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Music of the Year 2012


Stephen Meyerink's Awards

5) Battle SQ
Composed and Arranged by Various Artists
Square Enix released a ton of arrangement albums in its SQ and Chips series this year, and opinion was pretty divided as to which was the "best." In my case, though, Battle SQ ran away with the title. Full of adrenaline-fueled electronica, some of the tracks in this album will blow out your eardrums while you listen with a smile on your face. It didn't get as much critical love as albums like Beer SQ and SQ Chips, but it's undoubtedly my favorite of the three.

Favorite Tracks:
Furious Battle
The Spirit Chaser
Battle on the Bridge

4) The Scythian Steppes
Composed by Jim Guthrie (Arranged by Various Japanese Artists)
The Sword and Sworcery OST was already great-- but when Jim Guthrie teamed up with some of Japan's most illustrious musicians, the result was nothing short of incredible. Talented artists like Michiru Yamane (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night), Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill), and Mitsuto Suzuki (Final Fantasy XIII) lent their expertise to these arrangements, and each of them is brilliant. And if you're on the fence, you can listen to the album in its entirety at Jim Guthrie's Bandcamp page.

Favorite Tracks:
Little Furnace (Mitsuto Suzuki)
The Ballad of the Space Babies (macotom3)
Lone Star (Baiyon)

3) Dust: An Elysian Tail OST
Composed by HyperDuck SoundWorks and Alex Brandon
This music blew my mind. Having never listened to anything from HyperDuck in the past, I was floored by the complexity and beauty of the compositions. It singlehandedly convinced me to buy the game (which I was not disappointed by!), and has made me very excited to hear what these guys have in store for us in Penny Arcade 4. And much like with Scythian Steppes, you can check out the album in full at HyperDuck's Bandcamp page.

Favorite Tracks:
Short Fuse
Deities
Everdawn Basin

2) Mass Effect 3 OST
Composed by Sam Hulick, Sascha Dikiciyan, Cris Velasco, Clint Mansell, Christopher Lennertz
Mass Effect 3 is an unforgettable experience for many reasons, and one of the biggest has to be the incredible soundtrack. The departure of Jack Wall was saddening, but the rest of the crew, plus veteran film composer Clint Mansell, delivered an explosive and emotional finale filled with heartstring-tugging piano and spacey synthesized tracks that are destined to show up on top ten lists for years to come. The extended cut's additional tracks and an ending track provided by ME1 fan favorite artist Faunts rounds out the experience and provides the music of the series with a sense of emotional conclusion that, at least for me, the game's ending definitely did not.

Favorite Tracks:
Leaving Earth
Wake Up (EC OST)
An End Once and For All - Extended Cut

1) Bravely Default: Flying Fairy OST
Composed by Revo
What more can I say? My review was full of grand praise for this music, and for good reason. It's a fantastic celebration of everything that has ever been great in JRPG music, and Revo pulls in influences from numerous other composers and soundtracks of the past. There's a common thread throughout this album that gives it an incredible consistency, and the final few tracks pull it all together in brilliant fashion. Highly recommended.

Favorite Tracks:
Silence of the Forest
You're My Hope
Serpent Eating the Horizon







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