Whisper of the Heart - Soundtrack
International Title
 Whisper of the Heart
Music By: Yuji Nomi
Record Label: Tokuma Japan Communications
Running Time: 46:17 Discs: 1
Release: July 1995 CD Number: TKCA-70648
Anthony Romero
Thanks goes to Jessica Stan for sending this in for review!

This 1995 soundtrack, which was also reissued nine years later, features the full score (although not all the songs) to the mid-1990's animated feature Whisper of the Heart. The score as a whole is okay, but being slightly on the forgettable side; however, it does end with a great vocal version of "Country Road" in Japanese.

Now I'm sure for many the most memorable soundtrack aspect of Whisper of the Heart is the opening song, which is the English song "Take Me Home, Country Roads". Sadly, this CD does not include that version. Although the song was originally written and sung by John Denver in 1971, the version used in the film is actually a cover version done by Olivia Newton-John. Released just two years later, this version was very popular in Japan. It cracked the top ten chart there and for many became the more memorable rendition in the country. I prefer the Newton-John version as well, finding the vocals more enjoyable, and was a little disappointed not to see it here. The version of the song contained on the CD is a Japanese version of "Country Road" by Yoko Honna, who does the voice of the lead girl in the movie. While this version pales compared to the English ones, it fits well with the narrative of the film. Honna is only 16 years old when she recorded this, and does a remarkable job. It gives the song a slight flavor of young love and fits in like a glove with the production as a whole.

As for the score, composer Yuji Nomi does an okay job. It has a mix of instruments, although piano and string work dominate here. None of the themes are bad, although the synthesizer heavy "I've Decided! I Will Write a Story" is pretty close. The fault here is that many of the cues aren't very memorable. In fact, the disc is sorely lacking a stand out theme. The closest it gets is the very slightly more upbeat "Song of the Baron", which was also reused in the loose sequel The Cat Returns (2002). One plus side of the score is that it's fairly soothing. The violin led "Dawn" track is a great example, giving off a majestic quality before it fades perfectly into the next track, "Country Road".

Overall, not a particularly engaging CD, although enjoyable enough thanks to an okay score and an interesting song. If you are the type who likes to sleep to music, this soundtrack might be up your alley, with some cues like "The Earth Shop" almost having a lullaby quality to them already.
Rating: Star Rating
  1. Hill Town
  2. Chasing the Cat
  3. The Earth Shop
  4. Queen of the Elves
  5. End of Summer
  6. A Confidential Talk
  7. On the Train
  8. Breeze at the Top of the Hill
  9. Angel's Room
  10. Violin Tuning
  11. Country Road (Violin Version)
  12. The Whole Night Sky
  13. Clouds and Shining Hills
  14. I've Decided! I Will Write a Story
  15. Let's Fly! We'll Catch the Updraft!
  16. An Old Wood Print
  17. Canon
  18. Forest of Doubts
  19. Recollections
  20. Song of the Baron
  21. Dawn
  22. Country Road
    By: Yoko Honna