Here is my list of Yoko Kanno’s top 10 songs of all time. Enjoy.
10. Myung Theme – Macross Plus
This is an instrumental version of the song Voices. What really gets me is the progression from soft piano to strings to a full emotional assault around the 2:30 mark.
9. Inner Universe – Ghost in the Shell SAC
It’s hard to have a top Yoko Kanno songs list without the electrifying opening to the GITS: SAC anime. Combining techno, electronic, Russian, Latin, English and operatic vocals, this song will get your heart pumping!
8. Gravity – Wolf’s Rain
Imagine a wolf running though snow in slow motion under a moonlit sky. This haunting song is the ending theme for the Wolf’s Rain anime.
7. Heaven’s Not Enough – Wolf’s Rain
Possibly one of the saddest songs ever composed by Yoko Kanno, with depressingass lyrics to boot, Heaven’s Not Enough starts off slow, flourishes in the middle and crushes all your hopes by the end.
6. is (feat. POP ETC) – Zankyou no Terror
This gem is from Shinichiro Watanabe’s latest anime series – Zankyou no Terror. As with many Kanno songs, this comes at a very poignant moment in the anime and completely steals the show with it’s chilled and melancholic tune.
5. Moon / Tsuki No Mayu – Turn A Gundam
It was difficult to choose between Moon and Tsuki No Mayu, so I put them both together (because they sound similar anyway). Moon is the ending theme to Turn A Gundam and is unlike anything you’ve heard before, I guarantee it.
4. Wings – Escaflowne
Wings is the song that plays in Escaflowne when Hitomi makes an almost impossible jump. If there ever was a song that could encapsulate the thrill and exhilaration of flight – this song is it! And what makes this song so high up in my list is the fact that around the 2:04 mark, it transitions into the song Angel (also from Escaflowne) which is another favourite of mine.
3. hanna (feat. Hanna Berglind) – Zankyou no Terror
hanna is one of the best songs I’ve heard this year. It has one of the best progressions I’ve ever heard in a song which is so short. What makes this song really stand out is the way it was used in the anime as it packs an emotional wallop in the penultimate episode of Zankyou no Terror.
2. Memory – Cowboy Bebop
Music box tunes are a staple for Yoko Kanno albums and no other theme can choke me up more than the tune that plays in the first forty five seconds of Cowboy Bebop – Memory. Aptly named, this music box version of the song Adieu can reduce any die-hard Cowboy Bebop fan to tears.
1. Kaoru & Sentaro Duo – Sakamichi no Apollon
This song. This motherfucking song. This song is what happens when excellent story, excellent direction and god-like music come together at the same time during a crucial point in the story. I have purposefully not included a video of the scene where this song is played, because if you haven’t seen this anime, your jaw will hit the floor when this plays for the first time. You will undoubtedly rewind and watch that scene again…and again…and again, until this song and that scene are perfectly etched in your memory forever. Have you ever watched episode 14 of Samurai Champloo, when Obokuri Eeumi plays for the first time? This song and its emotional impact is equivalent to that.
In case the YouTube videos get taken down, check out my Grooveshark playlist.