Music of Final Fantasy VIII

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Music of Final Fantasy

The music of the video game Final Fantasy VIII was composed by regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu. The Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack, a compilation of all music in the game, was released on four Compact Discs by DigiCube in Japan, and by Square EA in North America. A special orchestral arrangement of selected tracks from the game—arranged by Shirō Hamaguchi—was released under the title Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec Final Fantasy VIII, and a collection of piano arrangements—performed by Shinko Ogata—was released under the title Piano Collections Final Fantasy VIII.

The game's soundtrack is best known for two tracks: "Liberi Fatali", a Latin choral piece that is played during the introduction to the game, and "Eyes on Me", a pop song serving as the game's theme, performed by Chinese singer Faye Wong. Reviewers were generally pleased with the music, although several cited issues while comparing the score to previous games or looking at individual tracks.

Creation and influence[edit]

Nobuo Uematsu's usual influences include Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Simon and Garfunkel, and Elton John.[1][2] In regard to Final Fantasy VIII, Uematsu did not prefer to use multiple sources to find MIDI instruments—"I could be coming up with a great melody in the very moment"—instead using a Roland SC88 synthesizer for the entire score. Uematsu wrote notes based on character designs and screenplays, creating a general picture of the pieces' moods. He could not express a character's emotions solely with plot, instead using images of appearance and attire—"It's important to know when their emotions are at their height, but it usually takes until a month before release for them to finish the ending dialog...!"[3] In response to a question by IGN music stating that the music of Final Fantasy VIII was very dark and perhaps influenced by the plot of the game, Uematsu stated "the atmosphere of music varies depending on story line, of course, but it's also my intention to put various types of music into one game".[2]

Uematsu enjoys writing lyrical pieces, but tries not to be genre-specific. He asserts that expressing the emotions he desires is more important than improving skills: "I think it will be a shame if we won't be able to cry as we play our own game". The absence of character themes was due to him finding those of Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy VII ineffective. Uematsu considers it reasonable to have character themes if each character has a "highlight" in the game, but he found Final Fantasy VIII only focused on Squall Leonhart and Rinoa Heartilly as a couple, resulting in the "Eyes on Me" theme.[3] The soundtrack features a Latin choral track "Liberi Fatali", which translates to "Fated Children"; its melody forms a musical theme heard in several other pieces in the soundtrack, such as "SeeD" and "The Landing", while the name of "Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec" is the recurring lyrics in "Liberi Fatali".[4]

Near the end of the production of Final Fantasy VII, the developers suggested to use a singer, but abandoned the idea due to a lack of reasoning based on the game's theme and storyline.[5] However, Nobuo Uematsu thought a ballad would closely relate to the theme and characters of Final Fantasy VIII. This resulted in the game's developers sharing "countless" artists, eventually deciding on Faye Wong, a Chinese vocalist. Uematsu claims "her voice and mood seem to match my image of the song exactly", and that her ethnicity "fits the international image of Final Fantasy". After negotiations were made, "Eyes on Me" was recorded in Hong Kong with an orchestra.[3]

Albums[edit]

Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack[edit]

Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Nobuo Uematsu
Released
March 1, 1999
January 2000 (Music Collection)
May 10, 2004 (reissue)
Recorded Sound City, Tokyo
Genre Ambient,[6] Breakbeat, Classical, Electronic,[7] Future jazz,[6] Pop, Synthpop, Techno,[7] Video game
Length 62:07 (disc one)
62:31 (disc two)
63:38 (disc three)
61:14 (disc four)
Label
DigiCube
Square EA (Music Collection)
Square Enix (reissue)
Producer Nobuo Uematsu

Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack is a soundtrack of the music from Final Fantasy VIII; composed and produced by Nobuo Uematsu. The soundtrack spans four discs and 74 tracks, covering a duration of 4 hours and 9 minutes. It was first published by DigiCube on March 10, 1999 with the catalog number SSCX-10028, and subsequently published by Square Enix on May 10, 2004 with the catalog numbers SQEX-10005~8. Unlike most other Final Fantasy soundtracks, Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack is composed completely of English track names.[8] The album was also released in North America under the title Final Fantasy VIII Music Collection: Music From The Final Fantasy VIII Video Game. It features changes such as packaging design, translation, and additional images.[9] In addition, a limited edition was produced, which has a beige background instead of a full motion video montage.[4]

The soundtrack reached #4 on the Japan Oricon charts.[10] It received generally positive reviews from critics; New Zealand PlayStation magazine claimed Final Fantasy VIII has "one of the most memorable scores you will ever hear".[11] Reviewers from multimedia news website IGN stated that much of the game's impact is owed to its "terrific" musical score, but were disappointed by "yet another" variation of the traditional battle theme.[12] IGN later named the Final Fantasy VIII soundtrack as fourth best in its Final Fantasy Soundtrack Countdown feature.[13] GameSpot considered the game's sound its weakest point, but still commended it, claiming it has "more 'quality' songs than Final Fantasy VII".[14] Lastly, Game Revolution stated that "there are only a few tracks that really stand out", including "Eyes on Me", which it deemed a "cliched, but beautiful love song".[15]

Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack has sold "more than 300,000 copies" in Japan according to Square, or 259,000 physical copies according to the independent chart company Oricon.[16][17] Adam Corn of SoundtrackCentral.com claimed the album shows similarities to previous Final Fantasy games, but asserted he was "not overly impressed with this one".[18] A reviewer from Square Enix Music Online claimed the soundtrack is "unique and very special" due to its contrasts—"When signs of age of the Final Fantasy franchise are shown", Uematsu counterbalances this by creating something "weird and wonderful[...] when the soundtrack becomes too serious, a light-hearted number is inserted to liven up the mood".[19] Ben Schweitzer of RPGFan said in his review of the album that "the main flavor of Uematsu's compositions, his melodic style, remains consistent, and more importantly, consistently good". He criticized, however, the more minimalist pieces, which in his opinion were bland.[4]

Track listing


Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec Final Fantasy VIII[edit]

Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec Final Fantasy VIII
Soundtrack album by Nobuo Uematsu
Released November 19, 1999
July 22, 2004
Length 1:04:12
Label DigiCube
Square Enix (reissue)

Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec Final Fantasy VIII is a collection of orchestrated pieces originally from Final Fantasy VIII, arranged and conducted by Shirō Hamaguchi. It also includes three unchanged tracks from Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack; "Liberi Fatali", "Eyes on Me", and "Ending Theme". The album spans 13 tracks, totaling 1:04:12. It was first published on November 19, 1999 by DigiCube with the catalog number SSCX-10037, and subsequently published on July 22, 2004 by Square Enix with the catalog number SQEX-10025.[20]

The album reached #59 on the Japan Oricon charts.[21] Adam Corn of SoundtrackCentral.com claimed "the superior instrumental quality, well-done arrangements, and tasteful selection of themes boost the [Original Soundtrack's] qualities while hiding its flaws", elaborating that "even people such as myself who are not fans of the original will be impressed by its prowess, and fans will simply be enamored".[22] Neal Chandran of RPGFan was similarly impressed, saying that it was "a very good soundtrack" and that its tracks sounded "more beautiful than the original version". His primary complaint was that he would have liked for the album to include more pieces.[20]


Piano Collections Final Fantasy VIII[edit]

Piano Collections Final Fantasy VIII
Soundtrack album by Nobuo Uematsu, Shirō Hamaguchi
Released January 21, 2000
July 22, 2004
Length 48:03
Label DigiCube
Square Enix (reissue)

Piano Collections Final Fantasy VIII is an album of piano arrangements from Final Fantasy VIII, arranged by Shirō Hamaguchi and performed by Shinko Ogata. Its 13 tracks span a duration of 48:03. It was published by DigiCube on January 21, 2000 with the catalog number SSCX-10041 and subsequently re-published by Square Enix on July 22, 2004 with the catalog number SQEX-10026.[23]

Robert Steen of SoundtrackCentral.com commended the performance, claiming "Shinko Ogata seems to be a very capable player" and noted that although the arrangements are similar to the original pieces, they "breathe new life into the songs".[24] Ryan Bradley of RPGFan also appreciated the album, saying that "the piano really brings out the emotion in some of the songs" and that the pieces transitioned smoothly to piano. Patrick Gann agreed, saying that it was one of his favorite albums and that Hamaguchi's arrangements were "wonderful".[23]


Eyes on Me[edit]

"Eyes on Me"
Single by Faye Wong
Released February 24, 1999
Format CD
Genre Pop
Label Toshiba-EMI
Writer(s) Kako Someya (lyrics)
Nobuo Uematsu (music)

"Eyes on Me" is the ballad that serves as the theme of the game Final Fantasy VIII. It was performed by Chinese singer Faye Wong and composed, like the rest of the game music, by Nobuo Uematsu. The song's lyrics, written in somewhat imperfect English by Kako Someya, unveil the hopes of a night club singer for romance with a member of her audience. It was released as a CD single in Japan, including an instrumental version and Wong's ballad "Red Bean". The song sold more than 400,000 copies,[25] placing it as the highest-selling video game music disc ever released in that country at the time. "Eyes on Me" was the first song in video game history to win an award at the 14th Annual Japan Gold Disc Awards, where it won "Song of the Year (Western Music)" in 1999.[1] The single reached #9 on the Oricon charts, and stayed on the charts for 20 weeks.[26]

Within the game, the song is written by Julia Heartilly, a pianist who is the love interest of Laguna Loire.[27] It is heard repeatedly throughout the game in various incarnations, including as an instrumental piece entitled Julia, as well as in "Waltz for the Moon" and "Love Grows" for the "love" scenes between Squall Leonheart and Rinoa Heartlily.[4][28]

A dance remix of the song was included on the Japanese release of Wong's 2000 album Fable. Remixes also appeared in Toshiba EMI's Dancemania series. In 2004, a Japanese-language version entitled "Summer Album" (夏のアルバム "Natsu no Arubamu"?) with lyrics by Kazushige Nojima was included on Final Fantasy Song Book: Mahoroba. It was covered by Angela Aki for release on her 2006 single "Kokoro no Senshi".[29]


Legacy[edit]

The music of Final Fantasy VIII has appeared in various official Final Fantasy concerts. These include 2002's 20020220 Music from FINAL FANTASY, in which the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra played "Liberi Fatali", "Don't Be Afraid", "Love Grows", and "The Man with the Machine Gun", the 2004 Tour de Japon series, which featured "The Oath", the Dear Friends series that began that same year and included "Liberi Fatali" and "Love Grows", and the 2005 More Friends concert, which included "Maybe I'm a Lion".[30][31][32][33] More recent concerts include the Voices - Music from Final Fantasy 2006 concert showcasing "Liberi Fatali", "Fisherman's Horizon", and "Eyes on Me" and the international Distant Worlds concert tour that continues to date, which includes "Liberi Fatali", "Fisherman's Horizon", "Man with the Machine Gun", and "Love Grows".[34][35] Several of these concerts have produced live albums as well.[36] Music from the game has also been played in non Final Fantasy-specific concerts such as the Play! A Video Game Symphony world tour from 2006 onwards, for which Nobuo Uematsu composed the opening fanfare that accompanies each performance.[37] "Eyes on Me" was played at the Fantasy Comes Alive concert in Singapore on April 30, 2010.[38]

Music from the original soundtrack has been arranged for the piano and published by DOREMI Music Publishing.[39] All of the pieces in the book have been rewritten by Asako Niwa as beginning to intermediate-level piano solos, though they are meant to sound as much like the originals as possible.[40] "Best of" collections from the series including Final Fantasy VIII and arrangements for guitar solos and piano duets are also available.[41] Additionally, the actual piano sheet music from the Piano Collections Final Fantasy VIII album has been published as a corresponding music book by Yamaha Music Media. The book contains the original music, exactly as arranged and performed on the albums. Unlike the Original Score arrangements, these pieces are intended only for advanced players as they are generally more difficult.[42]

The Black Mages, a band that arranges music from Final Fantasy video games into a rock music style, has arranged five pieces from Final Fantasy VIII. These are "Force Your Way" from The Black Mages, published in 2003, "The Man with the Machine Gun" and "Maybe I'm a Lion", from The Black Mages II: The Skies Above, published in 2004, and "The Extreme" and "Premonition" from The Black Mages III: Darkness and Starlight.[43][44][45] The Black Mages performed "Maybe I'm a Lion" at the Extra: Hyper Game Music Event 2007 concert in Tokyo on July 7, 2007.[46] In the 2004 Summer Olympics, the American synchronized swimming duo consisting of Alison Bartosik and Anna Kozlova were awarded the bronze medal for their performance to the pieces "Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec" and "Liberi Fatali".[47]

See also[edit]


References[edit]

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  27. ^ Raine: "Then the first song she released was 'Eyes On Me'?" / Laguna: "H-How does the song go?" / Raine: "You don't know?" / Laguna: "Well, you never let me hear it!" / Raine: "I didn't think you listened to music. The song's about being in love... I really like it." (Final Fantasy VIII)
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  46. ^ "Extra: Hyper Game Music Event 2007". Square Enix Music Online. Archived from the original on 2013-01-25. Retrieved 2010-03-25. 
  47. ^ "NBCOlympics.com – 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games | Free Online Videos, Olympic Event | Athlete Interviews | NBC Olympics". Nbcolympics.com. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 

External links[edit]