Cowboy Bebop has one of the best soundtracks in TV history, let alone anime history. Yoko Kanno managed to blend genres and styles just as much as the episodes themselves, and she never failed to capture the essence of the scene on screen.
I’ve singled out my ten favourite tracks – these aren’t necessarily the best in terms of appropriateness to the scene, but more so my personal preference … If that makes any sense at all. Also, I’ll be talking about SPOILERS in some of the entries!
Before we start, here are a few honourable mentions:
- Bad Dog No Biscuits
- Chicken Bone
- The Egg And I
And here are a few of my related blog posts:
10 – Blue
The very last Cowboy Bebop song, and the one that plays during Spike’s heroic death.
The choral intro is heart-breaking, and the vocal ballad to take us to the credits leaves us with a faint glimmer of hope that Spike is in a better place.
9 – Too Good Too Bad
“Too Good Too Bad” plays during a couple of intense space scenes: Spike and Faye chasing the enviro-nuts, and the rescue mission from “Wild Horses” (and maybe more, but that’s what I noticed).
The brass section is full of energy and bravado, and the saxophone solo is just as slick as ever.
8 – The Real Folk Blues
The outro song that plays over the closing credits, and it’s just as cool as you’d imagine.
The vocals and woodwind are full of suave swing, and it’s a nice come-down after an intense episode of action. I also love how the series finale drops this in the middle of the Syndicate fight scene.
7 – ELM
Maybe not a track that most people would pick, but “ELM” sounds like a haunting Chris de Burgh song.
The vocals are exquisite, and the acoustic guitar perfectly mirrors Jet’s fragile state while hunting his ex girlfriend in “Ganymede Elegy”.
6 – Rush
“Rush” plays during many of Cowboy Bebop’s action scenes, but I’ll always remember its use in the first episode.
It clues the audience in to the style of the show straight away, and it compliments Spike’s fluid combat style.
5 – Green Bird
One of the many moments in this show that gave me goosebumps, Spike’s fall with “Green Bird” playing is mesmeric.
Not only is it a masterful way of providing exposition, but the haunting choral sounds kept me glued to the screen.
4 – Rain
People tend to point to “Green Bird” as the definitive song from “Ballad of Fallen Angels”, but that’s only because they forget about the song immediately before the church showdown.
“Rain”, both the female and male vocal versions, has some really fascinating and depressing lyrics when you look into it. It’s the perfect song to both complement the church setting and build tension for the action to come.
3 – Space Lion
I used to think “Space Lion” was overrated (mainly because the chanting outro goes on for too long), but on a re-watch I realised how wonderfully it accompanies its respective scene.
Gren’s death is one of the saddest moments in the show, and it wouldn’t be nearly as impactful without the soulful saxophone playing in the background. As I said, the over-extended outro stops this from taking the top spot.
2 – Call Me Call Me
A song so good that I’ve played it pretty much every week since I first heard it.
Not only is “Call Me Call Me” a fantastic rock song in its own right, but the parting ways scene at the end of “Hard Luck Woman” may just be my favourite moment in the show because of it.
1 – Tank!
The first Cowboy Bebop song that I ever heard, and it’s still the best.
I can’t think of many better ways to kick off a TV show – “Tank!” is the personification of suaveness and cool, and it sets the adventurous tone straight off the bat.
Aaaand that’s my list! You can check out some of my latest blog posts below:
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