You know, when The Oath in Felghana was first released on PC half a decade ago, the two albums created alongside it were an OST and a Super Arrange Version. The OST was awesome. The SAV was a total letdown.
I think this JDK Special, released to commemorate the PSP release of Oath in Felghana, was created as an apology for the SAV.
The “JDK Special” series of albums was a dying breed. Falcom created their own kinds of arranged albums, and they’d stick to that style for different games’ arranged albums. There were Super Arrange Versions, Piano Collections, Perfect Collections, Symphonic Poems, Electric Orchestras, MIDI Collections, and the JDK Special. Of these album types, I think it’s safe to say the JDK Special was consistently the worst album type. It was like an “alternate” to the OST. Really low-quality, not-interesting synth upgrades to the “Music From” (OST) albums. Most notable among them are Ys III, Ys IV, and the two-part Legend of Heroes III JDK Specials. These albums are all subpar.
So why revive the “JDK Special” name? I think, strangely, because it’s of the same style. This is synthesized arrangement, not found within the game. But unlike those old albums, the capabilities of synthesizers today continue to grow, and there are times when you’ll think “oh my gosh, this is the real deal.” But it isn’t live performance. It’s just crazy good synth operation.
You know, the Super Arrange Version had a lot of live performances. But the arrangements themselves went nowhere. They weren’t interesting. And the song selection was crap. But this album? It’s really good in terms of quality and in terms of track selection. I mean, look at that tracklist! At least they didn’t give us “Styx” twice, like that last album did. Yeesh, what a mistake that was.
Instead, we get two versions of “The Boy’s Got Wings.” But they are two very different versions. The PSP Demo Movie version is classic Falcom rock, but track 2 is heavy into orchestra. Pretty wild.
The audio samples tell the rest of the story. A super jazzy version of “Chop!!” and an orchestral take on “The Boy’s Got Wings” … yup, that more than makes up for the SAV. The rest of the album keeps up with the high quality.
So do what you can, oh fellow Falcom fans, to procure this album before it disappears. Keep your Ys III collection complete. You’ll be happy you did!