Chrono Cross Original Soundtrack
- "A wonderful building block in what's likely to become a legendary series!"
- "For a man of 28 years, Yasunori Mitsuda is moving mountains."
- Release date: 1999-12-18
- Catalog number: SSCX-10040
- Retail price: 3364 yen
- Publisher: Digicube
- Yasunori Mitsuda (composition, keyboards)
Disc 1 (69 minutes)
- Chrono Cross ~Time's Scar~ MP3 sample
- Edge of Death
- Home Aruni Village
- Plains of Time - Home World
- Dancing the Tokage
- Reminiscence ~Thoughts not Extinguished~
- Dream of the Shore Near Another World
- Another Aruni
- Singing Emotions
- Lost Pieces
- Drowning Valley
- Another Termina MP3 sample
- Quitting the Body
- Forest of Cutting Shadows
- Snake Remains Chamber MP3 sample
- Triumph ~Gift of Spring~
- Lost Child of Time
- Another Galdove
- Swamp of Hidora
- Dream Fragments
- Voyage - Another World MP3 sample
- Ghost Ship
- Death Volcano
- Ancient Dragon's Stronghold
Disc 2 (60 minutes)
- Beginning of a Dream
- Dimension Breach
- Home Termina
- Dragon Knight
- Voyage - Home World MP3 sample
- Home Galdove
- Home Mabuure
- The Big Splendid Astonishing Magic Group
- Dilemma MP3 sample
- Island of the Dead
- Dead Sea - Ruined Tower MP3 sample
- People Imprisoned by Destiny
- Lost Before, Light
- Earth Dragon's Island
- Navel of the World MP3 sample
- Victory ~Call of Summer~
- Another Mabuure
- Fairies Yield Magic
- Etude 1
- Etude 2
- Magical Dreamers ~The Wind, the Stars, and the Sea~
Disc 3 (53 minutes)
- Garden of God
- FATES ~God's Destiny~
- Jellyfish Sea
- Orphanage of Flame
- Star-Stealing Girl
- Dreamwatch of Time MP3 sample
- Dragon's Wish
- Star Tower
- Frozen Flame MP3 sample
- Dragon God MP3 sample
- In the Time of Disorder
- Life ~Faraway Promise~ MP3 sample
- Reminiscence ~Thoughts not Extinguished~
- Radical Dreamers ~Unstolen Jewel~
- Dream Fragments
A wonderful building block in what's likely to become a legendary series!
Reader review by Isaac Engelhorn (2000-08-14)
After a year of hiatus, Yasunori Mitsuda reappears as the crafter of yet another wonderful game soundtrack, one which I have come to enjoy a great deal. It's not the greatest of game music wonder, but it certainly seems close. There are many reasons I have to recommend this. One may enjoy the reappearance of the main themes from the original Radical Dreamers, a game which I have never played, and Chrono Trigger, a soundtrack that, despite it's rather fanatical fan following, I have never truly found altogether interesting or inspiring. Despite my own knowledge (or lack thereof) of the themes' origins, I find them to be quite enchanting, especially in their new tear-jerking arrangements.
Unlike previous Mitsuda soundtracks, this one is dominated by relaxing and even lazy pieces as opposed to more oppressive and action-oriented ones. This can be a boon or a blemish, depending on how you look at it. It took me a while to get used to it, but I came to favor it in the end. Also, this new offering pulls us even further into the ethnic realm that the composer seems to be uncommonly fond of. The ethnic influences have certainly reared their heads before, but never to this extent. The Celtic influence in the first track can be heard immediately upon listening. Other tracks like "Another Termina" continue in a familiar tradition of ethnic festival music. These types of tracks can be heard in all of Mitsuda's works, and I believe that a particular segment in James Horner's score for the movie Willow (Willow's return home) is what originally inspired them.
If there's one wonderful aspect to this score, it's the abundance of different themes. The thematic richness of Chrono Cross is of unequalled quality in video games, with the exception of Final Fantasy VI; one can't help but hum the different melodies from time to time after hearing them. This is not limited to just the main themes, but most of the sub-themes as well, which are most notably carried by the town tracks, receiving a generous two arrangements each. Character themes have been cut down a bit, but there are a few. There is a large amount of ambient music as well, and to be quite honest, I don't believe that any game music composer is as good at it as Yasunori. The best example that I can think of is "Jellyfish Sea", a spectacular track whose aquatic-sounding nature left me awestruck. Another good ambient track is "Phantom Ship", which interestingly enough reminds me of the "Ghost Ship" music composed for the game Grandia by Noriyuki Iwadare. With all of the great tracks though, they all pale in comparison to "Life - A Distant Promise" a track I believe to be Mitsuda's best yet. This *hugely* emotional version of the Radical Dreamers theme is infinitely gripping, and will surely go down in game music history as a classic.
Addressing the sound quality of Chrono Cross, the synthesis, put simply, is the *best* you'll hear from Playstation. There is none better. Some of the synth is so good that you may have to pick your jaw up off the floor after hearing it. There are two instrumental tracks (the opening and closing pieces) that obviously top any synth that might have been used.
Like his previous soundtrack, and Nobuo Uematsu's latest couple, Mitsuda finishes it off the with a vocal piece (another trend that I believe was inspired by James Horner, specifically by "My Heart Will Go On"). Based on the Radical Dreamers theme, it is actually a mixed bag. The Japanese lyrics are good and the vocals are heavenly, but I do honestly wish that the instrumentation had been beefed up a little. I appreciate simplicity in music sometimes, but it seems to me that a solo guitar just doesn't cut it. The song is so simple that it seems a bit drab and lifeless to me.
Though this is one of the best game soundtracks that you will find, it isn't perfect. Unfortunately, although this is just as good technically as Xenogears (perhaps even better), it is probably Yasunori's most difficult to appreciate upon first hearing. If you can believe it, I did not even like this at first, as I was overly interested in hearing what exciting music the composer could turn out. After several listens though, I have come to regard it as my second-favorite Mitsuda score after Xenogears.
Once you've got the soundtrack in your head, it's hard to get it out, and I would recommend it to any fan of game music, with the warning that you may not care much for it at first, due to the lazy atmosphere that seems to be its primary standing point. If you listen to it enough though, I'm almost sure that it will grow on you, especially if you are a fan of the soundtracks of Chrono Trigger or Xenogears. Yasunori's latest soundtrack may be musically soft-spoken, but it has a loud and profound impact.
For a man of 28 years, Yasunori Mitsuda is moving mountains.
Reader review by Aujang Abadi (2000-06-13)
Yasunori Mitsuda has done what I had never thought possible: he has taken the highly melodic Chrono Trigger themes, force-fused them with the darkly foreboding Xenogears rhythms, and created a masterpiece beyond any scope.
What's most remarkable about Mitsuda's style is his sense of progression and evolution. At the very start of the soundtrack, the songs are extremely remniscent, if not remixes of, the very light-hearted Chrono Trigger themes. The instruments used are also of a lighthearted nature; there is very little bass to give the music a true undertone. Throughout the first disc, the music retains this theme of joyous adventure, and at the same time retains an element of musical complexity. There is nothing simple about these arrangements.
As the second disc begins, the religious undertones in the collection become apparent, with scattered chants in the background of various pieces. This is where Mitsuda makes his wondrous fusion with Xenogears, and commences with the introduction of bass. The evolution from light-hearted beginning to a much deeper tone (which becomes fully apparent in the third and final disc of Chrono Cross) is masterfully executed by the slow introduction of darker synth progressives. He continues to pull mainly from Chrono Trigger, but the second disc is the culmination of Mitsuda's effort to merge it with Xenogears. By the end of the disc, the haunting, industrial background noise from Xenogears is back.
For the third disc, Mitsuda goes all out. It begins with a beautiful chanting piece, accompanied by an acoustic guitar. This, in a way, sets the stage for the rest of the disc, because now Xenogears is in full bloom. The next song is a haunting and driving piece, lined with powerful bass and ominous undertones. A few more times, scattered chants will appear, but the progression is complete. The conclusion of the collection is powerfully industrial and wonderfully foreboding, with Mistuda's signature style. Throughout the entire disc, the heavily machinaic feel remains, but the Chrono Trigger themes are also lining the background, infusing the music with an almost dualistic power.
With the last two tracks, though, this changes. Suddenly, the foreboding attitude is replaced by the soft plucking of an acoustic guitar, and the touching addition of a human voice. It is of the utmost importance as to how Mitsuda approaches this song; it is hard to distinguish at first, but there is a slight echo given to the voice. We are supposed to understand that this singer is alone, that this song signifies some sort of isolation. It truly is a touching piece, with beautiful lyrics, but it is also my only grievance with this collection.
I do not think Mitsuda should have concluded this soundtrack with a vocal piece. This is a problem in many video game soundtracks of today, for at large composers are relying more and more on the emotional impact of a human voice, instead of attempting to carry a soundtrack through with a grandly arranged instrumental. I don't think Mitsuda makes this mistake to much of a degree, because the song truly is beautiful, but it lacks any musical complexity. Personally, I was praying for another "To Far Away Times", which is the best ending theme I've ever heard. I have to say I was a bit disappointed that he ended the soundtrack with a vocal piece, and not one as strong as "Small Two of Pieces". He is capable of surging so much more emotion through a piece, with his composition skills, that the ending song can't help but sound simple in nature, and almost half-hearted.
Still, this would not prevent me from granting this soundtrack a perfect score, were I to judge it, because that is simply a personal grievance of mine. The concluding song still holds a great deal more of my respect than almost any other ending theme, save Mitsuda's two others, and the collection at whole was simply incredible. Mitsuda is the man.
Yasunori Mitsuda does it again!
Reader review by Sharon Sung (2000-02-12)
Most people who buy Chrono Cross do it in expectation of it being another Chrono Trigger. They're right, in the fact that both are masterpieces. However, Yasunori Mitsuda achieves it this time in a way that is rather unexpected, especially to those who love his particular brand of music.
Set up along three CDs, the soundtrack also comes with a fold-out poster of Kidd, Yamaneko, Tukuyomi, and Serge, an unexpectedly sweet bonus but really not necessary, especially when you consider what a gem the soundtrack itself is. The soundtrack, like Chrono Trigger OSV, seems to be set in roughly the same chronological order as the game; listening to the three CDs in order would be like listening to the game story itself.
The thing that first strikes the listener upon listening isn't so much as the music itself, but rather the sheer quality of the instrumentation. I really did not believe at first that this kind of music could come out of a Playstation. This is especially true when the first track happens to be "Chrono Cross ~Time's Scar~", one of the most dynamic tracks in the entire CD, if not the most.
Despite appearances, the first track does not set the mood for the rest of the CD; this dynamic and fast-paced piece belies the tone the rest of the OST takes, with very few exceptions. Unlike his previous work, Xenogears, Mitsuda chose to take a very laid-back approach; most of the tracks, rather than being intense, convey a sense of brightness or even cheerfulness, in some cases. To be more accurate, the music reflects the palette that is used in this game - colorful, bright, unrealistic, sometimes seemingly out-of-place but almost always oddly appropriate and never clashing. Mitsuda definitely has improved upon his skills as a composer; the music no longer goes to extremes in order to convey a mood as it did in his previous works. The result is a soundtrack that is eminently listenable; with a relaxed and almost sweet tone to the music, it never jars on the consciousness and can be listened for hours on end.
That said, Mitsuda goes out of his way to say how much of a sequel Chrono Cross is; many of his tracks revert to the peculiar, whimsical style that he used in Chrono Trigger (dressed up appropriately according to technological advances and increasing taste toward Celtic/Irish music). While not outright deliberate cut-and-paste Chrono Trigger songs, hints of melodies here and there say it aloud more than anything else. The music to Chrono Cross definitely stands apart in quality and in composition from that of Chrono Trigger, but it never forgets its roots. Stylistically, the music is similar enough to bring a happy tear to Chrono Trigger fans; many of the tracks, while new and beautifully composed, will still bring the listeners to search their memories for a particular "matching" track from Chrono Trigger. And for one or two tracks, there simply isn't a need to search - some are deliberate remakes, dressed up to the nines, such as "Victory ~ Gift of Spring", a jazzed-up version of the victory fanfare from Chrono Trigger.
Instrument-wise, this is the first time Mitsuda uses electric guitar at all; in his previous works I've never heard it used, or if it was, never as a major instrument. Also new is his use of piano, another instrument he never used often in his previous works; however, it adds to the very laid-back and relaxed approach to the music and is very appropriate. Vocals take a back step from Xenogears; the lack of choral pieces notwithstanding, the usage of vocals is far more sparse and far less tedious. As in Xenogears, vocals show up in the battle songs to enhance the mood; in fact, all the battle songs in the OST display vocals, from chanting to eerie wailing. Outside of that, vocals are used to add a peculiar ambience to certain non-battle tracks. The melody, combined with the voice used, is most often eerie and always haunting.
There is, of course, the sentimental vocal song for the end of the game, "Radical Dreamers ~Unstolen Jewel~". As usual, Mitsuda does not disappoint with this gorgeous song. While the song is entirely in Japanese - unlike Xenogears - it doesn't detract from its beauty even for those who can't understand the lyrics. The singer produces a childishly sweet voice, heard clearly against the guitar accompaniment. The utter simplicity of the song belies its beauty; it evokes a wistful and almost sad mood that words simply cannot describe. One might be inclined to think that the song "Radical Dreamers", despite its lack of hype and vicious price tag, is far more beautiful than Faye Wong's "Eyes on Me".
Battle tracks might be the one area that Mitsuda disappoints. Battle themes are sparse and unmemorable compared to the rest of the tracks in the game, a rather unusual turnabout since battle tracks tend to be the most memorable. This is not to say that they are badly composed, they are merely eclipsed by other tracks, which may or may not be a bad thing. One particular exception, however, is "Dragon God". Similar to the track "Awakening" in Xenogears both stylistically and instrumentally, it is a powerful track and one of the highlights of the third CD, only eclipsed by "Radical Dreamers ~Unstolen Jewel~". The vocal throughout the song adds to the drama and tenseness of it, causing it to linger in the mind.
Overall, Chrono Cross OST is more than definitely worth buying, even more so if you are a Chrono Trigger OSV fan. Some may be turned off with the laid-back feel the soundtrack, but the majority should welcome this with open arms.
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