasure to remix! I chopped it up into a kind of stuttering drumbox jazz wobbler."[14]

The premise of the album is that the CD is a recording of a pirate radio station, and each song is humorously introduced by the DJ, in English. These tracks are called the "Radio Free Mars Talks". They are credited as follows:


Cowgirl Ed

Cowgirl Ed
Soundtrack album by The Seatbelts
Released June 21, 2001
Length 18:30
Label Victor Entertainment
Producer Yoko Kanno

Cowgirl Ed is a limited edition Mini-CD. This single came packaged with the first pressing of Future Blues and is currently out of print.


Cowboy Bebop Boxed Set

Cowboy Bebop Boxed Set
Compilation album by The Seatbelts
Released June 21, 2002

The Cowboy Bebop Boxed Set includes four regular size CDs, one bonus Mini CD, and a 52 page booklet (in Japanese). The booklet includes interesting trivia, track listing, interviews, and lyrics. Disks 1, 2 and 3 contain new and previously released tracks from the series, performed by The Seatbelts. Disk 4 contains live tracks from The Seatbelts on tour, as well as some unreleased movie tracks. The dialogue tracks are not songs, rather, they are vocal samples taken directly from the Japanese version of the series. It was released on June 21, 2002, and is now out of production.

The boxed set received an enthusiastic 4/5 review from Allmusic, citing its eclectic blend of genres and an appeal going beyond anime fans to "any adventurous listener", but also mentioned that the spoken dialogue tracks detracted from its accessibility.[15]

The scripts for the dialogue tracks are credited to Shinichiro Watanabe and Dai Sato and the translation was done by Agnes S. Kaku.

Tracks in bold are exclusive to this boxed set.


See also

  • Space Bio Charge, a Yoko Kanno compilation album which includes unreleased takes of Cowboy Bebop songs.

References

  1. ^ a b No Disc liner notes
  2. ^ Cowboy Bebop liner notes
  3. ^ Allmusic - Cowboy Bebop
  4. ^ Blue liner notes
  5. ^ Allmusic - Blue
  6. ^ Future Blues liner notes
  7. ^ 3,2,1 Lets Jam! Emily's Cowboy Bebop Page
  8. ^ The Yoko Kanno Project - Lyrics: Pushing the sky
  9. ^ 3,2,1 Lets Jam! Emily's Cowboy Bebop Page
  10. ^ The Yoko Kanno Project - Lyrics: 3.14
  11. ^ 3,2,1 Lets Jam! Emily's Cowboy Bebop Page
  12. ^ The Yoko Kanno Project - Lyrics: No reply
  13. ^ 3,2,1 Lets Jam! Emily's Cowboy Bebop Page
  14. ^ Japanime, Andrez Bergen. Impact, June 2007.
  15. ^ Allmusic - Boxed Set

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.