Ear-tack on Titan: The Case of the Mistaken Soundtrack

My first mistake was a lack of specificity. I asked google to play the Attack on Titan soundtrack. It did. It gave me Shiro Sagisu’s soundtrack to the live-action feature film, Attack on Titan. My second mistake was not turning it off.

I watch AoT’s televised counterpart with religious intensity, but I skipped the recent meat-space film for two very important reasons:

  • I remember the live-action adaptation of Space Battleship Yamato. It is about as much fun as having act breaks punctuated with swift kicks to the bollocks – even if it did get the music right.
  • Some fellow Attack on Titan fan’s twitter hot take on the movie boiled down to, “they made the military police figurative and symbolic Nazis.”

Yeah…no. I moved AoT to the bottom of my queue, filed under films I watch when I come home after fourteen hours of board games, but I’m ever-so-slightly too drunk to go to bed. I didn’t think my moribund interest in the film could fall any lower.

While I don’t, and never will, style myself as a music critic, I can (technically) play an instrument or two. I hold at least a rudimentary understanding of how to put notes together to form sounds pleasing to the human range of hearing. Bearing that in mind, I would describe the first five tracks to Attack on Titan’s soundtrack as an ear-splitting and aggressive plopping of horns and percussion. It’s the kind of music that feels angry at the source material. The power ballad guitars that play following a vocal track of “die die die die die die die die” are so needless in their aggression that I suspect the screenplay may have taken on human form and had sexual relations with someone in the band’s significant other.

This is not the soundtrack to accompany a story about jetpack ninjas slicing up lumbering giants and inspiring humanity to wake from a century of slumber. It’s not even a bad impression of Linked Horizon finding a way to make call and answer German fuse with Japanese lyrics balanced on top of blazing guitar solos and a proper orchestral backdrop. Where is the music that makes me want to take my heart in my hand and belt out choruses of “sasageyo, sasageyo, shinzou wo sasageyo” no matter how many hot women are staring at me from that other car at the stop light?

This soundtrack is so bad, so utterly divorced from the anime’s essential music, that now I think the only reason I will ever bother with the movie is to find out if it is a bad story paired with bad music, or a terrible movie somehow made worse by its musical accompaniment. Because sight unseen, I am certain that no good movie can sound as pointlessly melancholic and yet also farty as Sagisu’s work here.

And for what you really deserve (and want), Linked Horizon live in concert.

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