Final Fantasy VI Special Tracks
Final Fantasy VI Special Tracks
April 25, 1994
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The Final Fantasy VI Special Tracks is the spiritual successor to the Final Fantasy IV Minimum Album and Final Fantasy V + 1, an 8cm single released by NTT Publishing featuring a few bonus tracks of themes that did not reach Final Fantasy VI as well as some low-key synthetic arrangements. Likely the most interesting and satisfying of all early Final Fantasy singles available, as well as the only one to feature tracks not included on Final Fantasy Mix, the Special Tracks feature two unused town themes, two remixes of very well-known pieces, and even an exotic vocal theme. It’s well worth a closer look…
Even before Final Fantasy VIII‘s “Eyes on Me,” Nobuo Uematsu demonstrated some flair for vocal themes. One of his earlier examples is “Approaching Sentiment” from this album. Sung by the team of Final Fantasy VI with light accompaniment from piano, organ, a variety of exotic percussion instruments, and ‘new age’ synth pads, it is initially led by a male singer, but goes on to be interpreted by a female choir, other soloists, and finally a male choir before all forces come together for the uplifting conclusion. Featured on the rare Final Fantasy VI: Original Video, the members of the Square team are seen grouped as a church choir and soon start swaying in the style of “We Are the World” in a highly amusing supposed cheesefest. This track is fun, memorable, and well-executed, despite its repetition; if you have a sense of humour then you might just like it. There’s also a karaoke version at the end of the album.
A rejected town theme for the game, “Town 2” had the potential to be warmly regarded, but perhaps was a little too upbeat to match the often dark feel of Final Fantasy VI. Led throughout by a catchy and buoyant melody, it is accompanied by a syncopated guitar line and exotic percussion beats. The melodic power and charm of the piece is greater than “Kids Run Through the City Corner,” the principle town theme actually used in Final Fantasy VI, though it is not as deep. Written in compound time in the style of a Gigue, “Town 3” is a very simple and underdeveloped rejected town theme, but not without some appeal. Its two interweaving melodic lines work excellently in conjunction with a thin accompaniment to create the bounciness and jubilance inherent to any Gigue. A little before it loops, a ritardando features leading to a pause, creating a joking feel and demonstrating some good technical employment. As a town theme, though, it was best rejected, for it would have grown annoying very quickly.
A low-key Celtic arrangement of the popular Final Fantasy IV theme of the same name, “Troain Beauty” is a pleasant yet purposeless addition to the album. Given the theme was interpreted in a perfectly satisfying non-synthetic Celtic arrangement in Final Fantasy IV Celtic Moon, this arrangement does nothing that hasn’t been done before and seems like a random addition to the album. Fairly beautiful, but why? The Chocobo theme is also featured here in one of its best renditions to date. Starting off with some poorly synthesized electronic beats, with the entrance of an unusual descant at the 0:20 mark, the theme soon blooms into an experimental rendition of the “Chocobo” melody with unusual beats below and all sorts of colourful synthetic effects above. As it develops to incorporate a chromatic modulation, some sophisticated interludes, lots of awesome rhythmical features, and a jazzy piano solo, it becomes clear that Nobuo Uematsu’s creativity is at its apex. While it isn’t the most musically refined creation in the world and hardly the definition of a techno style, this doesn’t matter; it’s the unparalleled development and creative usage of the theme that makes this track a must-listen for all Final Fantasy fans.
All items in the Final Fantasy VI Special Tracks are quite odd. Why “Troian Beauty” and the “Chocobo” theme were remixed, two overly upbeat town themes were created for Final Fantasy VI, and anything like “Approaching Sentiment” ever happened is beyond me. Still, it remains nonetheless a charming and enjoyable item for those with a sense of humour that are not anticipated a momentous dramatic arch or an epic spinoff from Final Fantasy VI‘s soundtrack. The most hardcore of Final Fantasy fans should consider purchasing it some day from eBay, where it goes at around $30 a time, though others may wish to avoid 20 minutes of vibrant inconsistency.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.