This soundtrack breaks all sorts of traditional Final Fantasy soundtrack “rules.” For starters, this soundtrack is not solely composed by Uematsu. Masashi Hamauzu (SaGa Frontier 2, Chocobo’s Dungeon composer) played a major part in the composition of this soundtrack, and Junya Nakano (Dewprism/Threads of Fate, Another Mind composer) also wrote plenty of songs on this soundtrack. While Final Fantasy VIII didn’t have the prelude anywhere on its soundtrack and this game does, Final Fantasy X has the “Final Fantasy Main Theme” absolutely nowhere on it. Not since the Famicom’s FFII has this happened, if I’m correct.
The soundtrack also boasts some landmark new vocal ideas for Final Fantasy. There is a hardrock vocal on here that REALLY doesn’t seem to fit in with Final Fantasy tradition (“Otherworld” – disc 1 track 5). The “vocal theme” to the game is sung in Japanese, which is a change from FFVIII and FFIX‘s cheesy English vocals. There’s also this “Song of Prayer” which obviously must have a major part in the story, but it seems that a whole bunch of summoned creatures have their own version of these songs. It’s all very new, and very interesting.
I have decided that I really must give up my love for everything “old-school” at this point with the introduction of this absolutely amazing soundtrack, and declare this my personal favorite Final Fantasy OST. Why? One word – Hamauzu. Since I first bought SaGa Frontier 2, I just knew that this man was going to do great things for Square’s music department. The arrangements for SF2 Piano were also amazing, and I was patiently waiting for the next Hamauzu soundtrack release. Never did I think he’d have a hand in this soundtrack…but he did. A prime example of his awesome work is disc 3 track 14, “Raid.” This song screams Hamauzu’s spectacular talent and style, and I simply cannot get enough of it. Of course, Nakano’s additions to this soundtrack are also great (check out disc 1 track 7).
Final Fantasy X‘s vocal theme is the best Square vocal since Xenogears’ “Small Two of Pieces” (and that’s only because Joanne Hogg, lead singer of IONA, did that song). The vocalist “Rikki” does an amazing job with this song, and the orchestra version is also very neat. I’m told that the FFX Single (which also features a vocal version of FFVII‘s Aeris Theme) has some different violin solo in “Suteki da ne,” so feel free to check that out!
FFX was also groundbreaking for Square because it’s the first Final Fantasy with speaking parts. The very first track is eight seconds long and spoken in Japanese by Tidus; it roughly translates to “This may be the end…so I want to tell you everything.” Disc 4 track 20 is spoken by Yuna, and I’m not quite sure what all it says.
There are some seriously strange tracks on here. The Prelude for FFX just scares me because it doesn’t sound right at all. Bahamut’s “Song of Prayer” sounds like a high-pitched boy, which is sort of scary. I don’t like many of the character themes very much…I basically like any song that Hamauzu wrote and a couple of others. The battle themes are great, especially some of the stuff on disc 4. Check out the samples to make your own judgment on this FF‘s music quality.
Now, a little talk about the Limited Edition OST packaging. It seems to me that it’s supposed to be some sort of “some assembly required” soundtrack. The LE comes in this very long casing and it’s sort of…stretched out, I don’t know how to put it. But there’s a flattened out blue slipcase that you have to unfold (and it’s REALLY hard to get it straight and even), then you fold up the big case that all the CDs are in and stick the blue thing over it. It’s sort of confusing, and there’s a bunch of paper that I didn’t know what to do with. But, it was still fun. The regular OST print is probably better for those of you who don’t want to try and figure this stuff out.
So, if you want to purchase this soundtrack, it’s pretty easy to find just about anywhere. Game Music Online, CD Japan, Otaku.com, they all have it for a standard $45 price. I highly suggest you buy this soundtrack and start to learn the music so you can fully appreciate its awesome sound!