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Album Information Reviewer Rank
Square Vocal Collection
Published by: DigiCube
Release Date: June 20th 2001

Composed by: Noriko Matsueda, Takahito Eguchi, Yasunori Mitsuda, Kenji Ito, Hiroki Kikuta, Nobuo Uematsu, Yoko Shimomura, Kumi Tanioka

1 Disc, 12 Tracks
Catalog: SSCX-10052

Reviewed by: Ersatz Sobriquet

I consider this album nothing more than an excuse to make more money off their other albums in a shameless effort. But that doesn't mean this is bad music, now. This album is a compilation of various vocal tracks appearing in Square's music about the time after Xenogears and Final Fantasy VIII.

Some of the standouts that people will instantly recognize are the famed song that won awards over in Japan, Eyes On Me, from Final Fantasy VIII and Melodies of Life from Final Fantasy IX. These are the exact versions you'll find on the OST's and such, minus any kind of long introduction they might have originally had. (Such as on Eyes on Me from the Final Fantasy VIII Orchestra soundtrack.) Thankfully, they left Melodies in Life in Japanese. The English version isn't at all too thrilling to listen to. And while these songs are nice, they've been played and redone to death that I really could care less about their inclusion or not.

Odd choices they choose, in my opinion, for the songs from Xenogears. I only care for one of the two songs, though. Star of Tears is a wonderful piece, musically, and I really wish that it was sung in Japanese. I seem to remember hearing it sung in Japanese before though, what version it was on, I don't know. A woman by the name of Joanne Hogg, I believe, sang on both pieces, and her voice really captured nothing on Small Two Of Pieces. Her voice is just not meant for this kind of singing. It would have been nice if they included Stairs of Light and Spring Lullaby. Not only are they more cheery, but the singing is actually good.

Radical Dreamers is one of the standouts very easily. The whole track is an acoustic guitar playing alone with the soulful singing. Her voice never overpowers the tracks while at the same time never sinks into the backdrop, falling into oblivion. This was probably one of my favorite songs from Chrono Cross and the low profile the song kept was what surprised me more than anything. An infectious tune accompanied by pure heart music is definitely the perfect match.

9 Times is surprisingly good. Nice rockin' song, giving you a tiny glimpse into how a rock song would sound if a Japanese group was behind the mic. The only problem I have with this song is that it feels somewhat out of place. The whole album is full of sweet, soulful melodies, and this rock track disrupts that flow some. Nonetheless, it's a song that still deserves some praise from a game we'll never play, Professional Baseball.

And finally, the opening track, Forever, taken from Bouncer is a nice opening to great things this album has to offer. Takes a nod from traditional R&B beats and shakers, while at the same time, infusing traditional Japanese expected instruments: A slight string ensemble, little acoustic guitar taps, and beautiful vocals. I swear, sometimes I'd rather listen to the Japanese sing than American artists. They can infuse so many elements without shocking anyone into death.

Except the typical tunes you no doubt heard from Final Fantasy and Xenogears, you'll find some nice gems that would be collectors of fine music would die if missed. A must listen to at least once, if you like the SLIGHTEST hint of Japanese singing.

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