Soundtrack Central The best of VGM and other great soundtracks

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the_miker Jan 17, 2010

Okay so we've done best albums of 2009 and best games from the last decade, so I thought this would be a neat one to try.  List a few individual vgm tracks from the past decade and explain why they're memorable to you.  We're talking about tracks that we'll still be thinking about decades from now.  Tracks can be from any game or music CD (original, arranged, vocal, whatever) released between 1/1/2000 and 12/31/2009.

I'll start off with a few just to get the ball rolling.

Theme of Laura from Silent Hill 2 - For me, this is Yamaoka's defining track.  Sure the first Silent Hill was great, but the experience of first turning on Silent Hill 2 and hearing this tune play to a montage of scenes from the mind f--- of a game about to start.. yeah, classic.  I've said it before on these forums but just to reiterate: Silent Hill 2 means more to me than words can even describe, and Theme of Laura is where it all began.

M.BISON STAGE from Street Fighter Tribute Album - Woah, Yuzo Koshiro + Street Fighter?  Yeah baby!  This is one of the coolest tracks he's ever done, I absolutely love how it just gradually progresses and then at the 5:42 mark, watch out, it explodes!  If a piece of music has ever tempted me to get up and dance around, it's the last three minutes or so of this tune.  Many of these "bunch of famous composers do an arrange album of so-and-so game/series" have been released since but none of them can compete with this CD, and Koshiro's track is a big reason for that.  Bison.. wins!

Live & Learn from Sonic Adventure 2 - I absolutely loved how you fought the true last boss up in space while rocking out to this song, way cooler than the first Sonic Adventure's last boss fight.  A lot of Sonic vocals as of late haven't really had any substance to them, just a bunch of cheese rock.  But this song is different to me, I absolutely love it, it actually makes me feel something and I consider it the pinnacle of Sonic vocals.  From the inspiring lyrics to Johnny Gioeli's superb singing skills, and of course Jun Senoue's guitar work, I just can't get enough of it.  More Sonic music like this please!

"Metal Gear Solid" Main Theme from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty - Think back to 2001 and how much hype this game was getting and how uncommon it was for a film composer to work on a video game.  Again, just like my above Silent Hill 2 example, you pop in this heavily anticipated game and are greeted with an incredible arrangement of one of the best main themes of all time combined with the Hollywood-esque opening movie.  Many many chills were experienced due to this combination.

Egg Planet from Super Mario Galaxy - You hear this tune while playing the first true level of the game, Good Egg Galaxy.  Egg Planet to me symbolizes that Koji Kondo still has it.  Easily my favorite Kondo track since Super Mario 64 (12 years prior).  I enjoyed his music when I was a four year old playing with my NES and he's still putting out memorable tracks today when I'm in my mid-20's.

Given enough time, I could probably list a ton of tracks but let's hear what you guys have to say first!

Angela Jan 18, 2010 (edited Jan 18, 2010)

Hm, I thought someone would've stepped up with a 'best VGM soundtracks of the decade' thread first.  No matter, this will be more fun.

---

Contra 4 / Jungle 1 - It was a bonafide thrill to finally hear Jake's "Vile Red Falcon" chiptune track come to contextual life, featured in what has recently become one of my most favorite games of all-time.  The famous opening strains of the original Jungle gives way to a piece that's ripe with old-school Konami hooks, and a melody that has instant appeal.  More than that, though, the song feels like something of a major accomplishment -- a ringing endorsement, a success story of one dedicated video game fan of our generation who actually "made it" in the game music industry.  Sure, virt's had his compositional hand in video games before, but as an official, numbered title in a long-standing and popular series, Contra 4 just makes it feel that much more significant.

Vagrant Story / Graylands Incident Climax (Part 1 / Part 2) - With cinematics in video games being commonplace nowadays, it's easy to forget about the titles that pioneered it. Though Vagrant Story wasn't the first, it was certainly one of the strongest representations at how effective it could be.  The Graylands Incident still stands as one of gaming's most exciting and masterfully crafted opening sequences, and Sakimoto's mood-setting (and too-long-for-a-single-Youtube video) twelve minute piece brings it to life.  Epic, sharp, tense...... just cinematically incredible.

Gyakuten Saiban / Pursuit ~ Cornered 2001 - Who could ever forget how this series-defining song played during their first catching of a witness or criminal, and pointing out the case-breaking contradiction?  Conversely, how awesome was it when they brought the theme back for the final contradiction of the final case for Phoenix's final game in Trials & Tribulations?  Musical throwbacks simply don't get better than that.  (SPOILER WARNING: If you've yet to play the game, don't look at the video response comments for the T&T video.)

Gyakuten Saiban 3 / Examination 2004 - Of all the songs in the Gyakuten music series, Iwadare's set of Examination pieces for Trials & Tribulations stand out as my favorites.  With a dueling blend of whimsy and mystery, wrapped up in an impossibly infectious melody, they're the best examination/testimony themes by a country mile.  In the Moderate version,  I swoon at the weighty counter melody that comes in at 0:48.  In Allegro, my knees buckle as the beat builds at 0:30, and the song smoothly loops at 1:14.

Metal Slug 5 / Windy Day - I've never been a big fan of the Metal Slug music series, but MS5 is a major exception.  Windy Day is so inherently different from anything else the series has to offer, its edgy guitar, whistle, and brass accompaniments playing up this gloriously energetic western piece.  The horn solo part at 1:18 is aces.

Soul Calibur III / Ephemeral Dream - Kobayashi's theme for Setsuka deviates a bit from the typical 'Soul' sound.  Oh, it still sounds very much like a medieval war epic -- just now laced with a decidedly romantic flair.  And it is GORGEOUS.  Those sonorous strings, the rhythmic kotos, that sweetly emotional uplift at 1:00.  It's too bad SCIV came along and bastardized the song with Innocent Vision.  Guys, bagpipes do NOT work here.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater / Debriefing - MGS2's take on the Metal Gear Solid Main Theme will always have a place in my personal VGM Hall of Fame, but MGS3's Debriefing takes it to an emotional level that's pretty much unrivaled.  Mournful yet proud, a powerful send-off to end this sad and tragic story chapter of the series.

Super Mario Galaxy / Wind Garden - Mike's got Good Egg, I've got the Gusty Garden.  They're both pieces of near-equal excellence, but as a main theme, Wind Garden manages to resonate with me a little more.  (Its reprisal in the self-titled Super Mario Galaxy is the very definition of lovely.)  Any word if Mahito Yokota will be blessing us with a return for Galaxy 2?

Uncharted / Nate's Theme - Greg Edmonson's bookending piece for both games manages to put the "up" in uplifting.  My only lament?  With the exception of a mere five seconds at the beginning of Uncharted 2's "A Rock And A Hard Place", the theme doesn't make any appearances or reprisals other than said opening titles and end credits.

Grandia II / FIGHT!! Ver. 4 ~ The Final Battle - Iwadare's best battle theme ever.  No ifs, ands, or buts.

Gitaroo Man / Born To Be Bone - If you asked me if there was ever a video game challenge I slavishly worked to perfect, G-Man's Sanbone Trio stage would probably be it.  The Master's Play variation was an unrelenting monster that drove me to the edge of rhythmic insanity, but god, it was such a thrill to play each and every time.  (Just watching this gameplay video is making my right arm spaz out in anticipated soreness.)  As a musical piece, you can't get any more wonderfully eclectic then this: a stylized fusion of tribal and Spanish flamenco, turbo-charged with thrashing percussion, xylophones, and a twangtastic Jew's harp.

Valkyrie Profile / Condemned Thoughts - Cut 'n paste: I've always remembered the Valkyrie Profile OST to be pretty standard fare.  I never quite took to the overbearing choir and 'heavenly' motifs of the compositions, and most of the battle themes had energy, but not a whole lot of soul.  Condemned Thoughts, however, always manages to knock me on my ass with its pure level of awesomeness.  The thack-thack of the drum's sticks opening, the sweet, progressive melody, that smokin' percussion change at 1:24...... my ears are flanked by a rare instance of Sakuraba ownage.

Adam Corn Jan 18, 2010

For these "best of decade" things, how do you manage to keep track of exactly what was from each decade?  I have enough trouble remembering what was from this past year and what was from the year before, to say nothing of what was from say 2001 versus 1999.

You either have sharp memories or well-tagged MP3s. smile

the_miker Jan 18, 2010

Angela wrote:

Vagrant Story / Graylands Incident Climax

Grandia II / FIGHT!! Ver. 4 ~ The Final Battle

You beat me to it.  Those two were gonna be at the top of my list for my second post.  I was first introduced to Sakimoto with FF Tactics and game #2 of his for me was Vagrant Story.  Graylands Incident Climax is still to this day his finest "opening" track, even better than FFXII's Opening Movie, and quite possibly the best epic opening theme ever.  Doesn't hurt that the opening itself features some of the best cinematic direction I've ever seen in a video game.  I always think of the part where Ashley slams his sword on the chain to close the gate, and just as the gate slams shut, bam, screen goes dark and more credits roll....!

As for FIGHT!! Ver. 4 ~ The Final Battle, well, you said it.  Iwadare's best battle theme by a long shot.  I dunno what it is about that theme, it's just so.. alive.  Seriously, listen to it with a decent pair of headphones, there's just so much going on.  I remember fighting the last boss and being super pumped just because of the music!

I'll post some more tomorrow, just had to comment on those two.  Also, aside from M.BISON STAGE, every single one of my picks so far is some form of opening or ending theme.  What gives?  I'll have to find some middle-of-the-game tracks tomorrow, haha.

Cedille Jan 18, 2010 (edited Jan 18, 2010)

Okay, I'm leaving predictable mainstream picks.

2000 In Water, Air, and Light / Valkyrie Profile - It's rare we can hear Okinawa music in VGM, but there is at least one track ... by Sakuraba, and it's pretty solid! Like Angela, I'm not so fond of this soundtrack overall, but I think this track is an exception.

2001 Megalith -Agnus Dei- / Ace Combat 04 - Bombastic in a good way. Several years ago I loved this track but I thought Kobayashi had better epics. Still, I've been warming up to this track recently and now think this is one of his best. A shame is the mission this track accompanies is just an irritating tunnel crap.
       
2002 Ronfaure / Final Fantasy XI - I really regret I played FFXI for two years, but the music still doesn't get old. This track really fits the scene of the area, but I also really like how such a large ensemble (guitars, whistle, bassoons, bass clarinets, piccolo, and even chorus?) tries to express a small thing, that is nostalgia. The melody here is exceptional for Uematsu's later career (only the first half of Lost Odyssey's regualr battle theme can compare).

2003 (Reserved)

2004 The Unsung War / Ace Combat 5 - Ace Combat 5 is one of the most heroically painted soundtracks I've ever heard, and among the highlight is definitely this track. I admit this track is overshadowed a bit by Kobayashi's better tracks, composition wise, and it doesn't help the chorus performance is not so good (sorry Toho College of Music), but what's good about this track is it accompanied the last mission of Ace Combat 5 which had a pretty good story, and barring that tunnel crap, the last two missions were just incredible and were among the best moments in my entire gaming life. This is the perfect track that colored the last flight of ex-Wardog Squadron, also known as ... *spoiler*.

2005 (reserved)

2006 ZERO / Ace Combat ZERO - As I have already posted too much about this track in STC, I'll withdraw a comment.

2007 The Liberation of Gracemeria / Ace Combat 6 - See above. By the way, when a PS3 port is announced? I've heard the game sucks, and Zero was already disappointing compared to 5, but I won't save money if I can encourage BNGI to release another chance for Kobayashi to shine...

2008 Burning Halloween Town / deathsmiles - Whilst I'm not so terribly fond of Namiki's pre-Mushihimesame career, his later outputs are generally remarkable and deathsmile is his most consistent and I'm not sure if this is the best track of the score....

2009 Time / Persona 3 Portable - I may prefer "Danger Zone" from the same soundtrack, but this track is another standout of the best soundtrack released in 2009. Meguro brings a totally different mood for a port with the unexpected girl lead, and it's so soothing.

If a gamerip is valid (but I guess it's not when an official soundtrack is released), Blaze Edge (FFXIII) would most likely to be here. I really love the colorful development and the contrast between 5/8 and 6/8 parts. FFXIII had an excellent battle system, and every time this track was played, I got pumped up. This was easily one of the best tracks of the series. It's pitiful that the rest of the score didn't live up to this standard...

Raziel Jan 18, 2010 (edited Jan 18, 2010)

I don't have the time to cook up detailed comments and what not, but here are some of my favourite tracks from the past 10 years:

"Final Battle" from Shin Megami Tensei III NOCTURNE Maniacs Soundtrack extra version - This is THE best track in whole video game music, in my opinion.

"Staff Roll" from Shin Megami Tensei III NOCTURNE Original Soundtrack

"Memories of the City" from Persona 3 Original Soundtrack - More or less because when the song played in the game for the first time, I was almost on the verge of crying. It suits the post-you-know-what-if-you've-played so well.

"Decisive Battle" from Devil Summoner Raidou Kuzunoha vs King Abaddon Soundtrack

"The Fated Showdown" from Devil Summoner Kuzunoha Raidou vs The Army of Ultimate Power Complete Music Works

"Brahman" from Digital Devil Saga Soundtrack

"Rain" from Armored Core 4 Original Soundtrack

"Abandoner Main Title" from kt2 works/ Abandoner Original Soundtrack

"Deeds Not Words" from kt2 works / Abandoner Original Soundtrack

"Evil" from kt2 works

"See you again" from Abandoner Original Soundtrack - possibly the saddest piece in VGM history.

Also Theme of Laura, Betrayal and Promise from Silent Hill 2.

the_miker Jan 20, 2010

The 3 Karma from Shadow Hearts Covenant - Has this ever been done before?  Three big name composers all contribute one part to a three-part track and it actually turns out awesome, and it's the final boss theme!  Excellent.  I miss Hirota sad

The Beginning Day from Grandia Online - I'm not sure why but I've been in love with this track since I first heard it a couple weeks ago.  Maybe because it's the coolest Theme of Grandia arrangement ever?  Yeah that's gotta be it.  This track demonstrates to me that Iwadare is finally back after the just so-so Grandia III and Radiata Stories.  In fact, all of Grandia Online's music is spectacular, I recommend everyone give it a try.

Always on my Mind from Silent Hill Shattered Memories - The best example of taking a classic non-game vocal song and turning it into an instant classic game song.  The song by itself is hauntingly good, but if you actually understand how the lyrics connect with the game, it makes it that much better.  Best SH vocal in a long time and best SH game in a long time.  If this was Yamaoka's final Silent Hill, I'd say he went out with a bang and my #1 reason for saying that is this song.

ISLANDS from Shin Contra - The best example of taking a classic game track and turning it into an instant heavy metal classic game track.  Seriously, Yamaoka is the Silent Hill man for sure but his work on Shin Contra blew me away.  I remember first playing the ISLANDS level in the game and being absolutely stunned by how well this arrangement was done (first level of the original Contra, if anyone doesn't know).

Old Smudged Map from Shadow Hearts Covenant - Best world map theme of the decade.  Simple as that.  I remember getting to the world map for the first time in the game and putting my controller down just to enjoy this whole track.

rein Jan 20, 2010

Cedille wrote:

2001 Megalith -Agnus Dei- / Ace Combat 04 - Bombastic in a good way. Several years ago I loved this track but I thought Kobayashi had better epics. Still, I've been warming up to this track recently and now think this is one of his best. A shame is the mission this track accompanies is just an irritating tunnel crap.

I actually thought that the track was appropriate to the mission, an epic "Death Star trench"-like set piece, what with the meteor showers, lasers, frantic radio chatter, and all.

Angela Jan 22, 2010

the_miker wrote:

The Beginning Day from Grandia Online - I'm not sure why but I've been in love with this track since I first heard it a couple weeks ago.  Maybe because it's the coolest Theme of Grandia arrangement ever?  Yeah that's gotta be it.  This track demonstrates to me that Iwadare is finally back after the just so-so Grandia III and Radiata Stories.  In fact, all of Grandia Online's music is spectacular, I recommend everyone give it a try.

I've been listening to Grandia Online myself these past few days, and I agree, it's a pretty nice listen.  There are lovely shades of old that blend with the new, but as the score is more lighthearted and fanciful sounding than past Grandias, my main complaint is the lack of energetic battle themes and action tracks in general.

But yeah, The Beginning Day is one funky terrific arrangement of the Grandia theme.  Harmonious Sylvan Village and especially Garden of Ether are personal faves of mine, and listening to Spreading World makes me smile more broadly than a Cheshire Cat on Ecstasy. (Am I only one who's reminded of Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 with Spreading World?)

Zane Jan 23, 2010

There were literally hundreds of songs that I'd consider to be the most memorable tracks of the 2000's, but for brevity's sake I'll only list the ones that really, really, really, really stand out. I'm also going to try to only pick one song from each OST. This is going to be tough! (By the way, Chrono Cross OST missed the cut by a mere FOURTEEN DAYS.)

"Spiran Scenery" - Final Fantasy X OST
I still listen to the FFX OST very regularly (at least once a week, for real), but when it comes down to remembering one track off the album that blew my mind the first time I heard it and still is enjoyable and endlessly repeatable, "Spiran Scenery" gets my vote. I still pull out my guitar and jam along with it, more than eight years after I heard the theme for the first time. The guitar programming is still awesome after all this time, and Hamauzu's masterful acoustic arrangement of Uematsu's memorable "Suteki da ne" melody is full of life and wonder. Short but sweet, "Spiran Scenery" is the embodiment of everything the FFX OST stands for: an amazing mix of the old and the new.

"Eruyt Village" - Final Fantasy XII OST
As far as I'm concerned, this is not only the best song Sakimoto has ever written, but it's the best song off of the FFXII OST and is one of my favorite town/area themes of all time. The beauty of the flutes with the spacial acoustics of the main harp line remind me of some of his more warm work from Legaia DuelSaga, but the results here are so much more emotional and gripping. It just goes to show that when Sakimoto is inspired the man can write some seriously awesome VGM.

"Gunlock" - Gungrave O.S.T.
When I think of Gungrave, I think of one of the best and most under-appreciated soundtracks ever to hit disc. I also think of "Gunlock", which is pretty much the theme song for the soundtrack for me. I can't do the track justice, but my friend James can: "It comes snarling out of the gate like a hungry, rabid wolf with fangs of flared brass -its wobbly thematic figures darting back and forth from an unseen line to swipe greedily at the listener- then suddenly relents and dissolves into a soft electronic wash which soars up into the blue empyrean like a freshly departed saint." Yeah, what he said.

"Rave On" - Killer7 OST
Killer7's music is the shit. The SHIT. Instead of clogging the thread, I'll direct you to my review here if you want to read my full thoughts on the album. In brief, it's f---ing amazing! "Rave On" was the first song from the game that made me put down the controller and crank the volume on my speakers. It's so surreal and has such a postmodern application in-game that it just makes you go, "Wait, what?" and then get up and dance simultaneously. Takada's true epic.

"Song of Prayer" - Piano Collections, Final Fantasy X
Taking a 40 second theme and arranging it into a 6" minute concerto? Absolutely ridiculous.

"Brain Hopper (Battle in China)" - Shadow Hearts plus1 OST
Let's go back to when I picked up Shadow Hearts and popped it in my Playstation. It was my first real non-SS RPG, having come off of replays of Chrono Cross, FFIX and FFX. Starts up kind of gruesome and awesome, the battles start and... wait, what the F is this?! This was my first exposure to Hirota and was one of the main reasons why I spent months and about eighty bucks trying to hunt down a copy of the Shadow Hearts OST (pre-reprint). It shows that not all RPG battle themes need to follow the same formula, and it identified Hirota as The Man in my books.

"Silent Hill Original Soundtrack" - Silent Hill OST
Out of all of the Silent Hill songs I wanted to pick for this, I chose to pick the ENTIRE first soundtrack. Tracks 2 through 37 were obviously meant to be listened to in one sitting, so that's just one huge track of awesomeness that has altered and irrefutably influenced the soundscapes of survival horror. I love me some Silent Hill, all of it, but the original soundtrack has a little something special that is only present on that soundtrack. It's way intense and is literally everything I could ever want from a horror soundtrack.

Raziel Jan 23, 2010

Zane wrote:

"Brain Hopper (Battle in China)" - Shadow Hearts plus1 OST

In my opinion Near Death Experience is vastly superior, like most of the European soundtrack is much better than the music that plays during the adventures in China.

Zane Jan 23, 2010

Raziel wrote:
Zane wrote:

"Brain Hopper (Battle in China)" - Shadow Hearts plus1 OST

In my opinion Near Death Experience is vastly superior, like most of the European soundtrack is much better than the music that plays during the adventures in China.

OK, sure. I obviously disagree for the reason listed; hearing "Brain Hopper" less than ten minutes into the game fresh off of typical RPG themes completely blew my mind and is my favorite SH battle theme to date, still. I don't separate the game into Europe/China. It's just two huge discs of complete awesomeness.

I almost forgot about "The Lighthouse" from Splinter Cell 3: Chaos Theory. I dare anyone to find something like this on any other VGM album. This shit is insane!

Soto Jan 24, 2010

My favorite Iwadare battle theme remains Der Endkampf from Langrisser II, but I have to admit the Grandia one is high up there.

Masashi Hamauzu, Final Fantasy X: People of the Far North -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6YMf4x16eY

Yoshitaka Hirota, Shadow Hearts: Castle of Silence -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0E5Sxp_ER0

Tsuneo Imahori, Gungrave: Ear Fudge -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1t_wbRIogk

Shoji Meguro, Digital Devil Saga 2: The Sun -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kM8fizLPZqI

Junya Nakano, Final Fantasy X: Summoned Beast Battle -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3uCmM3sF5Y

Masafumi Takada, No More Heroes: Mach 13 Elephant Explosion -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hs-SxiWXS8Y

Those are off the top of my head...I'm sure I'm missing quite a few.

Soto Jan 24, 2010

Zane wrote:

OK, sure. I obviously disagree for the reason listed; hearing "Brain Hopper" less than ten minutes into the game fresh off of typical RPG themes completely blew my mind and is my favorite SH battle theme to date, still. I don't separate the game into Europe/China. It's just two huge discs of complete awesomeness.

I almost forgot about "The Lighthouse" from Splinter Cell 3: Chaos Theory. I dare anyone to find something like this on any other VGM album. This shit is insane!

Agree on the first paragraph, and this is why we love Amon Tobin to the second paragraph.

Yuvraj Jan 24, 2010

Zane wrote:

I almost forgot about "The Lighthouse" from Splinter Cell 3: Chaos Theory. I dare anyone to find something like this on any other VGM album. This shit is insane!

Man, I remember the first time I heard this track...that was just wow. One my best first-listen experiences in vgm. The final battle track is also crazy, with that drumming work. The best track has to be "El Cargo" though.

Anywayz, my favs (limited to 10 and 1 track/game):

‘Warriors’ -- VM Japan
‘In Water, Air and Light’ -- Valkyrie Profile
‘Turks 101’ -- FF7 Dirge of Cerberus Multiplayer
‘Dawn of Mana (Opening)’ -- Seiken Densetsu 4 (Ryuichi Sakamoto)
‘Light of Hope’ -- Elder Gate
‘Chozo Ruins’ -- Metroid Prime
‘Opening’ -- Silent Hill
‘Prontera Field’ -- Ragnarok Online 2
‘Rabanastre Downtown’ -- Final Fantasy XII
'Title Demo' -- Legend of Zelda Majora's Mask

GoldfishX Jan 25, 2010

My picks (so far):

Battle on the Big Bridge (Black Mages) - This was huge because at the time, there were hardly any rock-based arrangements of the Final Fantasy series and a lot of my favorite tunes from the series had gone untouched on the majority of arranged albums, which were soft or orchestral in nature (and the doujin scene hadn't quite blown up yet...most good FF rock arranges came after the first mages album). Clicking on the sample of this on the CD website was an experience of something that felt like it was in the making for a LONG time and was worth the wait.

Stepping Wind (Klonoa 2) - WaHOO!!!

Character Select (Marvel vs Capcom 2) - Well...the name of the thread is "most memorable tracks", not "best tracks". You can hate this theme all you want and laugh at how it was probably thrown together in about 2 minutes, but you WILL remember it (especially if you play the game as religiously as I did). But even a lot of non-fans of the game at least know it. For me personally, I'll never forget cracking open my shiny new imported copy just before that fun summer in 2000, putting it in my freshly-modded Dreamcast and...hearing THIS!

Otherworld (FFX) - See above. I don't enjoy this as much as I used to, but inserted into the relative peacefulness of the FFX soundtrack, this showed Uematsu wanting to try something really different than a lot of what he was doing at the time and it got people's attention far more than Suteki Da Ne did (which was more or less his contined string of pop-ballad endings). The cutscene ingame with the music was quite amazing and fitting.

Mighty Obstacle (Ys VI) - After Zwei and VM Japan (two of the only truly new Falcom scores in the decade), I was getting worried if Falcom had abandoned their roots of making balls-to-the-walls rockers for their games. I was then knocked out of my seat by this furious, blazing theme. A highlight of the score and their output this whole decade, it symbolized the return to their rock roots in a lot of future OST's. See also: Genesis Beyond the Beginning from Ys Origin.

Holy Orders/Feel a Fear/Bloodstained Lineage/Momentary Life (Guilty Gear X Heavy Rock Tracks) - LOL, outside of the original GG soundtrack, the whole body of music of the series qualifies. For melodic metal, even outside of VGM, I'm hard-pressed to find music I enjoy on equal terms by technically superior bands/guitarists, although it probably doesn't hurt that the series was a gateway to classic heavy metal/power metal for me. The four tracks I picked out more or less represent the whole CD (otherwise, I'd nominate the whole damn thing!), but they're clearly my favorites. The XX counterparts offer a better low end, but inferior guitar playing which kills the listening experience (but I do need to mention the XX character select theme D.O.A....I've heard it way too much to ever forget it).

Wind of Phantom (Suikoden 5) - One of my favorite openers from any game ever.

Concreteman (Megaman 9) - If I were to make a list of my top ten classic MM tunes, this one makes it. In the early to middle of the decade, I never dreamed I'd be modifying said list.

Raydrick, Run! Coal Mine Locomotive DsD, Jet Wings For the Freedom (Raydrick - Ragnarok Online) - One of the real gems to come from the doujin scene, Akineko's Raydrick album sparked my interest in Ragnarok Online music with these creative arrangements that weren't harmed in the least by their synthetic sound quality, unlike many albums to emerge. These three were the clear favorites and regularly find their way into custom mixes I burn for the car.

FFMQ Battle 1 - Battle 3, Temple Under the Sea (Preludio) - My second favorite doujin album overall nails a handful of tracks I had been dying to hear arranged for a long time. These suckers are perfect pretty much. Too bad Preludio was pretty much 2-and-done after their self-titled album.

Forcing Breakthrough, Destiny (Viper Phase 1) - The oldschool VGM lover in me will simply never forget the high these tracks gave me. Gou Sato's work on the Raiden games is superb, but these two themes are the clear standouts from his camp.

Village of Carbo, Fight!! Ver. 3 (Grandia II) - More or less obligatory Grandia II picks, the score is probably the last thing from Iwadare that I really loved (save for Grandia Xtreme's battle themes) and both of these were stellar examples of what he does best (town and battle themes). I didn't like the instrumentation overall as much as the original Grandia (or at least the good parts of it! *ahem* Vol. 2), but this score definitely stuck out again for the fact that it arranged the music on the original soundtracks.

Hard Chain Reaction, Systematic Enemy, The First Union, Blameless Thoughts (Valkyrie Profile) - Again, obligatory picks from this score that turned out to really be the last time I'd love Sakuraba's output. No RPG has delivered quite a similar experience and in this case, the music played a gigantic role in being loud and known, giving the sensation of truly kicking some monster's asses. The fight with Bloodbain with Systematic Enemy blaring in the background is one of my favorite boss encounters ever.

Grassie Jan 27, 2010

Reincarnation (Sailing to the World): There's something magical about this song, and it's certainly very memorable, even though it doesn't come from a big title.
Gnosis (Xenosaga): I think this might be considered the most notorious track from Xenosaga OST, and it deserves to be listened to.
The Fate (Shadow Hearts II): I expected a lot from SH2, but never expected something like this. It blew my mind then and blows it right now. Old Smudged Map is also great, as is Astaroth. And most of the other pieces on the soundtrack.
Hfaz (AKA): I guess AKA isn't too obscure, but more people should give the soundtrack a try. This is one of the better tracks on the soundtrack, featuring a cello.
Melodies of Life (Final Fantasy IX): One of Uematsu's best melodies I think, and that says a lot. The vocalist isn't exactly my cup of tea, but I still think of this song as among my favourites.
Dark Temple Espine (Zwei!! Super Arrange): My favourite Falcom album by far, and probably my favourite track on it.
Breeze -In monocrome night- (Silent Hill 3): My favourite SH track. It's beautiful, isn't it?
ALICE (Shadow Hearts): Shadow Hearts has a load of fantastic tracks. I don't know which to chose, but I like this one, so here it is.
Shenmue ~Sedge Tree~ (Shenmue OST): This is one of the prettiest tracks I've heard. Surprised no one mentioned it.
A Stroll (Napple Tale): Could've included almost every track from Napple Tale, as they all are far above average. I limit myself to one from each title though.
Theme of Laura (Silent Hille 2): Best rocky track from a video game, I think.
Suteki da Ne (Final Fantasy X): I disagree with Goldfish, as I consider Suteki far superior to Otherworld.
Eruyt Village (Finalo Fantasy XII): However, I agree with Zane. Best piece on the soundtrack and Sakimoto's best by far!
Abandoner Main Theme (Abandoner): I felt like I had to include a kt2 track, and this is one is nice.

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