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Album Information Reviewer Rank
Final Fantasy X OST
Published by: DigiCube
Release Date: August 01st 2001

Composed by: Junya Nakano, Masashi Hamauzu, Nobuo Uematsu
Arranged by: Junya Nakano, Masashi Hamauzu, Nobuo Uematsu, Shiro Hamaguchi, Hirosato Noda

4 Discs, 91 Tracks
Catalog: SSCX-10054~7
93

Reviewed by: S3KI

Let's get one thing clear. This is probably one of the most subjective soundtracks I've ever listened to. Opinions vary widely and strongly. When it was first released, the cries of "what was Nobuo thinking!?" were so loud it was hard to hear the few "hey! It's cool!" I was tempted to write a review at its release (which would have been nice I suppose for possible purchasers) but I think it's a big folly to rate a soundtrack to a game based solely on its inherent musical value without the ability to compare it to what it's trying to enhance (as music is assumed to do in a video game). Of course, this all begins to get undercut with what one assumes the purpose of music in video games is, but for the sake of keeping this review about the music, we'll say that it's that: the music is designed to enhance the game. Taking this in mind, I'll assume you've played at least a few minutes of the game. No spoilers will be given out, just general comments on atmosphere and such.

With that in hand, I would like to say a few things about Mithrandir's review. First and foremost, he reviewed without playing the game. This can in some situations be all right, but I think that if you make general assumptions about the game without truly knowing (such as him saying that Seymour is a woman) and his assumption in the backward type. I don't know where he's coming from with that stuff, but if you played the game, you know Mithrandir is saying completely bogus things. But I digress. This isn't about character assassination. Is it?

The first song you hear on the OST is a stark reminder of the overall mood of the game; sad, lonely, quiet, and afraid. The solo piano also has some traces of boldness, such as when it hits the coda. If you remember the game, you'll know that there is something sort of hanging over Yuna. We don't know what it is for a long while (though we can infer a few things), but we know she's forcing herself to be happy. This reminds us of the many moments with Tidus and Yuna laughing and crying, and I think it's probably one of the most emotional pieces on the soundtrack.

Let's get to one of the most controversial pieces, shall we? The Prelude has been seen as an almost sacrilegious song, being a light acid house mix of the normal Prelude song. Again, it really helps to know the game here, as you'll remember it from the scene where Tidus is signing blitzballs for little kids and talking to hot girls. He's being the star player everyone knows him as, young and cocky and full of energy. It's really quite a refreshing scene, and brings to mind probably one of the most realistic main characters in a Final Fantasy in a few games. At least real and personable (this discounts Zidane, for he surely wasn't very real, and Squall, who wasn't at all personable). Not only do Tidus' actions give him away as a nice guy, but the song does to. I take this song more as his theme rather than the self titled song for him, just because it reminds me more of him.

And for the next controversial song, I turn to "Otherworld." Many people have exclaimed it doesn't deserve or shouldn't be in a Final Fantasy, and I'll just quickly point out that Nobuo wrote it. With that in mind, we must once again turn to its context. Taken from the beginning (and much later in the game in a really cool scene) of the game, it's played during Tidus' blitzball performance and the subsequent attack by Sin on Zanarkand. Needless to say, Otherworld completely matches its scenes, and if you like that sort of thing, can be an enjoyable track.

What shall I do now? Hmm... I'll take a look at the battle themes and victory/loss themes! "Normal Battle" is pretty basic, nothing to gutsy here on Nobuo's part. The first sign of the new composers is also present (at least in my review) with Junya Nakano doing "Enemy Attack" (or, as it's better known, the boss battle theme). This is a very exceptional track. It features a very prominent percussion section (as I'll get into more about when I talk about the composers separately) and an overall glorious sort of fanfare and courageous heart to it. It also reminds me a little bit of some of the Final Fantasy Tactics songs... hehe. Now, the "Victory Fanfare" has also been a little disputed for its supposed 'circus' style, but I think it's rather cute and overall has a cheery mood to it. The "Game Over" theme is pretty typical, a sorry sounding harpsichord playing a toned down version of the main FFX theme.

Lastly, before I move onto the composers, I'm going to discuss the "Song of Prayer’s that appear throughout the soundtrack. These are religious chants that are sung by their respective summon. So, when you walk into the temple of Besaid, you'll likely hear the "Song of Prayer ~ Valefor." What's nice is this is a very clear theme song for FFX and is actually quite fun to whistle. smile

Moving on... now we'll look at each artist separately in their own right. ^_^

JUNYA NAKANO

As I mentioned earlier, Junya has a serious thing for mad percussion pieces. Almost all his songs on this soundtrack have rather interesting percussion going on, and even a few focus solely around rhythm and beats which brings a nicely unique type of music the Final Fantasy series hasn't seen much of. A VERY intriguing track of his is on Disc 1, track 14, titled "Underwater Ruins." It's a pretty slow song, but builds to utter beauty that I truly grew to love in the game. And another song of his that I absolutely adore is "Luka," or rather, the theme for the town Luca. This song is not only beautiful, but it has just a killer bassline that makes my subwoofer hum. I equalized it enhance the bass and I have to tell you people, I'm in heaven. I think probably his best song, and probably the best battle song on the entire OST is "Summoned Beast Battle." This song just blew me away the first I heard it. It's fast, pounding and quite astonishing. It's very hard to explain... I think you should just go listen to it yourself. wink

MASASHI HAMAUZU

Ah, the composer of "Blitz Off." This is the blitzball theme song, and I just have to say it's just a pile of fun. Not only does it have a great bassline, but it has a rocking steel drum part and Masashi's typical light treble instruments. This man can do some insane things. To continue this theme, one must look at "Thunder Plateau." A very beautiful song that starts off in the most bizarre way: with a clock. I mean... !?! But it works! And it climaxes to a very nice melody, but builds on it to a beautiful piano solo. But wait! I skipped a great song! Oooooooh no! Goooooo back! Disc 1 track 18! "Besaid Island" is such a beautiful song that ~ I admit it ~ it made me cry prior to playing the game. It's just... it's so beautiful. *cries* I can't explain. Go listen. All I can say, is that the flowing climax melody at 1:46 is probably the most beautiful thing on this soundtrack.

Lastly... "Challenge." This is a very bizarre boss theme. For me the cool part about it is the weird train-like sound at 1:09. It's just... weird... but it *really* fits the scene it's from. Very disturbing scene... oh yeah! Also, disc four track 18... A very mild "Decisive Battle" if you ask me. The main melody is played on a piano... but it's such a nice melody! And again, the scene. It really helps to play the game. ^_~

NOBUO UEMATSU

All right, that chump Mithrandir said Nobuo's only good song on this was "To Zanarkand." Now, I don't know how many songs he listened to, but Nobuo did a large number of great songs. To begin with, "Rikku's Theme." This song is so touching and moving that I usually have to pause what I'm doing to just listen to it. Another REALLY COOL song is "Auron's Theme." This just matches the character so well... cool, intelligent, sly, and brash. And then there's always "Brass de Chocobo." Done in, yes, Mithrandir got something right, a Big Band Jazz-style, this song kicks some serious ass. Unfortunately the prerequisite to really enjoying it is capturing a chocobo in the Calm Plains. tongue

Another great sounding song Nobuo did on this album was "Jekut's Theme" (though it should be Jecht's Theme wink. A very quiet jazz-orientated song, the main theme is played through a bluegrass style guitar and a moving bass line. Nice stuff. Lastly, "Seymour Battle." Played in one of the many glorious battles with Seymour, this song really conveys just how much ass Seymour can kick, despite how much a wuss his voice makes him seem. wink Done in true progressive rock style that has pervaded Nobuo's ending boss themes since EVAR, this song is quite fun.

The Last Word

This soundtrack is of a very high quality and requires a certain maturity in music appreciation. Beyond that, it also helps to have played the game. Don't make the mistake of judging the music for its face value and not the depth it's achieving through the game.

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