Mother (1989)

 

Review by · August 7, 2009

Mother. The original. The Famicom RPG that Americans never saw (and became known as “Earthbound Zero” in some circles, as it was a prequel to Earthbound). This soundtrack is, primarily, a vocal arrange album, arranged and performed by British people. Yeah…that’s strange. But it’s only fitting for the Mother series to do something this offbeat.

Every song has its own style, and represents a different genre. Some sound like the Beatles (seriously!), others sound like a children’s show theme song. The production value is incredible, especially for 1989 (back when game music was still generally lacking the international respect it has since begun to obtain).

Though the vocal songs are catchy, the instrumental tracks are actually my favorites. “Fallin’ Love, And” is a great jam track. And “Magicant” is quirky and wonderful. I love both of those songs. Among the vocals, my favorite track is probably the all boys’ choir piece, “Eight Melodies.” All of the lyrics on this album (all English, no Japanese) are cheesy and trite. But some of them try to make a statement, and others are just thoughtful. The lyrics to “Eight Melodies” are simple statements about love that most people would agree to. Good stuff.

Whether vocal or instrumental, many of these arrangements have moments of musical “breakdown.” And I don’t mean that in the sense of a dance beat wherein you “break it down.” I mean…the rhythm and melody fall apart, and an array of improvised mashing of keys and strings takes place. Again, quite fitting for the Mother series.

The only thing “OST” on this album is the final track: it features 16 minutes of NES chiptune goodness in the form of a lengthy medley. You’ll hear all the songs represented on this arranged album in the OST track, as well as some others.

But here’s the thing about this album: you don’t want it. Trust me. What you want is the 2004 reprint that has all of these tracks remastered, extends the OST track from 16 minutes to 24, and tacks on a bonus arranged track from Mother 2 (aka “Earthbound” for SNES). That album will be easier to find and cost you less. Sadly, this particular print is a relic, and an obsolete one given the information I just highlighted. So if you’re interested, get that version!

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Patrick Gann

Patrick Gann

Therapist by day and gamer by night, Patrick has been offering semi-coherent ramblings about game music to RPGFan since its beginnings. From symphonic arrangements to rock bands to old-school synth OSTs, Patrick keeps the VGM pumping in his home, to the amusement and/or annoyance of his large family of humans and cats.