Persona 3 | Thou art I and I am thou

Amazing VGM: The Path is Open (Persona 3)

This week’s VGM is a special track. This track has an especially notable significance to me in not only how it sounds, but also what it represents. In the past I have often made Amazing VGM pieces that connect to me personally in regards to my very own struggles in life, I believe that games have a very significant personal element to them that many are often discouraged from sharing for not being “objective,” and I feel this greatly undermines the medium as a whole.

Anyway this week’s track is from Persona 3, a flawed game in many ways but nonetheless one of my all time favorites. I have been replaying this game and I’ve just about reached the end of The Journey portion of the game. While I find the overall musical output of Persona 3 rather average, there are some standout tracks that have a very deep and meaningful impact when you hear them. This track is one of those.

The track may sound short and simple, but holy hell is it effective. There are two points when you hear this track. The first is when you max out a social link and the second is when one of your party members undergoes a character defining moment that changes them, which causes their persona to evolve Pokemon style. When you see someone who has overcome their own fatal conflict (in some cases literally) and you have forged an unbreakable bond with them. The title carries a double meaning in regarding to what “the path” could refer to. In a character sense, it represents the path towards growth and salvation. The path towards becoming a better person.

In a gameplay sense, it refers to how completing a social link gives you the ability to create the strongest persona of their respective arcana. Given that personas are said to be the manifestations of one’s psyche and subconscious, this also implies personal growth. Also in regards to social links, it contrasts with the normally suspenseful music that plays when you increase a social link ranking, and it really heightens the significance of when you do so.

The track sounds so heavenly and serene. Those violins sound almost angelic and divine, enough that my first assumption was that they were a choir. The glass harmonicas help with that ethereal sentiment, making this track feel very soothing on top of being emotional. It may be a short track, but considering that it was meant for brief scenes to begin with, that isn’t much of a problem.

I currently have come to terms with the fact that I’m done with ex. I know for sure that we won’t be friends again, and as sad as it may be, it’s also comforting to finally know. I could possibly be because I was replaying this game around the same time. I consider this to be one of my own defining moments. This breakup was one of the most traumatic things to happen to me, but I now know that nothing will ever hurt QUITE this badly again. Or maybe it will, but I’ll know how to cope with it next time. Yes, that is why I specifically covered this track now, to remind myself that through this hardship I have gained inner strength that I never would have attained otherwise. Oh, but there is another variation of this track in Persona 4!

I haven’t played Persona 4 yet so I don’t know if there is any significance that this tracks holds differently than in Persona 3, but I will say that from an arrangement standpoint this one is even better. There is higher emphasis on the beauty and elegance of it in addition to capturing the same emotions as the original, and it sounds closer to what it would sound like performed on real instruments. I wonder what it would sound like if you mixed them both together?


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