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Eternity ~Memory of the Lightwaves~ Music from FFX-2 :: Review by Chris

Eternity ~Memory of the Lightwaves~ Music from Final Fantasy X-2 Album Title: Eternity ~Memory of the Lightwaves~ Music from Final Fantasy X-2
Record Label: Avex
Catalog No.: AVCD-30444 (Copy Protected)
Release Date: March 31, 2003
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


The Final Fantasy X-2 franchise has a whole array of albums dedicated to it — an original score, an extension score, a piano arranged album, three vocal collections, two vocal singles, three other related vocal albums, and an instrumental single. Most found it baffling why the vocal collections were split into three volumes, why five vocal albums featuring "real Emotion" and "1000 Words" were necessary, and why a three-piece instrumental single was released. The explanation is fairly simple — Final Fantasy X-2 was a cheap production by Square intended to generate as much revenue as possible after the colossal financial failure Final Fantasy - The Spirits Within. Releasing a near-endless number of albums was just one way the company could do this.

The instrumental single, Eternity ~Memory of the Lightwaves~ Music from Final Fantasy X-2, was partly an extension of the principle of generating commercial success and was also a new concept in many ways. Featuring small ensemble arrangements of the three very popular piano-based themes from the original score, the album was intended to provide a new option to those who wanted to buy the most loved non-vocal themes on the album and an added bonus for those who already purchased the Final Fantasy X-2 Original Soundtrack. The arrangements weren't intended to be revolutionary, but rather accessible, yet are pleasant upgrades of the original themes that should satisfy casual and hardcore fans alike. Is this single truly worth the money, though, despite its brevity and limitations, or is it just glorified commercialised rubbish? It truly depends on who the prospective listener is...

Track-by-Track Reviews

1) Eternity ~Memory of the Lightwaves~

The elegant piano-based opening to Final Fantasy X-2 is interpreted in a piano trio for the title track of the single. It remains very similar to the original version, the flowing nature of the beautifully shaped piano line continuing to be emphasised, supported by subdued harmonisation from additional forces. The piano lines remain largely unchanged; the force continue to lull through ever-repeating chord progressions and a fluid sea of diatonic arpeggios and broken chords representing Yuna's search for her eternal love, though feels sufficiently heartfelt and captivating as a result of the subtle nuances added and the contrasts of textures provided as a result of the two other forces around it ensuring that a gorgeous representation Yuna's heartfelt search for her eternal love is provided.

The most significant change to the arrangement is replacing the ethereal synth overtones of the original with violin support and employing the use of a fairly prominent 'cello line. While the 'cello part is actually rather simple, based principally around an ascending three-note motif, this provides colour nonetheless and allows the piano line to elevate through a nonetheless rich and somewhat melancholic bass line. The violin is the true source of freshness for this arrangement, however, and is especially heartening when it leads the melody in a section a little prior to the conclusion. While the synth added a distinctive gliding sound to the arrangement, which is perhaps lost here, the violin significantly enhances the overall beautiful feel to the theme, albeit at the slight loss of the diversity of timbres.

Overall, "Eternity ~Memory of the Lightwaves~" is convincing and evocative in the form of a piano trio, and most of what was available in the original is either enhanced or remains as strong as before. In some ways, the arrangement is a little too orthodox and could have been developed considerably more to make it even more emotional, yet subtlety was clearly the aim here; "Eternity..." is meant to be understated yet have everlasting effects and transforming it into something that it isn't would have sacrificed dramatic appropriateness and the theme's integrity in favour of musical creativity. As it stands, it satisfies, leaving the listener longing for more, though is no more yet no less precious than the original. It's a slight disappointment. (8/10)

2) Besaid

Though not as creative as Masashi Hamauzu's Final Fantasy X Original Soundtrack theme, the interpretation of Besaid that Noriko Matsueda and Takahito Eguchi created had much more melodic beauty and emotional depth. "Besaid" opens with the original's fresh solo piano melody that is lusciously phrased and rhythmically complex, though the textures overall are very thin due to the simple and sparse harmonies. The wondrousness of both its original and arranged version is the way that it thickens and grows considerably richer as more forces enter, the piano's harmonic line becomes deeper, and the melodic line approaches its peak. As the theme grows more complex, it becomes more enticing and really blooms while retaining the intrinsic initial 'new age' feel, and this is especially true for the arranged version.

The major new feature of this arranged version is the emphasis on a jazzy acoustic guitar line throughout the majority of the piece. Entering at the 1:16 mark, the pseudo-improvised line has complex rhythmical relationships with the melodic line and also provides some highly interesting counterpoint. Nicely variated with many of Matsueda's features, it is a source of variety and also enhances the track musically given the guitar work is hardly drivel. Indeed, this interpretation of "Besaid" adds to the already vivid picture the original provided; the original perfectly depicted life in a simple, tropical, peaceful, and isolated island, and this clean and exotic guitar line considerably enhances it by adding a new layer of sophistication.

Like the previous theme, the arrangement of "Besaid" has quite a continuous feel and is only significant changed by the addition of new forces rather than any significant refinement of the original material. This is largely to the track's credit, given that it improves its accessibility and the theme required few changes in the first place, though the track has a major weakness due to its synthesized percussion line. Repeating for about 4 minutes in total with little to no change, this force was obstructive to the original but even more irritating here, not to mention monotonous. Adding a guitar line to an already strong theme takes no genius, though the improvisation is quite stylish and enhances the track's overall feel. Thus, while this theme has a major weakness, it suffices. (8/10)

3) Yuna's Ballad

The single concludes with a rendition of "Yuna's Ballad," arranged once again for piano trio. Just like "Eternity...," the original's piano melodies remain the focal point of the arrangement, remaining simplistic yet poignant, aptly reflecting Yuna's anguish following a shocking revelation in the game. The violin also leads in a number of instances during this interpretation, while the piano melody shadows, and, though it sounds a tad overblown in places, this usually makes the track more sonorous and gives it a little more complexity, which was definitely needed. The 'cello line is a more remarkable addition and, despite its simplicity, adds to the sad nature of the arrangement, largely thanks to the instrument's natural tone.

Though "Yuna's Ballad" fits the ensemble well here, it is a brief and underwhelming arrangement that doesn't sufficiently resolve the slight dramatic arch preceding tracks have built up nor expand as effectively upon the original material as it could have done. Indeed, this considerably pales to the Final Fantasy X-2 Piano Collection rendition of the track, which offered more intricate piano lines and a slight jazzy character. Overall, this is an enjoyable addition to the album that will please casual listeners, though is little more and could have been better. (7/10)


The arrangements that constitute this single are pretty unremarkable musically, though mildly enhance the emotional qualities of the original themes and are easily accessible for all listeners. For "Eternity..." and "Yuna's Ballad," adding fairly plain 'cello and violin lines does not create musical masterpieces nor enhance the themes to achieve the full splendour they could do, though the emphasis on the piano lines of the original tracks was a wise move given they were so effective initially. The guitar line is "Besaid" does offer great musical enhancement, however, though it's a real pity the percussion line wasn't refined. Overall, this album constitutes a very cheap production and fails to demonstrate sufficient merit for it to be a worthwhile purchase for the majority of those that own the Final Fantasy X-2 Original Soundtrack. That said, those who want to listen to the most popular instrumental tracks and wish to buy an even cheaper (in both senses of the word) alternative to the Final Fantasy X-2 Original Soundtrack, this purchase may be worthwhile, possibly in addition to one dedicated to purchasing Koda Kumi's principle vocal single, though there is not an especially significant price difference. For those people who really adored "Eternity...," "Yuna's Ballad," and "Besaid" yet already have the original score, this may also be an enjoyable purchase. For everyone else, though, it's not worth it.

Overall Score: 5/10