I can still remember the first time when I played Gran Turismo on my Playstation, I was not only stunned by its gameplay and graphics, but also by its music. The music seemed so different from what most other racing games had, yet it sounded so good! Still I never imagined this CD soundtrack would turn out to be this good.
Even though I was very familiar with all the music in the game, I was quite surprised by this soundtrack because it has many new goodies in it. The soundtrack doesn't have every single piece played in the game, but it has most of them and they are all the good ones. The music in this CD can be separated into two categories: the tracks written by Masahiro Andoh (1-12, which include the main theme, ending theme, and all the in-game racing tracks), and the "bonus tracks" that are written by Isamu Ohira (13-21, played in many different menu screens in the game). Even though the style of these two artists varies a little bit, they both blend rock and jazz brilliantly in their music, creating a unique feel throughout the entire soundtrack.
Don't expect this CD to be a typical 100 percent hard-rock racing soundtrack. It has a few superb fast-paced rock-n-roll tracks (e.g. GT's main theme), a number of upbeat tracks that are not as fast, and a couple of slow ones too. Most of the tracks are arranged in a mixture of electric guitars, drums, keyboard, synthesizer and sax (which contributes to the jazzy type of feel in many). Since Andoh plays the lead guitar in most of his music, be prepared for some awesome blasting guitar solos.
Besides having tracks that can be heard from the game, this soundtrack actually has a few more that weren't present (7, 8, and 9). Other than that, all the synthesized tracks (composed by Isamu Ohira) that were picked for this CD are rearranged and played by real instruments, grouped together as the "bonus tracks". Most of these arrangements are pretty close to their original versions, but some nice racing car sound effects are added to some, and they really make you feel like driving a race car on a race track. These bonus tracks are relatively short (mostly from one to three minutes) when compared to Andoh's.
There are also a couple of vocal tracks in the CD (11 and 12). They are both in English but aren't that great. I was quite disappointed by how "Like The Wind - vocal version" turned out as the instrumental version is one of my all-time favorites. The vocals took away many sweet touches that the music version has without adding anything interesting. Other than that, the rest of the music sounds great, especially favorites like "Moon Over The Castle", "Like The Wind", "Get Closer", and "The Drift Of Air".
This whole soundtrack is very strong in melody, and I recommend it to everybody. For those who commute often, it is an awesome CD to hear while driving. Don't miss it!