Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack

  • "Great, but still a distant second."
  • "Final Fantasy music returns to its roots and along with it, 'greatness'."
Reader reviews

Featured Artists

Disc 1 Tracks (72 minutes total)

  1. The Place I'll Return To Someday listen
  2. Memories Lost In The Storm
  3. Battle Strategy Conference
  4. The Skies of Alexandria
  5. Vivi's Theme listen
  6. Living By The Blade
  7. Vamo' alla flamenco listen
  8. Decisive Action ~ Search For The Princess ~
  9. Jesters Of The Moonless Sky
  10. Steiner's Theme
  11. Prima Vista Band
  12. Captivating Eyes
  13. Tonight
  14. Your Warmth
  15. Mistaken Love listen
  16. Queen Of The Abyss
  17. Awakened Forest
  18. Battle 1
  19. Fanfare
  20. Memories Of That Day
  21. Battle 2
  22. Game Over
  23. RUN!
  24. Goodnight
  25. Just Over Those Hills listen
  26. Ice Caverns
  27. Frontier Village Dali
  28. Far Away In The Twilight
  29. Reckless Steiner
  30. Limited Time
  31. Zidane's Theme
  32. Black Waltz

Disc 2 Tracks (71 minutes total)

  1. Cid's Theme
  2. One Danger Put Behind Us
  3. Lindbulm
  4. Song Of Memories listen
  5. Hunter's Chance listen
  6. Marsh Of The Qu Tribe
  7. Quina's Theme listen
  8. Aloha de Chocobo
  9. Ukule le Chocobo
  10. Freija's Theme listen
  11. At The South Gate Border
  12. Fairy Battle
  13. Burmecian Kingdom
  14. An Unforgettable Face
  15. Kuja's Theme
  16. The Sword Of Doubt
  17. Sleepless City Treno
  18. Theme Of The Tantalus listen
  19. Melody of Corruption
  20. Garnet's Theme
  21. Ancient Passageway - Gargan Roo
  22. Cleyra's Trunk
  23. Cleyra Settlement
  24. Eternal Harvest
  25. Heaven's Distress
  26. Extraction

Disc 3 Tracks (71 minutes total)

  1. Ambush Attack
  2. Rose Of May listen
  3. Fossil Roo
  4. Conde Petie, Village Where The Mountains Blow
  5. Black Mage Village
  6. Where Love Doesn't Reach
  7. Ceremony For The Gods
  8. Eiko's Theme listen
  9. Ruins Of Madain Sari
  10. Walls of The Sacred Beasts
  11. Iifa Tree listen
  12. Salamander's Theme
  13. Footsteps of Desire
  14. We Are Thieves!
  15. Slew of Love Letters
  16. Quad Mist
  17. Mogri's Theme
  18. Those Whom We Must Protect
  19. The Summoned Ones
  20. Keeper of Time
  21. Oeilvert
  22. A Transient Past
  23. Turn Around, And The Frog Is There
  24. Sacred Grounds - Esto Gaza
  25. Gurugu Volcano listen
  26. Dissipating Magic listen

Disc 4 Tracks (72 minutes total)

  1. The Airship, Hildagaldy
  2. Hermit's Library - Daguerreo
  3. Ipsen's Heritage
  4. The Four Mirrors
  5. Successive Battles
  6. Terra listen
  7. Bran Bal, The Village Without Souls
  8. Pandemonium, The Castle Frozen In Time
  9. You're Not Alone!
  10. Endless Sorrow listen
  11. The Evil Mist, Again
  12. Assault Of The Silver Dragons
  13. Place Of Memory
  14. Crystal World
  15. Messenger Of Destruction listen
  16. Final Battle
  17. Bittersweet Romance
  18. The Kiss Of Betrayal
  19. I Want To Be Your Bird
  20. Two Hearts That Can't Be Stolen
  21. Beyond That Door listen
  22. Melodies of Life - Final Fantasy listen
  23. Prelude
  24. CCJC TVCM 15'' (Coca-Cola Commercial)
  25. CCJC TVCM 30'' (Coca-Cola Commercial)
  26. Melodies of Life (The Layers of Harmony)

Release Notes

  • Released Aug 30, 2000 (catalog no. SSCX-10043, retail 3873 yen).
  • "Melodies of Life" (disc 4 tracks 22 & 26) composed by Nobuo Uematsu and arranged by Shiro Hamaguchi, with lyrics by Ciomi and vocals by Emiko Shiratori. Lyric-less reprise on track 2.4 includes vocals by Emiko Shiratori.

Great, but still a distant second.

Reader review by Isaac Engelhorn (2001-05-14)

With the recent ups and downs in the series as of late, fans such as myself have been wondering if the Final Fantasy series would be able to get back on the right track. Not just fundamentally, but musically as well. It may be hard to believe but Final Fantasy IX may have just proven to be the true need for the series: to get back to its roots. FFIX is, if nothing else, a simple and fun-to-play game, and the music that accompanies it is not necessarily geared towards enhancing emotions or even trying to overpower the listener, it simply functions as a fun and enjoyable backdrop to the amusing antics and exploits happening on screen. Bottom line: this is just a great bunch of music to listen to. It doesn't demand much intelligence to enjoy, but that's okay because it really doesn't have to.

While most people judge separate Final Fantasy soundtracks by others in the series, I judge them by all musical soundtrack work. I place Final Fantasy VI in my top ten best musical works of the 20th century, while the others probably don't even make the top 100. This doesn't mean that I don't like most FF music, but I simply don't feel that most are too insanely great. I own them all and I still haven seen their excessive charm apart from their nostalgia factor. For those who prefer to stay within the series though, measuring up to other sound compositions in the rest, part 9, while still not nearly approaching the incredible mastery of mature themes we've witnessed in Final Fantasy VI, Mr. Uematsu has created a new thematic score. One that I place it slightly ahead of my previous second favorite Final Fantasy VII, and light years ahead of the previous round in the series, Final Fantasy VIII.

The latest FF offers us a new look at the old light-hearted greats of the series' earlier years on the SNES combined with the new found mature sensibilities of the composer. Though to be honest, this soundtrack has one major compositional pitfall: the main theme is severely overused. I thought that FFVIII's "Ami" theme was overused but sheesh! This problem is even more apparent in the game itself than on the CD, and because of the great length of the score (160 songs in all, 110 are which represented on the soundtrack), many tracks degrade into pointless, meandering background garble, though there are also quite a few standouts. Some of my favorite tracks include "You're not alone" (because it's my favorite scene in the game), "Airship ~ Hilde Guard" (it's the best airship theme in the series, and is sadly only heard for a short while), and of course "Melodies of Life."

The weakest point in the chain of FFIX overall is again, sadly, the poor quality of the sound system. No one doubts that Final Fantasy VIII's sound system was a vast improvement over part VII. Final Fantasy IX, however, is a different story, it may have samples that surpass its predecessors but in most cases it sounds like the same system that we heard in part VIII. Sound programmer Minoru Akao, who has programmed all previous entries, was also involved with the incredible synth of Chrono Cross, so what gives? I wish I had an answer. Fortunately the excellent music masks these flaws very well.

One of the extra added enjoyments is that some tracks from earlier scores have been re-mixed and placed back in the fold, such as the "Gulug Volcano" track from the original Final Fantasy. And, wonder of wonders, the good old FF prelude is back, this time in genuine orchestral glory, which really counts for something this time around. Unfortunately the same thing can't be said for the series main theme, that has been given nearly identical arrangement compared to FFVIII's version with just slightly beefed up orchestration.

Making a return to the series is the use of leitmotif to represent the various characters. None are quite as memorable as those featured in Final Fantasy VI, but most function quite well within the context of the game and are a slight step ahead of most of the character themes that are found in FFVII (Zidane's theme sucks though). The main "Melodies of Life" theme, which doubles as a character theme for Dagger and the love theme, makes a special pop ballad appearance at the end of the score. Two appearances actually. One is good, the other could've been left off and no one would have cared. I prefer the version used in the end credits sung in Japanese. The English version seems to have weak lyrics and suffers from a lackadaisical arrangement. Though the end credits song doesn't function as well in the game as FFVIII's "Eyes on Me," it has a substantially more powerful performance, courtesy of Emiko Shiatori (who sounds a bit like Diana Ross). Her voice is more inspiring than that of Chinese pop sensation Faye Wong, who sang the corresponding vocal piece for the previous installment in the series.

I'm glad to see the use of genuine orchestral music. I read in an interview with Mr. Uematsu that he feels that he is more of a pop songwriter than an orchestral composer, but I beg to differ, the use of orchestra is wonderful, though it does have its problems. With his use of orchestra for a more fantastic setting, Nobuo seems to have trouble regulating his use of strings and brass. There seem to be violent shifts between the two. In Final Fantasy VIII this was not a problem since it was more of a sci-fi than a fantasy, but here a little more reliance on either one of the two would have sounded a little better. I personally prefer strings.

As I've stated, this is now my second-favorite Final Fantasy score. I doubt that any fans of the series will find anything too horribly wrong with it, and newcomers to the series will find plenty to like as well. There are many orchestral pieces in the score, and unfortunately only a couple are featured on this album. To complete the full set of music you must purchase FFIX OST Plus separately, which I don't own yet, but plan to purchase in the near future. The long-running series has almost always been blessed with outstanding music and I'm glad to see that it's not coming to an end just yet.

Final Fantasy music returns to its roots and along with it, 'greatness'.

Reader review by Roko Zaper (2000-11-13)

In so many ways Final Fantasy IX symbolizes the conclusion of Final Fantasy music as we know it or as we would like to know it; innocent, touching and unforgettable, even to the untrained ear. It seldom happens that a composer does what his fans want. But when one listens to Final Fantasy IX OST one notices that every aspect of this soundtrack is geared towards pleasing the thousands of fans who have enabled Uematsu to succeed as a composer over the years.

The references to older Final Fantasy games in the OST are numerous, everything including the names of the tracks have been modified to please those who felt that the more recent Final Fantasy soundtracks alienated them. Also, Final Fantasy I's "Volcano" and Final Fantasy II's "Pandemonium" themes have been re-arranged, the old intro battle music is back, and Mogri's Theme will no doubt bring a smile to many faces.

Final Fantasy IX OST is the first Final Fantasy soundtrack not to include all the music that's found in the game. It is also the first Final Fantasy soundtrack to include music not found in the game in the form of two short Coca-Cola commercial segments. The 110 tracks found on the OST have all been chosen by the man himself, which makes it pretty damn hard to argue against the track selection.

As with older Final Fantasy soundtracks, each character gets a chance to shine, with each character's theme usually making more than one appearance. "Vivi's Theme" returns in "Black Mage Village", "Steiner's Theme" in "Reckless Steiner", and the theme heard at the start of "Battle Strategy Conference" makes a surprising return in "Theme Of The Tantalus". Nobuo this time shows a great sense of continuity and almost all the themes are given a reprise. Nostalgic fans will be glad to know that the OST as a whole is much more upbeat than the previous three installments. However, Nobuo is too mature as a composer to do another Final Fantasy V all over again and there are plenty of serious pieces as well as the upbeat, crazy ones.

The main theme found in "Melodies of Life", "Garnet's Theme", is a complex one and takes quite a bit of getting use to, but once you know it you won't be able to get it out of your head. In my opinion Final Fantasy IX OST equals Final Fantasy VI in the amount of memorable themes present. Nobuo himself said that he set out to create many memorable phrases when doing the music for Final Fantasy IX. For once he was allowed to do what he wanted and succeeded brilliantly in matching 'past greatness', a tall order indeed...

If one thing has hurt Final Fantasy music in the past it would have to be the quality of the synth used in each installment. Final Fantasy IX takes a giant leap forward in this regard from previous installments. In Final Fantasy IX the sound source reads each piece without loading it on to memory and the result is nothing less than a beautiful tone quality which really stretches credibility with tracks such as "Memories Erased In The Storm", while bringing many other tracks such as "Vamo' alla flamenco" to life. Especially impressive is the sampling of instruments such as the sazoo or dulcimer and guitar. There are also many tracks that use 'voice sampling', such as the exorbitant "Qu's Marsh".

In conclusion, this is Nobuo's gift to his fans and a blessing for Final Fantasy music, certainly matching the series' past greatness.

It's old-school Uematsu at his utmost greatest!

Reader review by Jockolantern (2000-11-13)

To be perfectly honest, when this soundtrack first came out, a few of the songs I picked up off the internet didn't really grab my attention. But, I kept on downloading them and immediately fell in love with "Crossing the Knoll", "Freya's Theme", and the "Ukele le Chocobo". So, as a result, I decided to pick up the soundtrack. I can honestly say, I'm glad I did!

Let me start by saying the majority of this music is rather old-school. It dwells on a lot of classic styles and melodies that Uematsu has used before. They're very underlined most of the time, and you can't help but wonder, "Where have I heard this before?!" sometimes. Most of the songs remind me of the music from Final Fantasy IV, V, and VIII. The plainness of IV, the strangeness of V, and the upbeat, dramatic nature of VIII.

Now on to some of my favorite cuts. "Feel My Blade" is a very well done song, with an upbeat rhythm supported by some wild string instruments! "Battle 2" is one of my all-time favorite boss battle themes. Great piano! "Zidane's Theme" may very well surpass "Aeris' Theme" as my favorite FF character theme of all time! It's fast, upbeat, and just plain fun to listen to! "Crossing the Knoll" is a beautiful, contemplative sounding overworld theme. "Hunter Chance" has a great piano section, and just a great, shoe-tapping beat. "Cid's Theme" is a grand, majestic song that has a nostalgic feel to it. The "Hawaii"-style Chocobo themes more than please me. They're cute, and just too fun to listen to. "Tantarus Theme" contains some powerful tenor sax along with an infectious beat.

Disc 3 is pretty empty in my opinion. It's got some memorable stuff in it, but a lot of it is rather unimpressive. Some of the more memorably tracks are "Black Mage Village", "Slew of Love Letters", and "Gulgur Volcano". But, that's okay, because. . .

Disc 4 is nothing but greatness! "The Airship Hildagaldy" is my favorite FF airship theme of them all! "Skirmish of the Silver Dragons", combining a sweeping opening, loud timpani, and powerful strings, is probably the best track on the disc, and the last two battle themes ("Dark Messanger" and "Last Battle") really share some of the dark qualities of FF8, with the hard techno style of FF4. The "Prelude" makes its majestic return with an orchestra performance! Undoubtedly, this is probably the coolest of all the Prelude versions; the orchestra performs it flawlessly and the instrumentation is done to perfection!

While this soundtrack does have its downs, overall, the FFIX soundtrack delivers with a ton of ups! It blew away my expectations completely! Uematsu is not getting worse with age. His age is truly bringing him new musical wisdom! And we can only hope that he continues on with his wonderful composing abilities for a long time to come.

Above average, but doesn't touch FF8.

Reader review by Chris Tilton (2000-11-13)

The opening track, Liberi Fatali, in Final Fantasy 8 is one of the greatest single pieces of music in a video game, and while the score to Final Fantasy 9 is certainly above average, it never comes close to the quality or creativity of that great opening track. The one thing I liked about the Final Fantasy soundtracks is that they always pushed forward with each subsequent game. Mr. Uematsu, while still creating a few memorable melodies, seems to be trying a little too hard to bring back the retro Final Fantasy feeling. As I'm sure most of you would agree, Final Fantasy 6 was the height of the fantasy-themed scores, yet is was still plentiful with new ideas and orchestral like pieces. FF9 seems to lack that.

While we do have Mr. Uematsu's usual enjoyable array of goofy tunes, some of which are quite catchy like "The Jesters of the Moons" (disc 1 track 9) and "Tantarus Theme" (disc 2 track 18), most of the themes are pretty simple minded and full of cliches. "Melodies of Life" is nice, but not nearly as good as "Eyes on Me". There are many tracks that contain some "synthy" or "old" sounding instruments; sometimes this is appropriate, but more often than not, it seems it is used as a gimmick in an attempt to sound like older FF scores. Something I rather enjoyed about the soundtrack is the way he took several character themes and reprised them in a slightly different way in another track, or even put just a few hints of a theme in another. This is something that FF8 could have used more of.

The soundtrack as a whole is certainly above the average epic RPG soundtrack and worth your time, but with Mr. Sakamoto's excellent score to Vagrant Story, Mr. Uematsu is starting to have some real competition.