Top 25 Soundtracks 2011: Number 20

Number 20: Final Fantasy VII
Here's one most probably expected to see on here. After all, Nobuo Uematsu is considered by many to be a sort of modern Beethoven. There are a lot of modern composers out there, but I'd be hard pressed to find one that has produced more quality soundtracks over the years. I'm just going to say this flat out. Uematsu is a highly skilled composer. He's able to weave emotion, scenery and setting into his music in a skilled way. What's more is that he's able to constantly churn out new soundtracks every time a new Final Fantasy title comes out.

Final Fantasy VII is one of the standout titles from Uematsu's composing career. Now granted, VII is not my favorite of the Final Fantasy titles, but it's not because of the music. The music is quite solid. Better then solid actually. It's flat out good.

Although VII was the first Final Fantasy to be run from CDs instead of a cartridge, Uematsu stuck with chiptunes rather then moving to synth instrumentation as so many composers began using with the rise of CDs. The end result is one of the most sweeping Midi soundtracks ever with a massive range. Just listen to the main theme. This is not an ordinary midi soundtrack.

Of course, nothing Uematsu ever touches is very normal. But Final Fantasy VII stands out quite well on it's own. It's got a solid selection of music that manages to grab a wide range of feeling and emotions. There's the typical city/industrial music of course. But there is also a carnival area (unusual for an RPG), a very different take on a snow area. Oh and an absolutely unforgettable completely unconventional final boss theme that will send chills down your spine.

Oh, and lets not forget the theme of Cosmo Canyon. Or the Petrified Forest. Or the City of the Ancients.

Crud, I'll even throw the Credits Song up there. Just listen to the end. Trust me. Even though (like much of the soundtrack) it shamelessly borrows from earlier Final Fantasy work.

So why doesn't FFVII stand higher on the list? To be honest, I still feel like it could have been more. When you listen to some of the orchestral visits that Uematsu has done of FFVII you start to realize that those sound a lot better because he's fine tuned them. FFVII's music is great, but some of its pieces lack that spark, that flourish. If not for the sheer nostalgia factor alone, FFVII might have been several places lower. It's not enough to make it into the peaks, but enough to get it on the list. When all's said and done though...its worth listening to, and earns its place.

Final Fantasy VII
Enjoyment: 3.25
Stand Alone Quality: 3.75
Composition: 3.5
Emotional Reaction: 3
Non-Gamer Enjoyment: 1
Nostalgia: 1
TOTAL: 3.86

Number 20--Final Fantasy VII by Nobuo Uematsu
Number 21--Shadow of the Colossus by Kow Otani
Number 22--Chrono Cross by Yasunori Mitsuda.
Number 23--Sonic CD US by Spencer Nilsen.
Number 24--Megaman II by Manami Matsumae, Yoshihiro Sakaguchi, and Takashi Tateishi
Number 25--Dawn of War II by Doyle W. Donehoo

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