Music Reviews

MP3 Spotlight: Yoko Kanno – Kissing The Christmas Killer

For what seems like forever, I’ve been a hopeless follower of Yoko Kanno’s music. I adore almost every single one her soundtracks, from the jazzy Cowboy Bebop to the sweeping, epic sound of Vision of Escaflowne.
With a lot of anime composers, I tend to blow hot and cold – meaning I can love a soundtrack for a few weeks, but once the show has finished, my interest in the music gradually fades too; clearly an emotional attachment to the music, connecting it with certain dramatics, can cloud one’s objective judgment on the ultimate quality of sound. You could say I’ve picked up more glass shattering JPOP than I’d like to admit.
It’s different with Yoko Kanno though – I have songs from Macross Plus (“VOICES”, “MYUNG Theme”) stored on my portable MP3 player, I listen to these songs every day, and the last time I watched Macross Plus was three years ago. That’s the best tribute to her work I can offer – that it stands alone, divorced from anime, as simply great music, period.
Now I’m going to spotlight two of her songs. Since you’re reading this blog, I think it’s safe to assume you’ve already heard Yoko Kanno’s music in either Cowboy Bebop, Stand Alone Complex or Wolf’s Rain (if not, you are a broken person, go and get fixed). First up is “Kissing The Christmas Killer” from the “The Other Side of Midnight” soundtrack (a.k.a 23-ji no Ongaku: NHK Rensoku Dorama “Mayonaka wa Betsu no Kao”).
Kissing The Christmas Killer (4m 27secs) is an elegant, fragile ballad beautifully sung by one of Kanno’s long time vocalists Maaya Sakamoto (RahXephon OP, Vision of Escaflowne OP, Wolf’s Rain ED). Beginning with little but a sparsely played piano, Sakamoto’s angelic voice gradually ascends from the cold seasonal background; the song becomes a yearning, lyrical fairy tale perfectly at ease along side Kanno’s shimmering, magical sound.
Lyrics from “Kissing The Christmas Killer” (Anime Lyrics dot Com)

    I was heaven sent
    Traded for the words I swore that
    Every piece of me would still belong
    Forever and a day
    To someone who cared
    Whatever there may be
    Ever there may beYou came along
    Now I’m going all against the
    Promises that I made, and here I am
    Falling for your love
    Or am I lost in heaven
    I don’t know any more
    Don’t know any moreJudgement will be made
    On a Christmas day
    Hiding in the snow, he’s prying me”Toys if you’ve been good
    Knives if you have not”
    Better steal a kiss ‘fore I’ll be gone
    I’ll be gone

The intense “The man in the desert” (4m 15secs) is from her (1st and only) solo album “Song to fly” (1998). For this song Kanno worked with the world famous Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, fleshing out rising, grandiose themes with a sweeping, operatic sound. The result being a song that feels important and profound; at first rural, layered and confused by single instruments, yet driving ever onwards with a vital sense of hope, climaxing with the intense dueling of a choir and orchestra.
Rest assured, these two songs are but a small taste of Yoko Kanno’s rich back catalogue of diverse music. To sample it all is one of my missions in life!
MP3 & shop links

10 replies on “MP3 Spotlight: Yoko Kanno – Kissing The Christmas Killer”

hmm, strange you didn’t say anything about her masterpiece "Inner Universe" and the second opening in Ghost in the shell: GIG2. The music she used in that show was simply amazing.

I must admit that Kanno is possibly my all-time favourite songwriter, bar none. The thing that amazes me most is how she can maintain a high standard of writing across so many different styles and genres – thanks to hearing her work I’ve started to appreciate a wider variety that I wouldn’t have done otherwise. Her music has managed to get a jaded rock fan such as myself listening to soothing electronica and delicate classical melodies – no mean feat, that!
@Jesus: you’re right about the SAC op themes. I’ll have to track down the full-length version of Rise now…

i just happened to stop by this page but i’m very glad i did. yoko kanno’s "man in the desert" is the most beautiful musical piece i’ve heard. thank you so much! i’ll be checking this blog more frequently.

@Jesus: I figured I’d spotlight two of her lesser known songs. I love all of her work, but most already know about the likes of "Inner Universe" and "Tank!" etc.
@saturnova: You’re welcome. The first time I heard "man in the desert" I repeated it four or five times. It’s a great song, very epic and profound.

I’m too poor to buy the CD with Kissing the Christmas Killer on it and I’ve been using search engines to get it, but no one on kazaa, shareaza, or limewire seem to have it.
Thanks a bunch for linking it. : )

It happens to be my favourite Maaya/Yoko song, I’d downloaded it years ago on my old computer before it crashed and since I’d gotten my new one it seemed to have vanished.

im trying to download the songs u reccomended but i dont know how RAR files work (it wont open on my comp). wat program should i download to open them?
and about yoko kanno, she has made some of the most beatiful pieces i have ever heard, if not the best. i especially love “inner universe”, “cyberbird” and “i do” all from ghost in the shell S.A.C.
“Inner universe” and “cyberbird” r both very upbeat and epic-sounding, and the vocals in “i do” are so beautiful it almost made me cry (cheesy, i know). Yoko kanno is so talented and i love her music!

@Marie: You can unpack the files with WinRAR ( It’s a free program that works a lot like WinZip. Just install it then right click the Yoko Kanno RAR file you downloaded and choose to extract.

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