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Final Fantasy VII Piano Collections :: Review by Soapy

Final Fantasy VII Piano Collections Album Title: Final Fantasy VII Piano Collections
Record Label: DigiCube (1st Edition); Square Enix (Reprint)
Catalog No.: SSCX-10111; SQEX-10020
Release Date: December 3, 2003; May 10, 2004
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan

Overview

I'm sure all you Final Fantasy VII fans were wondering how it was possible for them to skip over this one. However, since I'm not from that FFVII generation, needless to say, I took my sweet time to get this soundtrack. Final Fantasy VII was a major accomplishment in its time, much like how Final Fantasy X was when it first came out. I admit that I'm a bit biased, and due to all the hype surrounding this game, I found that it was overrated. I wasn't exactly amazed with the OST, but I was willing to give the Piano Collections a try.

Track-by-Track Reviews

1) Tifa's Theme

To me, this was one of the more memorable themes in this game. It stays true to the original, complete with that dreamlike melody that holds its charm. This piece has a childlike sweetness to it, very touching, but not so much that it ends up being depressing and sad. The arrangement overall was well thought out, nothing extraordinary, but it emphasizes the important parts. (9/10)

2) Final Fantasy VII Main Theme

"Tifa's Theme" wasn't the only memorable theme from the game. The main theme stayed with me solely because I spent so much time on that forsaken overworld map. Of all the overworld themes in Final Fantasy, this one was the most melancholy. I suppose this suits the general feel of the game. I'm not sure if there were any other games that had such a depressing main theme. Maybe that's why I didn't like the game. (7/10)

3) Cinco de Chocobo

What soundtrack wouldn't be complete without the chocobo theme!? This jazzy upbeat tune makes this album a bit more lively, you could say. The only complaint I have was that it was a bit too short. Although I'm sure most people would get irritated after about 5 minutes of chocobo fun. (7/10)

4) Ahead on Our Way

An enchanting town theme that doesn't stray too far from the original. This is a lovely arrangement that manages to bring out the best features of the piece and still convey enough emotion to keep us listening. Most of the piece is a bit slow and even with the climactic portion; it probably makes great bedtime music. (8/10)

5) Fighting

Fighting themes are always difficult to translate to the piano, but not only the piano, but into a well developed piano arrangement. Usually the theme is lost in a sea of chords that end up being nothing but noise, or it is so horrible that it can barely be labeled as a complete piece. As soon as I heard the first few notes, I was excited to hear the arrangement the entire way through. Fast paced, energetic and with a feel of urgency, it definitely captures the typical Final Fantasy battle extremely well. This was an amazing arrangement along with an incredible performance by Seiji Honda. I don't even want to look at the sheets. I get jealous just listening to this piece wishing I could play it. (10/10)

6) Cosmo Canyon

This piece has that mystical quality to it that makes you want to put it on repeat. The accompaniment and melody go so well together that you feel as though this was not only performed on the piano. There are many levels to this arrangement and is probably one of the best ones on this album. (10/10)

7) Gold Saucer

This one was much better than the original. Even though it gives me the impression that it is the theme song for a giddy little school girl. Once the piece speeds up, it becomes much more interesting but it seems to end as soon as it begins. I'm a bit sad that this one was also short. Light-hearted and bouncy, I can't but think it's very "cute". (9/10)

8) Farm Boy

The slowest and perhaps most boring track on the album, I'm a bit eager to jump to the next one. The melody wasn't as catchy as I'd hoped. It also lacked life and energy that might have made this one decent. Bedtime music! (5/10)

9) Rufus' Welcoming Ceremony

Even though this is not my style, this marching tune was carried over well. The arrangement just keeps getting better and though I'm not a fan of marching bands, I was kind of hoping it wouldn't end. There was great harmony once again between the accompaniment and the melody. The strong presence of the melody made this piece enjoyable and amusing to listen to. (9/10)

10) J-E-N-O-V-A

A crazy intro and overall arrangement. Not as impressive as the "Fighting" theme, but this one still carries the intensity and energy well. For such an important theme, the break in the middle of the arrangement almost made me think that it was over already. The entire piece was a bit short, and it ends quite abruptly. It would have been nice to have gone on a bit longer, but I can imagine the performer getting quite tired by this point. Makes me tired just listening to it. (7/10)

11) Aerith's Theme

One of the most popular and famous of all heroines. Not mine, but she did have a nice theme song. I really did like "Aerith's Theme" in the original game, but I was disappointed in the arrangement. Even though I like it when arrangements stay close to the original, this one sounded like nothing changed! Sad, sweet and towards the end it was almost a tear jerker. (7/10)

12) One Winged Angel

I thought this was something out of a horror movie. I suppose that is a compliment and is quite fitting for the villain. Once again, I never understood the appeal of Sephiroth, so I'm not a fan to begin with. This arrangement does incorporate that evil and sinister aura that I'm sure Sephiroth exudes with his presence. Quite fitting for the most revered villains of all time, but not really what I'm into. (7/10)

13) Descendent of Shinobi

This one heads in a completely different direction after listening to "One Winged Angel". Another jazzy and light hearted arrangement that brings this album to a close. This cutesy and bubbly theme represents Yuffie well, changing the entire mood of what I thought the game was about. Ending this album with a much happier arrangement was a good idea. It made me almost forget how depressing the game was. (9/10)

Summary

I admit that this soundtrack surpassed my biased expectations. It was actually quite fulfilling to listen to and I wasn't disappointed. I'm glad that I decided to venture out and actually have a listen. The entire mood of this album is completely different from all the other Piano Collections so I urge everyone to give it a chance and see if it's something you'd enjoy. There were very few tracks that I did not enjoy, and even some of the not so great ones were still fun to listen to.

Overall Score: 9/10