April 27 - 30, 2023

Stampede Park

CALGARY EXPO

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BACKGROUND BEATS

New Beginnings Edition

WHY WE PICKED THESE SONGS

Sonny Boy Rhapsody

A huge cloud and blue skies in the background, along with a leaning crane and building. In the foreground is Mizuho, Asakaze, Nagara, and Nozomi dressed in their school uniforms.

Artist: toe
Project: Sonny Boy

Sonny Boy Rhapsody is a math rock track by the Japanese math rock gods themselves, toe. Sonny Boy is a story about adolescence, with themes ranging from unrequited crushes to processing death, with an abstract, philosophical edge. Featured in the last episode of the series, this song totally encapsulates Sonny Boy’s vibe. It draws you in with subdued melodies and vivid imagery all while serving dissonant motifs and complex rhythms. It totally works as thinking music, which you’ll need if you put this anime on your watch list. Sonny Boy will definitely keep you up at night thinking about life, but in a good way.

HYBRID RAINBOW

Naota, Haruko, and Canti standing side by side.

Artist: the pillows
Project: FLCL

FLCL is essentially a psychedelic acid trip that questions what adulthood really means and what maturity looks like, exploring themes like sexual discovery and emotional integrity. Arguably the best track in the show’s soundtrack, HYBRID RAINBOW by the pillows just the right mix of bittersweet nostalgia. It starts off simple but builds up to a hard-hitting and cathartic chorus that illustrates a glimmer of hope amid feelings of raw frustration. Without going into it too much, the scene it’s paired up with is so perfect and emotional, but you can’t quite explain why—which pretty much sums up what watching FLCL is like.

Don’t say “lazy”

Mio, Tsumugi, Ritsu, and Yui posing for the camera in their high school club room dressed in their school uniforms. Mio holds her bass and Yui holds her guitar. Tsumugi holds a bunch of sheet music. Ritsu has one arm around Tsumugi. Ritsu holds up a peace sign on her left while holding drum sticks on her right.

Artist:  Yōko Hikasa (日笠 陽子)
Project: K-ON!

K-ON! is a quintessential slice-of-life centered on the Light Music Club, a group of high school girls that make music together and hang out. While there are many, many songs in K-ON!, one of the stand-out tracks, Don’t say “lazy,” a high-energy pop-rock track “written” by the Light Music Club’s bassist Mio. Displaying the most character growth out of the girls in the Light Music Club, Mio develops confidence in her expressive songwriting and vocals through the support of her friends. If you want a chill and easy-going show with incredibly catchy music, K-ON! is it.   

Shissou (疾走, “Sprint”)

A pink background covered in red roses and stems. In the foreground, Kyouya, Tamaki, Haruhi, Takeshi, Honey, Hikaru and Kaoru stand side by side. Kyouya holds a small book. Tamaki holds a rose with one hand while having Haruhi around his arm. Haruhi is extending her hand to the camera. Honey holds a pink bunny plush and is surrounded by little flowers. Hikaru and Kaoru lean on each other.

Artist: LAST ALLIANCE
Project: Ouran High School Host Club

Shissou by LAST ALLIANCE is a wistful rock track for one of the most influential rom com anime of all time, Ouran High School Host Club. In a show revolving around a will-they-or-won’t-they relationship, this song sneaks in at the penultimate emotional peak where the protagonist decides it’s time for this ship to sail. It’s the character growth moment you’ve been waiting for the whole show. Needless to say, that melodic guitar riff lead-in is deeply imprinted in every Ouran fan’s brain. And the way we just slam right into the heat of the song immediately after it? Incredibly iconic.

Whereabouts

Akari, Hinata, Momo and Rei standing on a bridge overlooking buildings and apartments.

Artist: Yukari Hashimoto (橋本 由香利)
Project: 
March Comes in like a Lion

March Comes in like a Lion is an honest look at depression and loneliness with a lovable, fleshed-out cast. Rei, a 17-year-old professional shogi player, wrestles with a lack of self-worth and desperation for belonging. While it may not be the titular track, Whereabouts is an atmospheric chill-out song with a crooning guitar melody mimicking Rei’s character progression in March Comes in like a Lion—slow, but sentimental and thoughtful all the way. Definitely not an anime for people who don’t like crying, but it’s well worth the tears and puffy eyes.

Umareru Negai (生まれる願い)

Shigure, Yuki, Tohru, and Kyo standing around the foyer of their house. Tohru holds her school bag and is facing the others, as if coming home from school. Kyo is sheepishly scratching his head.

Artist: Uta Arii (ウタアリィ)
Project: Fruits Basket (2019) 

Fruits Basket is the blueprint shoujo anime. It’s so good it even has a remake that's somehow better than the original run. Hiding underneath the show’s comedic moments is a deeply sorrowful and personal journey for Fruits Basket’s main character and best girl Tohru. Unable to process her mother’s death, Tohru harbors deep-seated grief that she gradually learns to let go through the power of love. It’s classic shoujo! Which brings us to Umareru Negai by Uta Arii, an incredibly warm and heartfelt ballad with swelling strings. Apart from the lyrics, the composition just screams “it’s time to cry now.” It’s the perfect pair to this emotional rollercoaster ride of an anime.