This album is a compilation of various vocal tracks appearing in Square's music following the release of Xenogears and Final Fantasy VIII. I consider this album nothing more than an excuse for Square to make more money off their other albums in a shameless effort. But that doesn't mean this is bad music now.
Some of the standouts that people will instantly recognize are the famed song that won awards over in Japan, "Eyes On Me" from Final Fantasy VIII, as well as "Melodies of Life" from Final Fantasy IX. These are the exact versions you'll find on the soundtrack releases minus any kind of long introduction they might have originally had. Thankfully, they left "Melodies in Life" in Japanese; the English version isn't at all thrilling to listen to. And while these songs are nice, they've been played and redone to death that I really could care less about their inclusion or not.
Moving on to the Xenogears' selection, I was only satisfied with one of the songs here. "Star of Tears" is a wonderful piece, musically, and I really wish that it was sung in Japanese. I seem to remember hearing it sung in Japanese before on Xenogears Creid, though. However, Joanne Hogg's voice really captured nothing on the ending theme "Small Two Of Pieces". Her voice is just not meant for this kind of singing. It would have been nice if they included "Stairs of Light" and "Spring Lullaby" instead. Not only are they more cheery, but the singing is actually good.
"Radical Dreamers" is easily one of the standouts. The whole track features an acoustic guitar playing alone with the soulful singing. Noriko Mitose's voice never overpowers the tracks while at the same time never sinks into the backdrop. This was probably one of my favorite themes from Chrono Cross and the low profile the song kept was what surprised me more than anything. An infectious tune accompanied by pure heart music is definitely the perfect match.
The obscure selection "9 Times" is surprisingly good. It's a nice rockin' song, giving you a tiny glimpse into how a rock song would sound if a Japanese group was behind the mic. The only problem I have is that it feels somewhat out of place. The whole album is full of sweet, soulful melodies, and this rock track disrupts that flow some. Nonetheless, it's a song that still deserves some praise from a game we'll never play, Generation XX Professional Basketball.
And finally, the opening track, "Forevermore", taken from The Bouncer is a nice opening to great things this album has to offer. It takes a nod from traditional R&B beats and shakers, while at the same time, infusing traditional Japanese expected instruments — a slight string ensemble, little acoustic guitar taps, and beautiful vocals. I swear, sometimes I'd rather listen to Japanese singers than American artists. They can infuse so many elements without shocking anyone to death.
Except the typical tunes you no doubt heard from Final Fantasy and Xenogears, you'll find some nice gems that would be collectors of fine music would die if missed. A must listen at least once, if you like the SLIGHTEST hint of Japanese singing.