FF7: Crisis Core: Can I have a Piggyback Uematsu?

After hearing “the Price of Freedom” a couple times I decided it was about time I finally gave the full soundtrack a listen through. Before hearing it my initial thoughts still echoed after listening to the soundtrack and reading the plot: are we really still doing this? At ground value, it’s about time they stopped “milking” the Final Fantasy VII cow to death… no really. Uematsu left square already because he didn’t like square’s new facilities, but I wouldn’t hold it against him if he resented the reskinning as much as any intelligent gamer (not that he has a choice since he doesn’t have rights to any FF music).

Now before I get any further I just want to state that I’ll get my ranting out first because I believe that although Crisis Core is one too many, fresh composer Takeharu Ishimoto deserves a fair chance to be considered despite square’s decisions.

Final Fantasy VII – Crisis Core

Since Crisis Core is an installment of FFVII, there are at least 5 remixes of songs from the game, and most of them are pretty tasteless. One BIG problem I have with the entire soundtrack is that it is flavorless on many of the songs. One of the qualities that I’ve noticed becoming bigger and bigger is the use of guitar. You can hear it prominently in Advent Children and Uematsu’s formation of The Black Mages, but it runs into dangerous territory, particularly on this album. Too many times a track comes on that is just a plain heavy guitar/metal song that has no theme, or a really basic one, and if any other instrument besides drums could penetrate the distortion I can’t say I hear it much. A good example is: “Controlling the Iron Beast”

This song has a boring repetitive intro and even the transition gets dull. I like the addition of the guitar over the top at 1:10, but it quickly disappears.

Now there are situations where the distorted guitar is put to good use with drums and backing guitar etc, and that is on “Wandering on a Sunny Afternoon”.

This song has a catchy melody that is not buried under too much noise and it breathes too. I mark it as one of the better original melodies on the album.

It seems that the most catchy original melodies are usually placed under the title “Theme of CRISIS CORE —“. One track like “Wandering on a Sunny Afternoon” is “Theme of CRISIS CORE “Under the Apple Tree””

This song has the light blend of guitar and drums, but it throws in a second guitar with a more indie pop tones and some strong synth for good measure. This song has happy pop melody to it, but at the back of it is the feeling of gravity and fate that seems to hang heavy with the game’s storyline. I would easily place it as one of the best off the soundtrack.

Another “Theme from CRISIS CORE–” That I found to be exceptional was “Theme from CRISIS CORE “Truth Behind the Project”.

This song has an intense mash up of violin and piano. It makes a very tense and drama filled background and it doesn’t sound like a rehashing of any previous tracks. On the same lines, but much shorter is the track, “Theme from CRISIS CORE “To a New Post””

Well I lied earlier, there is one arrangement of FFVII music that I find to be excellent. It is “A Flower Blooming in the Slums(from FVII “Aerith’s Theme”)”
The track doesn’t do much to the original except adding guitar and reducing the piano lines so that they both make a nice light atmosphere.

Another original standout track that uses Piano and Violins is “Melody of Resolution” The beginning of the track is scattered and has a dark feel to it, but as the song progress it becomes more anthemic and strengthening.

Another instrument introduction into the FF series that I like is Drums. They have been present in past games of course (ie. Gau’s theme in FF VI) but they haven’t been in the forefront of the music very often. Crisis core features a large amount of drum tracks, and “Night of Seclusion” is easily one of the best.

One of the tracks “A Moment of Courtesy” which seems like a throwaway track is actually a short, fantastic arrangement of “The Price of Freedom” with only strings and counterpoint.

And, of course, since I’ve already mentioned a few times I’ll put up “The Price of Freedom”.

This track is easily one of the top tracks from the album. It has an awesome melody made from two guitars (later 3) and it features great drums and transitions from acoustic to electric guitar. Oh, and of course strings!

Finally, the ending theme must come.  There is a small transitional track that closes the soundtrack, but it’s definitely not the staff roll so I won’t mention it any further. The real closer to this game is called “Fulfilled Desire” and it is an arrangement of Final Fantasy VII music by Kazuhiko Toyama.

This track is simply great. It features many songs from FFVII blended together and reorchestrated. I can honestly say that this track is what I expected Crisis Core to be more like. Still, I don’t think less of this soundtrack because it gave Ishimoto a chance to show the world what he can do, and he also introduced new music into the FF series – which is something it definately needs – and I’d say he did it with aplomb.



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