Before going into musical details, I wish to cover the differences in this OST’s release compared to the other FF OSTs. Now, first of all, this is the first time that DigiCube has released a multi-disc soundtrack with a catalog # of that same multiple type. FF7’s OST, for example, was just SSCX-10004 for four discs. As you can see above, each disc gets its own catalog number here. Also, in the previous FF7 and FF8 OSTs, the limited edition packaging was enormously different from the regular edition. With FF9’s OST, the only differences are the case (L.E. is entirely white plastic with impressions of main characters put on front) and the L.E. also gets these neat little artwork-pad thingies and sheet music to “Melodies of Life.” In my opinion, this is lackluster packaging for “Limited Edition.”
On to the music of FF9. The musical style…Well, there is none. The soundtrack is pretty diverse, even for Uematsu. The game fit the classic “medieval” feeling of the original FFs, but it seems that only disc 1 of the OST matches up with this feeling. The music is by no means “awe-inspiring” (at least not until disc 4) and the music is definitely not the best thing on earth…But it is a good collection that becomes enjoyable the more one listens to it.
Some of the big FF buffs will notice something very peculiar about this OST…I noticed it too, but can’t identify for each track that it happens what is going on. Basically, Uematsu borrowed from previous FFs into this game. For example, check out disc 1 track 17, “Awakened Forest.” This song is DEFINITELY from FF7. I was able to sing parts that come in the latter part of the song the first time I heard it, and then that part actually showed up and I’m all like “Hey! What’s goin’ on here?” This is definitely a song that borrows from FF7…If not with the melodies, DEFINITELY with the choice of synthesized sounds. I hear parts from that little secret area in FF7 where you were in a forest with neat little puzzles involving flies and venus fly traps and stuff…And then I hear some stuff in a Mako reactor. It just doesn’t add up! Also, while not on the OST, the game itself uses a direct copy of the FF7 Shinra March in the game. Also, check out disc 3 track 25, “Gurugu Volcano.” This is actually a track from the very first Final Fantasy! “Battle 1,” the regular battle theme, is a remix of the FF6 and FF8 battle themes PUT TOGETHER! And how about disc 4 track 8? “Pandemonium” was the name of a castle from the Japanese FF2 and was also the name of the song…Can you hear the retaining melody? Uematsu was obviously running out of originality…But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing for some of these tracks, as they sound very cool!
I’d also like to point out that, like most multi-disc soundtracks, the last disc is the best disc. Some of the stuff on the end is AMAZING…Especially the Japanese version of “Melodies of Life” (yay! now I don’t have to understand those trite lyrics!). There’s also some very kickin’ battle music on the last disc. It’s no “One-Winged Angel” or “Dancing Mad,” but it stands firm on its own.
If you’re an FF music fan…and you didn’t buy this soundtrack yet…you really should. While not Uematsu’s best (it simply isn’t better than good ol’ FF6) it could come in 2nd based on certain merits (depends on what you think of some other FF OSTs).