Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack
Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack
DigiCube (1st Edition); Square Enix (2nd Edition)
February 10, 1997; May 10, 2004
Buy at CDJapan
We know that this is the Original Soundtrack that accompanies possibly one of the most famous games in history, but a question remains in the back of everybody’s mind. Can this be another ground-breaking soundtrack that fits alongside the game perfectly and wows its listeners?
Well, in the short answer, yes! The music that accompanies the name “Final Fantasy” has always been a major talking point in all of the previous games, due to the sumptuous melodies and brilliant backing in literally all of the themes that Nobuo Uematsu composes. And this one is no different. Uematsu amazes us once again with his large range of styles and his fantastic knowledge of world cultures with this soundtrack, and when these two aspects are put together there is only one outcome. A truly masterful piece of work that meets all our expectations and manages to make us wonder what he will bless our ears with next time around.
The first piece of music that you hear in the actual game, “Opening ~ Bombing Mission,” really sets the scene; it has pretty much everything needed to make it a memorable track. Both the FMV sequence and its accompanying music start out very mysteriously, and then the scene pans out to a wide view of the city. It changes to a more triumphant tone when the Final Fantasy VII logo comes up before going straight into a fast-paced tension-building sequence. This piece has everything that you would expect the beginning of a game to have, especially when you don’t know anything about who you are or what you are doing there.
The soundtrack is considerably influenced at the beginning of the game by industrial music and many thought this would be an interesting move, since Nobuo had never really composed that style of music for a game of this format. This doesn’t mean that every piece of music uses synthesisers and an analog drum kit. If it did, then it wouldn’t be half the soundtrack that it is. The industrial theme is used where it is needed, in some of the setting themes and fighting themes like the rock-influenced classic “Still More Fighting,” but pretty much as soon as you leave the city of Midgar everything in the musical aspect of the game changes. It certainly becomes a lot calmer and Nobuo really starts to use his brilliant composing skills. I’m not saying that the industrial music is bad, because it certainly isn’t and pieces like “Mako Reactor” and “Shinra Company” really stand out as true classics. I just feel that Uematsu is much better at composing calmer orchestral-influenced material.
As soon as you leave the city of Midgar, you hear the brilliant “F.F.VII Main Theme.” For me this piece really outlines the game. It is cased in uncertainty with it changing between the major and minor keys all the time. You aren’t sure what the piece of music holds but you hope it will all turn out good in the end. This piece does use repetition in a very good way since every time the same chord scheme is repeated it just sounds better than the last, and it really makes you just want to stand still on the world map just so you can hear it. It certainly makes you curse those random battles, when it interrupts you at a key part of the theme, that’s for sure.
The music in the rest of the game changes theme depending on where you are, ranging from the oriental feel of “Wutai” to the militaristic “Fortress of the Condor.” In every aspect of culture, Uematsu has put a set theme in his mind and he has composed a brilliant piece of music to accompany the setting. Some would argue that Square wanted to test his compositional skill on this project, due to the extensive change that’s seen in the game. The game certainly tested him more than any previous Final Fantasy instalment. Uematsu has outdone everything previous and has proved to the critics that he is much greater than he was previously rated. He only seems to get better and better the more he composes.
Obviously, the music from Final Fantasy VII is going to be compared to its predecessors in terms of sound quality and composition style. And due to the increased sound capabilities of the PlayStation, Uematsu has had a largely increased view about how he composes his music. The quality of the sounds he has used are far superior to that on the Super Nintendo, with noticeable changes being the increased quality of the stringed instruments, and I feel that this has been utilised very well. More of the pieces in Final Fantasy VII use stringed instruments than in previous Final Fantasy games and I think this aided the overall tone of the soundtrack. They are also used in much more depth with many layers of harmony making up each piece and there is a good structure of panning used. A very good example of this is “Highwind Takes to the Skies.” This piece is largely based on stringed instruments with some electronic overtones, and it works amazingly well. It is a memorable tune that you will probably never forget, and it has the type of melody that you just want to go to your instrument and play.
The Final Fantasy VII soundtrack is clearly in a league of its own. It excels in quantity, quality, and pure epic scale. Every piece is individual, and every piece has its own meaning. For me, when I listen to each theme a different part of the magical story is being told. I’m not saying that you should definitely go out and buy it, because without the game it just isn’t as special. Having said that, though, it is still a brilliant selection of music when listened to without images to accompany the sounds. If you are a die hard Final Fantasy fan, then I would recommend looking into the purchase of this soundtrack, because you will definitely like it. If you aren’t, then play the game and then buy it because I guarantee that it will win you over.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Jared Smith. Last modified on August 1, 2012.