Final Fantasy X: Suteki da ne – Rikki
Final Fantasy X: Suteki da ne – Rikki
DigiCube (1st Edition); Square Enix (2nd Edition)
July 18, 2001; July 22, 2004
Buy at CDJapan
With “Suteki da ne” being the third vocal theme from a Final Fantasy game, the publishers behind this single have a good idea of what the fans would like. The singles for “Eyes on Me” and “Melodies of Life” featuring the original theme, its karaoke version, and one new theme. This time, the publishers made a much more valuable experience by introducing two new themes. Rikki certainly has a lot to live up to; with the previous albums being almost flawless in nature, this album would have to be something special.
“Suteki da ne” was perhaps the best vocal ballad released for the series at the time. Rikki’s high-pitched folky voice is admittedly an acquired taste compared to the mellow classically-oriented Emiko Shiratori and the confident poppy Faye Wong. However, it suits the Eastern influence Nobuo Uematsu decided for the theme and will be enjoyed by some listeners. The instrumental arrangement from Shiro Hamaguchi is fantastic here. Takahiko Ishikawa starts the track off with a carefully played acoustic guitar that is soon followed by a glorious violin melody. Rikki’s voice comes over this singing a subdued fluid melody. The track starts to become more passionate around the 1:40 mark and with this followed soon by a complete violin solo. While I personally preferred the orchestral version featured in the end credits, it’s not conventional for these singles to feature such renditions.
“The Moon ~Utikisama~” is an original theme that is solely composed by Rikki. The theme doesn’t hold the same amount of instrumental variety as “Suteki da ne” in favour of a simple piano line. The theme is slow-paced and gently developed, exploring Rikki’s fascination with The Moon. Towards the end where she starts to howl as she suspends a high pitched note. Although the representation of a werewolf was most likely an unintended effect, I feel that it adds expressiveness to the theme. On the whole, this is a promising track that brings out Rikki’s voice pretty well; despite a few pitching issues, she performs it beautifully.
The last song on the album is a pleasing arrangement of “Aerith’s Theme” from the Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack. Yuji Hasegawa’s acoustic guitar, a lightly played acoustic bass, and a violin line introduce the track, instantly giving a Celtic feel. Nonetheless, it proves to be much more of a traditional Japanese theme when Rikki sings the original melody. The acoustic bass becomes a lot more prominent towards the centre of the track when some drums are also added and not surprisingly, the theme becomes a lot more emotive here, too. Rain effects are also added, so it almost gives the impression of Aerith’s descent into water. The lyrics are perfectly fitting; the main verse says “The passionate feelings that were beginning to vanish once again sway in radiance in my chest.” This track is a beautiful ballad, and as you will see, the words fit right in with the music.
You know the drill. The last track is a rendition of “Suteki da ne” without the vocals. It emphasises the quality of the instrumental arrangement but feels empty without a melody.
On the whole, this album is better than the two that precede it. Rikki’s voice may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the instrumentation and the charm behind the melodies really make it a wholesome experience. As the Final Fantasy series progresses, the vocal albums that are released alongside them just get better and better.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Dave Valentine. Last modified on August 1, 2012.