Yo Ho! Nightrider here!
We’re gonna take a look at the movie soundtrack to the film Galaxy Express 999 titled Symphonic Poem Galaxy Express 999. Released in 1979, Symphonic Poem is the original soundtrack to the aforementioned film. This album is a mixture of disco, pop rock, and classical that takes the listener on a journey provided that you know the film. So, let’s take a look:
The first track is “Prologue – Main Theme.” This piece serves as the main song to the 999 itself: the 999 is the Galaxy Express train that travels from Earth to the Andromeda Station somewhere in the Andromeda Galaxy. The trip takes one whole earth year to complete. Although sounding epic, it does hide a mysterious tone at the beginning of the piece, telling you that you have a long journey ahead of you.
“Tetsuro, A Bravery Boy” is the theme for the main protagonist Hoshino Tetsuro, a destitute child trying to board the 999 to avenge the murder of his mother by Count Mecha, a machine man that hunts humans for pleasure. During this piece, the change in tempo is where he meets the second protagonist of the film Maetel.
“Fatal Parting, And Yearning For The Unknown” are two pieces combined into one. The first piece is a sad tune about Tetsuro losing his mother and remembering his promise to gain immortality in the Andromeda Station. The second piece is when he receives a ticket from Maetel and travels with her on the 999.
“Taking Off! Over The Galaxy” is one of two tracks that has a song. Performed by the band Godiego, the song is about leaving the realities of the past behind and taking off into the unknown future with positive determination. A symphonic version overtakes the track at the conclusion of the song.
“Requiem” is a piece where the music, as well as the film, starts to get you depressed. Here is where the 999 stops at Pluto, where Tetsuro meets Shadow, caretaker to the bodies buried in Pluto’s cold surface.
“Crystal Clair, A Pretty Girl” is a happy tune that introduces Clair, a pretty girl who has a crystal machine body and works onboard the 999 to buy back her human body. She harbors a crush on Tetsuro.
“Bound For Time Castle” is Tetsuro’s journey for the Time Castle, home of Count Mecha. The music also tells you when he finally confronts Count Mecha.
“Awakening of Love” is a simple romantic tune that is tweaked from “Fatal Parting, And Yearning For The Unknown.” Here, Tetsuro sort of confesses his love for Maetel.
“Never Dying Spirit In Arcadia” is the theme for two characters: Tochiro is the first half of the track and famous space pirate Captain Harlock is in the second half.
“Planet Maetel” is a beautifully constructed piece that showcases the destruction of Planet Maetel where the Andromeda Station is located. It is also haunting as the choir’s harmonies flow well with the instruments.
“Clair… Scattering In The Galaxy… Tear” is the goodbye for the character Clair as she sacrifices her life to save Tetsuro from death at the hands of Maetel’s mother Queen Prometheum.
Lastly, we have “Epilogue – Farewell And The Beginning Of Another Journey.” This piece marks the end of the album as well as the film. Maetel says her goodbyes to Tetsuro and goes back on the 999 and departs Earth; Tetsuro looks on sadly but is glad he grew as a person thanks to Maetel. Godiego’s other song “The Galaxy Express 999” ends it all, singing about a journey to the stars should you board the 999.
This album, as well as the film, turned 40 this year. You should be fine listening to this album. The orchestrations and Nozomi Aoki’s musical compositions are indeed legendary. Samplers should take note of this album and its potential sampling applications. As for those who saw the film as I have, your happy day is gonna feel very bad because of the themes. That story is for another time.