Final Fantasy X-2: real Emotion / 1000 Words – Koda Kumi

Final Fantasy X-2: real Emotion / 1000 Words - Koda Kumi Album Title:
Final Fantasy X-2: real Emotion / 1000 Words – Koda Kumi
Record Label:
Catalog No.:
RZCD-45080 (Copy Protected)
Release Date:
March 5, 2003
Buy at CDJapan


The vocal pieces to appear in Final Fantasy X-2 are the most diverse vocal tracks to appear in the series. They take their roots in dance, electronica, and pop rather than aiming for the traditional ballad. Many fans of the series were put off by these tracks, because they did not flow or fit in with the rest. In many ways, the entire Final Fantasy X-2 Original Soundtrack can fall in that category as well. For me though, this step away from the traditional was exactly what the series needed; a fresh look at what vocal pieces in video games could become both in style and presentation. Traditionally, the vocal pieces have gone with the credits, or appeared in sentimental parts of the game. With these tracks, they’re preformed in full visual vocal representation, aka Yuna on a platform with a microphone in her hand. These tracks are also unique, because this is the first Final Fantasy game to feature more than one vocal piece.


“real Emotion” in every sense of the word, describes this album immaculately well. The track starts the game off with a bang, and does the same on this album. It’s impossible to compare this track to the other vocal pieces of the series, because it is simply too different. Instead of strings, we have electronic keyboards. Instead of acoustic guitars, we have heavy electric guitars and basses. And instead of a small drum kit, we have a powerful dance beat. However, all of these changes produce a very interesting sound. Particularly when you listen to the instrumental version of this track (also included on this album), you can really hear the intricate rhythms and melodies that simply were not possible in other vocal tracks. In many ways, this departure with the instrumentation has opened up new doors as to what composers can get away with as far as a vocal piece is concerned.

Koda Kumi provides the vocals for the track, and they are particularly strong. Every note is crisp and clean, and every lyric provides the needed energy and enthusiasm to keep the melody moving. Kumi’s voice in particular is perfectly suited to this style of track; it’s edgy, yet powerful, and her personality is really allowed to shine through. If you ever get a chance to see the music video that goes along with this song, you may be surprised at just how close her visual appearance, both in movement and style, matches what Yuna attempts to show while she’s on stage. The lyrics themselves match the style of the piece perfectly, and help to support the instrumentation and Kumi’s voice.

The second vocal piece, “1000 Words,” is literally the complete opposite. Its slow, melodramatic lyrical melody and syncopated rhythm provide an excellent contrast to “real Emotion.” The entire track can be viewed as a ballad, but not a true ballad. We still have instances where the instrumentation varies into more electronica sounding instruments, rather than acoustic or rock instrumental arrangements. Kumi’s voice is also different, in that instead of her short, quick phrases, we get long lyrical sections where she really gets to show off the power of her voice. Those few long notes during the chorus are fantastic to listen to, because traditionally, long notes in vocal pieces become screechy and tube-esque the longer they are held. Kumi’s voice however is consistently strong from start to finish. She is also allowed to expand her range to include low, dramatic phrases and high vocal holds. Although it isn’t included on this album, the orchestrated version of this track is amazing to listen to, because Kumi is allowed even more emotional and dramatic freedom when performing the phrasing of each line.


Final Fantasy X-2 was a disappointment for many fans, myself included. It was viewed as being a money-maker, designed to mooch off the success of Final Fantasy X. Because of the negativity towards the title, these vocal tracks were not given the attention they deserved. They were viewed as ‘too different’ and ‘too eclectic’ to fit the Final Fantasy style of music. In my opinion, the interpretation couldn’t be more the opposite. Both “real Emotion” and “1000 Words” are real benchmarks in the Final Fantasy series, and it’s a good bet that we’ll never see anything like them again in the series, which is a very big loss.

Final Fantasy X-2: real Emotion / 1000 Words – Koda Kumi Andre Marentette

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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Andre Marentette. Last modified on January 17, 2016.

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