FINAL FANTASY VII ADVENT CHILDREN ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
Последняя фантазия 7: Дети пришествия
|Composed by||Кэйдзи Кавамори / Нобуо Уэмацу / Цуёси Сэкито|
|Arranged by||Kazuhiko Toyama / Кэйдзи Кавамори / Кэнъитиро Фукуй / Kyosuke Himuro / Сиро Хамагути / Цуёси Сэкито|
|Published by||Square Enix|
|Release type||Anime Soundtrack - Official Release|
|Format||2 CD - 26 tracks|
|Release date||September 28, 2005|
The Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Original Soundtrack is very much like the movie; that is, a pleasant romp that is sure to please the average Final Fantasy VII music fan on the first few listeners, but with major flaws. Often unbalanced, unmusical, and uncinematic, with just as many truly hideous tracks as phenomenal ones, the peaks of this album make it a worthwhile listen, nothing else, and it is not a strong film score by any stretch of the imagination. Split much like a game score, hacked in places by untrained arrangers, and featuring an unhealthy amount of material simply transferred from other musical productions, its musical failures are not even outweighed by its strengths when it comes to accompanying the film, as, frankly, it often seems to be a cause of a lot of abruptness. Yet, curiously, it has acquired popularity among the masses, for reasons that are not immediately clear, demanding a more indepth analysis of the album. Could it be that, despite everything wrong with it, it is still very much worthy of a possible purchase? Surprisingly, that might just be the case...
The fundamental problem with the soundtrack from a technical perspective is that it doesn't work especially well within the movie itself. One major reason for this is that Nobuo Uematsu and collaborators decided to give the soundtrack complete thematic emphasis, splitting the soundtrack discretely into disparate blocks of sound, much like the average game soundtrack. The consequences are very abrupt transitions between certain themes, a lot of unnecessary silence, and an overall unprofessional glaze. In places, it even directly affects the quality of the pacing of the film. For example, the transition from the generic rock arrangement "Those Who Fight Further (FFVII AC Version)" to the epic operatic theme "Divinity II" makes the showdown with Sin Bahamut feel uncomfortably sudden, as if the writers simply thought 'Oh. Let's just get this over with', despite the fact that both themes are played in a highlight passage in the film and are among the handful of pieces that synchronise with the visuals well once they've been established. The film producers even ludicrously use the poignant chorale "The Promised Land" twice, which works beautifully in the penultimate scene, but is highly unconvincing in the prologue, which needed a certain amount of dramatic underscoring to avoid tedium. Indeed, regardless of the quality of compositions, if there is not a certain amount of dramatic underscoring, music is dull and purposeless in most action films, and this is where Uematsu and co. completely fail in comparison to Elliot Goldenthal, who scored Final Fantasy - The Spirits Within. It appears those who scored Advent Children didn't even try to learn from the success of film composers, though not in an attempt to establish originality, but because they felt out of their depths, untrained in the skill of film composition. Some would say it is reflection of arrogance and incompetence, but, ultimately, this is merely the consequences of Square Enix trying to reverse what made Final Fantasy - The Spirits Within unappealing to FF gamers, sacrificing good cinema for the often dubious desires of the Final Fantasy VII fanboy. Nobuo Uematsu himself even admits that he is not competent enough to score a film score:
"Basically I'm not a feature film composer and therefore I would probably not be able to provide scores at the level of professionalism in that field. If you're talking about soundtrack scores, then it's better to ask John Williams." - Nobuo Uematsu
A few cinematic exceptions aside, the album often seems like a game score gone wrong, which might appeal to a certain proportion of fans, but ultimately at the sacrifice of a lot of the credibility of the album and the material it accompanies. Part of the exuberance of great films scores is the way composers are able to meticulously metamorphose the atmosphere their scoring creates so that it evokes a wide array of feelings naturally while providing superb programmatic accompaniment to the visuals. This is very rarely achieved throughout the score, with even the more fitting pieces, such as "The Chase on the Highway," still featuring jarring transitions to reflect simple changes in scenery. It seems highly likely that any prominent film composer or able anime composer would be able to effectively integrate a representation of a simple scene such as a phone falling through water as flashbacks of the messages played are listened to. Not Uematsu and co., however. What we get is the most abrasive track on the album, "Water," a 'new age' / jazz / synthpop hybrid that features a xylophone, synth vocal pads, piano, harp, and an electric guitar playing a rendition of "Aerith's Theme." Not only is Keiji Kawamori's arrangement cringe-worthy, but is written in a style completely different to everything else on the score, simply leaving a bad taste in the listener's mouth. It does not add to the score's diversity in a constructive way. Not only this, but the film's producers insist on using it twice. Admittedly, the erratic nature of Final Fantasy VII Advent Children's flashbacks makes some of the abrupt elements of the score forgivable; for example, the way "Aerith's Theme" is suddenly integrated into "Divinity II" is appropriate considering her sudden 'appearance', even if the theme is reused far too many times in the score already. Yet, in the case of "Water" and certain others, it is not always clear whether the music is a reflection or the cause of the abruptness of the scenes it accompanies.
All of the piano-based tracks are particularly worthy of bashing. They constitute about half of Disc One in playing time, being largely responsible for the disc's complete and utter failure. "Sign" initially has potential with its eerie diminished arpeggio patterns, but is far too repetitious, the only development being the addition of a very simple vocal line. The use of the theme during a meeting with the mysterious 'wheel chair person' initially adds a small amount of tension, but quickly grows shallow with the eventual introduction of the secondary force; that element, the vocal line, is a blatant feature to hide the theme's repetitious character, but does not correspond to the gradual development of the scene. Unfortunately, "For the Reunion" is not any better, quickly growing tedious and also feeling like a very hackneyed attempt at creating some atmosphere, with the entrance of Tsuyoshi Sekito's guitar against the repetitive piano motif being an ultimate cheese moment. It seems likely that silence would have been better in these scenes, in fact, and that's saying something, after the negative effect complete silence had on the film's poorly done second scene featuring the helicopter. To add insult to injury, while the second part of Kenichiro Fukui's "Beyond the Wasteland" is one of the few highlights of the disc, the first two minutes fail miserably. Featuring bland piano descants, a powerless rendition of "Those Chosen by the Planet," and a banal 'cello crisis motif, its transition into the action-based passage is equally dissatisfying. To think that this is used in the opening credits reflects the amateurism of the whole composition. A sweeping overture next time please! Indeed, as talented as Fukui is, his and Sekito's forte is not piano use and it's ridiculous that Square Enix didn't employ someone more capable for such an anticipated soundtrack to deal with such themes.
It's also worth mentioning that the hype the three themes with 'Piano Version' in parantheses receive is one of the most amusing aspects of popular approval to this soundtrack. Little do the majority of the listeners know that these three themes were taken directly from the Final Fantasy VII Piano Collections with no modifications whatsoever. Does directly ripping from another work reflect the actions of a strong film composer? No. It's an extremely lazy action that also near-enough destroys one scene in the film. Regardless of the original strength of Shiro Hamaguchi's arrangement, "Those Who Fight (Piano Version)" fails completely in the fight between Tifa and Loz; it's too tame, not effectively representing the danger Tifa is in, and barely corresponds with the scene, literally fading out right in the middle of a development section in a hideous manner. While a non-rock action theme is a good contrast to have, a piano-based one simply does not work here and an original arrangement would have both reserved the integrity of Hamaguchi's original work and given the scene the musical 'oomph' it desperately needed. The renditions of Tifa's and Aerith's themes are more acceptably used, but are fairly bland arrangements and a subtle orchestral arrangement (along the lines of "To Zanarkand" from Tour de Japon) would have been ideal instead. Of course, as series arranger Hamaguchi was busy receiving further education in the USA while others were making the score (a pity considering his numerous anime contributions), his contributions are all translated over from the Piano Collections or concerts; the simple yet touching "Cloud Smiles," integrated effectively in the final scene, is an exception, initially arranged for the film, but nonetheless featured in the Dear Friends concert series. Back to the original point, once the Piano Collections tracks are used in addition to original piano tracks, a brief opening taken directly from a Tour de Japon concert, several generic rock themes, "Water," and a chorale, we're left with an extraordinarily poor first disc.
The decision to allow Nobuo Uematsu to score a Final Fantasy movie score was not necessarily a poor one, however. Uematsu is a capable composer where melodies concerned, as shown by the popularity of all the material from the Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack used, as well as the strength of some of the new melodies featured here. "The Promised Land," for example, is gorgeous in its simplicity, developing subtly to encompass a sense of both holiness and melancholy, while retaining memorability. Similarly, certain rock compositions such as "The Chase on the Highway" and "Battle in the Forgotten City" feature some breathtaking melodic progressions, even if some of the other rock themes, notably "Those Who Fight Further," suffer from being shadowed by an unmelodious wall of sound. Further, Kawamori's "Encounter" and Sekito's "Materia" prove that, without Uematsu's melodic guidance, we're just given less one minutes worth of filler music devoid of any musical character in this particular score; these are the least memorable compositions on the score, despite being rivalled in terms of general direness. Worth particular note are the Divinity compositions, easily the best original compositions on the score, featuring full orchestra and the Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus, synchronising fluently with the visuals, combining epic melodic lines with sumptuous harmonies, and having an overall cinematic sheen. It's in this point that the explanation for the score's major problems becomes apparent; while composed by Nobuo Uematsu, they were arranged by Kazuhiko Toyama, who has had experience in composing for TV and movie scores since 1990. Indeed, apart from the relatively plain and somewhat uninspiring "End Credits" theme, these are his only contributions to the score, the rest of the original arrangement left to three rock musicians from The Black Mages. To add an appropriate cinematic element, would Square Enix not have been better employing a professional film score arranger to modify more of Uematsu's works, leaving Fukui, Kawamori, and Sekito to create just the rock themes, not piano pieces and rubbish like "Water"? It's not a mere coincidence the Divinity themes are among the best.
All the discussions of epic choral works, unworthy piano pieces, and diabolical fusions leave one last segment of the score to be discussed: the rock themes. Rock themes dominate the soundtrack, taking up approximately half the playing time, being especially skewed in the second half, which represents the seemingly endless array of battles during the movie. The listener cannot escape from the score's rock basis — even the pleasant yet pointless ballad "CALLING" has a light rock touch — and that may well be a source of immediate alienation for many listeners. Unlike the arranged albums The Black Mages and The Black Mages II ~The Skies Above~, the trio involved in creating the rock themes and arrangements do not always establish accessibility in their music, with Tsuyoshi Sekito being an especially weak force, creating a mixture of repetitive, lifeless, and oppressive arrangements of four classic themes and one original composition, which collectively add nothing constructive to the score. "Those Who Fight," for example, opens with a heavily distorted take on a small portion of the original theme, only succeeded by a load of ambience and, eventually, an over-the-top guitar solo that leads to the extremely oppressive and abrupt conclusion. Further, "J-E-N-O-V-A" is effectively a rehash of The Black Mages' arrangement, except with different instrumentation, quite a bit of distortion, and the lack of a development section to avoid repetition. Even more disappointingly, the treatment of the Shinra theme in "Violator" quickly becomes tedious before relying on ambience and inappropriate solos in a desperate and failed attempt to bring back some interest, while Sekito's collaborations with Keiji Kawamori in "Savior" and "The Great Northern Cave" also prove largely fruitless, too much lifeless rubbish getting in the way of occasional glimpses of melodic profoundness. Indeed, the score's rock emphasis appears to be a massive disadvantage in places, resulting in stylistic inbalance and, in the above cases, a considerable loss of accessibility, the creations being unmelodious, unoriginal, and, quite often, unlistenable. Regardless of the action basis of the film, distorting the score so much with so many weak rock-based themes is completely unacceptable.
Fortunately, not all the rock on the score is flawed, particularly during Sekito's absence. Kawamori produces one gem: "The Chase on the Highway." Accompanying perhaps the best choreographed action sequence in the film, it is driven constantly by a Kawamori's own electric guitar performance, which makes an often-repeated riff remain stimulating and suitably aggressive at all times. Its true power comes in three brief interludes, however, the first two of which feature a powerful and epic chorus while the final one sees the brief reappearance of the popular Turk's theme. This is Kawamori's big contribution on the score and it shows that, despite his inconsistency elsewhere, he is worthy of further projects, a promising guitarist and talented arranger. It is also fits the lengthy scene it is used in perfectly and is responsible for more adrenaline-pumping than any other theme from the score. Kenichiro Fukui also proves his versatility and skill once more. His pieces are generally successful: He convincingly combines rock and orchestral elements together in "Battle in the Forgotten City," ensuring the melodic and harmonic progressions are breathtaking in places; he produces some of the better elements of "Black Water," a collaboration with Tsuyoshi Sekito, which suffers somewhat from a hackneyed melody; and adds sufficient dynamism to "Those Who Fight Further," despite its relative lack of melodic emphasis making it feel somewhat oppressive in places. It's really "Advent: One Winged Angel," perhaps the pinnacle of the score, that he truly proves his worth as a rock arranger, however. Featuring a full orchestra, complete operatic choir, a three-man rock band, and two talented arrangers, Fukui expands on the orchestral material of Hamaguchi's Reunion Tracks of the most famous piece in Final Fantasy history provided in an altogether more intense atmosphere with its thick textures, aggressive bass riffs, superbly crafted electric guitar solos, and driving drum use, all within the framework of a symphonic performance and the theme's oh-so-famous operatic vocals. Altogether more coherent, dominant, and meaningful than Hamaguchi's initial arrangement, Fukui adds everything that is needed with great amounts of subtlety and sophistication, giving everything most rock-tolerant fans wanted.
What is the Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Original Soundtrack? All the following appear to be adequate descriptions: It is a varied yet unbalanced score that features a variety of rock, piano-based, choral, and symphonic compositions, as well as an unnecessary ballad and a dire anomaly. It is a score with profound highlights such as the Divinity theme and "Advent: One Winged Angel" that fails to achieve any consistency thanks to repugnant rubbish such as "For the Reunion", "Materia", and "J-E-N-O-V-A". It is a hypomorphically mutated hybrid of a game score and movie score that largely fails on a cinematic level yet doesn't accompany a game contrary to its deceptive thematic separation. It is a score largely devoid of originality with its generic rock, bland piano-based ambience, and tedious "End Credits" theme, but with rare glimpses of ingenuity. It is an overall musical failure that is an unworthy successor to the Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack, one of Nobuo Uematsu's most flawed scores to date. It does tarnish the Final Fantasy VII franchise, but remains popular for a reason, and that is its highlights, not the overall picture, which ensure it is an adequate fan service, albeit a disappointing one. Simply put, half a dozen tracks make it a very worthy purchase for the average fan who is able to tolerate rock, but any prospective listener should be aware that huge disappointments also await.
Devoted Final Fantasy fans had waited nearly two years before the arrival of the expected Final Fantasy VII Advent Children movie. Although the plot was somewhat confusing, the action and fight scenes drew the fan base back into the nostalgia of Final Fantasy VII. Many praised the fact that Square-Enix stood true to the previous storyline and the original characters. However, others thought the new characters — Yazoo, Kadaj, and Loz (the villains) — could have been fleshed out more and with respect to where they came from and their relevance to Sephiroth and Cloud. So what about the music? The music accompanying the movie has several different elements, some are remixes of original tracks from Final Fantasy VII, others are old piano tracks, and some are completely new tracks. From those different elements, it is an album you could call as a tribute to Final Fantasy VII. But, how much material is new on this album? How many compositions did Nobuo Uematsu improve upon? It becomes harder in the judgment process to discern whether this album becomes a derivative of old material or an album that is unique and stands on its own when you mix old and new tracks together.
In order to make an assessment of this album, let's go backward in time to the Original Soundtrack, the Reunion Tracks, and Piano Collections of Final Fantasy VII. In order to rate this album, we need to consider how it fares in comparison to the old albums. As a result, I listened thoroughly to the old tracks from those designated albums, including the piano accompaniments. There are a total of eight old or remixed tracks on this album. The Original Soundtrack was heavily criticized for using poor synthesizer sound effects that resulted in only midi-quality tracks. The soundtrack had mixed reviews because there were excellent and memorable themes, but also many tracks with questionable quality. Then later on, the Reunion Tracks came out, which was basically a collection of carbon copy tracks from the Original Soundtrack, with only "Aerith's theme, " "One Winged Angel, " and "Main Theme of Final Fantasy VII" rearranged in orchestral accompaniment. All three tracks were vast improvements over the original when I heard them, but there wasn't a lot of new material for listeners to enjoy. The Piano Collections album was nicely arranged, but never captured quite the same essence of magic as the original. In my opinion, the album was designed more for homework or reading under longer listening sessions. Sometimes the themes were soft and tender enough that you might fall asleep listening to it, but by no means do I mean that in a negative way.
Two old themes re-appearing on the Advent Children album are "Tifa's Theme" and "Aerith's Theme." Tifa's track and Aerith's track developed in the Original Soundtrack were probably two of the best themes ever conceived by Uematsu for the female characters. Both compositions were strong and simple, while still touching and emotional at the same time. But the problem in the Original Soundtrack was the sound quality, which detracted from the full impact of those compositions. Tifa's arrangement was never turned back into an orchestral version in the Reunion Tracks, and remained untouched until it was rearranged for the piano. In terms of appropriateness for Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, I would say the addition of Tifa's and Aerith's piano themes are perfect for the scenes depicted in the movie. Not much drama occurs in these scenes where Tifa enters the church or Cloud meets Aeris in the lifestream. I think this is why the producers decided to avoid the use of a full orchestra under these tracks. However from another standpoint, this was also a missed opportunity for Uematsu to present some of his creativity that he did not take advantage of originally. He could well have taken a chance at rearranging Tifa's theme instead of just placing in the piano piece. Aerith's theme in the original soundtrack was done exceptionally well, re-inserting the birth, death, and rebirth concept. On the Reunion Tracks album, the theme was revamped with the harps, woodwinds, brass, and piano to contribute to the total listening experience, which I felt was the best. I found the piano version to be lacking a crucial component of emotion in comparison to the orchestral version — it was just not quite as moving. However, the scene in which Cloud meets Aeris in the movie is not in the same dramatic situation as Aeris dying in the game. This is another reason for using a piano rather than using the orchestral version of the theme. The scenes with Tifa and Aerith are relatively peaceful, so the soft piano accompaniment was more suitable. But make no mistake about it, the piano version of "Aerith's Theme" is not in the same league with the orchestral version on the Reunion Tracks.
We now get into the old action and battle tracks of Final Fantasy VII. The battle themes, "J-E-N-O-V-A" and "One Winged Angel" come back with different remixes. During the time the soundtrack was composed, "One Winged Angel's" popularity amongst Final Fantasy fans was unmatched due to its original, powerful, and revolutionary score. The Latin choir combined with symphonic instruments, and synthetic sound effects made it one of the crowning achievements that Uematsu brought to the world of video game music. "One Winged Angel" on the Reunion Tracks had the orchestral accompaniment, but it was very similar to the original version. It somewhat lacked in length at 4:17 minutes in comparison to the 7:19 seconds we're used to hearing in the original version. Somehow the instruments used in the original version were much superior even though the sound quality in the orchestral version was much better. The piano version of "One Winged Angel" was done well in terms of using only one medium of sound, but it doesn't have the same adrenaline as the orchestral or original version. For the Advent Children version of the "One Winged Angel, " it has a more heavy-metal edge, combined with an orchestral background. This was the single track I thought the Black Mages album had left out and was long overdue. The album doesn't disappoint, as we get a new version with the distorted guitars and rough percussion late in the track to really make your skin crawl at Sephiroth's ferocity. One word describes the track: SUPERB. It's one of the quality gems on this soundtrack and is equally powerful as the original version. Put it at the top of your VGM's 2005 best anthems and cues list, because that's where it should be! We'll go into more detail in the track-by-track review.
"J-E-N-O-V-A" had the definite feel of an alien when you heard it in the context of the techno beat and keyboard accompaniment on the Original Soundtrack. The Black Mages album tried to add an extra rough-edge feel to this track. In a sense, it was an improvement on the original, but the melodies between the two are nearly indistinguishable. However, the Black Mages version was longer at six minutes and more developed. The piano version of "J-E-N-O-V-A" was entirely unfit I thought for remixing the original, but it was certainly a bold attempt by Hamaguchi. The Advent Children version of "J-E-N-O-V-A" isn't too much different from the Black Mages version, but it's heavier on the guitar section, pushing the melody. I actually enjoy the rock version of "J-E-N-O-V-A," because it balances out techno synthesizers and heavy metal for a unique alien feel. This Advent Children version is also composed quite well, but lacks the balance of the Black Mages version. This causes the bizarre atmosphere to lose its impact and effectiveness.
We now get to the "Those who Fight" and for some reason, this track didn't have as much of an impact on me as the other boss and dungeon themes in the Original Soundtrack did. The Advent Children version is the replica of the piano arrangement. Somehow it doesn't quite work in the scene with Tifa and Loz duking it out, because heavy rock and orchestral instruments would have been more appropriate. A sort of laziness is what I sensed from the track, because it could have been remixed just like "J-E-N-O-V-A" or "One Winged Angel. " Sadly, what we hear is an uninspired and disappointing piano track that does no justice for the scene. To be fair, this piano track is not bad, just it shouldn't have been in this album for the designated scene. Track 2 on disc 2 of "Those who Fight" probably would have been much more appropriate for the situation.
Now we can't go on without any mention of the opening theme of Final Fantasy VII Advent Children. This new version hits the old version with a bang on the trumpets flaring out. If you compare it against the original, you can hear the difference with ease due to the poor synth quality in the Original Soundtrack. Then, track 14 of disc 1, you get the remixed version of "The Great Northern Cave," which is very similar to the original version. Better sound quality works well in forcing a dark mood. "Cloud's Theme" gets reiterated as well as the "Prelude" in the "Ending Theme," marking the excellent nostalgia factor for revisiting the old Final Fantasy VII roots in the five-minute suite.
So we got all of the old tracks out of the way, now we get into the new material. It's been quite a long time since I've heard anything new from Uematsu (since Final Fantasy XI). Although I wasn't completely impressed with his contribution to that album, his selected compositions were well done, such as his "Opening Theme" and "Recollection" theme. So what has he been up to all this time? He's created some new tracks that go into the extreme of metal edge, other themes that stand on the border between synthesizers giving off an ambient feel to heavy rock, and a few beautifully-orchestral tracks near the end. This album is quite diverse and satisfying for people looking for new themes.
So how does the new material measure up? I can say the overall new material is enjoyable and impressive, with only rare occasions where the ambience tracks become totally unbearable ("Black Water" and "Materia," for example). They're hugely dependent on the same guitar line over and over again. The ambient and heavy metal tracks take a huge portion from the album. "Violator" is another bumpy ambient track which is next to "Black Water," but a little more discernable. "Battle in the Forgotten City" probably works as one of the best ambient tracks on the album.
The rest of the tracks are polished and arranged extremely well. The "Promised Land" is an excellent eulogy track for ones who suffered and died in the previous battle in the game, while hinting the earth's cry for help. "Beyond the Wasteland" is a great beginning action track with violins and piano working well in pushing the excitement of the motorcycle fight. The "Chase on the Highway" has a full-fledged heavy metal flavor which builds up and is quite additive in depicting how Cloud chases Kadaj. "Divinity 1" and "Divinity 2" are classics, and describe the fight of the summoned beast, which reminds me of Uematsu's earlier score of "Liberi Fatali" (Final Fantasy VIII ). Uematsu has done well in the inclusion of choir to his ensemble of music demonstrated in his previous works of "One Winged Angel" (Final Fantasy VII), "Liberi Fatali" (Final Fantasy VIII), and "Memoro de la S^tono" (Final Fantasy XI). Since then, he has never turned back, and now he adds another accolade to his famed work collection with these two tracks. Then, the final theme, "Calling," is a light-hearted track which is quite a change from the overly romantic versions you've heard from so many female vocals in "Chrono Cross, " "Xenosaga, " and "Final Fantasy. " I was actually kind of worried that we'd be hearing another carbon copy vocal in the movie, but mercifully the composers didn't do that.
I would buy this album for the nostalgia factor of the old themes as well as the new themes offered. There were only a few mediocre tracks ("Those who Fight (Piano Version)") and "Black Water" that I personally didn't like. Also, I thought "Materia" was a little underdeveloped and short. The rest of the tracks are arranged very well with the context of the movie with top notch sound quality. Also, the last eight tracks on disc 2 are just phenomenal. Kudos to the Square Enix sound team's effort for composing this album. There are so many great new themes on this album that you'll want to go back and listen to them again, such as "Chase of Highway," "Beyond the Wastelands," "End Credits," "Calling," "Cloud Smiles," and "Divinity 2." This album will surely bring you back to the old roots of Final Fantasy VII sounds while also satisfying listeners who are thirsty for fresh material.
As was with the movie, The Spirits Within, it was expected that a soundtrack to the Final Fantasy VII movie sequel, Final Fantasy VII Advent Children would be released. I really didn't care much about Final Fantasy VII Advent Children until I heard samples of tracks from the CD. I was amazed of how the 'great' Nobuo Uematsu could compose. That's why I went online and purchased this soundtrack. Now some may say that the Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Original Soundtrack is not as good as its predecessor, and they're right. However, they also say that this soundtrack isn't good. I disagree. Read my review to find out why.
"Opening" opens the first of two discs included with the Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Original Soundtrack. It's basically an orchestrated version of the classic Final Fantasy VII FMV opening without the "Bombing Mission" part. However, the next track, "The Promised Land," is entirely a vocal piece. There is absolutely no instruments in it whatsoever. The next tracks could be called remakes. "Beyond the Wasteland" being a different version of "Those Chosen by the Planet," "Tifa's Theme" being the version included in the Final Fantasy VII Piano Collections, and "Those Who Fight" also included with the Piano Collections.
The next three tracks are new ones. Nothing special about them. Just tracks to go with their respective movie sequences. "Aerith's Theme" was also included with the Piano Collections, although, in my opinion, isn't as good as the classic from the original game. "Battle in the Forgotten City" is a great battle theme. I just wish it could've been longer. To round off Disc One, Keiji Kawamori and Tsuyoshi Sekito arrange a much shorter version of "The Great Northern Cave." It's almost 2:00 long, and it feels more dark and mysterious.
The second disc starts of with the amazing piece, "Divinity I." A vocal and symphonic theme, it's a great way to start off. "Those Who Fight" and "Those Who Fight Further," not to be mistaken with the Final Fantasy VII counterparts, which are totally different from these versions, are next. "Divinity II" continues the track list. Much like "Divinity I," the track emphasises vocals, but it's not as fast and suspenseful. Now, the next part is where we get two remakes. "J-E-N-O-V-A" is much like the Black Mages version but is shorter and does not have the extra melody added to it.
Finally, "Advent: One Winged Angel" is like the orchestrated version from the Final Fantasy VII Reunion Tracks, but, 39 seconds into it, the guitar and drums kick in. This is where this version shines. New lyrics have been added to it, making it fit with the movie. Kenichiro Fukui has also added extra parts to the song, my personal favorite being at 3:14. A guitar solo starts with vocals coming in at 3:30. The combination is excellent. The rest of the CD is the ending themes, plus an extra vocal song called "CALLING" by Kyosuke Himuro. I'm not a big fan of mainstream vocal tracks, but this one excels in comparison to others. I actually enjoyed it.
The Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Original Soundtrack should definitely be considered a classic to all Final Fantasy fans. Some tracks may be dull or boring, but tracks like "Battle in the Forgotten City," "Divinity I," "Advent: One Winged Angel," and the piano led "Tifa's Theme," "Aerith's Theme," and "Those Who Fight" make up for it. This soundtrack could've been better — more arrangements could've been added and maybe a few bonus tracks. However, although it does suffer a little bit, the Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Original Soundtrack is one soundtrack that I recommend to everyone.
Tracks 1.5, 1.7, and 1.11 are taken directly from Piano Collections FINAL FANTASY VII (SSCX-10111).
Nobuo Uematsu: 1.1-8, 1.10-14, 2.1-4, 2.6-12
Tsuyoshi Sekito: 1.9
Keiji Kawamori: 2.5-6
Shiro Hamaguchi: 1.1, 1.5, 1.7, 1.11, 2.9-10
Kenichiro Fukui: 1.2-1.4, 1.12, 2.3, 2.9
Tsuyoshi Sekito: 1.6, 1.9-10, 1.13-14, 2.2, 2.7-8
Keiji Kawamori: 1.8, 1.10, 1.14, 2.2, 2.5-6
Kazuhiko Toyama: 2.1, 2.4, 2.11
Kyosuke Himuro: 2.12
Tetsuya Nomura: 1.2, 2.1, 2.4, 2.9
Taro Yamashita: translations of 1.2, 2.1, 2.4, 2.9
Kyosuke Himuro: 2.12
Goro Matsui: translation of 2.12
G.Y.A: 1.2, 2.9
Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus: 2.1, 2.4
Kyosuke Himuro: 2.12
Ayane Hamauzu: 1.4
Taizo Takemoto: 1.1, 2.1, 2.4, 2.11
Kenichiro Fukui: 1.2
Koji Haijima: 2.9-10
Tsuyoshi Sekito: 1.3, 1.6, 1.8, 1.10, 1.13, 2.2-3, 2.6-9
Keiji Kawamori: 2.6
Tsuyoshi Sekito: 1.8
Keiji Kawamori: 1.10, 1.13, 2.2, 2.9
Kenichiro Fukui: 1.3, 2.9
Kenichiro Fukui: 1.4
Seiji Honda: 1.5, 1.7, 1.11
Tomoki Iwanaga: 1.10
The Promised LandNobuo Uematsu
Beyond The WastelandNobuo Uematsu
Tifa's Theme [Piano Version]Nobuo Uematsu
For the ReunionNobuo Uematsu
Those Who Fight [Piano Version]Nobuo Uematsu
Black WaterNobuo Uematsu
Aerith's Theme [Piano Version]Nobuo Uematsu
Battle in the Forgotten CityNobuo Uematsu
The Great Northern Cave [FFVII AC Version]Nobuo Uematsu
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