Final Fantasy VII Reunion Tracks
- "Some of the most groundbreaking, enthralling compositions the series has to offer."
- Release date: 1997-10-22
- Catalog number: SSCX-10012
- Retail price: 2039 yen
- Publisher: Digicube
One disc (68 minutes)
- Opening ~ Bombing Mission MP3 sample
- Valley Of The Fallen Star
- Still More Fighting MP3 sample
- Farm Boy
- Rufus' Welcoming Ceremony
- Electric De Chocobo
- Honeybee Manor
- Cid's Theme
- Forested Temple
- Fighting MP3 sample
- Ahead On Our Way
- Golden Saucer MP3 sample
- Crazy Motorcycle
- Cait Chit's Theme
- Descendant Of Shinobi
- J-E-N-O-V-A MP3 sample
- F.F.VII Main Theme (orchestra version) [6:28] MP3 sample
- One-Winged Angel (orchestra version) [4:26] MP3 sample
- Aerith's Theme (orchestra version) [5:01] MP3 sample
Some of the most groundbreaking, enthralling compositions the series has to offer.
Editor's review by Adam Corn (2008-07-03)
Final Fantasy VII Reunion Tracks is an unusual combination of best collection and arranged mini-album. While the small number of new arrangements may leave owners of the full original soundtrack wanting, taken as a whole the album has some of the most dynamic game compositions ever created.
The new material in Reunion Tracks consists of three orchestral arrangements, all of which follow their original versions closely but boast capable orchestrations and solid performances. Both "Aeris' Theme" and "One-Winged Angel" sound significantly better with live instrumentation, though the former is still on the sappy side and the latter suffers slightly from an underpowered choir that lacks the menacing baritone voice found in the original. "FFVII Main Theme", on the other hand, is flawless. The plodding, overly synthetic OST version takes on new life altogether here, with the added orchestral dynamic making it an all-encompassing, epic overture.
The included OST selections offer clear proof of Nobuo Uematsu's mastery of game music at the time. Take "Opening ~ Bombing Mission", which shifts from an ethereal intro to a brief moment of triumph to its militaristic main theme, perfectly balancing mood and melody while sporting a slick sci-fi sound never before heard to such an extent in the series. "Golden Saucer" is carnival-like yet still contains a hint of drama, while "Valley of the Fallen Star" makes up for a simplistic bassline with an engaging tribal lead melody.
However Final Fantasy VII's legacy lies in its battle themes, which are the pinnacle in a series already well known for them. "Fighting" is an orchestral action-fest that even after numerous listens remains exciting, while "Jenova" is a frenetic, wicked-sounding piece with a delightful sci-fi feel. "Still More Fighting" utilizes both orchestra and synth in the most adrenaline-pumping way possible, with electric guitars and cool keyboard hooks taking the lead while soaring string samples bring them to new heights. Even in game synth form it compares favorably to the subsequent live rock arrangement in the first Black Mages album.
It should be noted that for all these tracks' excellence, there are also some cringeworthy missteps. Tracks like "Honeybee Manor" and "Yuffie's Theme" betray the game's sometimes appallingly bad sound system, as well as Uematu's occasional penchant for simplistic, sappy melodies. In this way Reunion Tracks more than any other CD shows the disparity among Uematsu's work, ranging from pure genius to utter mediocrity. Fortunately the instances of genius at work here easily warrant overlooking the low points.
Despite a few clear misses and a shortage of arranged material, Final Fantasy VII Reunion Tracks offers soundtrack fans a can't-miss opportunity to experience some of the best compositions the game - and the series - has to offer.
Another Uematsu masterpiece, but lacking in length.
Reader review by Jeremy Althouse
For those who don't know, Final Fantasy VII Reunion Tracks is a partially-arranged soundtrack containing 16 tracks from the OST and three orchestral arranged tracks. These last three tracks are the disc's selling point, but as with any arranged tracks, they change the feel of the music in certain ways.
The first arranged track, "FFVII Main Theme", is simply beautiful. The flawless implementation of strings and brass leaves a feeling of completeness and yet retains perfectly the mood of the original sound version. It must be heard to be believed.
Before listening to the arranged version of "One Winged Angel", I was confident that it would be the best track on the CD. I was wrong. What I found instead was a version of the song that is best described as "confused". The piece rushes forward at a frenzied pace and seems to trip over itself. The famed latin chorus was sung with what could only be distinct, if slight, Japanese accents. I'll go so far as to say the vocals were better in the original version than in the arranged. Don't get me wrong, One Winged Angel is not bad by any standards, but it could have been so much more.
Finally, the last arranged track, "Aerith's Theme", was a welcome surprise. Contrary to my feelings about One Winged Angel, I had never liked Aerith's theme, thinking it too simple to display much emotion. I was wrong again. Aerith's Theme almost made a friend of mine come to tears. Its arrangement is pure Uematsu, with intertwining chords pulling the piece into cohesion, only to have it break into sections again and repeat the same theme, in a slightly different manner that is at the same time charming and serious. Like the FFVII main theme, it simply *must* be heard to be believed.
The first 16 tracks on FFVII RT are nothing special. Some of them are decent, such as "Opening ~ Bombing Mission" and "Cait Sith's Theme", but all of them pale in comparison to the arranged tracks. A few, such as "Honeybee Inn", I found myself wanting to skip entirely. Do not buy this disc for the first 16 tracks.
In conclusion, Final Fantasy VII Reunion Tracks is a mixed blessing. Diehard Final Fantasy fans will definately want it, but less serious listeners will want to think twice about paying $20 for only 10 minutes of superb music.
No Turks theme, but impressive nonetheless.
Reader review by Nick Harvey
My first impression of this disc was plain and simple: what the hell does the back of the case say?! Having grasped the Japanese language like a wet bar of soap, I left the track names to my imagination. But, after scanning the CD numerous times, I realized one critical thing - the Turks theme was nowhere to be found. On this, what was supposed to be a pseudo- "Greatest Hits" of the entire Final Fantasy VII soundtrack, the single best composition from the entire game had been left out? This would be one difficult problem to overcome. Luckily, the rest of the disc was pure treasure, and it quickly made me forget my woes.
From the still haunting melodies of the opening track to the adrenaline pumping "J-E-N-O-V-A", this disc is a sure-fire crowd pleaser. Upon close inspection of some of the tracks, one really comes to appreciate the depth that has gone into the composition of these melodies. For instance, the fast paced "Electric de Chocobo" contains several well known surfer themes, but in the background you can make out several different themes going on at the same time, mixing together in such a delicious harmony that it just seems natural. That such depth could be achieved with game synthesized music was beyond me.
And I'm not even yet to the best part - the arranged tracks at the end of the disc. To begin with, "Final Fantasy VII Main Theme" is pitch perfect to the already stunning rendition in the game. "One Winged Angel" represents the jumbled tunes of a psychotic villian and a circus gone terribly awry to perfection. And "Aerith's Theme" still manages to bring a tear to my eye. The fact that any piece of music could emit such an emotional response from myself serves as testimony to its greatness.
In closing, FF7 Reunion Tracks is a CD well worth the money. It may disappoint some people with the tracks left out, but on the whole, it is a satisfying experience. And for those of you miffed at the exclusion of any of your favorite tunes, there's always the OST.
A great addition for Final Fantasy collections.
Reader review by Eric Steffens
Since I dearly love the score from Final Fantasy VII, Reunion Tracks was a must have for me. Although I was slightly disappointed because there were only three arranged tracks (the other 16 were straight from the OSV), that disappointment quickly disappeared. I was taken to aural ecstasy when I first listened to the arranged "F.F.VII Main Theme". As my friend Adam Page pointed out, unlike the colorful arrangements of Grand Finale, these are exact arrangements. And let me tell you they rock!
"Aeris' Theme", what I consider to be Uematsu's greatest melody, is even *more* touching and heart breaking than the original (not an easy feat by any means). Truly, the theme of a beloved woman. We go from poignant to downright wicked with a stellar arrangement of "One-Winged Angel!" The rest of the disc features some of the best themes in the OSV. Greats like "Electric de Chocobo", "Crazy Motorcycle Chase", "Cid's Theme", and "Jenova" are here plus several others. Overall, any fan of this chapter of the Final Fantasy legacy will undoubtably love this disc. It really is spendid!
More than just a single but a masterpiece!
Reader review by John Lau
For those who have played Final Fantasy VII and listened to the music over and over again you may have come to realize that the instrument quality isn't that great when compared to Suikoden or Wild Arms. Even the greatest of the themes in Final Fantasy VII were treated with the shallow, synthetic sounds of alpha 16-bit instrument samples. Well, that's what you'll be treated with the first sixteen tracks. In other words, it is like a best collection of the OSVs. But, don't be alarmed... that isn't what his wonderful CD is about.
Once you past track sixteen, you have entered the realm of orchestra music. Final Fantasy VII never sounded better. First off, "Final Fantasy VII Main Theme". A true masterpiece orchestra or PCM, but with orchestra, you listen to it the way it was meant to be heard. You are first treated to a soothing beginning with strings and woodwind instruments, accomapanied by the tenderness of the harp. The song then makes a few transitions to triumphant, dramatic peaks and back to the calmer fare.
Next comes "One-Winged Angel", from the final battle with Sephiroth. From the honorific chanting of the chorus to the almost freakish tune of trumpets and strings, the arrangement conveys the tension of the final confrontation. At the end of the CD is the ever-sweet theme of Aeris. The tenderness of the strings and serenity of the harps form the first half of the arrangement, with a second-half reprise that is yet more powerful and dramatic. A wonderful way to end the CD!
I have a great appreciation for this CD. The orchestral arrangement is short (16 minutes for the three tracks total), but it is the probably the most beautiful orchestral arrangement I've ever heard. Nobuo Uematsu and his fellow Square staff chose the right songs for orchestral arrangements. And the CD runs for about $20, a purchase justified by these three arrangements. This disc is a true masterpiece!
- Tracks 1-16 are original sound versions from FFVII OST.
- Tracks 17-19 are new arrangements by Shiro Hamaguchi.
- A hidden, solely instrumental version of "One-Winged Angel" can be accessed by 'rewinding' the first track from the very beginning.
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