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  #631  
Old 10-11-2017, 12:46 PM
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I... I like that Sonic Eraser piece.

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  #632  
Old 10-11-2017, 12:49 PM
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Sonic Eraser wasn't #1? Talking Time has let me down
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  #633  
Old 10-11-2017, 12:54 PM
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Finally, a top 50 list that doesn't disappoint.
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  #634  
Old 10-11-2017, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Positronic Brain View Post
#49 (Tie) — Vagrant Story
I actually regret not including Vagrant Story in my list. My problem is that I focused too much on "Opening Movie" and "Staff Roll" and "Cathedral" and thought those were the only memorable themes, when, really, the whole soundtrack is a work of art. The battle themes are incredible, with anxious violins and overwhelming brass. It's certainly a precursor to Final Fantasy XII, and made me a huge fan of the composer. The main theme of VS, Ashley's leitmotif? That's straight out of John Williams' book, exciting, brave, and instantly memorable.

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Originally Posted by conchobhar View Post
#35 — Final Fantasy XII
This was my #13, and the third FF on my list. I can listen to this soundtrack forever, from its ambient tracks to its mood themes to its battle tracks --the absolute best in the franchise-- and it's amazing how Sakimoto works his leitmotifs, especially in "The Battle for Freedom". The Imperial Theme gets a hell of a workout in a variety of scenes, too, ultimately redeeming itself as a noble, even heroic march.

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Originally Posted by Positronic Brain View Post
#33 — Final Fantasy VIII

Most awkward verse: “If frown is shown then”
Bah. I know that you are no dreamer.

I neglected to include FF8 in my list, another huge omission. But unlike Vagrant Story, this time my decision focused too much on the "regular" themes and neglected the jewels --namely, the battle themes and the Overworld theme. "Liberi Fatali", "Succession of Witches", "The Extreme", "Premonition", they're all so different from each other but perfectly suited to their context. I wish I knew what inspired Uematsu to base "The Extreme" on the old FF bass line, but the result feels like the ultimate evolution of "Final Fantasy battle track". And its chaotic, fast-paced climax is rivaled (distantly) only by FFX's "Seymour Battle."

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Originally Posted by conchobhar View Post
#28 — Okami
Featured Track:

The Sun Rises
Oh God. Okami.

This was my #4. It's such an absolutely PERFECT soundtrack. It's chipper and whimsical, somber and grim, filled with determination, adventurous and excited. It matches the aesthetic of the game, the size of the environments, the emotions, the traditions, the holiness, the ridiculous and the sacred, the funny and the sad... "Shinshuu Plains" and "Ryoshima Coast", with their winds and strings, evoke a grand sense of earnest, willful adventure, with the former acting as a preliminary main theme to the game.

There's only two video game tracks that can reduce me to tears and blubbering, and "Reset - Thank You" is one of them. That flute just PIERCES you straight through the heart, and then the koto starts plucking at it mercilessly. It's an indescribably beautiful theme, a summary of all the emotions you've gone through in your journey, going through each of them in turn, relishing in their memory, collecting all of them into a ball of light that then bursts gently but brightly, brighter than anything, shouting in joy and dreams. It's as if the best possible Ghibli film became pure music.

The vocal version, "Reset", is good, too, and the lyrics are just as heartbreaking, but you're guided by the singer's emotions throughout it. The "Thank You" version is all you, fulfilled by the music. It's absolutely wonderful.

But it was my second choice. My first choice is, always, "The Sun Rises."

There's three kinds of final battle themes. Those that empower and describe the final boss, meant to sound menacing, intimidating, dreadful. Then you have those that describe the magnitude of the struggle, what's at stake, how heroic the protagonists are versus the terror of the enemy. Uematsu excels at the former and is one of the best at the latter; Final Fantasy last bosses are frightening thanks to their musical themes. Shoji Meguro is stupefyingly amazing at the latter --you ARE fighting literal gods and manifestations of humanity's will, after all. But the third kind of last battle, the one that Okami is the absolute best at, is the hero's triumph.

Conchobar is right. As soon as you hear this theme, you know you've won. Preceded by the gorgeous "White Light Majesty", the very TITLE of "The Sun Rises" is already telling you the outcome of the battle. The incarnation of darkness is facing off against the goddess of light and you're already being told who wins. So what's left but a victorious, howling dance, where the power and emotion of "Reset" and "Majesty" come together to deliver nothing but a shining catharsis.

Even the structure of the theme matches its context. The song opens with a preparation for battle, the very image of Ammy crouching low to leap at Yami as the flute delivers her personal leitmotif. Then the triumphant brass and the koto explode into the impression of traditional Japanese dance, and the flute and "Oooh!" vocalizations come in to add "vocals" to the theme and. Then the mood quiets down for a second, the plucked strings giving you a bit of a respite, as if letting you gather your strength for one final, defining blow...! And Okami's signature shamisen, representative of the Sun aaaaallll throughout the game (it even plays during the Sunrise Brush Skill!), rises up to conclude the melody.

Oh God yes, Okami. "Reset - Thank You" and "White Light Majesty" and "The Sun Rises", played one after another, are the finest possible emotional climax to a game... bar one. But before that one? The best. The absolute best.

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Originally Posted by conchobhar View Post
Today's honourable mention comes from pudik. He wanted me to note that this came in at exactly 420 words.

Honourable Mention — Drakengard
I feel I should say something about Drakengard and 420 but that'd be low-hanging fruit.

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Drak! En garde!
Drakengard!

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Although it’s easy to see why a game notorious for hating its player and forcing them to grind hours between cutscenes framed as stage tragedy would appeal to the average person, the truth is really that I only ever played to experience the soundtrack in its environment. Even knowing and loving Nier, it wasn’t until I heard a track (it was a late stage, chapter 12 ground or something I’d guess) that I took the chance on it. As it turns, the experience is as described; with half hour long levels droning on and on through two minute loops themselves comprised of miniature looping passages. Just hit after hit of chopped up and glitched out samples of all your favorite modern classical (Stravinsky, Mussorgsky, etc) sequenced perfectly to file down through the narrative to an almost unbearable cacophony. If the game itself is about contextualizing war and death, the soundtrack itself reflects that: gathering definitively organic music and frantically decaying it.
I... honestly did NOT know that. As much as I've delved into the game's meanings, I never cared much about the music beyond "Yeah it's dissonant and cacophonic because it's meant to get on your nerves." Now I'm seriously going to start paying attention to it and its sources! Thank you for pointing them out!

For what it's worth, Drakengard 3 was my #21. It's a bit more traditional, much more informed by Nier, and I naturally went with "Black Song" for my preferred track.

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Originally Posted by Positronic Brain View Post
#24 - Final Fantasy VII

Our featured track is “J-E-N-O-V-A”. To listen to this track is to love it - used as background for the battles against the Grand Bosses, this song embodies all the good things about the FFVII soundtrack. A great beat, an energic melody carried by heavy synth with strings and brass contrasting in the background, giving you the perfect theme for a heroic last stand. How Uematsu manages to compress so much into just a little over one minute is nothing short of magic.

"J-E-N-O-V-A" is amazing. I didn't include FF7 in my list, and don't feel too bad about that, but man, when it shines, it shines so bright. "One Winged Angel", while good and quite a breakthrough, is overrated --I vastly prefer this, and "J-E-N-O-V-A PumpkinAbsolute" and the gorgeous "Birth of a God". They're experimental and bizarre and atypical for a fantasy RPG, indicative of FF's evolution into a new era and Uematsu's wider ambitions.

The Highwind theme is also one of my top 3 airship themes, swapping places with "Blackjack" and "Hilda Garde III" daily depending on my mood.


Quote:
Originally Posted by conchobhar View Post
#23 — Nier: Automata
I waffled for a very long time on whether to give #2 to Nier or to Automata, and if only it weren't for my #1, I would consider Automata the absolute finest soundtrack to an EXPERIENCE, let alone a video game.

Every single track is feature-worthy. I can't really name individual pieces because they're all SO GOOD. Even the most "ordinary" theme, "City Ruins" (the theme of the game's hub), is a joy to listen to in its various arrangements.

But my feature selection absolutely had to go to the very last final theme, "Weight of the World/End of YoRHa". It's... difficult to describe, especially since the context where it plays is the biggest spoiler in the Drakengard/Nier series, but this particular version of the song is... well, it's the OTHER theme that reduces me to a wailing mess. Its context absolutely destroys anyone who hears it, but even without the game, it tears at you so hard, but it leaves you with a powerful sense of hope. It's the complete antithesis to Nier's "Ashes of Dreams" and the only, ONLY way the story of Nier, and the relationship between it and the player, could possibly end.

The part where the choirs come in, man. It's already a great moment in the song itself --when you've heard it in context, and you know WHY those choirs are coming in and what they mean, Jesus Christ, Yoko Taro, y u do dis.

If "Reset - Thank You" is a beautiful poem full of light, "Weight of the World/End of YoRHa" is a dirty and broken doll made beautiful by your own light, and by the light of everyone else in the real world playing this game and sharing this experience and giving up their own light for you.

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Originally Posted by conchobhar View Post
#22 — Persona 5
You’ll never see it coooooomi ~ *gunshot*


This was my #8, with Persona 3 at #11. P3 was my introduction not just to Shoji Meguro, but to Persona and Megaten music in general, and I'll love it forever for how it absolutely shattered my expectations, and aspirations, of what RPG music should sound like. P4 had a slew of standouts, sure --mostly the late game battle themes, "A New World Fool", "Fog", and "The Almighty", but I'll always prefer "Mass Destruction" and "Wiping All Out"-- but in general it didn't feel quite as fresh, or emotive, as P3 did. And, well, "Burn My Dread", man. So good.

It also helps that P3 is basically "Leitmotif: The Game".

But then I listened to P5, and oooooooh my God. It's so fresh, it's still covered in dirt!

(I have it on goodfeline authority that this is a sign of freshness.)

I had a ridiculously hard time picking my favorite theme here. Every single battle theme is amazing, from the Persona Awakening "Willpower" to the Palace boss "Blooming Villain" to the regular "Last Surprise". The final boss theme makes P4's "Genesis" look silly, and it is second only to P3's "The Battle for Everyone's Souls" and only because P3 cheated by the context of its own theme. And, my god, "Rivers in the Desert". That's as absolutely perfect, ideal, and awesome as a Persona final(-ish) battle can get without turning the Velvet Room song into a battle theme. The lyrics, the melody, the way it pumps up the bass and the electric guitar and the orchestra and then cranks up the anxiety in a hymn to self-determination and triumph. It's similar to "The Sun Rises" in that regard! But whereas Okami's theme is describing the victory over an enemy that no longer has power over you, "Rivers in the Desert" is all about how YOU are going to fight tooth and nail against an insurmountable enemy, and you're gonna WIN dammit because you can't let yourself be beaten.

"Beneath the Mask", in its infinite variations, is also the ideal daily-life theme. I love just putting it on while I work or draw. And if it's raining outside? You bet I'm matching the mood with the rainy day version.

Quote:
Originally Posted by conchobhar View Post
#12 — Nier
"Gods Bound By Rules" is my ultimate boss battle theme, as the various Thunderdomes can attest. So, yeah.

Nier was my #2 until I hit the "Send" button and decided that Automata deserved it best, on the strength of "Weight of the World" alone. There's really not much to say --Nier's OST is perfect. It's not a video game soundtrack, it's a dramatic score, infinitely applicable within and without. While Automata might be the more refined, evolved form of his compositions, Nier is literally Okabe's masterpiece. His piano is soulful, his vocals --especially the dissonant wails and growls-- convey just the right amount of brutality and chaos, and his percussion elevates the sense of danger beyond mere abstracts. Then there's the gazillion riffs on "Yonah" and "Ashes of Dreams", ranging from the melancholy to the heart-rending, especially with the latter song's lyrics. Nier is a flawed beauty of a game, and just like Automata could not end any other way but "Weight of the World", Nier couldn't let the player go without literally destroying their dreams and hopes, much like how the Shadowlord theme slowly winds down into a sad, plain music box arrangement as the boss fight wraps up. It's a hell of an ending and a hell of a message, conveyed wonderfully by the music.

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Originally Posted by JBear View Post
I chose mine secure in the knowledge that someone else (possibly multiple someones!) would pick up the slack and vote for The Wretched Automatons, one of the best pieces in gaming, and yet one that I couldn't vote for because I uniquely associate it with miserable tedium. I have been undone!
"The Wretched Automatons" is actually my second favorite Nier piece after "Gods Bound By Rules", but then, I loved the Junkheap. I was so pleased that the entire concept of the Machines buried therein led to Automata, and that Automata itself provided a rearrangement of this track in the form of "Wretched Weaponry".

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Originally Posted by Positronic Brain View Post
#10 — Final Fantasy IV

Featured Track:

Main Theme
Yessssssssss

Final Fantasy IV is the archetypal Final Fantasy for me. I liked Final Fantasy 1's soundtrack well enough, but other than a couple of pieces ("Gaia" and "Temple of Fiends") it wasn't all that hummable or memorable. But FFIV surprised me not only with its gorgeous composition and, at the time, booming orchestration, but by having character themes! And mood themes! It was an honest-to-goodness soundtrack instead of just "video game level music". Even the Ninja Gaiden games, with their own cinematic score, captured only a tenth of the emotion and narrative brilliance of the FFIV soundtrack. In an era where video games were still trying to understand what "storytelling" was, Uematsu's "Main Theme", "Airship", and "Theme of Love" leitmotifs gave the whole thing such consistency, and spun a wonderful thread across the narrative.

"Main Theme" in particular is the definitive FF Overworld theme. Its rising harp leading into winds bring to mind the image of sunrise, with the breeze of the plains urging an adventurer forward. The melancholy, but hopeful melody, tells us of leaving home in search of something, of an ideal, in search of redemption. Then the second half of the theme kicks in with Uematsu's signature "crystal harp" arpeggio --a leitmotif initiated in "The Prelude" but perfected by this particular game-- and the melody turns intimate, like the adventurer rallying their strength and then breaking into a run into a distant, fading horizon.

This is the definitive theme of the game, in no small part thanks to that crystal harp, which is such an indelible part of this soundtrack, in the game that is the archetypal FF, that they mean "Final Fantasy" to me. You can have medieval knights fighting robots with a full orchestra in the background, or feather-haired bros on a car road trip fighting shadowy demons at the sound of prog rock--if there's a crystal harp, anywhere, THAT'S Final Fantasy.

Naturally, "Within the Giant" is my second favorite theme in the soundtrack, and is as perfect a final dungeon theme as you can get --and of course it had to be preceded by the "Theme of the Red Wings", the other defining theme of FFIV. And that's why this was my highest-scored Final Fantasy, above VI, XII, XV, or any other.

(It helps that THIS was the game to elevate "Prologue" into the actual, bonafide "Theme of Final Fantasy".)

Quote:
Uematsu has never been one to fear experimenting. “Another Moon” is perhaps the main example of that, with a weird sound and a falling sound that really plays the otherworldness of, well, the moon (but least you may think this isn’t a Uematsu song, the strings playing in this track are so much him).
My favorite aspect of "Another Moon" is how the "alien horns" bounce all over the place --left, right, behind you, in front of you. "Final Battle" does the same thing at its climax. Uematsu isn't content with just displaying a weird world, he wants it to completely absorb you.

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Originally Posted by Positronic Brain View Post
#5 — Chrono Cross

[i]391 points • 14 mentions • Highest rank: #1 (Issun, Kirin, Rascally Badger, Zef)

Featured Track:

Chrono Cross ~ Time’s Scar
Color me surprised to see it all the way down here; I STRUGGLED real hard when placing it against Nier and Automata, but... yyyyyyyeah, can't deny the lure of that Scar. Personally, I picked "The Girl Who Stole A Star", but there's way too many options to pick here. "Life ~ Faraway Promise", "Time of the Dreamwatch", "FATE, Goddess of Destiny", "People Imprisoned by Destiny", "Chronopolis", "Garden of the Gods", both sides of "Voyage"... This is definitely Mistuda's grand opus.

There's a few disappointments (mainly, other than "FATE", the battle themes are blah; "Dragon God" is too chaotic and dissonant to match its awesome sibling, Xenogears' "Awakening") and one really, REALLY bad choice ("Magical Dreamers", which would've been passable once, but the power chords drill into your brain after the fiftieth loop during the sequence it plays in), but on the whole it's an absolutely amazing soundtrack.

I mean... just listen closely to the flutes in "Scars". You can hear the performer breathe. That's amazing.

But even that can't beat "The Girl Who Stole A Star". It may not be as explosive as "Time's Scar", but "Star" is every bit as passionate, intense, and emotionally raw. It's up there with Automata's most powerful themes, and even if you have to squint hard and read a little too far into the character of Kid to make her match the theme, the sheer concept of "a girl who seized a star from the sky and hid it for herself because she has nothing else in the whole world" is almost, almost up there with the context of "Emil - Sacrifice" and "Weight of the World".

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Originally Posted by conchobhar View Post
#3 — Katamari Damacy
Katamari Damacy was my #7, and We Love Katamari was #9 (amusingly, separated only by the similarly eclectic Persona 5). The experience of this game was indescribable --it was pure, distilled quirk, so lovable and hilarious. The music helps considerably, too: you have your fast, anxious tracks, hurrying you to your goal, and then you have mellow jazz, and then you have a track that is liquid nostalgia even if you don't understand Japanese. These go SO WELL with the game levels, and I had the hardest time picking a favorite because they're all so perfect. But I had to go with the main theme, "Katamari on the Rocks", because of the game's final level. I'm a sucker for triumphant reprises, and saving the main theme for Make The Moon was pure genius. The game is celebrating you, you unstoppable clump-rolling tyke, you, and now you're wrapping up the game by rebuilding the biggest, brightest object in the night sky. From the moment you drop to the ground and start picking up fruit to the time you're rolling up hurricanes with your miles-wide katamari, "Katamari on the Rocks" keeps you rollin', and it stays fresh and exciting for the whole 30 minute-long stage.

And yeah, "Katamari of Love" is the sappiest sap that ever sapped, but, dammit, it fits. And rolling up Antarctica ("...innnto my liiiife...") is such a delight
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  #635  
Old 10-11-2017, 12:57 PM
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I... I like that Sonic Eraser piece.

Send help.
something something arnold palmer

I imagine the tune was made in a couple of hours given the slightly throwaway nature of the title, being made for a kinda simple download service from Japan.

Surprisingly, Masaru Setsumaru was kept on a sound programmer for some of the mainline Sonic games, including Sonic and Knuckles and Sonic 3D Blast.
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  #636  
Old 10-11-2017, 01:53 PM
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  #638  
Old 10-11-2017, 01:57 PM
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Default The REAL Ending

#2 — Final Fantasy VI
528 points • 18 mentions • Highest rank: #1 (Daikaju, Sanagi, Vaeran)

It’s freaking Final Fantasy VI. You know this soundtrack.
~ Positronic Brain
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  #639  
Old 10-11-2017, 01:58 PM
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#2 — Final Fantasy VI
528 points • 18 mentions • Highest rank: #1 (Daikaju, Sanagi, Vaeran)

Featured Track:

Terra

Dancing MadEndingSearching For FriendsDark World

SetzerEdgar & SabinCyanOpening Theme

Composed by:

Nobuo Uematsu

Platform: SNES • Release date: April 2, 1994
I’m a programmer, not some opera floozy!

Oh, fine.

But really, there’s not much new to say about Uematsu’s SNES magnum opus. It was the natural progression of his works, marrying his love for leitmotifs with the high quality samples that Square’s experience with the hardware allowed him to finally use, and one of the highlights of his magnificent career.

FFVI’s music revolves around the character tracks - 16 of them, plus one for the villain. Every single playable character gets his own theme, including bonus characters like “Gogo” and “Umaro”. These are not cookie cutter songs - every theme is unique, tailored to each character. “Setzer” gets a theme that speaks of high-class adventure, “Edgar & Sabin” get a royal march that speaks of their heritage while “Cyan” gets a celtic anthem that speaks of duty….

And of course, those characters who are more important to the plot get their themes woven into the rest of the soundtrack. “Edgar & Sabin” reminisce the past during “Coin Song”, while “Locke” comes to term with the loss of his beloved one with “Forever Rachel”...

But I’d argue that the three most important characters for the soundtrack are “Celes”, “Kefka” and “Terra”.

Celes peaks early - while she’s the point of view character that kicks off the second half of the game, her musical climax arrives in the first half, with the “Aria de Mezzo Carattere”. Using sampled ‘voices’ Uematsu found a way to create an opera using the SNES sound chip. It is considered one of the most memorable moments of 16-bit gaming, and while it pales with what can be done with modern hardware, that entire sequence back then was nothing short of a technological miracle.

Terra” is the emotional anchor of the first half - even in the moments when she’s missing. We are first introduced to her theme during the “Opening Theme”, and our first conversation with her is held under the mellow version of her theme that is the beautiful “Awakening”. And when you get to the overworld, it’s her theme what sounds in the background. It’s easily one of the best songs in the soundtrack - short but powerful, with a marching beat but gentle strings and that triumphant bridge at the end that masks the loop.

And then there’s the villain everybody loves to hate, “Kefka”. His theme resurfaces in the final battle, in the glorious tour de force that is Dancing Mad” - a track 17 minutes long that is pure Uematsu. There are four different melodies, each one transitioning into the other gracefully, the last one being announced with the brass and chorus that you heard during the intro, bringing everything into full circle.

As if that wasn’t enough, Uematsu caps it all off with a 20 minute song, “Ending”, that revisits all of the character themes and still has time to close the story with a final glorious reprise of Setzer’s theme and the Final Fantasy theme at the end. Frankly, after all the pure unadulterated awesomeness that was the soundtrack so far, it almost feels like Uematsu is showing off. And, hey, he deserves it.

I’ve left so many songs and so many things unsaid (I didn’t even talked about the amazing battle themes, for example) because the FFVI soundtrack is just that good. All the tracks are amazing, and the entire soundtrack is a work of genius. Mere words can’t make it justice. So I’ll just stop using them.

It’s freaking Final Fantasy VI.

~ Positronic Brain
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  #640  
Old 10-11-2017, 02:08 PM
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*smashing both fists into my deck*
Relm's theme is the best one
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  #641  
Old 10-11-2017, 02:15 PM
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Yeah, there's not much to say - FFVI is just a masterpiece. I didn't have it at #1, but only because I knew it'd have no trouble being near the top of the list. It was my highest ranked FF. I love everything about the OST, and like FFIV before it it was basically the background music of my life for several years.
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Old 10-11-2017, 02:20 PM
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Whenever I try to think of "Final Fantasy Music", it's always "Terra's Theme" that comes to mind. That probably owes a lot to that VI was my first FF (and, for a long time, only), but even so: it's wormed its way into my head like nothing since.

All the themes in the game are great, really, and among the very best of the soundtrack. Cyan's is my second favourite, but my third is probably "Shadow's Theme"; giving a western theme to a ninja is a bizarre but an ingenious choice.

Outside character themes, I've gotta give it to "Slam Shuffle".
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  #643  
Old 10-11-2017, 02:25 PM
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Had FF6 as my #4. Nothing to say that hasn't already been said. Phenomenal OST.
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  #644  
Old 10-11-2017, 02:26 PM
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#1 is Tactics Ogre, right? Right?


The real #1 wasn't on my list, but it should have been, honestly.
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  #645  
Old 10-11-2017, 02:29 PM
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I don't like the regular battle theme from FF6. A black mark on an outstanding soundtrack.
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  #646  
Old 10-11-2017, 02:32 PM
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I don't like the regular battle theme from FF6. A black mark on an outstanding soundtrack.
Proof positive that monsters exist.

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  #647  
Old 10-11-2017, 02:34 PM
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Dancing Mad is the pinnacle of musical achievement on the SNES. And as the SNES is the best console of all time... The math on that one is easy.

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I don't like the regular battle theme from FF6. A black mark on an outstanding soundtrack.
True, it is the weakest in the series. If not for this one flaw, the FF6 soundtrack would be perfection too great for the human mind to handle.
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  #648  
Old 10-11-2017, 02:39 PM
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There was a day when Uematsu first listened to prog rock.

On that day, the world was changed... forever.
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  #649  
Old 10-11-2017, 02:43 PM
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I don't really mind the vi battle track. That buzzsaw guitar is one of my favorite sounds to come out of the snes honestly. Maybe i'd have a different opinion if it wasn't the first ff I played? It's a really tough ground of being tense and active while not being at all overbearing that's kind of exactly what I'm asking for in a theme I'll hear 100000 times throughout a game.
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  #650  
Old 10-11-2017, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by pudik View Post
I don't really mind the vi battle track. That buzzsaw guitar is one of my favorite sounds to come out of the snes honestly. Maybe i'd have a different opinion if it wasn't the first ff I played? It's a really tough ground of being tense and active while not being at all overbearing that's kind of exactly what I'm asking for in a theme I'll hear 100000 times throughout a game.
There might be something to that. I love FF4's regular battle theme but it was the first one I really played. All of the other ones sound various levels of weird or inappropriate or "dammit-this-isn't-FF4-why-am-I-not-playing-FF4."
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  #651  
Old 10-11-2017, 02:48 PM
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Yeah, I barely remember the FFV theme so it doesn't count (and I think Brickroad once pointed out how short it was?) but going from IV to VI's was a nice change. IV's is good, it has a steady rising progression, a threat, and a climax. You can take your time; be strategic, your team will see you through. But VI just throws you into the battle right off the bat, never letting up the tempo, and says "Fight! Fight now! Hurry up and smash through!" I appreciate them both on their own merits, but I prefer VI's instrumentation by just a smidge.

Which is funny, because their regular boss battle themes are reversed: FFIV's is a pure rush, VI's is more methodical.

Anyway, Six was my Ten, but only because the preceding nine are so ridiculously good and two of them are actually transformative experiences. The Opera Scene is one thing, but there's nothing that can quite describe what music does to The Snowfield March and to The Falcon Takeoff. Only FFIV's Bridge Crossing even comes close. The Falcon scene, particularly... after spending the World of Ruin overworld drowned by a sad, droning piece that saps your hopes and enthusiasm, you get this slow-rising theme that basically switches the light back on. It remains melancholy, but there's hope. And of course, when hope triumphs, the glorious airship theme comes back because of course it does, you're on an airship! It doesn't matter if it's the end credits, you're on an airship so you get the airship theme!

But, man, that moment when you first hear the pipe organ and the church bells, then the harpsichord, and that's even before you touch any kind of input. I didn't think I'd ever get the same feeling that Theme of the Red Wings provided, but then FFVI immediately went and did it again.
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  #652  
Old 10-11-2017, 03:00 PM
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#1 — Chrono Trigger
687 points • 23 mentions • Highest rank: #1 (Healy, Four So, Kurumin, ThornGhost, WildcatJF)

Featured Tracks:

Chrono Trigger and Frog’s Theme

To Far Away TimesMemories of GreenCorridors of Time
Mystery of the ForestSchala's ThemeLavos’ ThemeWorld Revolution

Composed by:

Yasunori Mitsuda
Nobuo Uematsu
Noriko Matsueda

Platform: SNES • Release date: March 11, 1995
But… the list refused to change.

So, here we are, Talking Time's favourite soundtrack: Chrono Trigger. This marks its third win in these lists, following JRPGs and 16-Bit Games; and, just as then, it blows away its nearest competition. Just look at the points and mentions compared to Final Fantasy VI! Truth be told, at this point I'm not sure I have anything new or interesting to say about Chrono Trigger, but I'll give it a shot.

Let's start with a story. One day, a dissatisfied composer had had enough with his job. His grievance was simple: Despite being employed as a "composer", in reality he was working as a sound engineer, programming others' music and contributing sound effects. And so, delivered an ultimatum to Hironobu Sakaguchi, then the Vice President of Square: let me compose music, or I'll quit. Sakaguchi suggested he work on Chrono Trigger. That sound programmer was Yasunori Mitsuda, and Chrono Trigger would be his first soundtrack.

Chrono Trigger, of course, was not some small title; this was the "dream team", a collaborative effort between the minds behind Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, under Square's direction. That Sakaguchi offered the composition duty to Mitsuda, a complete novice, seemingly on a whim, certainly comes as a surprise; but maybe experimentation and taking chances was the name of the game (as the story was also handled by a relative newcomer, Masato Kato). But to Mitsuda, this was his big break, and he took it incredibly seriously, pulling several all-nighters at his office to work on it. Mitsuda's overwork eventually lead him to contracting stomach ulcers, so Nobuo Uematsu (and Noriko Matsueda) stepped in to finish the soundtrack. But the bulk of the work as Mitsuda's, and Mitsuda's alone; all the more impressive when one realizes that Chrono Trigger had an unprecedented number of tracks in its era, and filled three CDs long before Final Fantasy would get there.

Of course, as I've said before, length isn't everything. What makes Chrono Trigger a genuine classic is how many moods and environments it scores, how cleverly it works leitmotifs across the entire work, and how deftly it captures emotions in his songs.

Tyrants voted for so many songs— I've linked them all above— that, frankly, I don't think I can go over all of them and still do them justice (I encourage you all to share your thoughts!). I'm just going to stick to our two featured tracks. Yes, two: there was a tie, and because this is a special occasion, I let it stand.

First up we have "Chrono Trigger", the main theme of the game as well as protagonist Crono. It's a grandiose theme befitting of its stature. Instrumentally, it's a brass and string arrangement backed by strong and steady percussion. The standout, though, is its unique melody, that twists and turns, changes and evolves over its two minutes, running gamut of emotions: adventure, hope, determination, pride, and even with a bit of a mournful tinge at times. Hearing it fills me with a whole rush of emotions, even if they contrast; it gives the song a real freshness and allows it to fit just about any moment, which is just a perfect quality for a main theme to have.

This song would later reappear, in remixed form, in Chrono Cross as "Fields of Time", the overworld theme for Home World.

Second is "Frog's Theme", a long-time fan favourite. More than any other character theme in the game, it serves as a microcosm of its subject's entire story and character. The song, with its steady percussion and blaring trumpet, has the characteristic of a military march; reflecting Frog's past as a knight, but also his present attributes of his noble demeanour and flair for the flashy and theatrical. But attention must also be paid to the flute interlude and its wistful quality, and how that reflects Frog's own depression and isolation over his current form. But most of all, there's the sheer determination and passion that runs through it all, even the flute section— cluing us into Frog's unrelenting drive in his pursuit of justice and revenge.

It's also worth noting that "Frog's Theme" is one of two Mitsuda's favourites, and songs that he most hoped players would hear (the second is Magus' Theme).

It's funny to note that, when Sakaguchi put Mitsuda on Chrono Trigger, he remarked that "maybe your salary will go up." Sakaguchi was more right than he realized certainly did; after all, Chrono Trigger launched Mitsuda's entire career.

~ conchobhar
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  #653  
Old 10-11-2017, 03:01 PM
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Old 10-11-2017, 03:06 PM
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Chrono Trigger is very good. I left it off my list because I knew it would get #1 regardless.

I never knew that story about the composer(s).
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Old 10-11-2017, 03:12 PM
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I didn't vote for FF 6.

I did vote for Chrono Trigger, but it was further down the list.

Not much to say besides that. Maybe we should do Top 50 Lists That Would Have Chrono Trigger at #1.
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  #656  
Old 10-11-2017, 03:25 PM
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And this is it for the Top 50. Wasn't that fun?

We still have one more post to go - the full ranking of games that were nominated, which will go live tomorrow. Please look forward to it!
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  #657  
Old 10-11-2017, 03:49 PM
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And this is it for the Top 50. ♪

Wasn't that fun? ♪
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  #658  
Old 10-11-2017, 03:54 PM
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I'm not surprised Chrono Trigger won out; as my #1 vote would suggest, I adore it and it's definitely one of the most iconic soundtracks of the SNES, the 90s, RPGs, and gaming in general. It's just perfect. And I even learned something about Mitsuda today!
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  #659  
Old 10-11-2017, 04:13 PM
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I had Trigger at #5, but again a big part of that is knowing it would have plenty of support. Obviously another masterpiece that we've talked to death.

Nevertheless - a standout for me is Schala's theme - my love for Schala was a standard shallow weeaboo crush, but my love for Schala's theme endures unabated. That that yearning, piercing upward interval gets me every time. And the interplay between Schala's theme, Magus' theme, and the theme of Zeal is just masterful.

If anyone wants to really dig into the technique behind the scores of Chrono Trigger and Cross, Kenley Kristofferson's old Into the Score tackled them in a three part series, uh... like a decade ago, jeeze. But much to my delight it appears the files are still up! (Eps 4-6)
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Old 10-11-2017, 04:25 PM
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My absolutely favorite Chrono Trigger track is actually the final boss theme. It's just incredible. Assuming this track is made by Yasunori Mitsuda, it's pretty much my favorite Mitsuda track of all time. I honestly really hated it that he started to compose more ambient atmospheric music in all the games he composed for afterwards, so the Chrono Trigger OST is actually the only OST from him that I enjoy.

Chrono Trigger actually just missed my top 25. It's #28 on my list. That's mainly because even though every single track in the OST is memorable, I only really like a few ones. My second favorite is actually the unreleased battle theme.

I actually voted Final Fantasy VI a bit higher on place #17. Here it's a bit the opposite. There no song in it that I really love, but every single song is memorable and pleasant to listen to.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Overall impression: The list is uh maybe a bit too much driven by game popularity. I was seriously hoping that a lot more "This game sucks but the OST is amazing" titles would show up here (before the list was posted, I was actually expecting at least SaGaFrontier and Unlimited Saga to make it to the top 10), but in the end this list could also easily be a top 50 games list of someone.

Warning: Censored ranting
Also you guys seem to like calm and ambient music a lot which I absolutely hate (or simply consider too forgetable to vote for). At the start I tried to comment on why I don't like it, but then people complained about me complaining and I realized I would just write the same thing on every game posted (that it's too calm and has no memorable melodies and it's too easy to compose and it really just sounds like some random squeaking of sounds), so I just shut up except on titles I actually liked. It's not like I didn't expect it already, because I remembered before that someone said the Chrono Cross OST was the best OST and I was like, I remember it being actually pretty bad and then he gave me an example of his favorite and I decided to give it a chance and was like "What the hell, that's almost unbearable to listen to. But calm down Rya, it's just a matter of taste." and just didn't comment on it anymore, since I didn't really want to talk bad about someone's favorite track. In the end music like that is just really hard for me to listen to as it literally hurts my ears. My best friend likes the exact opposite music that I do and she always says her ears hurt when she listens to electronic music. So it's pretty funny, that the opposite type of music actually has the same physical effects.

Many of the titles on the top 50 list however are simply something I just can't connect to. For example all the Megaman and Castlevania titles. I never played these so I have no connection to the games and when I listen to them I think "They sound nice, but what's so special about them to vote for them into the top 25?" I guess you need to have played the games in order to appreciate those OSTs.

Anyway, for some reason I really want to show you guys some really great OSTs of less known games now. I'm still thinking how to do it though.

I'll wait for the full list and check if anyone else has voted for some I'm currently thinking of.
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