Final Fantasy music. Do I really need to say anything more? Primary series composer Nobuo Uematsu is regarded by many fans of videogame music as a genius, and while comparisons to history's greatest classical composers might be pushing it a little, the man sure knows how to write music for role-playing games. Of course, there are alway going to be people out there who think they can improve on his work, so here are ten of my personal favourite Final Fantasy remixes and covers.
P.S. You will notice that there're no tracks here from games later than FFVIII. I'll leave you to come to your own conclusion about that.

? - Theme of Love (Orchestrated) - FFIV

The series' first entry on the SNES, Final Fantasy IV featured many excellent themes that really hammered home the improvements of 16-bit music over it's 8-bit predecessors. Hearing the Red Wings' theme as they fly over the Mode 7 landscape? Now that's powerful stuff. However, I've put aside those stirring songs of battle (because I'm a complete softie at heart) and gone for the "Theme of Love", presented here in a beautiful orchestrated version. Emotional without being cloying, the FF series' best love theme gets the arrangement it deserves.

moAbbi - Force Your Way - FFVIII

A lot of people seem to dislike FFVIII. These people are wrong. Okay, fine, they're entitled to their opinion and everything, but FFVIII will always be near the top of my personal Final Fantasy leaderboard. One reason why is the music: here's a synth-metal version of the boss battle theme, a track so great it'll temporarily make you forget just how irritating Rinoa is.

DTM (?) - Searching For Friends - FFVI

FFVI's second airship theme, formerly a melancholy backdrop to your quest to find your scattered companions, is transformed into a hip-hop flavoured groove. It's a direction I wouldn't have expected for this track, but it's a great one, and perfect if you want a change of pace from the metal remixes. The solo that starts at 2:07 is really great, too - simple yet effective.

Syuryougonjinsyu - Battle 2 - FFIII

FFIII has, in my opinion, the most underrated soundtrack in the FF series. It features my favourite overworld theme of the series, the beautiful Water Maiden theme and some fantastic battle music, including this battle theme. You know what else I love? Surf music. It's be great if someone combined these two things. Oh wait, they did! Syuryougonjinsyu have made me a very happy person with their tubular take on this excellent battle theme.

EvilSnake666666 - Cid's Theme - FFVII

Another underrated track gets the update it deserves in this rock arrangement of Cid's epic (in the actual sense of the word) theme from FFVII. It will make you want to fly into space, and possibly make you want some GODDAMN TEA. Mind you, I'm British, so I always want some GODDAMN TEA.

5/4TAKEPOD - Pride of the White Knight (Battle on the Bridge) - FF Tactics

A non-Uematsu track from my personal favourite Final Fantasy game. Hitoshi Sakimoto took over the composing duties for the strategy-RPG spin-off, and his work is as good as anything in the main series. Here's an excellent rock version of the "Battle on the Bridge" theme, and if it doesn't get you pumped for a battle full of badly-translated attacks and character names, then your heart must be a shrivelled lump of coal. Seriously, at 0:44 I'm getting goosebumps and headbanging simultaneously.

The Black Mages - Dancing Mad - FFVI

"Dancing Mad" is probably Nobuo Uematsu's magnum opus, a towering work of insane majesty that is perfectly fitting as the theme to Kefka's psychopathic godhood. In 2002, Uematsu put together a band called The Black Mages to perform covers of his Final Fantasy material, including this 12-minute prog-rock monolith. I think I'm going to stipulate in my will that this must be played in its entirety at my funeral.

Aiko - Eternal Wind (Piano) - FFIII

Another track from FFIII, this time the beautiful overworld theme "Eternal Wind" played on the piano. Simple, haunting and very, very good. It's just a shame that it's so short.

The Runaway Five - Shinra Shuffle (Still More Fighting) - FFVII

In terms of baffling my expectations, this arrangement of FFVII's boss battle theme is by far and away my favourite. How can you improve the already-amazing "Still More Fighting"? A heavy metal version? A full orchestra? Boring, predicatble, pedestrian! No, what you want is a swing jazz version, and that's exactly what The Runaway Five have delivered, and it is perfect. An incredible arrangement, wonderful playing and sheer joy all add up to make this a real treat that you should make sure you listen to at least once.

Tour de Japon - Final Fantasy Main Theme - FF Series

And to finish, what could be more appropriate than the main Final Fantasy theme, as performed by a full orchestra as part of the Tour de Japon event? Nobuo Uematsu even appears halfway through to conduct the orchestra. This is not something that personally bothers me, but if you get someone telling you that videogame music is unlistenable shit, show them this. Alternatively, just laugh in their face.

So there you go, ten Final Fantasy remixes, arrangements and covers that I personally think are really bloody good. Hope you thought so too.

1 comment:

  1. Only reading your blog posts now ... this dude is quite good:


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