From Your Name
to Weathering with You
, Radwimps' music has been an integral and memorable element of Shinkai Makoto's animated blockbusters. The band's alternative rock numbers add a pop of energy to the youth fantasy stories while the ballads accentuate the heartrending emotions of love and loss. Weathering with You
's original soundtrack was released back in July along with the film's theatrical release. However, the soundtrack carried the shorter movie edit versions of the vocal songs. Arriving five months later, Weathering with You complete version
brings the full versions of the five songs.
This complete version is obviously appealing for those who enjoyed the music while watching Weathering with You, but it can also be enjoyed as a standalone Radwimps album even by those who haven't seen the film. The full versions of the five songs are significantly longer than the movie edits, and very much worth listening to as new pieces.
In an endlessly rainy world that has gone amuck, "Voice of Wind" (Track 1) and "Celebration" (Track 2) shine through with the pure, refreshing aura of blue skies and sunny days. "Voice of Wind" skips nimbly on dense folk beats while lightly challenging the world with intuitive hope and courage. "Celebration" is notably sung not by Noda Yojiro but actress Miura Toko, who was selected through audition. As soon you hear the first line of the song, you understand immediately why this was the voice that grabbed the attention of Radwimps and Shinkai Makoto. Noda wanted a female singer to perform "Celebration," and Miura's super clean, crisp and sweet vocals carry an emotional clarity that brims with life and reaches out to you.
Miura also performs the ballad Grand Escape (Track 3), but in this song, her singing carries a different calmness and maturity over piano notes and whimsical tinkling sounds. The song gets increasingly dreamy as the beats pick up, building to an uplifting climax in the last minute with the addition of Noda Yojiro's harmonizing vocals for the final bridge and outro.
Performed by Noda, the medium-tempo "We'll Be Alright" (Track 4) delivers its simple and stirring message with an earnest intensity. The delicate string-accompanied folk melody of the verses leads into a soaring chorus that's grand in sound but heartbreakingly intimate in its description of the protagonists' bond – "The world rests on your small shoulders / I'm the only one who can see it." I especially love the gentle defiance and firm reassurance of the song's closing lines: "No matter what happens to us, I'm sure we'll be fine / Because starting today, I'm your 'alright.'"
Radwimps poses the piercing question "Is There Still Anything That Love Can Do?" (Track 5) in the album's final haunting track. The full version of this song is included in the soundtrack as well, and it's the one that has resonated the most with listeners. The seven-minute ballad gently paints the pain and helplessness of being in a senseless world that seems to have turned its back on you. The beautiful melody and soulful lyrics really hit you right in the heart, encapsulating in words and music the confused, despairing thoughts that many of us have no doubt asked and felt at points – "So insignificant just you and me / So why are we given this dream? / And if this life is just going to hell / Tell me, why are we allowed to feel hope?"
The cries of "Is there still anything that love can do?" and "Is there still anything I can do?" are repeated throughout the song, standing up to gloom and indifference with a persistent hope that demands an answer. If you're someone who listens to music when you may be feeling a bit down or lost, this song and this album can weather some bad times with you.