I've been apprehensive about the "new wave" of Square (Enix) composers. I wasn't impressed by what I sampled of "It's A Wonderful World", never been a big fan of Hamauzu (although I never really gave him a chance - I probably should now that he's one of the core composers), and was generaly anticipating things going downhill for the forseeable future.
The first thing I did with Crisis Core was listen to the remixes. Then I skimmed the rest. And I thought, "is this it?"
Well, no, of course that isn't it. I said to myself...."Ignore the legacy. Ignore Final Fantasy VII. Ignore Final Fantasy. Ignore Uematsu. Ignore Squaresoft."
And, upon relistening......there is some stuff here I really like.
I'm going to talk out my ass out here (rare, I know!), and make a bunch of you roll your eyes, but I'm going to float out a small theory as to why some of us are going to react to this soundtrack (and likely future soundtracks) with bewilderment and disgust: this is, in certain ways, game music evolving.
Hear me out!
Game music is evolving because, in ways I really don't want to pin down, music as we commonly recognize it is evolving - at a much faster pace than ever before.
Look at the evolution and propagation of music "genres" and styles within the past 100 years. Much like technology (and for the most part thanks to technology), they've been increasing at a stunningly exponential rate. There are more people out there in the world than ever before, naturally, and that means there's more ideas floating around at one time than ever before.
Some of it - probably a lot of it - is fluff, or stuff generated so incestously it's indistinguishable from it's ancestors, or just plain holy shit how can you listen to this noise. But , much as I and Wikipedia janitors loath to admit it, many new valid and interesting musical styles are emerging. Ones that, as always, will be more appreciated by the generation that created them than the ones that came before. New music is out there.
And now, now that we even have a handheld system capable of giving us CD-quality audio (and the DS can if you fund a big enough cart), we're barreling straight towards something that some of us may not be able to deal with easily: the new music is becoming the new game music. Stuff that even those who have been keeping up until now will find themselves balking at. Stuff that doesn't always concern itself with what we expect from games. Stuff that, when we hear it, we will try to rationalize our confusion and displeasure about it with comments about the music and the composer that are quite inaccurate.
And of course, part of the problem is that the new game music doesn't always work as the same kind listening experience we're used to in, say, RPG music. If you go into Crisis Core expecting the flow of a Squaresoft soundtrack like what Uematsu composed, or even Ito or Sakimoto or Mitsuda or whoever else.....well, you're probably not going to be satisfied. Because this soundtrack doesn't work like that, even though the music itself is good.
hmm. I'm too tired to go back and make myself any clearer, or finish what I'm thinking. It's time to turn in for the night.
PS: I'm at least glad I disagree with GoldfishX on this. All's right with the world.