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Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack :: Forum Review

Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack Album Title: Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack
Record Label: DigiCube (1st Edition); Square Enix (Reprint)
Catalog No.: SSCX-10043; SQEX-10009/12
Release Date: August 30, 2000; May 10, 2004
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Written by Chris

The Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack has been greeted with a rather mixed level of acclaim since its release. Many were impressed by its massive length, its whole host of memorable themes, and its huge diversity of musical styles. Unfortunately, many were also disappointed by its huge level of inconsistency. Indeed, its quality ranges from musical masterpieces like "Vamo' Alla Flamenco" all the way down to utter tripe like "Ceremony for the Gods."

This soundtrack was the last mainstream Final Fantasy album Nobuo Uematsu produced as a solo composer. He worked alongside other Square Enix composers for the scores for Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy XI, and the upcoming game Final Fantasy XII. While this Original Soundtrack was one of his strongest albums, it is largely the explanation as to why it was necessary for him to take a more low-key role in the mainstream Final Fantasy albums in the future. By the end of the album, his styles had become worn out and he was literally exhausted — this made the Final Fantasy X Original Soundtrack suffer and showed that a Final Fantasy album could not sustain this again.

Track-by-Track Reviews

Disc One

1) The Place I'll Return to Someday (Written by Chris)

This title theme is far more appropriate in style than the title themes for most of the other games in the series. For this reason, I have a lot of respect for it. Not only does it introduce us to one of the main themes in the game, but it also makes the setting for the medieval style of game with its fascinating use of ancient instrumentation. Although melodically it is reasonably strong, it offers far more intrigue beyond this, but demands a lot of in-depth listening in order to fully appreciate. It seems a shame that the majority of its direct arrangements throughout the game fail to meet this one's success... (8/10)

2) Memories Washed Away in the Storm (Written by Tim)

Like many pieces on the Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack, this tune instantly ties in with the main vocal theme, "Melodies of Life." While not a particularly awe-inspiring melody, it does score points for its varying themes. One minute you'll hear a peaceful melody, and then suddenly it shifts into a thundering bass section. The piece ends a bit too soon though for my taste. (7/10)

3) Strategy Conference (Written by Chris)

This track introduces us to Zidane and the Tantalus crew for the first time. The integration and introduction of "Tantalus' Theme" heard later in the soundtrack is therefore very appropriate. There are attempts to both build up dramatic tension with the use of tremolo strings but this is all very 'tongue in cheek' thanks to its comical melodies. However, the theme is quite unsuccessful in achieving its in-game purpose thanks to its dull and unmemorable nature. There are numerous superior arrangements of this theme later in the soundtrack. (6/10)

4) The Skies of Alexandria (Written by Tim)

This track, while only just under a minute long, really gives you an idea of just how sprawling Alexandria really is. When I hear this piece, I imagine beholding a huge spectacle; for example an amazing sight that I've never seen before. That is exactly what this piece is trying to do and it does it well. I would've enjoyed a little more elaboration, but it gets the job done admirably nonetheless. (9/10)

5) Vivi's Theme (Written by Chris)

Although it may not match the standards set in the Final Fantasy VI Original Sound Version, this is still one of the strongest character themes in the game and one that always brings back fond memories of strolling through Alexandria whenever I listen to it. Its lovely melodies as presented by pizzicato string passages provide a nice light-hearted touch. It's actually difficult not to smile when you hear it regardless of whether you have been listening to Radiohead intensely beforehand! It is an effective and vivid portrayal of Vivi's innocence and goodness but also a very scenic introduction to Alexandria. (9/10)

6) Living by the Sword (Written by Conqueso)

Sadly, one of the only good battle tracks on the entire soundtrack is only used one time, in the first hour of the game. This is the first piece of several pieces of incidental music used in the play "I Want To Be Your Canary," which is performed early in the game and during the ending. While the play is of questionable quality, the music for it is some of the best in the game. This piece begins with a slow, dramatic opening before moving into a more upbeat section, during a scripted battle in the play. Though it's very cheesy, and the melody gets old pretty quickly, it's still very enjoyable. (8/10)

7) Vamo' Allo Flamenco (Written by Tim)

I feel fortunate that I am the lucky one who gets to review this piece. it's been too long since I've played Final Fantasy IX to actually remember where or why it's played, but it's melody has been firmly entrenched in my subconscious ever since I first heard it. Call me crazy, but everytime I hear it I'm reminded of fighting Don Flamenco in the NES classic Mike Tyson's Punchout. Before the bout, this loser comes traipsing out dancing with a rose in his mouth. Anyway, enough about my crazy track associations. "Vamo' Alla Flamenco" is an upbeat, truly memorable piece that simply sticks in your head. This is one of the best tracks on the album in my opinion, and has spawned an unbelievable piano collection rendition as well. Listen and enjoy! (10/10)

8) Decisive Action ~Search for the Princess~ (Written by Chris)

This is one of most well-developed themes on the whole soundtrack. It builds up gradually and beautifully from a baroque harpsichord introduction into what is a gushing wind melody that prominently introduces the "I Want To Be Your Canary" theme. This is used in a brief scene in the game in which Zidane and Garnet meet for the first time and it is wholly appropriate for this purpose considering the drama and emotion evoked throughout. My only criticism is that the transition back to the original harpsichord melody is far too severe and this gives the theme a slightly disjointed feel, which disappoints me considering how well it otherwise develops. (8/10)

9) Jesters of the Moon (Written by Dingo)

Genius. Somehow, it seems that Nobuo has mixed elements of blues music with baroque music, and it results in a bouncy, very 'clowny' track. I think it's the bits and pieces from the blues scale that really make the track. It perfectly matches Zorn and Thorns' characters: stupid and clumsy, but at the same time rambunctious and mischievous. I think that when someone's character theme matches the character well, it really adds to its personality. Great track. (9/10)

10) Steiner's Theme (Written by Conqueso)

I don't really have much to say about this track. Steiner's plodding, goofy theme track isn't a classic by a long shot, but it's one of the better character themes. (7/10)

11) Prima Vista Band (Written by Chris)

This one has always come across as a little clumsy to me. It has quite a cluttered structure and lacks clear melodic lines. Still, its light-hearted nature and occasional dissonant passages mean it is certainly a positive and enjoyable addition to the soundtrack, even if not particularly refined. (7/10)

12) Captivating Eyes (Written by Conqueso)

For the first time on the soundtrack (and in the game), we hear the game's love motif in its entirety. The arrangement is superb, with a gentle flute taking the melody and subtle harp fills between verses. It's definitely the best arrangement of the theme on the soundtrack, save "Melodies of Life" itself. (9/10)

13) Tonight (Written by Tim)

I'm not sure what else you can say about a 16 second track other than it's a little... shall we say... under-developed!? (5/10)

14) Your Warmth (Written by Chris)

Like "Tonight" this doesn't amount to much, considering it is just 34 seconds in length. Still, it is hardly a throwaway track and its gentle integration of the "I Want to be Your Canary" theme makes it a lovely yet brief feature for in-game play. It is also a very good preparation for the next track... (6/10)

15) Mistaken Love (Written by Conqueso)

With a violent shudder of strings and a crash of cymbals, we bid adieu to the glorious Canary theme until the end of Disc 4, where all the pieces will finally come together. After the great climax at the beginning, the arrangement calms down for some harp arpeggios and gentle flute, before building up to back up to the thrilling climax. One of my favorites. (9/10)

16) Queen of the Abyss (Written by Djinova)

This track induces a dark and ominous atmosphere to the otherwise mostly light-hearted soundtrack. Although it surely fits the ruinous character of Queen Brahne, the track is far from being an outstanding one, considering she has a minor role in the game being the victim of the real evil, thus the shortness of the track. (7/10)

17) Awakened Forest (Written by Tim)

One thing Uematsu has always been good at is forest themes. I know it sounds crazy, but the melodies just seem to fit. "Awakened Forest," much like "The Mystic Forest" from Final Fantasy VI before it have the same eerie, cautious tone that you'd expect to hear as you trek through a dangerous forest. (9/10)

18) Battle 1 (Written by Chris)

Although not quite abysmal, this track is by far the worst normal battle theme in the entire series. Uematsu simply uses the old techniques he used for writing his previous battle themes here resulting in an absolutely hackneyed and lifeless mess. It has barely anything intriguing about it and it isn't even catchy, considering any melodies that might hook you are shadowed over by the cluttered and frenzied harmonies that lie beneath. (5/10)

19) Fanfare (Written by Tim)

This peppy tune has been the default battle victory tune in the Final Fantasy series for many years. This version really does nothing to improve on earlier editions. In fact, many could argue that this track is actually a step back from previous editions. With midi technology improving every year, you would think that this piece could at least become a little more instrumental and varied. Instead, what we have here is a very repetitive track that is repeated thousands of times during the course of the game. And while the tune is perfectly appropriate for a victory celebration, it scores low for not evolving over the years. (4/10)

20) Memories of that Day (Written by Djinova)

The atmosphere of a dim and distant past is presented to us in this track. The repeating arpeggios and the fading echo created by the piano perfectly produces this effect, justifying the title. Also, the "Melodies of Life" theme makes a short appearance, but thereafter slides down into a more depressive tone, giving an overall melancholic feel to the track. A successful one in my opinion, despite being 'simple'. (8/10)

21) Battle 2 (Written by Chris)

The boss battle theme is even more mundane than the normal battle theme and certainly the least effective in the series. Not only is it cluttered to the point that many of the notes of the melody are indistinguishable blur, but it is a completely thoughtless creation full of repetitive, repulsive and totally unoriginal features. This evidently took Nobuo Uematsu five minutes to write and he clearly didn't even think about adding anything with a slight bit of intrigue. This is one time that his overused formula for battle theme creation does not work in the slightest. (3/10)

22) Game Over (Written by Djinova)

If you fail a battle this requiem is played. The longest "Game Over" track of the series so far features the playing of a wonderful melody by the harpsichord at the beginning. Somehow this part always brings me back to visions of a castle from the medieval age until the "Prelude" theme takes over, reminding me of future events... for instance starting from the last save point. (8/10)

23) Run! (Written by Chris)

For me it has been the run/hurry tracks in the Final Fantasy series that have been the weakest. They have a great tendency to be repetitive, scrambled and predictable. Thankfully, this track is much better than the majority the series has otherwise seen although it is not hugely different in its structure. Its agitated melody together with the rather quirky piano bits in the later part of the piece makes the theme both enjoyable and full of suspense. (8/10)

24) Goodnight (Written by Djinova)

Standard HP/MP restore track, this time an extremely short passage by the celesta. (7/10)

25) Crossing Those Hills (Written by Gilgamesh)

Ah, the overworld theme — or "Melodies of Life" (verse section) while walking around in the overworld for the first 3/4 of the game. I personally like the arrangement as it starts off gentle, soft and slow, building its way up... but to no actual chorus of "Melodies of Life." Not bad, and I liked how the music fit in with the overall 'cloudiness' of the world. I actually found myself singing words to the verses when I had just beaten the game, heard the track, and replayed the beginning parts again. (8/10)

26) Ice Caverns (Written by Chris)

"Ice Caverns" is one of the experimental gems of the soundtrack. It is almost entirely built upon percussion, with tuned percussion like xylophones and glockenspiels taking a particularly prominent role; fortunately this works perfectly in creating the icy, glass-like atmosphere required. lthough perhaps not the most melodically enjoyable of themes, the way it is so representative and well built up makes it a very noteable addition to the soundtrack, at least in my eyes. (9/10)

27) Frontier Village Dali (Written by Djinova)

This town theme is just lovely, once again proving the skills of Nobuo Uematsu on that sphere. Its soothing melody creates a tranquil surrounding, symbolizing the spot where the chaos of the mist world has not yet reigned over, at least, not that is known to one until following events. This track has the quality of a lullaby, because it always makes my pulse sink, which is by no aspect to be meant negatively. (9/10)

28) In the Distant Twilight (Written by Conqueso)

Here we have a rather dull ambient string track. Now, tracks like these are necessary in any game, and dark, mood-setting tracks have the potential to be very good, such as "On That Day, Five Years Ago..." from Final Fantasy VII or "The Jaws of Ice" from Xenogears, but this one has neither the sheer musical brilliance of the former nor the originality of the latter to stand on its own, though it's a relatively effective track in the game. It becomes a little more interesting toward the end, as harpsichord and oboe outline the melody a bit stronger, but for the most part, it just rambles along. (6/10)

29) Reckless Steiner (Written by Gilgamesh)

What we have here is simply a long and drawn out version of "Steiner's Theme," with the occasional pauses and a slow steady beat. Nothing spectacular though it does serve as decent "waiting around" music — a bit less than mediocre. One thing worth noting is that many of the character themes are not repeated very much throughout the game (with a few exceptions), though they do creep in with subtlety in a few scenes, like this one. (4/10)

30) Limited Time (Written by Chris)

This wind ensemble arrangement of "Vivi's Theme" is certainly not a masterpiece and is indeed rather forgettable against the likes of "Black Mage Village," which is also based on "Vivi's Theme." Still, despite its limited impact, one must admire Uematsu's creative arrangement and his careful harmonic manipulations that emerge throughout the theme's development. Furthermore its atmosphere has always felt uplifting, as it is quite a 'cute', light-hearted theme, with lots happiness and contentment. (7/10)

31) Zidane's Theme (Written by Gilgamesh)

"Zidane's Theme," eh? You ask anyone who's played through Final Fantasy IX about this music and they'll most likely say that it's the happy theme that plays during the infamous "Zidane-grabbing-Garnet's-butt" scene (also known as the "Oooh, soft..." scene). While I will not comment on the scene itself, the music is quite lively though the melody here is not catchy or memorable at all — fitting for the first air travel scene, though never to be heard again in the game. Nevertheless, many players miss the REAL Zidane theme that follows about two-to-three minutes into the track. The liveliness dies down into another melody that is much more thoughtful. Slowly, it builds into a much more known and memorable theme that can be heard in many of Zidane's flashbacks (though it is played slowly by a harpsichord in those instances). The transition back to the initial lively part is a bit abrupt and I tend to like the latter arrangements better, but I think this 'flashback' melody is quite intriguing and really feels like Zidane if you hear out this track completely on a second or third play through. (6/10)

32) Black Waltz

Written by Chris - This theme starts in a very similar way to "Queen of the Abyss" and "In the Distant Twilight" with the heavy use of tremolo strings in a reasonably effective attempt to create tension and fear within this theme. Melodically it is different from the other two but this is barely noticeable unless you play them after each other, considering that the harmonies are practically identical and both tracks serve similar purposes in creating agitation within the early part of the game. Personally I think these three revivals in very similar styles are quite an overkill in Disc One yet this one is hardly an unwelcome addition, just not one of the more creative ones. (7/10)

Written by Djinova - The closing track of Disc One leaves a foreboding atmosphere behind, maybe on purpose to indicate more dangerous events in the game itself to emerge. The tremolo strings are remarkably the main creator of this tension, and otherwise the track gets pretty pointless towards the end which makes a track already suffering from its shortness less memorable, and just slightly above the average on the overall impression. (6/10)

Written by Conqueso - Much is made of the fact that Uematsu wrote the most music he had ever written for this game, but people tend to conveniently ignore the fact that much of that music is stuff like this. This is almost exactly like "In the Distant Twilight" and "Queen of the Abyss" as far as mood and instrumentation, even musically, but it's even less interesting, looping at under a minute. Very, very skipable. (2/10)

Disc Two

1) Cid's Theme (Written by Gilgamesh)

An interesting track featuring a lot of blaring trumpets and percussion. Similar to Final Fantasy VIII's Cid, our Final Fantasy IX Cid is one of high ranking and the music does a decent job of establishing the large grand scale of Lindblum's center castle. Still, the music itself is not very interesting or memorable, wavering back and forth between notes in the background. (5/10)

2) One Danger Put Behind Us... (Written by Tao)

An awesome atmospheric track which fits perfectly to the scene where it's used, the bar of Lindblum. The track starts with an offbeat, which makes you feel weird when the melody starts because you'll have the feeling that the melody starts wrong. The melody itself is slow and smooth accompanied with a very cool bass line and chords on the organ and a background melody. The track plays for the first time in the game when you get chased by Black Waltz #3 and later in the bar in Lindblum. A masterpiece in my opinion. (9/10)

3) Lindblum (Written by Tim)

The theme for the city of Lindblum takes on two or three distinct themes. One of the themes (the beginning) I enjoy very much. The other two, though they transition well, are nothing to write home about. The beginning percussion section meshes nicely with the main melody. After this section, the piece switches to a more plodding, Steiner-like theme. And though I enjoy Steiner's theme for what it is, this doesn't belong in a town theme. (7/10)

4) Song of Memories (Written by Chris)

This little track is a lovely one perhaps even surpassing the sheer beauty of "Melodies of Life," the theme that this track is largely based on. It begins with a harp solo in my favourite part of the theme. This choice of instrument is wholly appropriate and it immediately captures all the fragility, enchantment and nostalgia associated with this theme. In the latter part of the theme, Emiko Shiratori, the diva for this soundtrack, leads the way by singing a 'la-la-la' scat version of "Melodies of Life." Although simple, the distant dreaminess of her voice and its great maturity ensure that this actually stands out remarkably. The only problem this track falls behind on is the fact it is simply so short! (9/10)

5) Hunter's Chance (Written by Conqueso)

Arguably the best battle track in the game, this thrilling, violent track is sure to make you take notice after so many laid-back tracks. With its ever-unwinding melody punctuated by a rolling piano vamp, it portrays an astounding feeling of fear and exhilaration that the normal battle themes fall short of. Too bad it's only used a few times in the game. (9/10)

6) Marsh of the Qu Tribe (Written by Djinova)

An odd track, that is played at Quina's home whenever the big moogle provides hints for you to get acquainted with the game, but neither does it seem to fit the context of Quina nor the one of the moogles. However, the heavy timpani beats and the strange voices gives this track a ceremonial and tribal feel, making it a fairly peculiar one in my opinion, although I know that a lot of people tend to get annoyed by it. (8/10)

7) Quina's Theme (Written by Gilgamesh)

An interesting and certainly unique track. Uematsu takes some of the material from the Qu Marsh track (chants and percussion), adds a steady beat, and speeds it up considerably. The end result is not that interesting, but the synthesized melody does give the player an "old-school-VGM" feel. The music itself, despite being a character theme, is actually only used in the frog catching mini-game. Quina's character could have been stronger although I'm sure it was the designers' intent to make Quina childish and silly — maybe this theme is right for him/her. (5/10)

8) Aloha de Chocobo (Written by Chris)

This acoustic guitar rendition of the famous chocobo theme acts as a decent introductory chocobo theme for this soundtrack. While the guitar mastery is nothing compared to the likes of Hamauzu's "Spiran Scenery" in the Final Fantasy X Original Soundtrack and Mizuta's "Batallia Downs" in the Final Fantasy XI Original Soundtrack, Uematsu's arrangement and use of such instrumentation offers some new, fresh and original styles to emerge as the theme develops. I always felt he could have added more though and given the theme a Spanish element with the addition of various guitar features, rasguedo seeming the most obvious one. It may not be the best chocobo theme in the series with its arrangement being hardly top class, but it is still a fair addition to the album. (7/10)

9) Ukele de Chocobo (Written by Gilgamesh)

A lively ukele provides the bass line for the famous chocobo theme that everyone has grown to love. A marimba like instrument is used for the melody, accompanied by light percussion and chocobo "warks." Quite simple and though not very interesting or elegant, I like it better than most of the overdone "techno" remixes of the chocobo theme in the modern Final Fantasies. Great background music for exploring the world with your chocobo while digging up all those treasures! (7/10)

10) Freija's Theme (Written by Djinova)

This theme is meant to characterise the Dragon Knight Freya, or rather the weak side of her. She has a sad and mysterious past, presented quite well by the fragility of the harpsichord, suffering from a tragic love story. Personally, I feel this track drags on in a monotonous and repetitive way that it can get on my nerve really quick. Uematsu should have brought in some hope inspiring sections, as to balance this track out of its dreariness. In addition this track doesn't capture the other side of Freya, being an excellent fighter in combat. (5/10)

11) At the South Gate Border (Written by Chris)

This arrangement of "Melodies of Life" is a simple heterophonic flute duet. Although certainly not the most creative arrangement in the game, its airy sounds make it a fresh way to open Disc Two of the game. It feels just like a new dawning! In places it sounds almost train-like, which is quite appropriate considering it represents a station in the game! (7/10)

12) Fairy Battle (Written by Sssilverx2)

This track literally threw me off my game. First time around, I thought a battle was starting, and then I hear this. I've never been one for the so-called 'cute' tracks, and this again was no exception. Although (oddly enough) the "circus-like" melody still lingers in my head to this day, it remains to be highly annoying (and stands sourly out) in this medieval style soundtrack. (4/10)

13) Burmecian Kingdom (Written by Tim)

If you looked up the word 'repetitive' in the dictionary, it would probably allude to this piece. This melancholy melody is so drab and uninspiring that a complete beginning pianist could sit down and play it without issue. To make matters worse, the main tune is accompanied by a bland synthesized chanting sound that is sure to make you cringe. Luckily, the track only comes in at just under four minutes. Uh... wait. (3/10)

14) An Unforgettable Face (Written by Conqueso)

Yet another arrangement of Freya's hopelessly drab theme. Thankfully, it's leaps and bounds over the previous track, though that's not saying a great deal. The arrangement is rather pretty in its simplicity, but the melodic synth is earsplitting. It's not a terrible track overall, but the original arrangement of the theme was definitely the best. (5/10)

15) Kuja's Theme (Written by Gilgamesh)

Loads of 6/8 piano strings of eighth notes, using the melody to create a "step down" effect. It might be simple but the melody has a rather mysterious and ominous feel to it. Not the best theme Uematsu has done for the main villain but not too bad either. Definitely something that sticks in the mind of the gamer. (7/10)

16) Sword of Confusion (Written by Chris)

This rather climactic theme has a strong impact on me whenever I hear it. I particularly love it when the acoustic guitar enters with its ferocious strumming! Although the limited synth sound programming here sometimes means it lacks clarity and the theme can sometimes be a little disjointed, all in all this is an excellent theme that works beautifully in the game. (9/10)

17) Sleepless City Treno (Written by Conqueso)

We break out of the darkness the end of the first disc was steeped in a BIG way when the party enters the next town. This goofy, lazy little piano rag transfers the laid-back lifestyle of Treno, where there's really not much to do except buy stuff, into musical form flawlessly. Unfortunately, it's also the least memorable rag ever written. It's nice to have something that's not dreary at this point, but something catchy would have been even nicer. (6/10)

18) Tantalus' Theme (Written by Totz)

I simply love this track, it's one my favourite themes ever. This jazzy piece greatly represents the quirky Tantalus group and their antics. When I listen to it, I can't help but remember Cinna and his addiction to coffee or Baku constantly getting Dr. Tot's name wrong. Ah, the memories... Anyway, I only wish this track would play more times during the game, instead of the obnoxious "The Place I'll Return To Someday" arrangements. (9/10)

19) Wicked Melody (Written by Chris)

This is the second version of "Kuja's Theme," best known as the "We Will Rock You" version thanks to its bass line, which is Uematsu's own little homage to Queen! While the melodies are smooth and flowing in a series of long phrases, they are also extremely sinister particularly when against the penetrating bass line. Personally I find this track better than the original "Kuja's Theme" but far too hackneyed to be anything truly spectacular. (7/10)

20) Garnet's Theme (Written by Djinova)

At first I didn't care much for this track. The use of the clarinet and the flute in a duet throughout the whole track and the high tones in general always made me had the impression the music came somewhere out of the sky. A lot of people cannot stand those high tones and the constant blowing of the wind instruments after continuous listening, as they get pretty repetitive and can be nerve-racking. For me it would have been a normal to nerving track, hadn't it been for the later incarnation of lovely "Melodies of Life" theme in it, which is always a great pleasure to listen to.

This time the melody is played by a triangle-like instrument, capturing perfectly the calm, fragile and innocent nature of Princess Garnet. Lying underneath is an acoustic beat, which musically acts as the counterpart to the high tones. With reference to her character it may suggest a subtle, increasing determination in Garnet, which has not unfolded completely yet.

One may not appreciate the brilliance of this track immediately. Considering it had to face major difficulties in becoming a great theme of a character so important, it certainly is unique. How Nobuo Uematsu composes this heart-warming piece with the use of instruments that easily have the capability of being rather ear piercing is plain amazing. He did a dangerous, but fortunately outstanding work on this experimental track. Overall, it just separates itself from other tracks, because I have yet to hear a track which is as similar as it can be compared to this one. (10/10)

21) Gargan Roo (Written by Conqueso)

Well, this is an interesting track. There's lots of goofy piano doodling with some quirky percussion and a VERY strange chanting/snorting noise underneath. It's another one of those throwaway tracks (it only plays in one very minor dungeon in the game), but its weird and that counts for something, doesn't it? (7/10)

22) Cleyra's Trunk (Written by Tim)

If memory serves, this twangy track plays as you ascend a huge tree into the city of Cleyra. To me, it sounds more like a bunch of sound effects thrown together than a piece of music. (2/10)

23) Cleyra Settlement (Written by Andrew)

I think that I can safely say that this is, by far, the best calliope track in the entire soundtrack. I have played this piece on a pipe organ before, and the theme is still powerful. It is a very neglected track whose theme is never repeated in other tracks. It is just a catchy, warm, and lighthearted piece that is sure to bring anyone a secure and joyful feeling. (10/10)

24) Eternal Harvest (Written by Gilgamesh)

I don't know if this piece were meant to be an experiment but it was certainly unique. Used in Freya's dance sequence, this is quite an interesting melody — it suits the culture of Cleyra quite well with its instruments and light percussion. Not quite catchy but definitely memorable. Too bad it's a "one-scene-only" type of track. Incidentally, I felt the Piano Collections version of this track was much better and more powerful. (7/10)

25) Heaven's Distress (Written by Conqueso)

Another ambient track. Don't you just love these? You better, since there's going to be a lot more of these on Disc Three. I can't remember for the life of me where this was played, but it's rather nice, as its melody is a bit stronger than a lot of the ambient tracks we've heard so far. Oddly enough, it has a very distinct familiarity to "Vamo' Alla Flamenco," though I'm not sure this was intentional. Merely okay. (5/10)

26) Extraction (Written by Chris)

This fast-paced track is a mysterious and ambient one used to represent Zorn and Thorn's evil in a pivotal part of the game. I like the percussion use here and the interesting chord sequences used in the melody; however, it is limited by the fact that it is so repetitive and only amounts to 1 minute 15 seconds in length. It's hardly an exciting and effective end to Disc Two. (6/10)

Disc Three

1) Attack (Written by Soapy)

I didn't mind this battle theme. At least the first 30 seconds of it. As I listen through the entire track I notice that it's a bit repetitive. Actually it's almost ALL repetitive but it gives you that feeling of urgency and mystery that is fitting for a battle that you weren't expecting. Not bad for the first 30 seconds. You can skip to the next one. (4/10)

2) Rose of May (Written by Gilgamesh)

A simple, yet beautiful piano melody for everyone's favorite non-playable character, Beatrix. She'd be one of the best characters in the game if she were a regular. Anyway, from the opening to the chorus, the theme is simply wonderful, giving the listener a sense of... nostalgia? Maybe like revisiting childhood memories. I can't describe it any other way. Much better than most of the themes for the MAIN characters, this tune is most certainly memorable. Simple and clean. (10/10)

3) Fossil Roo (Written by Chris)

This is another ambient theme which is played only briefly during one part of the game. Like many of the other themes on Disc Three, this theme is quite unmemorable and lacks much melodic progression. Still, it captures atmosphere well and its echoes and dynamic gradations help to enforce the dark and mysterious nature of the cave this theme represents effectively. (7/10)

4) Mountain Pass - Conde Petie (Written by Djinova)

For the first part of this track Nobuo Uematsu uses old instruments such as taiko drums and the pan flute to picture an ancient road to an equally ancient but strange village, as the silly, ironic melody suggests. This is the first place our friends visit since the leaving of the mist world to a seemingly intact world. But as the second more tension-filled and foreshadowing part (after 0:59) implies, this safe and sound surrounding is sure to change. The reason why I actually distinguish between two separated parts is because the music instruments for the first part dies completely upon the entering of the second part, definitely implying a certain purpose, but otherwise this track is - melodically, in terms of catchiness - not very noteworthy. (7/10)

5) Black Mage Village (Written by Tim)

If you were to hear this piece with no knowledge of it's title or where it was played within the game, you'd probably never guess it was a town theme. This upbeat track is perhaps the catchiest on the entire Final Fantasy IX album. The thundering bass line combined with a dance style melody really makes this track sticks out. It also scores extra points as it incorporates a hip-hop version of Vivi's theme. Definitely one of the album's can't-miss tracks. (10/10)

6) Unfathomed Reminiscence (Written by Chris)

This track, sometimes known as "Where Love Doesn't Reach," is a very pleasant town theme that leaves much to be desired, even if not as original as the fantastic track before it. While the melody is admittedly quite predictable and clich�d, its sad yet hopeful atmosphere still manages to touch me deeply whenever I hear it. Its definitely evocativeness makes it much more profound than the majority of town themes in the series. Still, the piano collections version is vastly superior. (8/10)

7) Ceremony for the Gods (Written by Djinova)

I am trying to be as objective as possible on reviewing this track. It is played in the marriage scene in Conde Petie and the very beginning starts off as similar as "The Castle" from Final Fantasy VIII, promising a decent, varied track. But the similarity is as short as one notices immediately that this track is extremely annoying. The "music" of the organ rather seemed to me, as if someone forgot to turn off a beep-like tone, as it continues to penetrate my diaphragm in an aggressive way. Unfortunately the addition of other music instruments doesn't do much to balance this track. If there was a track I recommend you to skip then this would be this one... well, the numbers 3 and 7 aren't always lucky numbers. (3/10)

8) Eiko's Theme (Written by Gilgamesh)

Guitars and other "string-pluck" instruments are used for this calm and relaxing theme. It may seem simple but the cool part is that this theme is really the harmony for "Crossing That Hill," otherwise known as the verse section of "Melodies of Life." Try humming the main melody in conjunction with this track, it's pretty cool! There's one instance in the game where they play it with the "Melodies of Life" melody, and that's during the "Wizard of Oz" scene when everyone is waiting in front of Alexandria Castle. More than just the ordinary track that I thought it was, it portrays Eiko's character pretty well though it is a bit boring and could've been used in more scenes. (8/10)

9) Ruins of Madain Sari (Written by Djinova)

Upon entering the "Ruins of Madain Sari" you hear this track. Not only does the name of Eiko's home implies that this is a ancient forsaken place, but also the accompanying music is primarily responsible for adding to that feeling. By using old instruments made out of wood such as the pan flute or the vibraphone the composer creates an atmosphere that is bound to its natural surrounding. Later in the track the main melody is led by what seems to me an accordion. But somehow I cannot find a clear connection of this section to the town theme. Maybe the change in the music indicates that this quiet place has changed ever since the presence of lively Eiko. (7/10)

10) Wall of the Sacred Beasts (Written by Soapy)

The steady pace of plucking strings make up this rather soothing theme. A couple of wind instruments jump in during the piece to outline a simple but pleasant melody. It sounds like some sort of cave theme. The gentle plucking of the harp conjures up images of a waterfall, but I'm not entirely sure which part of the game this track is played. Nothing extraordinary about this one, but it's a nice track to relax to. (7/10)

11) Iifa Tree (Written by Chris)

While this track took a while for me to appreciate, I can now safely say that it is one of my favourites of the whole soundtrack. The foreboding bass ostinato that the track is build around surely dominates with its hugely penetrating nature; the fact that this ostinato is relentlessly repeated throughout offers the possibility that the track becomes tedious but thankfully this is largely minimised by the fact there is so much melodic contrast throughout. The natural sounding melodies, often coming from synth vocals, sing on top emphasising the natural, mist-spewing nature of this evil tree. I also love the deep discordant crashes that emerge through the track, firstly from the piano in the introduction before it fades into the harmony with its octave tremolos, and secondly from the gong's deep crashes as the theme develops. Such dissonance brings back fond memories of "Lunatic Pandora" from the Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack to me. Overall this is an excellent track that represents the evil, zombie-like yet natural nature of the mysterious Iifa Tree well providing a great sense of presentiment in preparation for the climatic events that happen here at the end of Disc Two within the game. (9/10)

12) Salamander's Theme (Written by Conqueso)

An often unnoticed character theme (especially since it's used all of...twice? in the game), this track is actually very nice. Of course, all of the character themes in this game save Garnet's appear weak compared to past character themes Uematsu has written, but the plaintive repeating melody over the continual bass guitar ostinato and roaming synth chords creates a combination that's really quite beautiful. (7/10)

13) Footsteps of Desire (Written by Gilgamesh)

This is pretty much a toy piano (or an instrument that sounds quite close to it) playing Kuja's Theme slowly with soft sounding strings in the background. A bit boring but it serves its purpose well, a great track to be played as the baddies plot their evil schemes. For some reason, this track reminded me of a Crono Cross track. It has the same ominous soft and slow piano playing. (6/10)

14) We Are Thieves! (Written by Chris)

This is quite a clear cut arrangement of "Tantalus' Theme," which we heard back in Disc Two of the Original Soundtrack. It largely echoes its original's success retaining the catchy melodies and cool jazz styles that largely characterised it. However, there are considerable changes that make the track seem a little more downhearted in places allowing some capture of Zidane's anguish at the point in the game it is played. While the most obvious of these additions is the addition of a stop chorus in the middle of the piece, it is the slower tempo and the fact that a flute now plays the melody theme instead of the baritone saxophone that help to create this more downbeat atmosphere. Although it takes time to appreciate this is more than a straightforward arrangement, eventually you will hopefully appreciate the subtlety at which Nobuo Uematsu has effectively arranged it. (9/10)

15) Slew of Love Letters (Written by Conqueso)

This adorable, wacky track plays as Eiko, quite enamored with Zidane, attempts to write him a sappy love letter, signed anonymously. Every character in the game except Zidane recieves it, and much hilarity ensues. The tune, like many on this soundtrack, is hardly memorable, but the fancy harpsichord and flute arpeggios juxtaposed with bass licks and brief more refined passages create a very silly, enjoyable mood. (8/10)

16) Tetra Master

Written by Djinova - Like "Shuffle or Boogie" from Final Fantasy VIII this track acts as accompanying music to a card mini-game, this being Tetra Master. The constant chord creates a chill out atmosphere, and the froggy percussion adds a sneaky feel to the table, where only the ones with the poker face win. Although a clear development by adding more and more instruments after a while is seen in this track, it seems very monotonous and never actually reaches an interesting critical point, which I would have expected. In addition this track can get annoying, which may account for the fact that I never really cared for the Tetra Master Game. (6/10)

Written by Gilgamesh - Music used for Final Fantasy IX's card game, it's a kind of of soft but jazzy track with an electronic piano sound and bits of percussion. I don't know if Uematsu was trying to use the same style as the Final Fantasy VIII card game... I didn't play cards that much in Final Fantasy IX (it was much better in Final Fantasy VIII) and this music really didn't have a big impact on me. Then again, I'm focused on the cards rather than the music when I play the game — maybe music with good tension would work well here. (5/10)

17) Moogle Theme (Written by Chris)

Although its revival in the game was not very prominent, the addition of a cute arrangement of what was once known as "Mog" or "Cripper Tripper Fritter" in their respective Final Fantasy VI Original Sound Version and Final Fantasy V Original Sound Version was certainly very welcome. While I would hardly call the arrangement transformative, it really does not need to be — the thing that really matters here is the lively, light-hearted and character-filled melodies that still continue to rejoice us even to this day. Against the ancient Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles versions of this theme, it does admittedly seem slightly weaker, however, it is still among my favourites of this Original Soundtrack. (9/10)

18) Those Whom We Must Protect (Written by Djinova)

Wow, this is the battle version of "Rose of May." The composer uses a whole string ensemble to introduce the listener to this decisive, but also emotionally relevant battle, as Steiner and Beatrix do not only fight for the preservation of Alexandria this time. At first I was sceptical about the transition of the wonderfully melancholic "Rose of May" theme into a more agitated and complex version, as I feared it would lose the purity the piano captures so beautifully. But fortunately, the wind instruments that lead the melodies with their flowing and calm nature still manage to keep the main tunes unlost and clear. What's remarkable about the choice of instruments here is the interaction of the trumpet (0:10) and the oboe (0:20), which shall represent the interaction of two characters, namely Steiner with his sluggish and insisting nature in contrast to Beatrix's demure and judicious appearance. Seeing the track in this way, the replacement of only the flute for the main melody and the joining of other instruments after 0:30 not only implies a certain climax as it should be typical in a battle track, but also symbolizes the concerted effort of Beatrix and Steiner for a good purpose. The trumpet is rather used in this part as fanfare music to give the listener an optimistic feel about the outcome of the scene. On the overall this track has everything required to be a great one, complexity and charm. Great job, Nobuo Uematsu. (10/10)

19) The Chosen Summoner (Written by Chris)

This is a fairly bog-standard ambient theme that doesn't offer much long-term listening prospects. The synth vocal arpeggio lines that run throughout this piece are clearly intended to add a certain mystical element to this piece, which is a nice idea in principle but quite a failure in reality. It is hindered greatly by both bad sound quality makes the vocals so inevocative in nature, as well as the fact that sheer monotony is created by the use of such tonic and unoriginal arpeggio patterns throughout the piece. The melodies do add a little more impact and certainly create the holiness and sense of mystery needed in this place in the game. However, they lack development and are hindered by the fact they are so predictable. In conclusion, the atmosphere created by this track is clear and successful but it has serious compositional and technical flaws (6/10)

20) Keeper of Time (Written by Gilgamesh)

Though it's a bit clich�d, I love instances in RPGs when you've been chasing around a villain or baddie throughout an entire game and their "master" is suddenly revealed with evil organ music or freaky percussion. That's pretty much the purpose of the track, to introduce Garland as an authority figure above Kuja who ends up being the one behind the controls of the big "Eye in the Sky." Musically, it's a bit boring with strings of chords — but it's supposed to be EVIL organ music. (7/10)

21) Oeilvert (Written by Chris)

This track is a rather direct arrangement of the "The Place I'll Return Someday" heard all the way back at the very start of Disc One. Unfortunately it lacks both the charisma and interest of the original and is quite dull and monotonous throughout. The use of early instruments is a clear attempt to represent the ancient styles of Oeilvert but unfortunately this is hardly masterful manipulation and is somewhat detractive from the quality of this theme. (6/10)

22) A Transient Past (Written by Gilgamesh)

A synth choir sings the "Place I'll Return to Someday" theme with a bit of a mysterious air to it. It may not be musically special but the arrangement really painted the picture well for me. When I first heard the track before playing the game, I literally could feel a run-down stone castle — pretty close to what Oeilvert turned out to be. The music was also good for startling me when the "faces" popped out in that particular scene in game to explain the history of Gaia. Not bad. (7/10)

23) Turn Around, He's a Frog! (Written by Chris)

This theme is used in a comic sequence in the game in which Regent Cid the Frog has to turn an hourglass without being caught by the scoundrel, the hedgehog. Nobuo Uematsu seems to have deliberately manipulated this to be as cheesy as possible as a direct parody of Elton John's "Crocodile Rock." With its jazzy melodies, syncopated rhythms and overall light-hearted nature it acts as a bit of comic relief in this otherwise serious part of the game. You cannot help but cringe at how cheesy it is but neither can you help but admit that it serves its purpose well and can actually be quite entertaining, if not addictive to listen to at times. (9/10)

24) Sacred Grounds - Esto Gaza (Written by Sssilverx2)

The track, played in the icy depths of Esto Gaza, opens with synth-choir chants, then drones slowly into the melody with piano chords, and a bell. During the 2nd melody, the chants return as well as a piccolo and plucked strings adding into the mix. Overall, a decent, relaxing theme to listen to on its own. Esto Gaza is a relaxing, empty environment, so the music suits it perfectly. Nothing overwhelming, nothing memorable, just a decent track. (7/10)

25) Gurgu Volcano (Written by Gilgamesh)

Gurugu Volcano (also known as "Gurgu Volcano" to us since there are R and L mix-ups between English and Japanese) is a great remix of an old Final Fantasy classic theme. Yes, there was a dungeon in the first Final Fantasy called "Gurgu Volcano" and had this nice jumpy or edgy tune with a cool melody near the middle-end. The remix I'm sure was to pay homage to the old theme. The strings and percussion are nice though this arrangement is a bit slow for me — then again, it keeps you anticipating for that main melody near the end. Also used in Chocobo Racing, this theme is a classic and the remix does a decent job "modernizing" it for Final Fantasy IX. (8/10)

26) The Heart of Melting Magic (Written by Sssilverx2)

A soft, majestic theme played towards the end of Disk 3 when Cid.. wait that's a spoiler.. sorta.. *ahem* The harpsichord and violin make up the entire track. This track just flows along at the same steady pace throughout, never hitting any climax or "strong" point. (5/10)

Disc Four

1) The Airship Hildagarde (Written by Gilgamesh)

Ahh, Disc Four introduces the listener into a electronic sounding but very lively airship theme. Lots of arpeggio-like motifs in the background as the melody sings and slowly develops the synth trumpets into playing something quite heroic and courageous. It is quite motivating for me, actually. One of my favorite airship themes. (10/10)

2) Hermit's Library Daguerreo (Written by Chris)

For me, although this track is simplistic, it has always been a good representation of the peacefulness and contentment of the hermit's life in the secret library of Daguerreo. This library is one of the few places left untouched by Kuja and his spawn within the game and is thus the perfect epitome of what life would be like if evil didn't surround Gaia. This idea is reinforced by the enchanting and beautiful melodies that make this piece so profound. Uematsu's use of the solo acoustic guitar is hardly masterful and it greatly lacks noteworthy features beyond the occasional harmonic from time to time but the melodies make up for this. Although it is hardly as good as its Final Fantasy IX Piano Collections counterpart, this is still a marvellous addition to the Original Soundtrack. (9/10)

3) Ipsen's Ancient Castle (Written by Sssilverx2)

To be quite honest, this was one of the worst tracks on the entire soundtrack to me. Unlike previous arrangements of "The Place I'll Return to Someday," this one was done terribly. The melody was put together of octaves using a high-pitched wind instrument, piccolo, and the background chorus that was just terribly off key. Once I hit this LONG level in Ipsen's Castle, I had to mute the button after 5 minutes. (2/10)

4) Four Mirrors (Written by Tim)

This piece is basically just a souped-up rendition of the game's main title music "The Place I'll Return to Someday." I never was overly thrilled with the main theme to begin with, and this piece really does nothing to improve it. It's a very repetitive piece, and the instrument used to play the main melody is grating to say the least. (4/10)

5) Concurrent Battles (Written by Chris)

The thing that separates this track off from being just 'bog standard' battle music is the magnificent way it develops. It starts of quite weakly consisting of nothing more than a repeating tonic piano pedal accompanying some rather basic string motifs. Almost miraculously it becomes in every way more complex and original as more instruments enter and the tension brewing in this theme dramatically increases. Eventually it proceeds up to its grand climax that proudly ejaculates with great passion around the 1-minute mark. I recommend one not to consider this track in a superficial way and admire for its great, although hidden worth. (10/10)

6) Terra (Written by Sssilverx2)

You guessed it, yet another "The Place I'll Return to Someday" arrangement. Except this time, it bested the previous two failures of "Ipsen's Ancient Castle" and "Four Mirrors." The choice of instruments, harp and strings, was an excellent choice to show the pure serenity, yet mystery of Terra. Despite the main theme being overused once again, this was the top arrangement of them all. (8/10)

7) Bran Bal, the Soulless Village (Written by Chris)

Although I confess I overlooked this deeply profound track during the game, upon purchasing the Original Soundtrack, it immediately shone as one of my favourites. In many ways it shares similar qualities to the previous track with its gentle and pensive melodies flowing throughout; however, it also feels much colder and unfeeling in nature representing the nature of the 'people' here. Although I sometimes have trouble differentiating between whether this track is intended to be impressionist or neo-classicist, I feel that perhaps the most suitable medium of a composer to compare it to would be would be Erik Satie. It clearly rejects the expression of romanticism and seems aiming towards reinforcing the principals of classical ideas. Such a comparison would be particularly apt considering Hamaguchi's Final Fantasy IX Piano Collections arrangement of this theme was in direct homage to Satie's gymnop�dies. These rather unorthodox attempts at experimentation have clearly paid off, however, not by just offering a very musically enigmatic theme for music lovers to get their teeth into, but by providing the perfect music for the mysterious setting of Bran Bal within the game. (10/10)

8) Pandemonium, the Castle Frozen in Time (Written by Gilgamesh)

Similar to Garland's Theme in "Keeper of Time," this piece is pretty much entirely done by a heavy organ. What's interesting about this track is that Pandemonium was a dungeon in Final Fantasy II (on NES, not SNES, play Origins to find out) and the melody is remixed here if you listen carefully. This old favorite remix combined with the scene where Garland tells Zidane the truth about everything makes it a memorable and powerful track indeed. (9/10)

9) You're Not Alone! (Written by Gilgamesh)

Words cannot describe how moving and powerful this track was. Perhaps it is just a personal thing, but I loved this scene in the game. Zidane is going nuts after hearing everything Garland has told him, and every other team member tries to step up and comfort him, one by one. With the same qualities of tracks like "Someday the Dream Will End" from Final Fantasy X and "The Oath" from Final Fantasy VIII, this is one emotional or motivational track that really sold the scene in the game — the shining/defining moment in Final Fantasy IX for me. (10/10)

10) Passing Sorrow (Written by Chris)

Although this track is not as the distinguished as its five great preceding tracks, this is just as musically beautiful. For me this represents the calm relief of what I believe to be the climax of both the game and the Original Soundtrack. It begins delicately with a solo guitar melody, which although simple, is soft and touching. It develops with great subtlety with the entrance of a flute secondary melody midway through the track and then the eventual entrance of the strings, which play sustained and soft notes to accompany the guitar melody that leads. Although it takes a while to appreciate the sensitivity of Nobuo Uematsu's composing here, it should eventually shine with great purity and merit with repeated listens. I thoroughly recommend it. (9/10)

11) The Evil Mist Returns (Written by Totz)

When I listened to it for the first time, I wasn't very fond of it, but it's really grown on me. This track may seem repetitive when you first listen to it, but just wait until it fully develops itself, because that annoying motif that is the first thing you listen to when the track is played ends, and the best part of the track begins (around 0:55). (8/10)

12) Assault of the Silver Dragons (Written by Conqueso)

Why is it the coolest tracks only ever get played once? This thrilling, superbly well-developed orchestral track sounds like something directly out of the Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack, which is an extremely refreshing change after all the relatively light, simple material we've heard so much of so far. I can't really describe how awesome this track is. It's simply brilliant. (10/10)

13) Place of Memory (Written by Gilgamesh)

"Place of Memory," also known as "Memoria," is a beautiful soothing piece with gentle strings and percussion. It's a bit ambient and not very interesting, but it certainly set the mood quite well with the crumbled white castles, rainy areas, and it just feels gray. Probably the most gentle and soft theme to a final dungeon, it's great music to go with homework. (9/10)

14) Crystal World (Written by Sssilverx2)

This sounded like an evil version of the typical Final Fantasy Prelude from Final Fantasy VII. It begins the same way, going up and down different scales *brings out the Final Fantasy IX Doremi book* Cm maj7, Dbm maj7, Cm maj7, Dbm maj7, Bbm maj7, then Abm maj7. The 2nd portion of the melody tosses in a few faint chords, and adds in a few more scales of different variation. I was expecting something more "out-of-this-world" like, but it's a decent enough track to give credit too. (6/10)

15) Dark Messenger (Written by Totz)

One of the best tracks in this Original Soundtrack, this excellent battle theme plays in your final bout with Kuja, now in his Trance version. This is the second to last battle theme you'll hear in the entire game, and also acts as a farewell to Kuja and his schemes. When you're accustomed to those crappy battle themes you hear over and over again in the game, this one comes and proves that Uematsu can still compose excellent battle themes. (10/10)

16) Final Battle (Written by Merek)

This one I love. The beginning is pretty boring, I'll admit that, but it set a good tone in the game, and once the "real" track kicks in it rocks. One thing about this theme that makes it so good is the general battle feeling of it, something I feel several previous final battle themes in the series didn't succeed with. The on-going bass is typical of Uematsu (reminds me of Final Fantasy VIII), and the synth creates a nice psycho feeling. Overshadowed by more bombastic themes such as "One Winged Angel" and "Dancing Mad," I feel "Final Battle" is just as good and maybe more. Themes like this remind me why I like Uematsu so much. (10/10)

17) Bittersweet Romance (Written by Chris)

This is the first of the six themes that make up the ending for the game. Although individually they are often quite unremarkable, particularly in the first three themes, collectively they work together remarkably well as the best ending themes of the entire series. "Bittersweet Romance" is certainly decent and enjoyable, even if predictable and fairly featureless. Although neither as long as "Melodies of Life ~ Final Fantasy" nor as dramatic as "Two Hearts That Can't be Stolen," and "Towards That Gate," it acts as a warm reprise bringing us back to the "I Want to be Your Canary theme", which dominates the end of the soundtrack just like it did the beginning. (7/10)

18) The Kiss of Betrayal (Written by Gilgamesh)

A short, sneaky piece of music that would fit the scene of someone sneaking away from home. It's only a few seconds of a triangle beating against strings so there isn't too much to say except that it's used in the "I Want to Be Your Canary" play performance during the ending. (3/10)

19) I Want to be Your Canary (Written by Gilgamesh)

Same exact intro as the track above except that this one is about minute long with an extra wind instrument section followed by an ominous strings. This track is used in the "extended edition" of the "I Want To Be Your Canary" performance during the game Ending. There's an extra scene during the play, worth about half a minute, if you obtained Cinna'a Hammer and kept it (not used for weapon building). (4/10)

20) Two Hearts That Can't be Stolen (Written by Chris)

It is with this beautiful track that the true marvel of the collective ending themes begins to show. Once again the central basis of this theme is the "I Want to be Your Canary" but the fact that this is such a dramatic and well-built arrangement, this is certainly not a reason for this track to become tedious. This is a fully orchestrated arrangement that inspires a huge of emotion in the ending of the game throughout. It begins sorrowfully reflecting the absence of lost loves and gradually grows into a much more hopeful track as higher pitched instruments such as the flute emerge and the track begins its rather sudden transition into the next track... (9/10)

21) Towards That Gate (Written by Chris)

This beautiful track always brings back many fond memories of the highly emotive ending to the game. This is an epic and fully orchestrated theme that is enriched with a huge amount of emotion throughout. It begins lightly as Zidane tries desperately to find his great love; here the strings lead the way first in the harmony with a charming ostinato pattern and then later in the melody as it integrates fragments of the much loved "Melodies of Life" theme. When Zidane dives through the gates into his lover's arms there is a great surge of emotion that builds into the strongest and most beautiful incarnation of the "I Want to be Your Canary" theme we ever hear. As the lovers embrace there is a brief yet touching flute passage around the 1 minute 30 mark, which is then overshadowed by the triumphant roars of the brass as the crowd victoriously cheer within the game before the scene fades into the cute pre-credit sequences. I simply adore this theme and its respective ending it accompanies and I would say that even the strongest man would be touched by it! It is highly recommended for all. (10/10)

22) Melodies of Life ~ Final Fantasy (Written by Tim)

This lovely vocal track plays as the credits roll. You're treated to this track after what is, in my opinion, the finest and most emotional ending to any Final Fantasy title. Though I'm partial to the English version since I can actually understand it, the Japanese version is just as dynamic and heartfelt. As an added bonus, once the lyrical section ends, the familiar Final Fantasy ending theme is played to round out the experience. The instrumentals in this piece offer a solid combination of strings, brass, and piano, while the lyrics are beautifully sung by Emiko Shiratori. "Melodies of Life" is the epitome of what an end-game track should be. Emotional, yet uplifting; sad, yet happy. Whatever music you're in the mood for, this track has something to offer you. A true gem. (10/10)

23) Prelude (Written by Gilgamesh)

Ahhh... The classic Final Fantasy harp theme. It was sorely missed in the Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack but thankfully, it was brought back in this soundtrack. Unfortunately, it is only played during the "THE END" screen of the game — it is quite a good arrangement, probably my favorite one out of the Original Soundtracks. The quality is really nice and the flute providing the upper melody is gentle yet strong. Almost similar to the arranged "Prelude" in Final Fantasy IV Celtic Moon except that it's still synth. (9/10)

24) CCJC TVCM 15" (Written by Conqueso)

Because nothing completes a good game of Final Fantasy IX like a nice, tall glass of Coke...or something. This is a rather cute, bombastic orchestral arrangement of the main theme, which plays during — don't faint-- the Japanese Final Fantasy IX themed Coca-Cola commercial. I can't help but question whether these tracks actually belong on the soundtrack, but at least they're at the end, where it can't disrupt the flow or anything. Unfortunately, because of the time constraints, it ends fairly abruptly, which is my only real complaint about the arrangement itself. (8/10)

25) CCJC TVCM 30" (Written by Conqueso)

Just like the previous track, except it plays itself through instead of randomly stopping halfway through. Do I really need to describe it again? (9/10)

26) Melodies of Life (The Layers of Harmony) (Written by Djinova)

The final track is identical to the original "Melodies of Life ~ Final Fantasy" except for the English lyrics and the "Final Fantasy" theme is left out. Following the trend of Final Fantasy VIII, this piece attempts to breath human life into a game soundtrack consisting otherwise mainly of instrumental music. Immediately remarkable are the strikes of the piano that acts as an accompanying instrument this time. Although the Piano Collection have already proven it to be worthy of playing the melody, it is performed by the lovely warming voice of Emiko Shiratori who beautifully captivates the tranquility and fragility in the piece, which the glockenspiel perfectly reflects. Furthermore, supported by string ensembles and several wind instruments, the flowing and dreamy nature of the "Melodies of Life" is slowly expanded in an unnerving way. Although some parts contain elements of a pop track, it never gets cheesy or clich�d and is just fun to listen to. I have never been tired of having this played as background music, and personally, I think it is superior to "Eyes on Me" from Final Fantasy Eight . Even though the later part is missing, the vital "melodies" of the track are not lost. On the overall this is a great end to surround the magic of a magnificient soundtrack (10/10)


Written by Chris

Many consider the Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack to be the best Original Soundtrack the series has ever seen. I can wholeheartedly empathise with this viewpoint even though I marginally favour the soundtracks for Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy VIII. It certainly deserves to be so highly acclaimed. Its gargantuan size — 110 tracks spread across four discs — makes it the biggest Original Soundtrack to be released by the series. Furthermore, the huge variations in style across each track make it highly emotive and engrossing throughout. Most themes have a unique flavour and all contribute towards making the soundtrack so vast and sophisticated.

As with any soundtrack there are flaws, and these flaws are serious and considerable in number and therefore hard to ignore. Inconsistency in quality is particularly detractive with tracks widely ranging from the poor to the mediocre to the good to the masterpieces. This means that you skip many tracks or fail to have much love for them. Still, as Disc Four showed, the great abundance of masterpieces easily overshadow the poorer ones. Another problem was sound quality, which although good for most tracks, inhibited the quality of tracks such as "The Chosen Summoner" and "Marsh of the Qu Tribe" where synth vocals were used.

Despite this, there is no doubt that this soundtrack is excellent and something of a must-buy. Such an amazing and vast achievement is a major credit in the video game world and accountable to just one composer: Nobuo Uematsu. It is soundtracks like these that make you just realise why Uematsu is as highly acclaimed as he undoubtedly is. (8/10)

Written by Djinova

The ninth package of music of a series so famous as to be called Final Fantasy is worth its addition to the previous soundtracks in any aspect. Squaresoft's venerable composer Nobuo Uematsu has given the last Final Fantasy game based on PlayStation engine the the ending it deserves, in terms of music undeniably.

This time going back to the past, the tracks indicate leaving the dark area of Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy VII and the militaristic area of Final Fantasy VIII. The synths used in Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII often produced the desired effect, but aren't always a pleasure to listen too. On the contrary, the Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack may not have the most distinct tunes, but rather flies by in an unnerving way with a great variety of themes. The fact that the music is composed mostly using natural, ancient instruments makes even the mediocre to bad tracks listenable. Add the masterpieces to this and you get a soundtrack that has its ups and downs on the positive scale and never reaches the point of unbearableness.

For those who have played the game, the music will certainly bring back fond memories of strolling through Lindblum or engaging in intricate boss fights, fulfilling infinitely the purpose of a game soundtrack. Understandably, the appearence of Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack has changed the heart of many fans for the favourite Original Soundtrack over some beloved previous Final Fantasy Original Soundtracks. Even people who have not come to appreciate role playing music yet will be amazed to find out about the great variety of themes and feelings this soundtrack has to offer. It's definitely worth listening to over and over again. (9/10)

Written by Gilgamesh

Ahem... Wow. Okay, there's more to say than just that. The Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack, though not as grand, epic, or popular compared to its older siblings, is still a wonderful soundtrack and is definitely recommended for any Final Fantasy or VGM music collector. Although there some tracks that may be boring or ambient, the decent number of beautiful, awesome tracks certainly makes up for it. Character themes were not as strong as other Final Fantasy games and most of the battle and action music was a letdown. Though I felt many of the tracks were rehashes of the two main themes ("The Place I'll Return to Someday" and "Melodies of Life"), there is still plenty of great new material like "Freija's Theme," "Tantalus' Theme," "Rose of May," and almost everything on Disc 4, which is a personal favorite of mine. I really like how the Original Soundtrack ends on such a high note — that quality is really important to me. Finally, "Melodies of Life," the main theme of Final Fantasy IX is a great track and really shines throughout the game and Original Soundtrack. Overall, Final Fantasy IX music isn't absolutely spectacular but its strong and memorable tunes really make this soundtrack a great listening experience. (8/10)

Written by Conqueso

I can summarize this soundtrack with a single word: MEH. At the risk of sounding overly cynical, this is probably the weakest soundtrack Uematsu has composed since the 8-bit era. So much of the music sounds like it could have been written in five minutes — particularly in the last third of the disc, with its lackluster arrangements of "The Place I'll Return Someday" and town themes you can't remember even while you listen to them. That said, much of the music is beautiful, as well. The character themes, once you get used to their unconventionality, are mostly excellent, the special battle themes are glorious, and the "I Want to be Your Canary" theme is among the most beautiful melodies I've ever heard. Gems are sprinkled everywhere in this soundtrack, but you have to sift through mounds of coal in order to find them. Whether it's worth it is up to you. (8/10)

Written by Sssilverx2

This Original Soundtrack had it all, from its ups and its downs, medieval themes, love themes, action themes you name it. (Well, except for heavy metal themes.. that was saved for Final Fantasy X.) This is one of the best Final Fantasy soundtracks that I own, unlike many others that has about 20 tracks you can skip over, I can really only name about 5 I could care less about. Everything else is pure genius. Even the simple minute and under tracks were done well. My only gripe about the soundtrack was the fact that "Melodies of Life" and "The Place I'll Return to Someday" were used in excess, especially in the end of Disc 3 where there was like 5 arrangements of "The Place I'll Return Someday." Every disk had a mixture of elements, so there is something different to love in each disk. The last 12 or so tracks of Disc 4 will always leave a lasting impression. Although the Japanese version of "Melodies of Life" will beat the American lyrics any day, it ended on a powerful note. Major kudos to Uematsu, this is definitely one of his better soundtracks. (9/10)

Written by Tim

The soundtrack for Final Fantasy IX certainly has a long list of memorable tunes. In fact, I can't think of any other soundtrack that has as many enjoyable tracks as this, save for maybe one of my all-time favorites; the Chrono Cross Original Soundtrack. That being said, the set does have it's fair share of stinkers. The album starts out fairly slowly, with only a few memorable tunes in the first two discs. Pieces like "Vamo' Alla Flamenco" keep the early parts of the soundtrack listenable, but much like the game, things really start to improve in the final two discs. Emotion simply pours from classics like "Rose of May," "Two Hearts That Can't be Stolen," and "Unfathomed Reminiscence," and the closing vocal track is as memorable as it comes in the Final Fantasy series. Despite a few lulls, the soundtrack has a wide variety of excellent tracks, and Final Fantasy music fans should definitely pick this one up. (8/10)

Average of Summary Scores: 8/10