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Final Fantasy VII OST
Catalog Number: SSCX-10004 (limited edition SSCX-10003; reprint SQEX-10001~4)
Released On: February 10, 1997 (reprint May 10, 2004)
Composed By: Nobuo Uematsu
Arranged By: Nobuo Uematsu
Published By: DigiCube (reprint Square Enix)
Recorded At: Sound City, Tokyo
Format: 4 CDs
Buy this album from Play-Asia
Tracklist:

Disc One
01 - Prelude
02 - Opening - Bombing Mission
03 - Mako Reactor
04 - Anxious Heart
05 - Tifa's Theme
06 - Barrett's Theme
07 - Hurry!
08 - Lurking in the Darkness
09 - ShinRa Company
10 - Fighting
11 - Fanfare
12 - Flowers Blooming in the Church
13 - Turk's Theme
14 - Underneath the Rotting Pizza
15 - Oppressed People
16 - Honeybee Manor
17 - Who are You?
18 - Don of the Slums
19 - Infiltrating ShinRa Tower
20 - Still More Fighting
21 - Red XIII's Theme
22 - Crazy Motorcycle
23 - Holding my Thoughts in my Heart
Total Time:
70'57"

Disc Two
01 - FF VII Main Theme
02 - Ahead on our Way
03 - Good Night, Until Tomorrow
04 - On that Day, 5 Years Ago
05 - Farm Boy
06 - Waltz de Chocobo
07 - Electric de Chocobo
08 - Cinco de Chocobo
09 - Chasing the Black-Caped Man
10 - Fortress of the Condor
11 - Rufus' Welcoming Ceremony
12 - It's Difficult to Stand on Both Feet, Isn't It?
13 - Trail of Blood
14 - J-E-N-O-V-A
15 - Continue?
16 - Costa del Sol
17 - Mark of the Traitor
18 - Mining Town
19 - Gold Saucer
20 - Cait Sith's Theme
21 - Sandy Badlands
Total Time:
62'20"

Disc Three
01 - Cosmo Canyon
02 - Life Stream
03 - Great Warrior
04 - Descendant of Shinobi
05 - Those Chosen by the Planet
06 - The Nightmare's Beginning
07 - Cid's Theme
08 - Steal the Tiny Bronco!
09 - Wutai
10 - Stolen Materia
11 - Racing Chocobos - Place your Bets
12 - Fiddle de Chocobo
13 - A Great Success
14 - Tango of Tears
15 - Debut
16 - Interrupted by Fireworks
17 - Forested Temple
18 - You can Hear the Cry of the Planet
19 - Aerith's Theme
20 - Buried in the Snow
21 - The Great Northern Cave
22 - Reunion
23 - Who am I?
Total Time:
69'45"

Disc Four
01 - ShinRa Army Wages a Full-Scale Attack
02 - Weapon Raid
03 - High Wind Takes to the Skies
04 - A Secret, Sleeping in the Deep Sea
05 - Parochial Town
06 - Off the Edge of Despair
07 - On the Other side of the Mountain
08 - Hurry Faster!
09 - Sending a Dream into the Universe
10 - The Countdown Begins
11 - If you Open your Heart...
12 - The Mako Cannon is Fired - ShinRa Explodes
13 - Judgement Day
14 - Jenova Absolute
15 - The Birth of God
16 - One-Winged Angel
17 - World Crisis
18 - Staff Roll
Total Time:
68'26"

The rare, limited edition front cover may look plain, but the packaging inside is extensive. This edition is much more valuable than the regular edition print.

Everyone has an opinion about Final Fantasy VII. People who didn't know what an RPG was played the game back in 1997; this was partially due to Sony's massive marketing campaign (they even had ads in movie theaters) and partially due to the game itself. It was different from the majority of the RPGs out for the current generation of systems. It had a pseudo sci-fi/fantasy hybrid setting. It had a few very nice looking FMV sequences and some well designed pre-rendered backgrounds. It had a main character with a sword as tall as he was. Whatever it was, there was something distinctive about Square's first 3D FF game.

Between 1994 and 1997, many people probably guess that Uematsu spent a lot of time working on FFVII's 4+ hour long score. After all, it was taken for granted at the time that Uematsu's music defined the series aural landscapes. This was not the case. After finishing FFVI, Uematsu wrote several tracks for Chrono Trigger, and co-composed Front Mission Gun Hazard with Yasunori Mitsuda. In the liner notes to that soundtrack, released in 1995, he mentions "having another project lined up" to start work on soon. The FFVII liner notes are dated December 1996. Yes, Uematsu composed FFVII's score in ONE YEAR. But did the pressure create a diamond, or coal?

For the most part, it's a diamond.

The main problems with this soundtrack are obvious from the first track. The synth quality is pretty much standard MIDI sound. It doesn't sound as bad as the "General MIDI" sound set built into computers, but it lacks almost any depth of tone whatsoever. So, in comparison to FFVI, the muffled sound of the SFC chip is gone, but the instruments have lost a lot of their defining qualities. On the other hand, Uematsu has a very good control over use of volume in this soundtrack.

Final Fantasy VII being the first in the series to have FMVs, it is the first soundtrack in the series to have some short tracks used as incidental music for those scenes. The first part of "Opening ~ Bombing Mission," "Steal the Tiny Bronco!," "The Countdown Begins," and "World Crisis" are all such music. Of these, the first and last are the only ones of significant length, and unfortunately, the only one that is any good is the opening. The fact that these were intended for specific use as BGM does not excuse the fact that they just are not good compositions. "World Crisis" is a pretty long track, and Uematsu, so skilled at portraying emotions through the indirect mood of an independently developed piece, nearly utterly fails at showing any sense of real tension. It would take a very good orchestration to make these tracks good.

On the other hand, the opening is fantastic. Perhaps a good amount of time was spent on this, the forerunner to the entire game (not to mention its soundtrack). Opening with slightly tense strings, a synth sound plays a short melody. It builds up with an orchestral flourish, and then descends back down. Then, the second half of the track begins. The "Bombing Mission" half is a tense piece with great composition and full use of the synth set. Lower register piano, horns, synth sounds, tons of percussion; the melody keeps going, even when it seems to have repeated.

The next track, "Makou Reactor" is a dark, brooding track with lots of synth sounds, some chorus, and mechanical percussion (which seems to be coming into popularity right about this era with Squaresoft: it was also used in SaGa Frontier, Xenogears, and FFVIII). The effect is different from "Devil's Lab" in FFVI; the march undertones used here give the track a sound of constant descent, down and down. FFVII, in fact, has quite a few pieces of darker music that are very good. "Those Chosen By the Planet," Sephiroth's theme, uses the 'heartbeat' percussion style to great effect, and the echoing low-pitched synth tones used throughout "The Great Northern Cave" give an incredible sense of desolation.

There are some great area themes in the game, such as "Chasing the Black-Caped Man" and "You Can Hear the Cry of the Planet," but there are also quite a few that are merely 'good,' such as "Buried in the Snow" and "Lurking in the Darkness." The main theme of the game shows up very often, and this time Uematsu does an excellent job of re-arranging it for quite a few situations. The main version, "Main Theme of F.F. VII," is seven minutes long. Uematsu makes good use of volume and instrumentation for dramatic effect. Another version that deserves special mention in my opinion is "Interrupted By Fireworks," an incredibly emotional, strained, and beautiful version of the theme, used in a special scene in the game.

There are several beautiful tracks on here, but the two that deserve special mention are "Anxious Heart" and "Aerith's Theme." The former uses the prelude as the background to a fantastic piece of music that is sorrowful and yet not sad. The use of volume modulation is especially important here. "Aerith's Theme" is the one that everyone talks about--how they cried at the game's most famous scene. I think that it is mostly because of this piece of music. Apart from all traces of nostalgia, this is a very emotional track, and exceedingly well composed. Its beauty lies in its simplicity. Uematsu took this to heart, it seems.

On the opposite side of the coin, the battle themes here are all very good as well. "Those Who Fight," the standard battle theme, does not use the traditional FF 'Battle Scene' opening, but instead creates its own sound, and the result is fantastic. The first time I heard the flute part, I was amazed at how great the track was, and it still impresses me now. "Those Who Fight Further" is a rock style track that seems to almost define the sound that the Black Mages will eventually have. "J-E-N-O-V-A" is a techno/orchestal hybrid battle track--the horn and strings combine very well with the synth. Uematsu is showcasing his love of combining seemingly disparate elements and styles.

There are 3 final battle themes here. "Jenova Absolute" and "Birth of a God" are each great tracks in their own right, but the important one here is "One Winged Angel." Possibly the most innovative idea in the series' musical history, the final battle theme is a sort of fanfare to impending doom. It's hard to describe, but it doesn't follow any normal genre rules. It even has a choir singing Latin lyrics. This choir, in fact, gives the track its unique flavor, because it's a real chorus (of 8 people) recorded onto MIDI synth. The chanting in the last part of the song is absolutely breathtaking to listen to.

I've basically exhausted every positive adjective I can think of, so I'll leave off on the praise in this ending. Anyway, you get the point: this soundtrack has some flaws, but the rest of it is great. If you disagree, it's likely for one of two reasons. Either you can't stand the sound of the MIDI synth here, or you really don't like Uematsu's compositions. Maybe both.

Reviewed by: Ben Schweitzer

Final Fantasy VII was very controversial for its American release. The transition from low-graphic high-storyline to "allegedly low-story" high-graphic was a big deal to most people. Unfortunately, a lot of people who are all anti-FF7 "old-school" will not listen to the music.

It is true, Uematsu was only given less than a year to write this music whereas he was given 2 to write FFVI (I know this sounds awkward, but apparently it's correct). True, the music may not be as "memorable" with exception to the infamous Aeris theme song. However, when listening to it for the first time, I remember each melody, can sing along to it, and name locations in the game where the song was played. If that's not memorable, I don't know what is.

It is also true, there is definitely a different "style" compared to previous Uematsu works. Different doesn't mean worse, people. I enjoy this soundtrack as much as FFVI and FFV, but in a different way. I feel that needs to be understood before you can even enjoy the soundtrack. This soundtrack can be purchased at Game Music Online for $48 or at the less-quickly delivering Anime Nation for a mere $40. For 4 discs, this OST is very worth the purchase!

My favorite songs on here are sampled, but the best by far has to be "You can Hear the Cry of the Planet"...I've always loved that song.

Reviewed by: Patrick Gann



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