Always: Sunset on Third Street '64 - Soundtrack Title
 Always: Sunset on Third Street '64
International Title
 Always: Sunset on Third Street '64
Music By: Naoki Sato
Record Label: VAP
Running Time: 55:12 Discs: 1
Release: January 2012 CD Number: VPCD-81721
Anthony Romero
First, thanks goes to Jessica Stan for sending this in for review!

While I was ashamedly unfamiliar with Naoki Sato when I originally sat down to review Always: Sunset on Third Street 2 (VPCD-81580), I have since become well versed in Sato's work. Consequently, along with placing the soundtrack to Always: Sunset on Third Street 2 (2007) among one of my favorites, I was highly anticipating the score to the third production in the series. However, my anticipation got the better of me. The soundtrack isn't nearly as iconic as the second film, and is a bit of a letdown, but is ultimately still a great body of work.

The soundtrack to the 2007 entry in the series was always going to be a hard act to follow. From the soothing and epic main title to the always great Godzilla Theme by Akira Ifukube, the first had a bit of everything with an amazing show of consistency through almost the entire score. The fault of the third soundtrack, ultimately, is that it doesn't experiment enough. This is obvious right away with "It Comes at Last! ", which is a recap of "Summer on Third Street" off the second album before diving into the "Opening Title" which is also the same, although the opening title has become the series' calling card and to do anything else would have felt odd. It continues, though, with ""Shea!" Something or Other?" being a repeat of "To Ginza", "Truth" being a repeat of "The Writing is Finished", "Dad" being a repeat of "Reunion" and "What is Happiness...?" being a repeat of the "Setting Sun". Don't get me wrong, they are all great themes... but we have heard them all before and the score for the third film loses its identity and feels like Sato was on autopilot.

Ultimately, the soundtrack misses out on really leaving an impression to those who have heard the previous scores. It does, as a standout, contain the deliciously over-the-top "Baptism of Suzuki Auto" theme, which starts off with choir work before turning into a sinister, drum driven march. It's hard not to smile upon hearing it, and is very different from everything else on the score. On the other hand, the theme "True Colors" is a sweeping theme, almost harking to the work of John Williams in structure at times, which is a large compliment in itself. Really, as bad as the repeating is from past work, the score does deserve a large bit of credit from being enjoyable from track one to track twenty.

Bottom line, if you have never heard a score from the series, you will probably want to start with one of the earlier entries. If you feel adventurous enough to jump in with the third soundtrack, though, this should be a fairly enjoyable ride with a ton of great music. For those well versed in the past entries, though, there will likely be disappointment by how similar the score is to past work, but still offers enough to make it a pleasant listen.
Rating: Star Rating
  1. It Comes at Last!
  2. Always: Sunset on Third Street '64 · Opening Title
  3. Love
  4. "Shea!" Something or Other?
  5. Homecoming
  6. Tokyo Olympics
  7. Bad Rumor
  8. Strange Occurrence
  9. A Wonderful Person
  10. The Truth
  11. Father
  12. Missing Person Search?
  13. Baptism of Suzuki Auto
  14. Kikuchi's Desire
  15. True Colors
  16. What is Happiness...?
  17. Parents in Tokyo
  18. Junnosuke
  19. A New Family
  20. Each Path