Final Fantasy XII: Kiss Me Good-Bye – Angela Aki

Final Fantasy XII: Kiss Me Good-Bye - Angela Aki Album Title:
Final Fantasy XII: Kiss Me Good-Bye – Angela Aki
Record Label:
Epic Record Japan
Catalog No.:
Release Date:
March 15, 2006
Buy at CDJapan


The Final Fantasy series has always been very picky about the vocal pieces that appear in their games. The artist needs to fit the mood of the game in both style and musicality. For Final Fantasy XII, Square Enix couldn’t have picked a better vocalist than Angela Aki. In my opinion, she is the strongest vocalist to appear in a Final Fantasy game to date. Her ability with the language (both Japanese and English) makes for an almost seamless transition between the two versions of the title track, “Kiss Me Good-Bye.”


We begin with the Japanese version of “Kiss Me Good-Bye.” The first time I heard this track, I thought it was going to be really different. The first few bars of the piece are quite varied, in that the vocal themes haven’t had that beat pattern before. But, to my dismay, the piece then melded back into the traditional four-beat ballad. Not to say this is a bad thing, but I would have liked to hear a little variation. The rest of the piece, however, is actually quite a joy to listen to. The melody is strong without being overly screechy, and the contrast between low and high vocal ranges is crisp and clean. The instrumentation of this track, however, could have used a little more. One thing that I really liked about “1000 Words” from Final Fantasy X-2 was that the instrumentation was a little bit different; the same instruments were all there that you would expect, but there were a few additions which really made the track sound unique. With “Kiss Me Good-Bye,” you don’t necessarily get that.

The English version of “Kiss Me Good-Bye” has similar strengths and weaknesses. Aki’s voice is as strong in English as in Japanese, and the words are clear and easy to understand, very much like what we’ve seen from Hikaru Utada in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II. But again, the instrumentation doesn’t fully support her voice in the way that it could. There was tons of potential with this track, but in my opinion the need for a traditional ballad outweighed that potential.

Also included on this album were two additional tracks. “Santa Fé” is a great example of just how great Aki is with the English language. The lower octave sounds fantastic and is a great contrast to the low piano. The funky beat also suits her voice perfectly, giving a fantastic impression of this song being preformed in a lounge. Oddly enough, the best track on this album isn’t the title tracks for Final Fantasy XII.

We’ve all heard at least one version of “Whiter Shade of Pale” in our lives, whether it be the original version, the version by Annie Lennox, or for those of us who sample into opera now and then, the version by Sarah Brightman. Aki’s version blows all of them away. Titled “Blue Shadow” on the album, this track was a complete surprise for me. When I first heard it, I thought it sounded familiar, and when I recognized the song, I couldn’t believe my luck at hearing Aki sing it. I knew I was in for a treat, and I wasn’t disappointed. The track is made up of Aki’s voice with a piano. That’s it; such a simple combination but such a powerful result. Aki sings in Japanese for most of the song, before switching to English for the final chorus, and I’ve got to tell you, it’s rare to hear those notes sung with the true perfection and clarity that Aki presents.


We’ve waited a long time for Final Fantasy XII. Much like every new James Bond movie, fans of the games are always looking forward to hearing that new vocal piece that becomes the stand-alone icon for the game. “Kiss Me Good-Bye” doesn’t disappoint, but we’ve heard it before. Square-Enix seems to enjoy using the same type of theme over and over again, which doesn’t do justice to the game or the vocalist. A real departure from the love ballad would be a fantastic and unique step for the Final Fantasy series, but it would appear we may have to wait for a future game to see it.

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

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