The Oath in Felghana has an amazing original soundtrack. Maybe even close to perfect. But ‘Ys – The Oath in Felghana: Super Arrange Version’ is…where can I even start? I don’t know how to form my thoughts into words. How about crappy? Short? Boring? Unoriginal? …I like crappy.
Let’s take a look. In the vein of ol’ Martha Stewart and her ‘Good Things’ ©, we will take a look at the ‘Bad Things.’
Bad Thing #1: The Prelude
Here are two fine tracks, melded into one boring, pointless, and terribly unexciting track. It’s too fast, it doesn’t go anywhere, and it seems to lack any power, yet it’s not gentle or soothing either. It’s just there.
By the way, just so you don’t get your hopes up, this whole album doesn’t go anywhere. It’s all a big happy circle in Supar Allenge land.
Bad Thing #2: A Premonition ~ I Suddenly Recall ~
This song starts out ok, and then the guitars come in. Still ok, but kind of corny. Drums sound cheap and MIDI-eqsue.
And then the singing.
It’s like Tomohiko Kishimoto, but worse. Wait, is that possible? It actually sounds a lot like him, but even more unintelligible, and with more annoying vibrato. Ok, he’s not THAT bad, but he still needs work. The original melody, which is overused and tired anyway, vanishes somewhere in the middle of the song only to pop up again at the chorus. Speaking of this song, why are they arranging it? It’s a very minor song, and really isn’t worth spending time on anyway. The rest of the song is equally mediocre. I know some people out there like this style, but I find it extremely grating and annoying.
And what *did* you suddenly recall, Youichi? How bad your singing is?
Bad Thing #3: The Boy’s Got Wings ~ Ohirome Version ~
‘Ohirome’ is referring to the fact that this song was the premier of Ys Felghana. It played in the background during the demo movie. It was truly a Good Thing ©, however it does not belong on an arranged album with only 10 tracks. This is pure laziness. The song is 1:22 long and has no business being here. Not only that, but aside from the cool ‘Tower of Fate’ intro, it’s hardly any different from the OST version, except that the OST version is longer. And better.
Bad Thing #4: A Searing Struggle
Umm…hmm. This is a *LOT* like the OST version…but slower…and less interesting. I was kind of let down by the OST version in the first place, but this is pretty lame. The hi-hat sounds anemic, and the song just plods on forever with nowhere to go. I was really looking forward to a SUPER and ARRANGED version of the song, but instead we’ve got a slightly kind-of-arranged-rehash that’s a too slow. The only Good Things © I can say are that the original melody is great, but I guess that has nothing to do with the arrangement. The organ solo was pretty cool, and the guitar playing is fine, but not particularly impressive. Also, the ending was well done – much better than a fadeout.
Bad Thing #5: Prayer for Kindness
Ah, yes! Another song that barely has any relevance in the game whatsoever. The song itself is just a ditty that plays for a few seconds. Yes…that is worthy of a spot on a 10 track album. Thankfully the arrangement is very high quality, with some excellent violin playing. But after hearing those same notes over and over again, you want to break the CD in half. It gets REALLY annoying to hear, especially if you don’t like Baroque-era music. Sorry.
Bad Thing #6: A Premonition = Styx = …. AGAIN!
What? Why are we hearing this again? Seems like two times on the OST and already once on the SAV wasn’t enough for this unimportant and insignificant song. Again, the arrangement is very, very nice, but why pick on this tired old song? I do enjoy the Celtic feel, though. They really should explore the idea more, it would work really well with Ys V’s orchestral soundtrack. At 2:30 there is a little segment that is new, that I really like. If I had to listen to ‘A Premonition,’ this would be the version, but let’s please, please never arrange this song again.
Bad Thing #7: Dear My Brother
Ok…that cello sample they are using is kinda crappy. This is basically a longer, more developed version of the OST song. It’s very nice, but we already heard it once…no, twice on the OST. It’s just not appropriate for an album that – guess – only has 10 tracks. It would have been better suited as a bonus track on the original soundtrack, since it’s not that different.
Bad Thing #8: Valestein Castle ~ Demo Version ~
Do you already know what I’m about to say? It’s yet another case of ‘slightly different than the OST.’ Not to mention, being a song from a demo movie, is under 2:00 long. Heck, you could rip the song from the movie and have almost the same thing. I mean, this is ridiculous. The intro is really cool, but after that it’s Valestine: The Same Old Poor Beaten Horse. When the song ended, I felt ripped off. Actually, I felt like a big joke was just played on me.
When an album has only 10 tracks, it’s really poor form to make one of them really short, let alone two…let alone the fact that they are both already floating around on the net for free…let alone the fact that they offer nothing over their OST counterparts.
Bad Thing #9: Sealed Time
I had high expectations for this track. Seeing as the we’ve got the excellent, whistful yet rocking TurboGrafx version, and that the new OST version completely blew me away (see my review of the Ys: Felghana OST) I was thrilled to see this song would be on the Super Arrange album. What style would they do? How could they make this song any more ‘Super’ than it already is? My mind was racing with all the cool things they could do to this awesome number.
Alas…we are treated to a fine example of mediocrity. The Super Arrange version is a symphonic-style treatment of the song. While this could have been pretty awesome, it’s very bland. It goes nowhere, hitting its head against the wall, thinking ‘If I do this over and over, everything will be ok.’ The hard-hitting part of the melody where the guitar comes in on the OST version is replaced with hesitation and mush. When it does get to it, it’s totally underpowered and lacks the punch that makes it so sweet. The song just wanders in circles endlessly. At its absolute finest moments, this song sounds like it *might* be from Stella Deus, if it was lucky.
*runs off to listen to the OST version*
The Last Bad Thing: Bad Thing #10: Kioku no Page – Believe in My Heart
Yeah, this is pretty much pulled STRAIGHT from the OST, with the awesome synth lead taken out and the mid-puberty Tomohiko wannabe dropped in its place. In the magical computer world, this is what people call ‘cutting and pasting,’ or what I call ‘really lazy.’ I really can’t say much more without offending someone.
The Other Bad Thing: The Packaging
Whether you bought the Perfect Collection or not, which came with a box to house this and the Felghana OST, the SAV comes in a standard jewel case. The front liner has some artwork on the outside, but inside, you discover it is simply one piece of paper folded in half. One the ‘inside’ of this paper, you find a tracklist (gee whiz!), the lyrics to the two vocals, and a super deformed Chester looking incredibly creepy. The tray that the CD rests on is clear, like they do when there is a photo or something underneath…except there isn’t anything underneath. Just blank paper. Now that’s dedication.
All Bad Things Considered
Falcom…what have you done? This album retails for 2,940 yen. Do you know what that is in dollars? TOO MUCH! After listening to this CD I had to quickly switch over to my copy of the Langrisser V soundtrack, or die a young and tragic death.
As a musician myself, perhaps I am being too critical. But this is a really sorry excuse for a Super Arrange album. What you need to know is that this not a SAV, but really a Partial Remake Effortless Cut-N-Paste Last Minute Special Lazy Turbo Edition. Ten tracks on one disc which could hold twice as much. Ten tracks of rehashes, touchups, bad vocals and whatever else they figured they could throw on. Ten tracks, people…TEN TRACKS! Buying this album is more of a ripoff than legally downloaded music.
I *am* truly happy to see Falcom start bringing in musicians, arrangers and singers, and I am sure that not everyone will feel the same about this album as I do. The samples are here for you to decide for yourself. Perhaps newcomers to the Falcom scene won’t be offended, but it won’t hurt to have low expectations.
‘Never Forget You’ indeed.