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Yasunori Mitsuda & Joanne Hogg – “Kokoro” Review

“Kokoro” is the vocal track single from the Xenosaga soundtrack, and is sung by Joanne Hogg in English. Interestingly, the single doesn’t begin with the song, but with another vocal theme called “Pain”.

“Pain” has a quiet verse and a huge stomping chorus. The piano is present throughout and holds the main tune, while Joanne’s voice soars especially in the chorus’ and they really show off her tremendous vocal talent. The song has an epic feel to it, that’s very present in the instrumental verse played by a solitary whistle. It’s a complex but very satisfying listen.

“Kokoro”, the ending theme for Xenosaga is the second vocal track on the single. Opening in acoustic guitar arpeggios, instruments are layered constantly on top of each other to make listening out for them so enjoyable. Upon each listen, you’ll find a new part of the song that you hadn’t noticed last time. The way in which the different duel vocal arrangements (as in “Pain” too) are done sets Joanne Hogg’s vocals apart from the crowd. The whole song is a classic from start to finish, and I guarantee that you’ll be pressing the repeat button when it’s done.

Track 3 is a piano version of Kokoro. The version is slow and heartfelt, preferring to use sparse arrangement to make more emphasis on the emotions than make a powerful finger-numbing piece. It works very well indeed. Tracks 4 and 5 are instrumental versions of “Pain” and “Kokoro” which are faultless and have lyrics provided to sing along with too!

Unless you are after the Karaoke versions of the songs, the single is kind of redundant as there’s nothing new from the full soundtrack however these songs are particularly great so I wanted to give special attention to them.

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