Soundtrack Central The best of VGM and other great soundtracks

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GoldfishX Feb 9, 2014 (edited Feb 18, 2014)

Over the past couple years, I have adopted a new rating system I use primarily for VGM albums. As I listen through an album, I take short-hand notes about each track and assign them to one of three "tiers":

P! - Favorite tracks, these make up most of what I focus on when I revisit an album
P - Passing grade, an effective track in context of an album but not essential for relistening
F - Failing grade, gets deleted

Once that is done, I look back at the album as a whole and assign it an overall rating:

(4) - I put this in front of the folder to mark it as a favorite
(5) - I put this in front of the folder to mark it as a generally decent album, but with either flaws, a ton of expendable tracks or just overall lacking despite some quality content. Basically, I just want them separated from the (4) albums.
(g) - I put this in front of the folder to mark a generally expendable album with a small handful of good tracks on it.

As I have no desire to waste 3-4 hours+ writing long winded reviews about my thoughts about a single album, I find these much more concise and useful when grabbing my favorite tracks from the album folders. I don't need to know why P! tracks are favorites, I just need to identify them so I can revisit them more easily and so I know which tracks I need to throw on my portable player. I have close to a hundred of sheets of these ratings sitting around me (mostly limited to what I have time to listen to at work, you gotta love office work), some VGM, some not. For albums with 20-30+ tracks per disc, I find this type of organization a necessity, as there's too many to just keep track of. I figure it won't hurt to share some of what I have jotted down so far. Your mileage may vary, as these are my own opinions and findings.

I have pretty much hit all of my longtime favorite albums, so I tend to use (abuse?) this when going through newer albums nowadays. I'm going to use this first post for my personal favorite albums (both OST and Arranges), the second post for original soundtracks and the 3rd for both arranged albums and anime albums. Let me know if there are any album requests you want my ratings for.

BlazBlue Chrono Phantasma Original Soundtrack

Disc 1

P! - 2,3,4,7,9,10,12,13,14,15,16,17,18
P - 1,5,6,8,11
F -

Disc 2

P! - 1,3,4,5,8,9,10,11,12,15,16
P - 13,14
F - 2,6,7

Disc 3

P! - 4,5,6,7,8,12,24,25
P - 1,9,17,23
F - 2,3,10,11,13,14,15,16,18,19,20,21,22

Notes: Those are some pretty crooked numbers, hardly any cuts until Disc 3 and even then, most of those are minor tracks. So the majority of character and confrontation themes survived unscathed. Of course, the album benefits (or is hurt by, depending on your take) from the samey-ness of a lot of tracks, it carries a strong orchestral/melodic power metal vibe to it. It just happens to do what it does extremely well and it fixes the mixing issues that plagued Calamity Trigger's soundtrack (you have drums and bass that sound like they're recorded in the same room now!). Still, it's a bit much to take in from one sitting. One trend I noticed is anything with "II" after it tends to be excellent, while the newer themes are completely hit or miss. Sword of Doom II is my personal highlight of the album, it features epic Jpop vocals and a soaring, majestic riff that would do the likes of Rhapsody or Stratovarius proud.

Double Dragon II Arrange Album (4)

P! - 2,3,5,6,8,10
P - 4,9,12
F -1,7,11,13

Notes: Man, what is up with that vocal arrange of the Double Dragon theme. It's awful! Or rather, the singer isn't singing it very well at all. This could be have been amazing if it was done right. This album just screams 80's from start to finish and that suits the original music just fine. Intense and yet, oddly relaxing. Well, except for Roar of the Twin Dragons...That song just rocks my face off everytime I hear it. Required listening for oldschool VGM fans.

Dracula Battle Perfect Selection (4)

P! - 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,10
P - 8
F - 9 <- seriously what the hell is this thing doing here!?

Notes: One of the true legendary VGM arrange albums, it succeeds on both counts, that of grabbing melodies that virtually every serious VGM fan is familiar with (and some not...but even those are mixed in flawlessly with the classics) and that of arranging them to near perfection in true 80's heavy metal fashion. It's not about how heavy your sound is, it's what you do with it and Naoto Shibata basically writes the blueprint of what a VGM rock album should sound like (and look like...that front artwork is so metal). Every time hearing the arrangement of Bloody Tears is every bit as amazing as the first and Cross a Fear and Op. 13 sound like they are making a case for being on the Dracula X CD-ROM in place of the originals (kind of hard to take them seriously when I heard these two monsters first). But I just gotta wonder about March of the Holy Man. Guess they couldn't throw Clockwork, Aquarius, Mad Forest or Heart of Fire on here instead and create pure perfection. Even the best have something to nitpick, but I feel like this one was plopped on here for just that reason.

Dragonball Z Super Butouden Arrange Album (4)

P! - 1,2,4,6,9,10
P - 5,12,13
F - 3,7,8,11

Notes: Thanks again Jodo for mentioning that is actually an arranged album! Pretty oldschool at that, but with an eye towards establishing a groove than outright melody, although the melody lines are all very catchy. My personal highlight is track 10, the theme for Perfect Cell. It just takes its sweet time building up to the grand and majestic final part, very fitting of the character. Overall, my favorite of the 3 Butouden albums.

Dragon Quest IV The Chosen People Symphonic Suite (NHK) (4)

P! - 1,2,3,4,5,6,9,10
P - 7,11
F - 8, Disc 2 (Sound Story)

Notes: My favorite version of my favorite Dragon Quest Symphonic Suites and easily my favorite orchestral arrange VGM album. I think the strings are too loud on the London Philharmonic Suites, the NHK albums are more relaxed and effortless to me (same deal for III and V) and I haven't heard the Tokyo Philharmonic albums yet. Sugiyama's character medley "Comrades" is the real highlight here (Torneko's theme is GRAND!), alongside the arrangement of the town themes (as always). I actually kind of enjoyed the Sound Story disc, since I actually played Dragon WARRIOR IV back in the day (I remember walking all the way to Toys R Us to buy the game), but I don't think I want to sit through the whole thing again. Kind of like the game itself.

Final Fantasy VI Original Sound Version (4)

Disc 1

P! - 1,3,4,5,6,8,9,11,14,15,16,17,18,20,22,23,24
P - 7,10,12,13,19,25
F - 2,21

Disc 2

P! - 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,9,10,12,14,15,16,17,18,19
P - 2,8,11,20
F - 13

Disc 3

P! - 1,3,6,7,8,9,10,11,13,14
P - 4,5,15,16
F - 2,12

Notes: What's this? I cut 5 tracks out of this and didn't label the ending theme or Aria Di Mezzo Carattere as a favorite!? Yeah, I guess this soundtrack's no good at all. tongue

Konami Shooting Battle Perfect Selection (4)

P! - 1,3,5,6,7,8,9,10
P - 2,4
F -

The very first Konami Battle album is one of Shibata's best. In fact, I think this is his best "arranging" work, since few of the actual melodies on display here are cut from the same level of quality as the Castlevania themes (when was the last time you walked around humming Xexex or Thunder Cross tracks? I rest my case). The album starts off slightly slow (Nostalgic is a great rock ballad that hangs around SLIGHTLY too long and I was never too keen on the track 4 medley), but once it hits Maximum Speed this album is every bit the equal of the first Dracula Battle and it's full speed ahead from there. I think the production here is much better than the first Dracula Battle as well, featuring a much fuller soundstage, drums that sit higher in the mix and overall a more satisfying guitar sound. But alas, no Bloody Tears, Beginning or Cross a Fear to be found on this one, so it shall forever be behind Dracula Battle I...Even after digesting this album many times, those Xexex and Thunder Cross melodies just refuse to stick (although Dog Fight III is a pleasant exception to that statement).

Konami Shooting Battle Perfect Selection II (4)

P! - 2,4,5,6,8,10
P - 1,3,7,9
F -

That doesn't look too pretty, does it? This one is a clear step behind the first Shooting Battle, as it exhibits the same flaws (generally unmemorable melodies, although Colony and Try to Star work their way in there) and takes a step back in both arranging quality and production. The main problem is there are just way too many keyboards in here and the guitars are just buried a lot of the time. It just kind of gives the impression that the arrangements seem to drag at times. Colony and Faraway show that keyboards aren't bad when done right, Give My Heart to You is an excellent ballad and Try to Star/Cross Point show a teaser of what this whole album should have sounded like. A pleasing effort overall, but not legendary like its predecessors.

Sailor Moon S Super Famicom Game Music (4)

P! - 3,4,7, 8-14
P - 2,5,6,15,17
F - 1,16

Dragonball Z isn't the only Toonami series that boasts arranged VGM albums posing as original soundtracks! Of the four Sailor Moon arranged albums, this is by far my favorite because those character themes don't mess around (the 8-14 marked above). This one is right up there with my favorite fighting game soundtracks and arranged albums. Of note, the in-your-face rock of Sailor Mars theme (that intro is shred guitar at its finest) and Sailor Uranus (those basslines are nothing short of sexy), the homage of Sailor Venus to the classic Venus song (YES!!!) and the understated, mercurial power of Sailor Neptune's theme (very fitting of her character). Highly recommended, although the goodness is on the short side.

Star Ocean 2 Second Story (4)

Disc 1

P! - 2,3,5,7,8,9,11,12,13,14,19,23,24,26,28,34
P - 1,4,10,15,16,17,21,25,27,29,32,36
F - 6,18,20,22,30,31,33,35,37

Disc 2

P! - 1,2,5,6,7,9,12,13,15,16,18,19,21,24,26,31,34
P - 4,11,17,20,22,25,29,33
F - 3,8,10,14,23,27,28,30

Notes: By far, my favorite Sakuraba soundtrack. I wish he did more stuff that resembled this soundtrack, there are some real classics on here and I feel he does way better with the synthesized orchestra and rock instrumentation than he does with the live stuff. It just feels and sounds "right", without trying too hard. A little trimming to get down to the really good stuff really helps this soundtrack, especially factoring in the infamous non-looped nature of it. Also, I have a weakness for mini-game music, since I have "Come On Bunny" and "Cooking Master" pegged as favorites.

Star Ocean Second Story Arrange Album (4)

P! - 1,2,3,6,9,7
P - 4
F - 5,8,10

Notes: Perfect compliment to the excellent OST, this isn't like the more recent arranges, which are more less extended versions of the originals. These are reworked, totally ass-kicking renditions of the originals. Well except tracks 5 and 8. These are original compositions, which frankly, I didn't like them enough to keep around. Why!? There are so many other amazing OST tracks that deserved arrangements. Oh well, Sakuraba got "Stab the Sword of Justice" and "Mission to the Deep Space" on here and they are both amazing, plus "Integral Body and Imperfect Soul" obliterates its' original in every way (I never cared for the original). On the more somber side, "Theme of Rena" is pretty much perfect. And adding a backbeat and some phat bass to "Sacred Song" and bloating the playing time out? Hey, it works. I can't argue with the results, even though I want to.

Xenogears CREID (4)

P! - 2,3,5,6,8,9
P - 7,10
F - 1,4

Notes: I still consider this album cheating. Taking the 2 vocal arrangements from the OST and adding Japanese vocals is not my idea of an arrangement. And I have always found October Mermaid to be incredibly overrated, both the original and the arrange. But what this album does well, it does EXTREMELY well, enough to secure it a spot among my favorites. Spring Lullaby, Balto and Dajil couldn't possibly be done any better.

Ys III Super Arrange Version (4)

P! - 1,2,4,5,7,9
P - 3,6,8
F - 10,11

Notes: I have written down that this version of Styx A Premonition is the best version I've ever heard. I'll have to take my word for it, this song is so overdone and so consistantly underwhelming (Feena? HA!), the samples probably swayed me to think that way. The two tracks you want this album for are "The Boys Got Wings" and "The Strongest Foe", both are masterfully arranged and show off the melodic prowess of Ys III's compositions. I like how this version of "Strongest Foe" can both balls-out rock and not be in your face at the same time the whole way through. You kind of need to hear it to understand what I mean. I do dig these versions of "Valestine Castle" and "Searing Struggle" as well and "Dancing on the Road" is about as good as it can possibly get, but they take a backseat to the aforementioned tracks.

GoldfishX Feb 9, 2014 (edited Feb 24, 2014)

Dewprism Original Soundtrack (4)

Disc 1

P! - 1,4,9,12,14,16,22,24
P - 2,3,5,6,7,11,15,19,21
F - 8,10,13,17,18,20,23,25,26

Disc 2

P! - 1,3,7,8,9,11,15,18,21,22,24,25
P - 4,5,10,19,28
F - 2,6,12,13,14,16,17,20,23,26,27

Notes: This was a soundtrack I couldn't wait to get trimmed down. It's always been sort of a sleeper-favorite, but there are a lot of very draggy tracks on here that make it hard to listen straight through. Pretty normal for Nakano, I felt the same way about his FFX tracks. I especially love the 3 "Fancy" tracks on it and my favorite area theme is definitely Underground Ruins.

Fighting Vipers Original Soundtrack (4)

P! - 3,4,5,7,8,9,10,11,14
P - 2,12,23
F - 1,6, character voice tracks

A good solid dose of gritty, melodic hard rock, more akin to an SNK fighter soundtrack than Guilty Gear-style metal. Tight drums/bass and good solid production and this one's a winner. Observation Deck features an awesome double-bass drum section, which is pretty rare for VGM. The one flaw I can throw at this is it kind of lacks memorable themes and is more about enjoying the riffs as they happen, but it's a satisfying listen nontheless. If you can't stand hard rock, I wouldn't bother with it though. I was surprised to see there were arrangements of this for the Saturn soundtrack since this is live as it is. I want to check those out at some point.

Grandia Xtreme Original Soundtrack (g)

P! - 1,3,5,8,10,13,17
P - 4,9,12,16,21
F - 2,6,7,11,14,15,18,19,20

The good part about this soundtrack is the synth. The bass is tipped up rather nicely, giving the music a warm, crisp feel to it that can be felt even on crappy speakers. The bad part is Iwadare does virtually nothing with this fantastic soundscape, holding back his melodies from shining, as if saving the good stuff for his next big project. You have a soundtrack that sounds warmer than the original Grandia, but completely misses the mark in terms of melody and instead just drags on from start to finish. Even the battle themes, although blistering with energy, just come off as random cacophonies and this is the first soundtrack in awhile where I felt I wanted to cut a final battle theme. And he didn't even try on some of those area themes (although the same could be said for the original Grandia in some spots). Not recommended.

Magic Knight Rayearth Saturn OST (g)

P! - 8,9,11,23,24
P - 1,5,10,12,16,19,27
F - 2,3,4,6,7,13,14,15,17,18,20,21,22,25,26,28,29,31,32

Notes: I've revisited this one several times because I remember playing (and loving) the game, but there really isn't much memorable here to take away. It's more about synthy textures (using that sweet Saturn synth) and a lot of hokey sounding dark themes. Still, "Foliate Seas by the Lake" and "Taflon by the Sea" are two of my longtime favorites and keep me coming back and trying to like this album again and again...

Musashiden II Blademaster (g)

Disc 1

P! - 1,2,5,13,15,16,18,19,20,24,25,26
P - 4,7,9,11,14,21,22,23
F - 3,6,8,10,12,17,27

Disc 2

P! - 3,6,17,23,25
P - 2,4,7,18,19,21
F - 1,5,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,20,22,24,26

This was another one I couldn't wait to revisit. I liked Saga Frontier II, I liked Dewprism, I was pleasantly surprised by much of FFX, rather enjoyed Unlimited Saga...and then this one came along and I never quite got into it. Now I kind of remind myself why. Those discs are 70 minutes long because of bloat, trying to use synthy textures and various types of percussion to create an aura of mystique and resulting in sounding like 2 discs where both composers felt it was better to save their best efforts for a much better game. Nakano is the major culprit, especially on the second disc, where some of his tracks just don't seem to want to die. On Dewprism and FFX, his tracks seemed to have a sense of purpose, here they just go on and on, with little substance to go off of. The one track of his I ended up loving was Miners Woe for the nice ambiance, percussion and cool echo effect. The few times the violin in Hamauzu's pieces come in are a rare highlight, with Aeolic Guardian being the hands-down winner of the bunch. Rockstar was kind of this soundtrack's Otherworld, sticking out like a sore thumb (as does the inclusion of the Iwais as co-composers...sup guys! Don't you have a Capcom fighter to write music for?), but ended up being a welcome diversion on that brutal disc 2. Not bad if taken as the B-side for FFX, but overall pretty disappointing.

Rockman 8 Metal Heroes Original Soundtrack (5)

P! - 2,5,7,8,9,16,20,22,28,33
P - 1,3,4,6,10,14,17,18,19,25,27,40
F - 11,12,13,15,21,23,24,26,29,30,31,32,34-39, 41-43

Notes: I was kind of glad I did this one, it held up surprisingly well in disc form, especially once all the short snippets are gone. It's still my least favorite classic Megaman soundtrack by a country mile (or more like a country...and that country is Russia), but that's because it's different. Favorites (read: tracks that can actually hang with the NES classics) are Dr. Wily Stage 1, Opening Stage Overworld, Sky Stage and Amusement Park stage, just because I have a weakness for that sort of thing.

Soukaigi Original Soundtrack (5)

P! - 2,4,6,8,9,10,15,16
P - 1,7,12,13,14,17
F - 3,5,11

Notes: I know this is a popular soundtrack and a more mature side of Hiroki Kikuta and features live instruments and performers, but give me Seiken 2 and 3 (and Lost Files and Alphabet Planet) over this anyday. I just feel like something is missing from this album to make it truly great, some of the rock is pretty obnoxious. "Sign" and "Fire Wire", arguably the two most Mana-like tracks on the album, are really the only tracks I listen to from it nowadays. I just don't want to cut something out of this one, for fear I might want to come back to them.

Street Fighter Zero 3 Original Soundtrack (g)

Disc 1

P! - 3,5,6,8,10,15,18
P - 1,4,12,17,19,21
F - 2,7,9,11,13,14,16,20

Disc 2

P! - 5,8,10,12,16,19
P - 7,11,14,15,17,21
F - 1,2,3,4,6,9,13,18,20,22

Notes: I credit the high number of tracks I favorited more to "throwing shit against the wall and hoping it sticks" more than outright quality, because all of the tracks I marked to be deleted are downright dreadful. Apparently, the majority of Capcom's composing staff worked on this album, but you would never know it. Two discs of washed out, synthy (and frankly, obnoxious) electronic rock. Legitimate highlights - Decisive Bout, Seek No Escape, Mach Smasher and Brave or Grave (the final boss theme).

GoldfishX Feb 9, 2014 (edited Feb 24, 2014)

Dracula Perfect Selection (5)

P! - 2,3,4,6,9
P - 1,5,8
F - 7,10

Note: The famous Dracula "rap" album, I have a unique fondness for this album because it focuses so much on the earlier Castlevania games. The "raps" for Beginning and Vampire Killer are definitely obnoxious, but ironically, both of these songs have been arranged to death so much, I can tolerate them as just being something different. Bloody Tears wins the rap battle (I think calling this "rap" is a stretch personally), mostly due to the nice oldschool samples. The real highlight of this album is the "Mad Forest" arrangement, they really nailed it, at least as far as being an upbeat dance take on it. Clockwork is the one track I go back and forth on, sometimes it works and sometimes it just feels like a phoned in arrangement.

World Heroes 2 Image Album (5)

P! - 1,2,3,5,9,11,12,13,16
P - 6,7,15,17
F - 4,8,10,14

Note: Half the album is bathed in mediocrity, half the album is a fun 80's romp through the classic ADK fighter, but when you have 17 tracks to work with, half an album of fun romp ends up being quite a lot. The 3 Yonemitsu tracks are highlights, with "Murder -D-" providing an effective climax for everything, but the catchy grooves of Jonny Let's Dance (come on, a football player in a fighting game is awesome), Black Out #1 and Mongolian Hurricane are right there as well. Not amazing, but worth a listen.

Ys V Orchestra Version (4)

P! - 2,4,5,7,8,10
P - 1,6
F - 3,9

Note: Yeah, a few tracks didn't make the cut, but the 6 I pegged as favorites are all definite keepers. You have the catchy, sweet Niena theme showing its head in a couple tracks, a town track that features an accordian, another one that features middle-eastern instrumentation (I won't even pretend to know the names of these instruments, heh), a soaring remix of an already soaring theme in Field of Gale, a surprisingly effective brooding evil tune and finally, a proper example of how to do a cliche JRPG ending theme (I saw Farewell was 8 minutes long and lost a bet with myself about it being able to hold my interest). Louder and more in-your-face than the Dragon Quest Symphonic Suites or even a large number of Terrashima's other Electric Orchestra arrangements, but you won't hear any complaining from me. I'm fine with skipping the OST and holding onto this.

TerraEpon Feb 9, 2014

GoldfishX wrote:

Notes: I still consider this album cheating. Taking the 2 vocal arrangements from the OST and adding Japanese vocals is not my idea of an arrangement.

They ARE new recordings with slightly different arrangements, however.

Ashley Winchester Feb 9, 2014 (edited Feb 9, 2014)

GoldfishX wrote:

Amusement Park stage, just because I have a weakness for that sort of thing.

I don't think so. Clown Man's stage theme is a lot stronger than a single listen would have you believe. It's a pretty good piece of music even though it's not quite a top tier track. I don't think you're wrong giving it props at all...

Also, I know this is opinion based but "Bonded by Claire" from Dew Prism is a P! for me... and pretty much sums up the key track in the game for me. "Roadblock" is surprisingly effective and with "Claire" are the only tracks I listen to on a consistent basis. The soundtrack was better before I broke it down an analysed it because after that there was no going back.

As for Star Ocean: The Second Story... "Mist Began to Form" is a P! for me and so is "Pyroxene" (seriously, if you don't know what "Pyroxene" is look it up as it is a clear reference as to where it plays in the game) but I happen - for some reason - to like "Heraldic Emblem." That track just depicts an abandoned area to me so clearly....

Finally, yes... "Brave or Grave" is my top pick from Alpha 3. That track works SO well in the game with the rain whipping around during the fight.

GoldfishX Feb 9, 2014 (edited Feb 9, 2014)

TerraEpon wrote:
GoldfishX wrote:

Notes: I still consider this album cheating. Taking the 2 vocal arrangements from the OST and adding Japanese vocals is not my idea of an arrangement.

They ARE new recordings with slightly different arrangements, however.

Sorry, the two Joanne Hogg songs from the OST (tracks 1-2 and 2-19) sound EXACTLY like tracks 2 and 10 from CREID, except with lyrics in a different language. The CREID versions sound like the singer did karaoke over the originals. My problem with that is I much prefer the two songs as they are in English, making them redundant on CREID. If these are truly new recordings, they emulated every single thing perfectly including the track times from the versions on the OST.

TerraEpon Feb 10, 2014

At the least Small Two of Pieces/Stars of Tears are different (check out the flute right near the beginning). Two Wings/Mobius might just be different mixes though -- still listen to bits right next to each other if you don't believe me. However, and I'd have have to check again, I do believe the credits show two separate recording locations, to say nothing of the credited musicians. I was surprised to discover this when I tagged them somewhat recently as I always thought they were the same as well.

GoldfishX Feb 10, 2014

Well, I mean, I've been listening to both the OST and arrange since the game was released in the US and they sound like the same songs to me. If they are different versions, they did essentially nothing to differentiate them outside of the vocals. I think you are probably right though about alternate mixes (the flute is definitely higher in the mix on CREID for Mobius) or some extremely minor arrangement work being done here, maybe there was something that got touched up for the CREID release (I have a four second difference between Small Two of Pieces/Star of Tears, both Two Wings/Mobius are exactly 2:57). In any case, outside of vocals, they're too similar for me to count them as separate and for a ten track arrange album, it comes off as more than a little lazy. There was no shortage of tracks to pick up for arranging on the original soundtrack.

Frankly, I'm surprised this hasn't been discussed more in the past. Even reviews rarely mention the similarities.

GoldfishX Feb 11, 2014

Added capsules for Dragonquest IV Symphonic Suite (NHK), Dracula Battle Perfect Selection and World Heroes 2 Image Album.

Judgment Day Feb 12, 2014

GoldfishX wrote:

Street Fighter Zero 3 Original Soundtrack (g)

Disc 1

P! - 3,5,6,8,10,15,18

#10 is Shining One, isn't it? This is one of my all time favorites.

GoldfishX Feb 12, 2014

Judgment Day wrote:

#10 is Shining One, isn't it? This is one of my all time favorites.

Yeah, Sagat's Theme. I like it too and not in the "um, I guess this okay" way I am with so much of this soundtrack. I made those P! tracks on here earn it.

Another highlight worth mentioning...Performance, Dan's Theme. Was grooving to this earlier today when it came up on random shuffle.

GoldfishX Feb 18, 2014 (edited Feb 18, 2014)

Added capsules for Konami Battle Perfect Selection I and II, Fighting Vipers Original Soundtrack and Sailor Moon S Super Famicom Game Music.

GoldfishX Feb 24, 2014

Added capsules for Musashiden II Blademaster, Grandia Xtreme and Ys V Orchestra. I felt like I said the exact same thing for both Musashiden and Xtreme.

Ashley Winchester Feb 24, 2014

GoldfishX wrote:

Musashiden II Blademaster

You know, why is it that Hamauzu always ends up doing the music for the games in a given franchise that I don't enjoy as much?

I know SaGa Frontier II's soundtrack is great, but I like the first SaGa Frontier so much more so Ito's work kind of gains a lot of points (deserved or undeserved) because of that. As a game I think SaGa Frontier II just existed to infuriate me and I think my frustration with it kind of bleeds over into every other aspect of the game.

Same deal goes down with Brave Fencer Musashi. I feel the first game is of better quality than the sequel (which I'm currently playing)... but unlike Ito's work on Frontier I think Tsuyoshi Sekito's work has more merits to it.

I can appreciate Hamauzu's talent/music but... I guess I just wish (some) of the games they accompanied were better. While it's is probably a flawed way of looking at things but I think I (and some other people) can probably form more affection for a soundtrack when the game/gameplay that accompanies it is good. Of course this isn't saying you can't enjoy the music in a bad game... but when the two work together it can really mean a lot.

Of course, I'm probably over analyzing this a bit... the above can probably be summed up as nostalgia goggles.

GoldfishX Feb 24, 2014

I think one of the reasons I started using this system is I felt like I was having unproductive listening sessions. A lot of tracks tend to blend together, especially without context. Now I just go in, planning on just highlighting the tracks I should be focusing on when I go to revisit them. Obviously, I'm not going to do that with something I have painstaking nostalgia for, but for stuff I know I'm never going to play, I'm more than happy to remove half the soundtrack to find the 10-15 or so tracks I should be concentrating on.

I've done a few Ito soundtracks (haven't added them yet), but the results are mostly the same: Keep most of the the synth rock, a few town themes, a couple oddball themes and skip the rest (especially any type of "emotional" theme). He's basically a weaker 16-bit era Uematsu to me. At least Hamauzu keeps me on my toes from track to track. I'm not really a major Sekito fan, but he has his moments.

Also, there were a lot of soundtracks I came across early on, in my first 1-2 years of collecting that I have a strange loyalty/nostalgia to. Saga Frontier 1 and 2 are a few of those, as I wasn't too big on the games. That helps explain some of my bias for both Tokimeki Memorial (well, the first one...musically, the series went south afterwards) and old-school Falcom (newer Falcom is hit or miss, but LOTS of misses).

Angela Feb 27, 2014

GoldfishX wrote:

Well, I mean, I've been listening to both the OST and arrange since the game was released in the US and they sound like the same songs to me. If they are different versions, they did essentially nothing to differentiate them outside of the vocals. I think you are probably right though about alternate mixes (the flute is definitely higher in the mix on CREID for Mobius) or some extremely minor arrangement work being done here, maybe there was something that got touched up for the CREID release (I have a four second difference between Small Two of Pieces/Star of Tears, both Two Wings/Mobius are exactly 2:57).

Huh. I always figured the second verses/chorus refrains were dead giveaways that Small Two of Pieces and Mebius were two different recording sessions.  In Small, the drums and percussion are stronger, the backing strings more prominent, and there's a heavier reverb overlay throughout.  Take another listen:

2:11 into Small Two of Pieces
2:14 into Mebius

I like both versions, precisely for their differences.  Hogg's has a greater sense of grandeur, with a vast stadium-like sound that accommodates her powerful voice.  Honma's is decidedly more tender, the instruments reined back, acoustics feeling a bit more enclosed -- factors, I presume, chosen to match her brand of vocals.

GoldfishX Apr 20, 2019

*bump*

Not worth making a thread for, but just wanted to drop this:

GoldfishX Five Star VGM Trax Collection: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P … CccfP3Yu2d

I'll be adding steadily to it. Basically, these are VGM tracks (either original or arranged) that survived two rounds of reviews. The first round was to be highlighted when going through the album (basically, the capsule reviews) and then they needed to stand out during a large random playlist. I've found some tracks work better in the context of a soundtrack, then fail to stand out in a random playlist. My goal is to get it to the Youtube playlist maximum of 5,000 at some point.

Adam Corn Apr 23, 2019

Followed smile

Are these all tracks from your personal VGM collection that you've uploaded to YouTube? I'm still trying to figure out an optimal listening & sharing setup between my local music collection, Spotify, and YouTube. So far YouTube has gotten the short end of the stick.

GoldfishX Apr 24, 2019 (edited Apr 24, 2019)

Yeah, these are locally stored and then upped to Youtube under my account (scans are from VGMdb). I'm still not quite on board with streaming and the bulk of my local stuff is lossless wav or Flac files, but Youtube is just so convenient for everyday use that it's hard to ignore at this point. I'm just kind of in that good spot where I've picked through all the albums I've wanted to go through and just need to get to the main event of each one. So...it's a project with no real end. smile

Edit: A user named Supradarky did something similar with VGM on Youtube. I've pulled up a couple of his lists for quick drives or to play in the background. I basically did that with some randomness thrown in to my methodology (my tracks only end up on the Youtube list after they get 5 starred after coming on random in a large playlist!)

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