Sometimes the Japanese do certain things better. This statement stands out for Secret of Evermore, the first and only game to be developed by Squaresoft's U.S. branch. Even though I honestly liked the game the first time I played it, I found it to be bland in comparison to some of Square's other games. The music was one of the reasons why. It lacks the spacious beauty of Secret of Mana and the powerful assets of Final Fantasy. It also sounds pretty flat, with lame, unmemorable music dominating most of the album. This is probably the weakest of Squaresoft's soundtracks, mainly because it lacks the magical touch.
Not that there are no saving graces about it, however. There are eight orchestrated (I presume arranged) tracks at the beginning which pick up the pace for an otherwise unlively album. Some of them sound almost identical to the game, such as the jig-like "Pirate Theme", piano sonatas of the castle themes, the ambient "Ocean Theme", and "Merchant Theme". The other five tracks are completely unrecognizable. On the other hand, they sound a lot better than the game's music.
As for the original game music, there is actually only one excellent track. That is the last one, "The Return". It starts out with a lonesome, suspenceful dirge, and then comes to a beautiful, uplifting ending. To touch it all up, there is an eerie wind blowing in the backround throughout the whole song. The rest of the score, however, is... well, below average. It's somewhat hollow in composition and seems to be missing the big "oomph" that an adventure score like this needs. In this case, the tracks (yes, even the boss battle themes) drag at a snail's pace and never come to life; they seem to be more ambient and less melodic. Music like this doesn't really bother me all that much (I did like several other "atmospheric" game soundtracks, such as Riven, Myst, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Castlevania 64, and Resident Evil 2), but after listening to it a second time, I felt I had only a bad taste for my mouth. I guess Jeremy Soule didn't have the magical, musical touch of Square when he produced the music for Secret of Evermore.
Due to the fact that there are so many better game soundtracks out there, I can find no way or excuse whatsoever to recommend this one.