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Angela Jan 24, 2009 (edited Apr 3, 2009)

So I've just begun on a bit of a Final Fantasy music marathon, and with the two Vocal Collections being some of my favorite VGM albums of all time, I've decided to start with those.

Having listened through Pray and Love Will Grow, I've concluded that they are wonderful pieces of work that continue to hold up well today.  They're still among the best arranged efforts in the series; if there's a rendition of the Main Theme of FFIV that's better than Long Distance, with its masterful blending of wispy flute and rich, adventurous-sounding string work, I haven't heard it.  Same goes for the deep and spiritually resonating version of Tina in Wanderer of Time, and the perfect marriage of the Final Fantasy theme and soaring pop-ballad in the first Collection's title track Pray.  Not even Emiko Shiratori's Message ~Rainbow~ can match up.  (Which I'm including here too, since it is a lovely vocal rendition in its own right.) 

But for Love Will Grow, I think Adam Corn's review said it best: "Better still is "Love Will Grow", which takes the spotlight in this soundtrack. It is one of the most beautiful and moving songs I've heard in my life; the amount of emotion present is astounding."  With that said, I have to ask you, Adam: does that statement still hold true for yourself today?  Because it certainly does for me.  From the gentle, uplifting lyrics and flowing piano backdrop to the potent emotional heft by choir's end.... it's all satisfyingly appropriate for a piece that's originally titled "Finale."

Every other track in between is just as great.  The bossa-nova styling of Eternal Wind and Estrelas, the playful Mon P'tit Chat and Have You Ever Seen Me, the jazzy-swingin' good time of Ohki and Noguchi's duet in Prelude, and the soulfully hymn-like Cradle of God.

Qui-Gon Joe Jan 24, 2009

The Pray version of Tina is easily one of my favorite arranged tracks from any game ever.  Oddly I was just listening to these the other day and haven't heard them in years.  I wish they'd bring... was the singer's name Risa Ohki(?) back to the series and have her do a vocal for an actual in-game song (since they cram one down our throats with every release now).

Quasi Jan 25, 2009

Qui-Gon Joe wrote:

The Pray version of Tina is easily one of my favorite arranged tracks from any game ever.  Oddly I was just listening to these the other day and haven't heard them in years.  I wish they'd bring... was the singer's name Risa Ohki(?) back to the series and have her do a vocal for an actual in-game song (since they cram one down our throats with every release now).

Risa Ohki's voice really does make the albums.  If you're looking for a couple more albums with her, she's also on the Genso Suikoden Vocal Album ~La passione commuove la storia~ (KMCA-163, tracks 5 and 9) and the Emerald Dragon Theme Song (DPDX-5017, track 1).  I think all three of those tracks are wonderful.

Her discography (http://www.kasaya.com/lisa/disco1.htm) doesn't list the Genso Suikoden vocal album, though she is listed in the liner notes for the album.

Angela Jan 25, 2009

Speaking of Ohki, I was wondering..... does anyone have the Ogre Battle Image Album ~ The Entrance willing to share the one song she did, "Innocence"?  It was a soundtrack I owned long ago, but no more...... but I remember that one particular song being an amazingly beautiful piece.

Cedille Jan 25, 2009

Check your mail box later.

Angela Jan 25, 2009

Cedille wrote:

Check your mail box later.

Many thanks.  ^_^  The song truly is as beautiful as I remember it.

XLord007 Jan 27, 2009

Angela wrote:

but I remember that one particular song being an amazingly beautiful piece.

My favorite from that album is still "Shade Over."  It's not often you get to hear a cheesy lounge version of an RPG tune.  ;-)

Adam Corn Jan 28, 2009

I just sat down to listen to both FF Vocal Collection albums in preparation for this thread.  And I enjoyed it tremendously smile

I was going to comment on which album I'd recommend over the other to newcomers, but I don't know if I can do it!  I think Pray just slightly has the greater number of really noteworthy tracks, but with amazing arrangements like Relm's theme and "Love Will Grow" on the other album, it's pretty much a moot point.  Listen to either or preferably both, and enjoy.

So yeah, FF2's "Love Will Grow"... I'm probably a tad more jaded than I was back when I wrote that review but to this day I'm hard pressed to think of very many tracks - particularly pop ballads - that are more beautiful and moving than that one.  So I stand by what I said big_smile

I can't agree with the versions of FF4's Main Theme and FF6's Tina being my favorites (not when there are the amazing versions on FF4 Celtic Moon and FF6 Grand Finale) but they are nonetheless excellent.  And I will say it for LWG's version of Relm's theme, which is just stunningly beautiful.

As good as Risa Ohki's vocals are (and they are very, very good), I can't help but think I'm even more impressed by the instrumental accompaniment.  In fact if they took just the backing instrumentals from both albums, edited them a bit for length, and slapped them together on a "Final Fantasy Classics Instrumental Collection", I'd buy it.  In a second.

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