ALBUM: COWBOY BEBOP (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
RELEASE YEAR: 1998
LABEL: SUNRISE Music
BEST TRACKS: “Tank!,” “Rain” and “Space Lion”
“Cowboy Bebop” by Shinichirō Watanabe is one of the most well-known and respected anime of all time. The story follows Spike Spiegel, an intergalactic bounty hunter, through various adventures alongside his teammates. While at first, the series seems lighthearted and action-packed, it quickly takes a darker tone. Throughout the anime, topics such as death, drug addiction, and struggle with gender identity are explored making “Cowboy Bebop” far more than just an action series.
While the plot is unlike any other, it is only a small part of what draws people to this series. Fans of “Cowboy Bebop” are often captivated by the complexities of the characters, its visually stunning art style and most importantly, the soundtrack.
The soundtrack was composed by Yoko Kanno and performed by SEATBELTS, a group Kanno created for the purpose of the series. Overall, it is jazzy, free and chaotic, creating the perfect atmosphere for the story of Spike Spiegel to unfold.
“Tank!” is hands down the most iconic song on the soundtrack as it is the opening track for the series. It is upbeat, jazzy and sets the tone for the fast-paced, action-packed plot of “Cowboy Bebop.” Its sound is almost reminiscent of early James Bond films.
“Rain” is a much more somber tune as it is played during Spike’s reunion with Vicious, a former comrade turned enemy. The vocals on this track are truly haunting which fit perfectly in with the eerie setting during this reunion.
“Space Lion” is my personal favorite track on the album. The way the song builds over its seven-minute runtime is truly captivating. When listening, it feels like the song is telling a story as it layers drums over saxophone over keyboard. It plays at the end of Episode 13: Jupiter Jazz, Part II which is one of the most complex and loved arcs in the series.
In a word, “COWBOY BEBOP (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)” lives up to the hype. Even if you are not a fan of the anime, this album is absolutely worth the listen. All that’s left for me to say is “3, 2, 1… Let’s Jam!”