Final Fantasy X: feel / Go Dream
Final Fantasy X: feel / Go Dream
October 11, 2001
Buy Used Copy
Final Fantasy X‘s tribute album was intended for those who especially enjoyed the love story of Final Fantasy X. It featured three vocal three arrangements from the Square Enix music team back then that reflected how the game’s story showed Tidus and Yuna become strong, discover themselves, and realize how much they are in love despite their tragic circumstances. “feel” is for the Japanese voice actress of Yuna, “Go Dream” is for the voice of Tidus, and “Endless Love, Endless Road” is their romantic duet. Although this album had commercialistic intent, the musical quality is quite good and, with Masashi Hamauzu, Tsuyoshi Sekito, and Masayoshi Soken responsible, this is perhaps unsurprising. Let’s take a closer look…
Masash Hamauzu’s “feel” remixes “Song of Prayer” into a dreamy new age blend to represent Yuna. The track is principally synthetic featuring a relaxing downtempo beat and drum kit creating an airy ambience. Nevertheless, there are three forces that radiate from it to colour the minimalism. A jazz-tinged piano infuses the track throughout and, while its work very subtle, Hamauzu’s arranging is expectantly sublime. Perhaps the most endearing feature, however, are the rich violin solos that sporadically appear. But this is a vocal album and I haven’t even mentioned Mayuko Aoki’s voice yet. That’s become the vocals are secondary to the overall timbre; they enhance the track rather than lead it, fading in and out with great fluidity thanks to Aoki’s sensitive performance and high production values. While simple, it represents the dreaminess and spirituality of Yuna beautifully.
The contrast between Yuna and Tidus is made very explicit with the light rock theme “Go Dream”, sung by Masakazu Morita and arranged by Tsuyoshi Sekito. It demonstrates a more adventurous spirit and greater temperament, but is in no way abrasive, clearly the theme of a hero not anti-hero. It uses “Tidus’ Theme” as its basis, but doesn’t adhere to it, featuring a rock rather than acoustic ensemble and entering lots of secondary solos. As can be expected from someone that leads The Black Mages, the instrumentals here are well done from the digging bass guitar line to the extravagant electric guitar solos. The vocals, on the other hand, seem a bit out-of-place and it’s clear that Morita’s initial discipline wasn’t singing. The track really stinks of cheese because of the vocalist’s prominence and the obvious chord progressions. But if you liked Final Fantasy X‘s love story, cheese presumably tastes great to you.
For the final arrangement, “Endless Love, Endless Road”, the unlikely pairing of Hamauzu and Sekito as co-arrangers does not happen. Instead, what is believed to be Masayoshi Soken under the name Masayoshi Kikuchi (I suspect the former is the pseudonym) contributes. This is a nice medium between the two previous tracks, adopting a moderate tempo, having a sentimental tinge, and employing contrast between soft instruments and rock-tinged ones. However, the songwriting is a little uninspiring. It maintains the same pace throughout and, while the addition of a drum kit and a contrived electric guitar in the latter half helps to bring it towards a climax, everything feels a little labour. In addition, Yuna and Tidus very rarely sing together, which was a big mistake. Overall, this track was to make or break the album and didn’t quite fulfil expectations.
Added to these three tracks are their instrumental counterparts. Although they are just the instrumental parts of the other tracks, they are massively important additions to the karaoke industry. If you’re female, why not lament over having no lover with some cries based on Song of Prayer (though your timing better be good otherwise you might miss your cue)? If you’re male, why not reflect your ladykilling adventurous spirit with some splendidly aged rock aged with Sekito’s guitar by your side? If you’re either of these and happen to have a lover, why not either kill your relationship or make it even more sickly by requesting your partner duet with you? Knowing that you’ll mostly singing separately means you don’t have to destroy the ears of your audience any more by being agonisingly out-of-tune together.
This album is cute. Sickening, contrived, amusing, but not necessarily endearing. From an introduction that brought integrity and expectation, Sekito and Morita threw all that away in favour of pure cheese instead. Soken didn’t quite reunite the two halfs with his duet that, ehrm, didn’t feature the two vocal lines crossing each other. But that isn’t my only complaint. I think Masakazu Morita as Tidus was miscast both as the game’s actor and the singer of the album. Mr. Goo would have been a far better choice, but this album was sadly made a few years before his The Black Mages’ debut. If he were cast, the album would be stupid but instantly endearing. In my opinion, this album falls short in most respects but might be worth it for its small price to some.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Dave Valentine. Last modified on August 1, 2012.