Top 25 Soundtracks 2011: Number 6

Number 6: Final Fantasy VI

There are a lot of powerful titles out there that are held in high esteem, and many of which are early Final Fantasy titles (they've dropped off a bit as of late). Of that series however, two are constantly brought into battle for the top position: Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VI. There is quite a bit of debate from one side or the other over which is the better title, but this ranking should make one thing clear. VI got the better soundtrack.

Final Fantasy VI is a juggernaut of composition, featuring some of the most lengthy pieces ever to come out of a game as well as some of the most moving music a Final Fantasy title has ever received. It has everything from melancholy organ dirges to full opera pieces, and took the sound chip of the SNES to its limit. If there was ever a peak for Nobuo Uematsu's soundchip works , this was it.

Final Fantasy VI is a testament of soundtrack ability. For something composed on such a simple sound chip, Uematsu was able to craft an emotionally moving suite, with music that fit almost every situation the game could throw at it. As a result, the soundtrack stands very well on its own as something that you can listen to on your own time for almost any situation without feeling out of place.

It also keeps itself from getting old. One of the problems with other soundtracks is that oft-times the material gets too similar and the songs start to run together. You can tell that the composer wanted the pieces to be different, but they just couldn't do it. This is not a problem with Final Fantasy VI. When certain pieces do share a similarity in style or borrow a melody it never feels like Uematsu was running out of ideas. Instead each piece maintains a distinctly different feel and makes the similarity stand on its own, rather then seem like shameless borrowing.

There are quite a few good stylistic changes from genre to genre as well. While VI has the standard sounding battle theme, it also gives us an opera complete with faux voice-work (which will either make you cringe or smile) and an absolutely rousing finale. But after showing both of those pieces, VI still offers up everything from a dream-like ocean song to Industro-funk for a well rounded sound.

It also wasn't afraid to take chances with new ideas. For example the mammoth seventeen minute song that plays during the games final boss (which BtW, would make Sephiroth go cry in the corner). It's powerful, compelling, tense and unlike anything heard before or since.

From it's beginning notes to the finale of it's twenty-one minute closing piece, Final Fantasy VI has something for everyone. From note to note it's a solid success and hands down one-if not the greatest-of Nobuo Uematsu's works. Amazing from start to finish, and it deserves the number six place.

A brief disclaimer: FFVI placing in the 6th position was a complete coincidence.

Final Fantasy VI
Enjoyment: 4
Stand Alone Quality: 4
Composition: 4.25
Emotional Reaction: 4.25
Non-Gamer Enjoyment: 1
Nostalgia: 1
Total: 4.63

Number 6--Final Fantasy VI by Nobuo Uematsu
Number 8--Sonic Colors by Various
Number 10--Final Fantasy: The Crystal Chronicles by Kumi Tanioka

No comments: