Final Fantasy V -Mambo de Chocobo-
Final Fantasy V -Mambo de Chocobo-
21 January, 1993
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One of Final Fantasy V‘s characters was a yellow chocobo named Boco, and Final Fantasy V was the first Final Fantasy game where chocobos really began to play a major role in the plot. Bartz uses Boco to go from place-to-place at the beginning of the game and later leaves him with Faris’ pirate group when he goes out to journey to save the world. Therefore, it was a pretty tactical decision from Nobuo Uematsu to release a mini-album entitled Final Fantasy V -Mambo de Chocobo- in commemoration of this iconic flightless bird.
The original “Mambo de Chocobo” was one of those themes that was ridiculously underdeveloped and annoying to hear. Thankfully, its remix on this mini-album is a massive improvement of the original, arranged by Ken Morimura in a Latin style. The brass section rasp out a magnificent variation of the melody in this track while introducing a number of new, previously unexplored sections. A number of instruments gain a solo line in this track, but perhaps the most notable one is the solo trumpet. The trumpet scats over a simple piano line, increasing in passion and momentum as it proceeds, right up to a surprising peak. The piano solo is just as impressive as it takes the simple melody to some great places. The revamped Latin feel of this track really works and transforms a gimmick into a well-rounded creation.
With the first track on the album being an arranged version, the three that follow are all unreleased versions that never made it to the Final Fantasy V game. “Mount of Sky Dragon” isn’t anything to yell about, compared to classics like “The Dragon Spreads its Wings”, but it achieves the desired tone by combining a playful melody with a militaristic accompaniment. “Opening Idea Version 2” features a gently romantic melody, but doesn’t quite fit the tone of the game as well as the more cheerful “Ahead on Our Way”. There is nothing wrong with the ideas that the theme contains, but they are thrown together in a somewhat half-hearted manner. “Flying Ship Version 2” is the shortest track on the album, but it does the desired job of capturing flying on the world map. I think that the melody here is much better than in “The Airship,” but it lacks the power or development.
The “Final Fantasy Megamix” is undoubtedly the worst on the album, despite the fact that it has some impressive sections. The first Final Fantasy theme to be heard is “Ahead on Our Way,” but it is destroyed by the arranger Hironori Doi shoving in some unnecessary sections at random intervals. “The Prelude” is played for a short while as the arranger than moves back into a rendition of “Ahead on Our Way” complete with a drum kit and a high pitched synth screeching. The next theme to be heard is “Mambo de Chocobo,” but this is clouded by the same drum kit and annoying trumpet additions in the background. Strangely enough, the arranger then switches to “Victory Fanfare,” in an abrupt unnecessary addition, before presenting “Final Fantasy” over the top of this for a short while. The section around the 3:40 section is the best in the track, and it is here that the only real sense of musicality comes in as a piano plays a great rendition of a heartfelt track in the original. Apart from this, I find this arrangement to be both inappropriate and uncomfortable.
On the whole, this is decent album. It is certainly quite interesting to see the quality of the themes that didn’t quite make it to the Original Sound Version, while the opening arrangement is very enjoyable. However, the album is signficantly let down by its short length and the quality of the megamix. Regardless, this album does seem to be a bit of a marketing ploy and isn’t really worth the money for casual listeners.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Dave Valentine. Last modified on August 1, 2012.