Romancing SaGa: Minuet - Masayoshi Yamazaki :: Review by Totz
Romancing Saga Minstrel Song, Square Enix's PlayStation 2 remake of the classic SNES game Romancing SaGa, has a great soundtrack, which I reviewed a couple of months back. One particular composition really captivated me, and it was the theme song, entitled "Minuet." Composed, arranged, and sung by Masayoshi Yamazaki, it became an instant hit in my mind. I found myself humming it, or trying to sing it, just so it wouldn't escape the confines of my memory. So, when you read that, you think "Wow, a 'Minuet' single would really make this guy happy."
Unfortunately for me, it's a bit more complicated than that. Even though there's a longer version of the theme song (about 1:20 longer than the "Game Edit" version), that's all there is in the album.
The complete version of "Minuet" opens the single, and, with guitar, drums, and a harmonica, we are thrown in the world of a minstrel. Yamazaki's voice could not be a better fit, because its smoothness really does add to the song's texture and feel. Not only that, but even the lyrics have something to do with the game! It talks about the beautiful scenery our bard passes by as he travels, and how he wishes to be with the woman he loves. Evening comes, and he still yearns for her, wanting nothing else but to be by her side. Watching the game's intro is really something. It's basically a minstrel walking throughout the world, singing this song, while passing by all kinds of places, people, and such. It's one of the most impacting and effective opening movies I have ever seen, and it didn't need a frantic battle and an epic orchestral composition.
The next track, "Minuet (Acoustic Version)," is basically the same as the first, but without percussion. If you thought the regular version gave you the impression of being a pop song instead of a minstrel's lament, this rendition will make you think otherwise. Such a diminute ensemble works wonders, sometimes.
The third, and, sadly, last track, is "Minuet (Original Karaoke)." It is simply the first track without Yamazaki. In a way, this is a good thing, because it helps you to listen to some of the finer things of the song, such as the background singers, which are not that easy to pickup. It also gives you a chance to see how wonderful each instrument part is, be it the harmonica's soulful sadness or the singers' discreet repeating of some verses (voice is an instrument too, you know!).
I kid you not: "Minuet" is one of the greatest VGM songs I have ever heard. Yamazaki's voice is fantastic, and the instrumentation, especially on track two, really does make you think of a travelling bard, reciting poems and whatnot. Each version shows you a different side of the same song, and that's got to be worth something, right? You have a little pop ballad, then a "play it anywhere" ballad, and finally, a karaoke version, which is so popular these days.
The problem lies with the fact that this single has only that one song, in three "different" versions regular, acoustic, and karaoke. That's a bit of a letdown, because considering the vocalist's talent, some more tracks wouldn't hurt at all. What you have here is a CD with one incredibly wonderful song, so you have to ask yourself "Do I consider myself lucky? Do I, punk?" and see if this really is worth it. From a musical perspective, I can assure you it is, but from a buyer's point of view, I'm not so sure...
Time to wrap this up. I based the single's score on the fact that it is ridiculously good. So, take a long hard look at it, think for a while, and then decide whether to purchase it or not.
Overall Score: 8/10