Cowboy Bebop: Tank! The Best! is a soundtrack for Cowboy Bebop that was released in 2004. An interesting thing to note about this release is the fact that the CD booklet contains a lot of “fake” information for the songs that appear on the CD; while the song information as it’s written in the booklet would be true for the Cowboy Bebop universe, it wouldn’t be true for the real world.
All of the music that appears on Cowboy Bebop: Tank! The Best! was composed and arranged by Yoko Kanno, and the music was composed by The Seatbelts. For the songs that have lyrics, the words were written by three different lyricists: Tim Jensen, Illaria Graziano, and Raju Ramayya.
The soundtrack opens with “Tank! [TV Stretch],” which is essentially an extended version of the Cowboy Bebop theme song. The next song on the CD is “What Planet Is This,” which is an upbeat jazz number that prominently features guitar and saxophone. When it comes to vocals, there is only one line of vocal repeated throughout the track.
This is followed by “Cosmic Dare (Pretty With a Pistol),” a synth-heavy track that features vocals by Reynada Hill. This song appeared in Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, and it’s one of my favorite songs on this CD.
“Diamonds,” the fourth song on the CD, returns to the jazz sound. It’s a slow and soft piano piece that features vocals by Illaria Graziano. Rounding out the first half of the disc are “Don’t Bother None [TV Edit]” and “Piano Black.” “Don’t Bother None” features Mai Yamane on vocals, while “Piano Black” is a jazz instrumental.
The second half of the CD opens with “Mushroom Hunting,” a song that appeared in the episode, “Mushroom Samba.” Taliva-Donna Cumberbatch’s vocals complement this jazz track that features brass and drums. A sudden sonic shift takes place when the next song, “No Reply,” begins. This is a rock track that features vocals by Steve Conte, and he sounds like he’s trying too hard to mimic the vocal style of Bono from U2.
The disc shifts in sound again with “Blue,” a slow song that features synthesizers and guitar; the vocals on the song are provided by Mai Yamane, Soichiro Otsuka, and Gabriela Robin. This is followed by “Einstein Groovin’,” a mid-tempo song that sounds like it was inspired by the disco era. Illaria Graziano provides the vocals of “Einstein Groovin’,” and the vocals sound like they’re being sung in Spanish. Graziano’s voice can also be heard on “Pearls,” the very next song on the CD; her vocals accompany s slow piano ballad that has a jazz influence.
The final song on Cowboy Bebop: Tank! The Best! is “Gotta Knock a Little Harder,” the closing theme for Cowboy Bebop: The Movie. This midtempo rock song, which features Mai Yamane on vocals, is the perfect closing song for this CD.
While most of the songs on Cowboy Bebop: Tank! The Best! are an enjoyable listen, the disc was sequenced in such a way that most of the uptempo numbers appeared on the first half of the CD, and most of the mid-tempos and ballads appeared on the second half of the disc. Unfortunately, this choice for sequencing weakens the overall listening experience of the soundtrack. When I first started listening to the soundtrack, I was very interested in what I was listening to; however, by the time I reached the last three songs on the soundtrack, I was starting to fall asleep. Perhaps of the uptempo numbers had been a little more spread out across the disc, the soundtrack might have been stronger.
Cowboy Bebop: Tank! The Best! isn’t a bad CD at all. However, when you’re listening to it, you might either want to program the songs in a different order, or have your CD player randomly choose the order in which the songs are played.
I wrote this review after listening to a copy of Cowboy Bebop: Tank! The Best! that I checked out through the King County Library System.