|Final Fantasy VII: Reunion Tracks|
|Arrangers||Nobuo Uematsu, Shirō Hamaguchi|
Square Enix (re-release)
|CD Info||1 CD - 19 Tracks|
|Release date||October 22, 1997|
February 23, 2005 (re-release)
Final Fantasy VII Reunion Tracks is a "best of" type album for Final Fantasy VII. The first sixteen tracks are taken directly from the original soundtrack. The last three are arranged by Shirō Hamaguchi and performed by an orchestra, as well as a chorus for the Latin vocals of "One-Winged Angel".
Hidden on the CD is an instrumental version of "One-Winged Angel". To access it, one must rewind from the beginning of track 1.
The liner notes to the original pressing have the tracklist in Japanese, a message from composer Nobuo Uematsu, a transcript of a dialogue between Nobuo Uematsu and interviewer Shibuya Youichi titled "The accidental dialogue"; profiles of Uematsu and Youichi, and pictures of the recording sessions and equipment. The reprint of the album no longer includes the "accidental dialogue", but does contain the hidden track of instrumental "One-Winged Angel".
- "One-Winged Angel (Instrumental)"
- This track is a hidden bonus track not included on official track listing.
- "Opening Theme ~ Bombing Mission", オープニング～爆破ミッション
- "Valley of the Falling Stars", 星降る峡谷
- "Still More Fighting", 更に闘う者達
- "Farm Boy", 牧場の少年
- "Rufus' Welcoming Ceremony", ルーファウス歓迎式典
- "Electric de Chocobo", エレキ・デ・チョコボ
- "Honeybee Manor", 蜂蜜の館
- "Cid's Theme", シドのテーマ
- "Forested Temple", 樹海の神殿
- "Fighting", 闘う者達
- "Ahead on Our Way", 旅の途中で
- "Gold Saucer", ゴールドソーサー
- "Crazy Motorcycle", クレイジーモーターサイクル
- "Cait Sith's Theme", ケットシーのテーマ
- "Yuffie's Theme", 忍びの末裔
- "Main Theme of Final Fantasy VII" (F.F.VIIメインテーマ, F.F. VII Mein Tēma?) (orchestral)
- "One-Winged Angel" (orchestral), 片翼の天使
- "Aeris' Theme" (orchestral), エアリスのテーマ
Liner Notes (translated from the original Japanese)Edit
Message from Nobuo UematsuEdit
I have always had a passion for Irish Fiddles. Technically, fiddles are violins but the name is only used in European traditional musics. Well, I finally decided to go and learn it. Now, I'm under a Canadian teacher, Jim Edigar, along with eight other students.
Most of the eight have never played a violin; some haven't even touched an instrument. The sound, of course, is pretty awful. Still, I don't see any one not enjoying the class. Everyone is ringing out crocked tones joyfully.
I think that is the most important thing in music.
- People who began to hate music because of their grades in music class.
- People who are afraid of being criticized, due to their pride.
- People who stop playing in bands after employment thinking that bands are childish.
It seems that music in Japan is only reserved for a small minority. That's why music as a culture doesn't originate in this land. Musics are characteristics of any culture, which every culture has. It should never be enforced in schools (every student in Japan is enforced to learn music including reading staff, playing recorders, singing, etc.) or be "graded." There's no need to become a professional, nor any need to become better. If one doing music is happy, isn't that good enough? I get so happy looking at my buddies playing off-pitch violins with me, smiling. There's even a man who started violin at 38. Why don't you try an instrument, too?
Well, let me introduce Shirō Hamaguchi finally. There's no need to question his talents if you listen to the songs, but I am disappointed that those songs don't tell his great personality. I wish to present you even more fantastic sound with him in the future. Good job to everybody in IMAGINE, including Mr. Hamaguchi. I am grateful from the bottom of my heart.
Nobuo Uematsu 8/28/1997
The Accidental DialogueEdit
The Final Fantasy series had established a stable reputation of RPGs. Nobuo Uematsu had been in charge of this game's music from the beginning. His melody creations can no longer be ignored in the musical aspect of Japan. This important interview will reveal much of his views about the game. The interviewer is Yoichi Shibuya, who created a music magazine "Rocking On" at age 20, being an elite music journalist until now. His questions hit the core, while some even say, "He speaks too much for an interviewer." The future of Final Fantasy music and the reality of game music; what would this interview reveal?
Mr. Shibuya ("S"): I see that you seem to like progressive rock very much. Do you like such kinds of rock compared to others?
Mr. Uematsu ("U"): Well, despite all the variety of music that emerged in the '70s, progressive rock had died out back then. I didn't "prefer" prog. rock out of others like "Genesis" and "Yes"; I like them all. I'm a really big fan of Elton John, too.
S: You seem to like songs with steady melody, like Elton John's.
S: So can I infer that you liked hard rock to prog. rock singers to composers but you only defend prog. rock because they had died out?
U: Yes, yes. (LOL)
S: Are there any connections between prog. rock and FF?
U: I used to play instruments and prog. rock was the most fun to play. It's not only prog. rock incorporated in FF.
S: So... you like many different types of music?
U: Maybe so.
S: What kind of music do you listen now?
U: Mostly Irish fiddles. Now I buy only Irish fiddles.
S: Wow. Why?
U: Uh... It's fun.
S: (LOL) Since when?
U: About six years ago, when I went to Dublin to record songs for the FF arrange album "Celtic Moon." I started to become a big fan back then, and I'm in the zenith right now. The lonely style of Irish music have some similarities with prog. rock, don't they?
S: Hmmm. I have always thought that your "lonely" style of music was trying to contrast to the Dragon Quest series, just like the games themselves focus on different areas like story and graphics.
U: Maybe a little, but the "lonely" style is my preference.
S: I really think the style fits the game really well, though. Many fans probably think so, too.
U: It wasn't intentional, although I was told, "Please make a contrast to the Dragon Quest series," in the first game. I only replied, "Don't worry. I never can do as well as Mr. Sugiyama." (LOL).
S: Yeah, the DQ series started the boom towards RPGs, and you wanted to change the "reputation" of RPGs, right?
U: Well, it was the first time SQUARE created a RPG, so we were like, "Oh, we call these games RPGs?" (LOL)
U: I told Mr. Sakaguchi that I can't really understand what style of music he demands, when we first started. He told me to play Dragon Quest and I played for 2-3 hours.
S: You don't play games so often?
U: Nah. RPGs take too much time.
S: I happen to like such parts of RPGs. The situation and stuff. I see that it takes a lot of time to develop RPGs, but isn't composing music for them a tough job?
U: Maybe. I need to write all sorts of songs for fields, battles, happy songs, sad songs, and uplifting songs. It's really fun, though. I never get bored, although I might be if I were told to make 30 sad songs...
S: Hmm... sounds like movie soundtracks.
U: That's right.
S: I think the originality of FF was that it contrasted to DQ, creating a totally different type of RPG.
U: Mr. Sakaguchi had thought that it was his last chance in "Final Fantasy." He named it so, as a last hope for him and SQUARE. Well, it happened that the game sold well somehow, and now there are seven "last hopes."
S: I thought that the making of "Prelude" would make the creators jump up and say "You have done it!! This is what we were looking for!" but I heard that you made it very simply in few minutes.
U: Hahaha. Well, it was like crushing a dream, but that's true.
S: I really think more than 1,000,000 people will become your fans just by hearing the prelude, though.
S: The FF is not a happy story. Many people die.
U: Really many.
S: There are a lot of places that irritate the players. That is why FF succeeded and established its reputation. Does the "taste" of the FF series affect your music at all?
U: Hmmmm. I never had that in mind. I'm rather opposed to all those deaths and tragedies. I often argue with Mr. Sakaguchi about it, but they still die a lot.
U: It might be sang-froid, but I still think there must be other ways to get sympathy.
S: I know. We can still endure sub-characters dying, but in FF's case, many main characters we have learned to love suddenly die without warning.
S: Still, your music that come in as we say, "What!?" just hit the point. It soothes the player's feelings, as well as bringing up sympathy.
U: Yes, yes. I'm really good at that.
U: (LOL) To say the truth.
S: Hey... You don't seem to be opposed to sudden death :)
U: Um... I just think that if there are such scenes, I will do my best to fit such scenes. I really put in my effort to such songs, such as Aerith's theme.
S: So you don't like sudden death?
U: Uhhh... Well... If I consider from the creator's point of view, it's my duty to create climax music in climax scenes. (LOL)
S: Haha. You become a craftsman, don't you?
U: Oh, I AM a craftsman. I'm not an artist.
S: Does the staff discuss those gloomy tastes in FF? Do they listen to you?
S: They won't listen to you?
S: You still think the contrast to other games makes FF stand alone, don't you? As if DQ : FF = Light : Darkness.
U: Sure. They are totally different things now.
S: Now, the DQ series seems to be trying to imitate FF in dramatic story line and visuals.
U: Is it?
S: I think so. Now, FF is apparently going beyond DQ. DQ hasn't yet tried their multimedia abilities in PSX, so they seem to be the one to make the next move. I'm friends with Tatsuro Yamashita, but he's really a game maniac.
U: Oh, I never knew that.
S: What he always complains to me is that when games moved from NES to SNES, the job of the music producers got really hard. He says, "Shibuya, you don't understand. No one can, except for the producers. Bla bla bla," about 20 to 30 minutes. I listened for only five minutes.
S: I think he wants to say that when graphical presentation of a game improves, the sounds, too, must improve. Did you have that in mind?
U: I did, when I moved from NES to SNES. Tracks jumped up from 3 to 8. Still, that wasn't even a fraction of the change from SNES to PSX. This time... everything changed so much. Pictures can now "express" things. I really thought that if I continue writing songs that all have standing melodies, it would just be annoying to the player. The change of the mind was really important this time.
S: So, the relation of graphics and sound must be big.
U: Yes, it's big.
S: Why didn't you think that if graphics improve, sounds should, too? Didn't you think so when you moved to SNES?
U: Yes, but I really didn't think graphics improved so much by moving to SNES from NES. Of course it did, but there was nothing as dramatic as moving into PSX. Movies, CGs... we never even imagined.
S: So you as a composer, you were...
S: Oh. You were?
U: Of course. I could do a lot more things.
S: Well, didn't you have the frustration that your expression in music is going to fade a little?
U: Well, there might be fading parts but standing parts will stand even more.
S: I see.
U: When I was young, I really had the temptation to make every song expressive and standing, but I think I got a little old. (LOL) Like, "Let's put a hard blow in this scene, and put in some easy ones here. Oh, it'll really be good if I play Aerith's theme here.."
S: When FF was first created, it was nothing but a last hope without any directions. Now that it's a huge hit, even the music is being criticized, while many CDs come into the market. What do you think about that?
U: Ah... it's...
U: Sure. "Why?" (LOL) More than that, I really started to get e-mails from fans all over the world. That was the most fantastic thing for me. Shocking. I can somehow get why we Japanese can like my Japanese music, but when Americans say, "That song was good, I felt in such a way," I really feel strange. Well, we are all humans anyway (LOL).
S: I remembered you called yourself a craftsman rather than an artist, but I really think you have some elements of an artist. Doesn't your pride as an artist get satisfied as your works go all around the world?
U: Well, the OSV sells well but the arranges and solos don't. (LOL)
S: Haha. That's the same with everything. Even if the Southern All Stars released an original and arranged album at the same time, the original sells better. Everyone tends to like the fresh first step.
U: Still, I really never dreamed of having my creations become the number-one seller in Japan. I AM happy, but I really can't understand the reality.
S: I think I know what you feel like. I recently did the liner notes for Miss Hisaichi, but I think I felt that she has something common with you. Without Miyazaki, there is no Hisaichi. Without FF, there is no Uematsu. I think you both have the desire to work as yourselves in your names, rather than behind games or singers. You get discouraged by finding that originals sell better than arranged, because of the pride as a musician.
U: Well, I only started working behind "Final Fantasy," whether arranged or original. That's why I have something in me that makes me satisfied when even one of the songs in a game makes me content. I really think my pride as a musician is not so great.
S: No, I think THAT is your artistic characteristic. It's common in composers for movies and stuff, too. You purposely don't try to make most music stand, because the music is only a factor of the game.
U: I see.
S: I think making soundtracks for movies and games are very similar. If everything fails, the listener must listen to the same music a hundred times in a game. If a sad melody were to be the main theme of a melody, it cannot be repeated so many times. It's really hard to determine the happy medium. I think you're very good at adjusting that. Even the very best emotional melodies get boring after 10 times, but your repetition themes can be heard any number of times.
S: Your job must be well balanced by your craftsmanship AND musicianship. I think that is your creativity.
U: Maybe this job was a mandate from heaven. (LOL)
U: For instance, I really suck at playing instruments, but I love playing them. In such ways, I've already convinced myself that everything else I do in music are just my hobbies. If I create an ambition, I can't concentrate on others. I have clearly set up a distinction; job for game music, hobby for other music.
S: I really like how you can organize fields in your heart.
U: Yeah, I'm really satisfied right now. My job is really fun.
S: That's why I don't see much of "I'm the hero!" kind of expression in your music. I feel that because you are such an established being, your music is established, too. I felt the same way in Hisaishi's music. Same thing with my editor job, because it's not me that sells; it's the books.
S: It's really hard to determine "whose" game that is being made. Everyone should just satisfy themselves by just having fun.
U: I agree.
S: FF is supposed to be Mr. Sakaguchi's game but it's not, really.
U: It's everyone's.
S: That is the interesting part. I think only people who can work in a group form this developer's job.
U: Oh, that's a valid point. If I were to start a game, I would look for people who can determine the individual scenes and act accordingly.
S: So... is it because it's the newest game that you like FF7 the most?
U: Yes, yes.
S: That's really easy to understand.
U: Hahaha. Well, I really think that FF7 came near to completion, although it was pretty incomplete. I really find the unpolished "core" of a mineral rock that is about to be transformed into a diamond. It's still rocky without the looks of a diamond, but I believe if it were to be polished more and more, it has the capability to create a whole new entertainment style.
S: To say the truth, I stopped FF7 in the middle.
U: I can see that.
S: I really like classic RPGs from the past, because I really can't determine if I'm playing or being forced to play.
U: That is the biggest problem in SQUARE. Nobody knows if they're playing or being forced to.
S: Yeah. I really think that FF7 crossed over the river.
U: Since nobody has crossed the boundary before, we must find our own way from now on.
S: Still, the completeness for a game that crossed the river is great. It IS great, but people who didn't want to cross the river were left behind.
U: There has to be someone to cross the river for the first time, though.