Music of Cowboy Bebop

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The Cowboy Bebop anime series was accompanied by a number of soundtrack albums composed by Yoko Kanno and Seatbelts, a diverse band Kanno formed to create the music for the series, with a principal focus in jazz. The recordings were an international effort with many notable names attached, including that of recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder.[citation needed][1] The soundtrack was released in the American market by Victor Entertainment, a subsidiary of JVC Kenwood.

Theme songs[edit]

"Tank!"[edit]

"Tank!" is the series' opening song. The song, written by Yoko Kanno and performed by Seatbelts, has an extensive alto saxophone solo played by Masato Honda, as well as a fill part at the end. The song is a big band jazz piece in a Latin-infused hard bop style with a rhythm section that combines a double bass and bongo drums.

"Tank!" is primarily an instrumental piece, though it does feature some spoken male vocals (provided by long-time collaborator with Kanno, Tim Jensen) in the introductory portion of the song, thematically jazz in style. The vocal portion provides a lead-in to the instrumental portion, and its final lyrics, "I think it's time we blow this scene. Get everybody and the stuff together. Okay, three, two, one let's jam", signal the beginning bursts of the majority, purely instrumental end of the song.

It has been featured on the soundtracks to the series and was used on the preview for My Own Worst Enemy.[citation needed] Kevin Reynolds (figure skater) performed his solo routine for the 2016 Canadian National Figure Skating Championships to “Tank,” and did it dressed as Spike Spiegel.[2]

"The Real Folk Blues"[edit]

"The Real Folk Blues" is the first ending theme for Cowboy Bebop. The song was performed by Seatbelts, featuring vocals by Mai Yamane. The song was composed and arranged by Yoko Kanno, with lyrics by Yūho Iwasato. The track appears on the series-related album Cowboy Bebop Vitaminless (カウボーイビバップ ビタミンレス, Kaubōi Bibappu Bitaminresu). The song is one of few songs in the series to be sung in Japanese.

The song is not used for the end credits in "Jupiter Jazz, Pt. II" (the song used for the end credits in "Jupiter Jazz, Pt. II" is "Space Lion") and the finale "The Real Folk Blues". However, an alternate version of the song entitled "See You Space Cowboy..." plays during the final episode as the prelude to the climax. It appears on the Cowboy Bebop Blue album as a bonus track.

Studio recordings[edit]

Cowboy Bebop[edit]

Cowboy Bebop
Soundtrack album by Seatbelts
Released May 21, 1998
Recorded Victor Studio
Z'd Studio
Sound Valley Studio
Van Gelder Studio
Plus XXXstudio
Soundtrack Studio[citation needed][3]
Genre Bebop
Length 53:25
Label Victor Entertainment
Producer Yoko Kanno

Cowboy Bebop is the first album created for the series, and the most easily categorized in terms of genre, as an outlet for many of the trademark bebop tracks. It begins with the show's theme song, "Tank!". The track "Bad Dog No Biscuits" opens with a cover of the Tom Waits composition "Midtown" before diverting in its interpretation.

The album received a 5/5 rating from Allmusic.[4]

Track Listing
No.TitleLyricsArtistLength
1."Tank!"  3:30
2."Rush"  3:34
3."Spokey Dokey"  4:04
4."Bad Dog No Biscuits"  4:09
5."Cat Blues"  2:35
6."Cosmos"  1:36
7."Space Lion"  7:10
8."Waltz for Zizi"  3:29
9."Piano Black"  2:47
10."Pot City"  2:14
11."Too Good Too Bad"  2:34
12."Car24"  2:49
13."The Egg and I"  2:42
14."Felt Tip Pen"  2:39
15."Rain"Tim JensenSteve Conte3:23
16."Digging My Potato"  2:24
17."Memory" (Music box overdubbed)  1:31
Total length:53:25

Cowboy Bebop Vitaminless[edit]

Cowboy Bebop Vitaminless
Soundtrack album by Seatbelts
Released June 3, 1998
Length 28:27
Label Victor Entertainment
Producer Yoko Kanno

Cowboy Bebop Vitaminless (カウボーイビバップ ビタミンレス, Kaubōi Bibappu Bitaminresu) is the first mini-album. It features the end credits theme from the series, "The Real Folk Blues".

The middle section of "Spy" was later reprised in "You Make Me Cool", which appears on the No Disc album.

Track Listing
No.TitleLyricsArtistLength
1."The Real Folk Blues"Yūho IwasatoMai Yamane6:16
2."Odd Ones" New York Musicians3:09
3."Doggy Dog" Philippe Nalry3:14
4."Cats on Mars"Gabriela RobinGabriela Robin2:44
5."Spy" Seatbelts2:01
6."Fantaisie Sign"Carla ValletCarla Vallet4:57
7."Piano Bar I" Mark Soskin3:04
8."Black Coffee" (Bonus Track) New York Musicians3:14
Total length:28:27

Cowboy Bebop No Disc[edit]

Cowboy Bebop No Disc
Soundtrack album by Seatbelts
Released October 21, 1998
Recorded Victor Studio
Z'd Studio
Sound City Studios
Van Gelder Studio
Plus XXXstudio
Length 50:23
Label Victor Entertainment
Producer Yoko Kanno

Cowboy Bebop No Disc (カウボーイビバップ ノーディスク, Kaubōi Bibappu No Disuku) is the second soundtrack album, which has more stylistic variety than its predecessor, incorporating bluegrassy banjo, heavy metal, Japanese pop, lounge, swing, chorale and scat-singing, among other styles, as well as the usual blues and jazz pieces.

Track Listing
No.TitleLyricsArtistLength
1."American Money"  1:07
2."Fantaisie Sign"Carla ValletCarla Vallet5:19
3."Don't Bother None"Tim JensenMai Yamane3:39
4."Vitamin A"  0:10
5."Live in Baghdad"Gabriela RobinMasaaki Endoh3:22
6."Cats on Mars"Gabriela RobinGabriela Robin2:44
7."Want It All Back"Tim JensenMai Yamane4:10
8."Bindy"  2:18
9."You Make Me Cool"Brian RichyMasayoshi Furukawa3:11
10."Vitamin B"  0:08
11."Green Bird"Gabriela RobinGabriela Robin1:53
12."Elm" Pierre Bensusan5:04
13."Vitamin C"  0:06
14."Gateway"  2:58
15."The Singing Sea"Chris MosdellTulivu-Donna Cumberbatch4:39
16."The Egg and You"  3:42
17."Forever Broke"  3:14
18."Power of Kung Food Remix" (Arranged by DJ Food)  5:28
Total length:50:23

Cowboy Bebop Blue[edit]

Cowboy Bebop Blue
Soundtrack album by Seatbelts
Released May 1, 1999
Length 71:18
Label Victor Entertainment

Cowboy Bebop Blue is the third soundtrack album, featuring many vocal pieces, including a setting of the Ave Maria text, performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted by Anthony Inglis.[citation needed][5]

It was released on May 1, 1999. Regarding the album, AllMusic wrote: "Of the more than ten discs released in conjunction with Cowboy Bebop, Blue is undoubtedly the best, representing the widest variety of genres."[6]

Track Listing
No.TitleLyricsArtistLength
1."Blue"Tim JensenMai Yamane5:01
2."Words That We Couldn't Say"Tim JensenSteve Conte3:27
3."Autumn in Ganymede"  3:54
4."Mushroom Hunting" (Based on a track by DJ Food, who performed Power of Kung Food Remix on the No Disc album.) Tulivu-Donna Cumberbatch3:18
5."Go Go Cactus Man"  2:37
6."Chicken Bone"Gabriela RobinSydney and Sister R4:55
7."The Real Man"  4:00
8."N.Y. Rush"  5:03
9."Adieu"Brian RichyEmily Bindiger5:39
10."Call Me Call Me"Tim JensenSteve Conte4:42
11."Ave Maria" Jerzy Knetig5:47
12."Stella by Moor"  1:08
13."Flying Teapot"Tomoko TaneEmily Bindiger3:32
14."Wo Qui Non Coin"Gabriela RobinAoi Tada3:41
15."Road to the West"  2:52
16."Farewell Blues"  5:12
17."See You Space Cowboy... (Not Final Mix Mountain Root)" (Hidden track. An alternative rendition of The Real Folk Blues.) Mai Yamane5:55
Total length:71:18

Ask DNA[edit]

Ask DNA is a maxi single released in 2001, an accompaniment to Cowboy Bebop Future Blues. It consists of a few highlights from Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, including the title theme, "Ask DNA".

Track Listing
No.TitleLyricsArtistLength
1."What Planet Is This?!"  2:45
2."Ask DNA"Tim JensenRaj Ramayya4:52
3."Cosmic Dare (Pretty with a Pistol)"Raj RamayyaReynada Hill4:28
4."Hamduche"Hassan BohmideHassan Bohmide1:54
5."Is It Real?"Tim JensenScott Matthew4:40
Total length:18:37

Future Blues[edit]

Future Blues
Soundtrack album by Seatbelts
Released August 29, 2001
Recorded Victor Studio
Soundcity Studio
Crescente
Soundtrack Studio
Riversound Studio[citation needed][7]
Length 71:11
Label Victor Entertainment
Producer Yoko Kanno

Future Blues is the main soundtrack from Cowboy Bebop: The Movie. It explores styles such as country-western and Arabic music.

The song "3.14" features Aoi Tada reciting the first 53 digits of pi to a tune.

Track Listing
No.TitleLyricsArtistLength
1."24 Hours Open"  3:21
2."Pushing the Sky"Jinghiskhanman[8][9]Mai Yamane4:07
3."Time to Know ~ Be Waltz" Hideyuki Takahashi3:49
4."Clutch"  5:15
5."Musawe" Hassan Bohmide3:28
6."Yo Pumpkin Head"  4:04
7."Diggin'" (Guitar: Kiyoshi Tuchiya)Tim JensenSteve Conte5:05
8."3.14"Yoko Kanno[10][11]Aoi Tada1:37
9."What Planet Is This?!" (Extended Version) Mai Yamane, Mayu Jensen, Tim Jensen, Mataro Misawa (backing vocals)4:31
10."7 Minutes"  6:46
11."Fingers"  4:24
12."Powder"  1:30
13."Butterfly"Chris MosdellMem Nahadr4:57
14."No Reply"Tim Jensen[12][13]Steve Conte5:59
15."Dijurido" Gabriela Robin1:55
16."Gotta Knock a Little Harder"Tim Jensen[14]Mai Yamane5:19
17."No Money" Hassan Bohmide1:06
18."Rain" (Bonus Track, Mai Yamane Version)Tim JensenMai Yamane3:23
Total length:71:11

Cowboy Bebop Tank! THE! BEST![edit]

Cowboy Bebop Tank! THE! BEST!
Soundtrack album by Seatbelts
Released December 22, 2004
Length 51:59
Label Victor Entertainment
Producer Yoko Kanno

Cowboy Bebop Tank! THE! BEST! compiles previously released material, mostly vocal pieces, with three all-new songs written for the 2005 PlayStation 2 game Cowboy Bebop: Tsuioku no Serenade, featuring the vocals of Ilaria Graziano. The first pressing of the CD included a bonus sticker.[citation needed] These songs were the last new material released by Seatbelts.

Track Listing
No.TitleLyricsArtistLength
1."Tank! (TV stretch)"  3:30
2."What Planet Is This?!"  3:31
3."Cosmic Dare (Pretty with a Pistol)"Raj RamayyaReynada Hill4:29
4."Diamonds" Ilaria Graziano4:01
5."Don't Bother None (TV edit)"Tim JensenMai Yamane2:55
6."Piano Black"  2:47
7."Mushroom Hunting" Tulivu-Donna Cumberbatch3:19
8."No Reply"Tim JensenSteve Conte6:01
9."Blue"Tim JensenMai Yamane5:04
10."Einstein Groovin'"Ilaria GrazianoIlaria Graziano6:19
11."Pearls"Ilaria GrazianoIlaria Graziano4:44
12."Gotta Knock a Little Harder"Tim JensenMai Yamane5:24
Total length:51:59

Miscellaneous[edit]

Cowboy Bebop Remixes: Music for Freelance[edit]

Cowboy Bebop Remixes: Music for Freelance
Remix album by Seatbelts
Released June 6, 1999
Recorded Various
Genre Jazz, Electronic music
Length 40:27
Label Victor Entertainment
Producer Yoko Kanno

Cowboy Bebop Remixes: Music for Freelance (カウボーイ ビバップ リミキシーズ ミュージック フォー フリーランス, Kaubōi Bibappu Rimikishīzu Myūjikku Fō Furīransu) is a collection of songs remixed by popular American and British DJs, including many from the popular Ninja Tune label. Mr. Scruff spoke to British magazine Impact of his remix of Cat Blues, telling Andrez Bergen that he chose it "as it was a great, old sounding tune, simple with loads of personality. The parts were so well recorded that it was a pleasure to remix! I chopped it up into a kind of stuttering drumbox jazz wobbler".[15]

The premise of the album is that the CD is a recording of a pirate radio station, and each song is humorously introduced by the DJ (Watanabe), in English. These tracks are called the "Radio Free Mars Talks". They are credited as follows:

Track Listing
No.TitleLength
1."Radio Free Mars Talk 1"1:13
2."Tank! (Luke Vibert Remix)"3:37
3."Radio Free Mars Talk 2"0:39
4."Forever Broke (Fila Brazillia Remix)"5:23
5."Radio Free Mars Talk 3"0:35
6."Cats on Mars (DMX Krew Remix)"3:50
7."Radio Free Mars Talk 4"0:49
8."Piano Black (Ian O'Brien Remix)"6:51
9."Cat Blues (Mr. Scruff Remix)"4:50
10."Radio Free Mars Talk 5"0:44
11."Fe (DJ Vadim Remix)"3:50
12."Fantaisie Sign (Ian Pooley Remix)"5:18
13."Radio Free Mars Talk 6"0:26
14."Space Lion (4hero Remix)"6:19
15."Radio Free Mars Talk 7"0:23
Total length:40:27

Cowgirl Ed[edit]

Cowgirl Ed
Soundtrack album by Seatbelts
Released June 21, 2001
Length 18:30
Label Victor Entertainment
Producer Yoko Kanno

Cowgirl Ed is a limited edition Mini-CD. This single came packaged with the first pressing of Future Blues and is currently out of print.

Track Listing
No.TitleLength
1."Goodnight Julia"1:56
2."PAPA Plastic"4:11
3."Telephone Shopping"0:18
4."Kabutoga ni Kodai no Sakana" (The Horseshoe Crab, The Ancient Fish)3:42
5."Slipper Sleaze"3:32
6."23 Hanashi" (Episode 23)4:51
Total length:18:30

Cowboy Bebop Boxed Set[edit]

Cowboy Bebop Boxed Set
Box set by Seatbelts
Released June 21, 2002

The Cowboy Bebop Boxed Set includes four regular size CDs, one bonus Mini CD, and a 52-page booklet (in Japanese). The booklet includes interesting trivia, track listing, interviews, and lyrics. Disks 1, 2 and 3 contain new and previously released tracks from the series, performed by Seatbelts. Disk 4 contains live tracks from Seatbelts on tour, as well as some unreleased movie tracks. The dialogue tracks are not songs, rather, they are vocal samples taken directly from the Japanese version of the series. It was released on June 21, 2002, and is now out of production.

The boxed set received an enthusiastic 4/5 review from Allmusic, citing its eclectic blend of genres and an appeal going beyond anime fans to "any adventurous listener", but also mentioned that the spoken dialogue tracks detracted from its accessibility.[16]

The scripts for the dialogue tracks are credited to Shinichiro Watanabe and Dai Sato and the translation was done by Agnes S. Kaku.

Tracks in bold are exclusive to this boxed set.

12" Vinyl Singles[edit]

Accompanying the release of the Cowboy Bebop Remixes: Music for Freelance album and the Ask DNA maxi-single were two EPs released on 12-inch vinyl containing a selection of material from the aforementioned albums. Both EPs came in plain white jackets with printed graphics on the record label and played at 33⅓ rpm. Both albums were released independently with Remixes using the catalog number BEBOP 001 and Ask DNA using BEBOP 002.

The first EP, simply dubbed Remixes and released in 1999, contains 5 tracks taken from the Music for Freelance CD. Around the label there are trademarks for Sunrise and Victor Entertainment, followed by a line that reads DJ Promo Only Not for Resale. The track list for the EP is below;

Track Listing
No.TitleLength
1."Side A: Tank! (Luke Vibert Remix)"3:37
2."Side A: Cats on Mars (DMX Krew Remix)"3:50
3."Side A: Fantasie Sign (Ian Pooley Remix)"5:18
4."Side B: Piano Black (Ian O'Brien Remix)"6:51
5."Side B: Space Lion (4hero Remix)"6:19
Total length:24:75

The second EP, dubbed Ask DNA and released in 2001, contains all 5 tracks from the Ask DNA maxi-single. This EP was released through the Cowboy Bebop Japanese fanclub as promotional material in limited quantities. It came in a plain white jacket with a sticker on the outside containing the Seatbelts logo and an advertisement for the CD release of Ask DNA. The track list for the EP is below;

Track Listing
No.TitleLength
1."Side A: What Planet Is This?!"2:45
2."Side A: Cosmic Dare (Pretty with a Pistol)"4:28
3."Side A: Hamduche"1:54
4."Side B: Is It Real?"4:40
5."Side B: Ask DNA"4:52
Total length:18:37

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ Courtney Kraft (January 29, 2016). "Olympian Skates To The "Cowboy Bebop" Theme And We Love Him For It". GeekandSundry.com. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  3. ^ [2][dead link]
  4. ^ "Cowboy Bebop - Original Soundtrack - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  5. ^ [3][dead link]
  6. ^ "Cowboy Bebop: Blue - Original Soundtrack - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  7. ^ [4][dead link]
  8. ^ Emily Snodgrass (2016) [1999]. "Pushing the Sky". Lets Jam! Emily's Cowboy Bebop Page. Retrieved 1 February 2017 – via FutureBlues.com. 
  9. ^ James Wong (2005). "The Yoko Kanno Project - Lyrics: Pushing the sky". jameswong.com. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  10. ^ Emily Snodgrass (2016) [1999]. "3.14". Lets Jam! Emily's Cowboy Bebop Page. Retrieved 1 February 2017 – via FutureBlues.com. 
  11. ^ James Wong (2005). "The Yoko Kanno Project - Lyrics: 3.14". jameswong.com. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  12. ^ Emily Snodgrass (2016) [1999]. "No Reply". Lets Jam! Emily's Cowboy Bebop Page. Retrieved 1 February 2017 – via FutureBlues.com. 
  13. ^ James Wong (2005). "The Yoko Kanno Project - Lyrics: No reply". jameswong.com. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  14. ^ Emily Snodgrass (2016) [1999]. "Gotta Knock a Little Harder". Lets Jam! Emily's Cowboy Bebop Page. Retrieved 1 February 2017 – via FutureBlues.com. 
  15. ^ Japanime, Andrez Bergen. Impact, June 2007.
  16. ^ "Cowboy Bebop [Original Soundtrack] - Yoko Kanno - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 

Further reading[edit]