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Day Five: Neal Chandran's Music of the Year
Every RPG website needs a metalhead, right? Okay, maybe not, but we adore ours just the same. Neal has been around as a reader and contributor to RPGFan longer than nearly every current editor. He's seen more forum drama than you could imagine we've had, and when he's not making his own music with his band, he's playing games that most of us don't. To say his tastes are eclectic is putting it lightly, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Here are Neal's favorite musical moments from 2013 (even if, sadly, one of them is no longer available for listening).

4) If My Heart Had Wings
Composed by Chata, Haruka Shimotsuki
I didn't listen to the OST or review it, but I did play the game and I found the music absolutely fantastic. The poignant pieces soared, the more "poppy" pieces were engaging to listen to with their cool melodies and instrumental layers, the breezy pieces had gravity to them... I could go on, but it's best that you play the game and experience the music for yourself.

3) Compi de Chocobo
Composed by Nobuo Uematsu
Who doesn't like chocobos? They've been a Final Fantasy mainstay for decades and are perhaps the most invaluable companions on any Final Fantasy adventure. The familiar chocobo theme has been altered and experimented with in most every game a chocobo has appeared in, and they're all unique and engaging takes on a common theme. Listening to an entire CD of just chocobo theme music surprisingly doesn't feel repetitive or boring at all, and that's a testament to the underlying composition of the chocobo theme itself. Hopefully this Tokyo Game Show 2013 special edition soundtrack will be made available for public purchase soon.

Favorite Tracks:
Cinco de Chocobo
Mods de Chocobo
Crazy Chocobo

Also See Our Review: Compi de Chocobo Review

2) Final Fantasy VII Remastered Tracks: Volume I
Composed by Nobuo Uematsu, Arranged by Sean Schafianski
Final Fantasy VII occupies a special place in most every RPG fan's heart. Love it or hate it, it's a historically significant game that changed the gaming landscape and elevated the position of JRPGs in contemporary gaming culture. To this day, people still clamor for that HD remake of Final Fantasy VII that the infamous tech demo video teased at. Further fueling my clamor is this soundtrack consisting of incredibly stunning remasters of various Final Fantasy VII tracks (Mako Reactor is sublime!). The cool thing about this soundtrack is that many of the underrated or underrepresented pieces of the OST are showcased here. I greatly look forward to volume 2 and hope it includes a remaster of "Birth of a God" which I thought was a far superior final boss track than the overrated "One Winged Angel."

Favorite Tracks:
Makou Reactor
Sandy Badlands (Ambient Mix)
Steal the Tiny Bronco!

Also See Our Review: Final Fantasy VII Remastered Tracks: Volume I Review

1) Pokémon X & Pokémon Y: Super Music Collection
Composed by Shota Kageyama, Minako Adachi, Hitomi Sato, Junichi Masuda, Morikazu Aoki, Go Ichinose, Satoshi Nohara
Pokémon's music has always been pretty good, but never the stuff of legend. This all changed with the latest Pokémon games, that gave the series the upgrades and shot in the arm it so desperately needed. Gone is the tinny sound quality hampered by inferior sound chips, and here are the lushly complex compositions fully realized in their proper glory. Out of 212 tracks, there isn't a single one I dislike. The sheer number of genres and styles represented is astounding and I listened to this soundtrack over and over and over again during my morning commute to make my routine journey to work feel like a trek through Kalos.

Favorite Tracks:
Battle Friend
Anistar City
Cool #2

Also See Our Review: Pokémon X & Pokémon Y: Super Music Collection

Favorite non-game soundtrack: Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F
Composed by Miku-chan
I've listened to these songs countless times while playing the game, and have never tired of them. Many of them remain stuck in my head. If you don't think "Hm? Ah Yes" is an awesome pop song, then I don't know what to tell you. That song is easily the best pop song I've heard in 2013 and should be a radio smash all over the world, language barrier be damned!

Disappointment of the Year: Tokitowa [Time & Eternity]
Composed by Yuzo Koshiro
Yuzo Koshiro is one of the finest video game music composers out there. Unfortunately, the soundtrack to Tokitowa is terrible. It sounds completely phoned-in, as if no real effort was put into it. There is ONE good song on this entire soundtrack. Just one. Don't get me wrong. A game as terrible as Tokitowa doesn't deserve any more than a half-assed effort, but I almost wish Koshiro used a pseudonym here, because this lousy soundtrack is a grave tarnish to his excellent name and incredible body of work.






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