Final Fantasy XII: Kiss Me Good-Bye – Angela Aki
Final Fantasy XII: Kiss Me Good-Bye – Angela Aki
Epic Record Japan
March 15, 2006
Buy at CDJapan
Final Fantasy XII sure has a lot of singles. First there was Angela Aki – Kokoro no Senshi then the orchestral Symphonic Poem “Hope” and, thirdly, Aki reprises her role as singer with the game’s theme song “Kiss Me Good-bye,” composed by our very own Nobuo Uematsu. So how does Angela Aki’s second game-related single do?
With the Japanese version of “Kiss Me Good-Bye”, you’ll notice two things right away. The first one is that Ms. Aki has a very lovely voice. The second one is that Uematsu wrote a pretty good tune. Those of you who were disappointed with his more recent works might enjoy this song, which has an instrumental accompaniment I consider to be better than his last love song, “Suteki da ne.” Of course, credits also go to Motoki Matsuoka and Shin Kono, who arranged the composition. Aki, besides doing all the singing and playing the piano, has also written the lyrics to this composition, which is a first in the numbered Final Fantasy series. Now, unfortunately, the song is mostly in Japanese, so it’s hard to judge the lyrics, but if they’re as good as the vocalist’s voice, this has all the makings of a great tune. With some light string backing, as well as piano, drums, and bass, “Kiss Me Good-Bye” sure is a nice stand-alone song. What I mean is that it sounds good, but it’s not the game version, which is the last track of the album.
“Santa Fé” is my favourite song from this single, easily. It’s a shame this kind of music isn’t on video games, just so I can rub it in people’s faces while shouting “Yeah, THIS is VGM!” “Santa Fé” is a jazzy tune, very groovy, with a nice rhythm and with, get ready, lyrics in English! Yay! We can understand what Aki is singing now, and I must say she has a very good English pronunciation, given she is completely bilingual. If you walk into a night club, this is the kind of music you can expect to hear there, this type of lounge-music. If you have seen the movie “Lost in Translation,” remember the part with Bill Murray in the hotel’s restaurant? Well, “Santa Fé” is that kind of music. It’s so great. After a little love ballad, “Santa Fé” comes as quite a surprise, with, yet again, a very good performance by Aki and her band. This song had me at the first piano chord.
“Blue Shadow” is a cover of Procul Harem’s classic “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” already arranged by many artists. Yet this song is all Aki. It’s a solo performance, composed, of course, by Keith Reid and Gary Brooker, with the lyrics in Japanese because she translated them, save for the last few lines. For better or worse, there’s not much to say about it. “Blue Shadow,” if anything, shows us that Ms. Aki has not only a lovely voice, but a great vocal range as well. The piano accompaniment is effective, and it doesn’t try to dominate the song with fancy runs. It’s simple, just like the original theme, and it does the trick. I’d say was the hardest song for a vocalist, and inexperienced singers could have problems with the longest and highest notes. Our girl Aki, fortunately, is a great musician, and could and does sing this song perfectly with great sensitivity and maturity.
The fourth track is the moment we’ve been waiting for. This is it: the game edit version of the theme song, arranged by none other than Kenichiro Fukui himself. Fundamentally, it’s still a love ballad. What he did was simply change some of the accompaniment to make it more emotional, with strings given a more prominent role, the addition of a harp and a guitar, and softer percussion and piano lines, much more fitting with a slow love song. The lyrics are now in English and they still work wonderfully with the song. I imagine they have nothing to do with the ones in the Japanese, but I hope the difference isn’t as drastic as with “Hikari” and “Simple and Clean,” where the English song had some bad lyrics that had almost no connection to Kingdom Hearts whatsoever. With “Kiss Me Good-Bye,” that remains to be seen.
As usual, Aki’s singing is top notch, and, honestly, I expected nothing less. If you have been chosen to write and sing a song, you have to be at least mildly competent. Aki is much more than that, and she has proven that again and again, with each of these songs, as well as the ones on the other single, Warrior of the Heart and her previous Indie albums. Overall, “Kiss Me Good-Bye” is a great piece of music. The combined efforts of Uematsu, Fukui, Aki and the performers resulted in a wonderful song that is sure to please the fans.
With the Final Fantasy XII Original Soundtrack having been delayed for over a month, enjoying the single albums released is all you can do. And luckily, “Kiss Me Good-Bye” is one heck of an album. Each one of the four songs adds something different to album, proving to be a very satisfying experience. “Santa Fé” is worth alone the price of admission, though you might not want to ignore the title theme, which is a great piece of music as well. And now, for the pun everybody’s been waiting for. Do you kiss this album good-bye or not? Only people who dislike good music do that kind of thing. Be smart, and don’t.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on August 1, 2012 by Eduardo Friedman. Last modified on August 1, 2012.