The Very Best of Ys
- "A perfect album for those who want a taste of a great music series."
- "An immaculate collection of selected Ys and Ys II music."
Tracks (64 minutes total)
- Feena / First Step Towards Wars / Palace (from Symphony Ys)
- Palace of Destruction (Ys Perfect Collection)
- PrePrimer (Palace) (PrePrimer)
- Tower of the Shadow of Death (Ys IV Perfect Collection vol. 2)
- The Last Moment of the Dark (Provincialism Ys)
- Endless History (The Morning Grow) (Ys Perfect Collection)
- To Make the End of Battle (Falcom JDK Band 1)
- Lila ~ English Version ~ (Falcom Vocal Collection 1)
- Palace of Salmon (Ys II Perfect Collection)
- Companile of Lane (Ys Perfect Collection)
- Termination (Music from Ys II)
- Musical Suite - Lilia (Neo Falcom Classic from Studios in London City)
- Victory!! (See you Again) (Falcom Special Box '97)
- Released Nov 27, 1998 by King Records (catalog no. KICA-1220, retail 2854 yen).
A perfect album for those who want a taste of a great music series.
Reader review by Aaron Lau (1999-01-25)
Before I begin this review, I should mention that 1) It's been a really long time since I last played any Ys games and 2) I haven't heard a single Ys soundtrack, save for some of Symphony Ys '95 and one of the Ys IV Perfect Collections. That said, I think this review is better suited for those who are unfamiliar with the Ys series and its music.
Perhaps the thing that impresses me most about Very Best of Ys is, in addition to it having a good selection of tracks that made Ys music so popular in the first place, Falcom also used several songs more than once in this album. For example, the first track contains orchestral arrangements of "Feena", "First Step Towards War", and "Palace". Track 12 contains arrangements of "Lilia", "Feena", "Endless History", and "Palace", respectively. There is a piano/strings duet of "Palace" on track 3, and there are two vocal reprises of "Lilia" and "Endless History". In this way, one who isn't knowledgeable of the music of Ys (like myself) can better familiarize himself through the many different reprises this soundtrack has to offer.
All of the songs are very faithful to the originals. To be honest, I had to download some of the various MIDI and MP3 files on the net to compare the sounds. There's a very good amount of variety here too, so that the arrangements never get linear. And they all fit very well. For instance, the high-powered and energetic arrangements of Ryo Yonemitsu are well suited for tracks like "Palace of Destruction" and "Palace of Salmon", and the orchestral tracks, arranged in a symphonic suite style, mix some of the best of Ys' sounds. There's one dance mix techno-style song from Provincialism Ys, "The Last Moment of The Dark", with voice mixed in from the domestic version of Ys! And finally, there are the three vocal tracks, "Lilia", "Endless History", and "See You Again", which round out the mix.
As with most great music, Ys slowly grows on you. My number one favorite is the vocal version of "Endless History". (I basically like any kind of arrangement of "Morning Grow" though.) There's just something about the powerful melody and execution that makes it my best liked song. Track 6's "Lilia" vocal is really nice, with well-written English lyrics, a very likable melody (I find myself humming it frequently!), and an exceptional performance by Akiko Arai. "To Make The End of Battle" and "Palace of Salmon" have Ryo Yonemitsu showing off his brilliant rock-style musical arrangements.
Although you've got some of the best selections from the series, there are just so many more tracks out there that are just as good. Too bad they couldn't cram a few more in here. Also, I noticed that there was no Ys V music in here. They weren't the greatest music of the series (IMO), but it still would have been nice to have a track or two in there.
In conclusion, this album is obviously not for those who already own the previous soundtracks, since it's just a compilation of such. (I remember kicking myself for getting Final Fantasy 1987-1994!) But for those of us who are new to the whole "Ys craze", I can find no better soundtrack to start off with than this one.
An immaculate collection of selected Ys and Ys II music.
Reader review by Belinda Sin
For some reason, when I first listened to Very Best of Ys, I expected to hear a wider variety of pieces, having thought it was the very best of the entire Ys series. Although these are instead mostly pieces from Ys I, I'm not disappointed at all with the selection. In fact, I was rather impressed by the overall balance of the soundtrack given the fact that each piece was taken from a different collection.
To illustrate, the album starts off with an 11-minute orchestral medley with the ever-familiar Ys tracks, "Feena", "First Step Towards Wars", and "Palace". This is followed by a mixture of digital arrangements, a hauntingly beautiful piano solo of "Palace", a funky little dance piece, a rock variation of "To Make the End of Battle" performed by Falcom's own J.D.K. Band, two wonderful vocal tracks, a breathtaking symphonic work by the world renown London Symphony Orchestra, and finally, a rather upbeat poppish vocal version of "See You Again", one of the two ending themes from Ys.
In all honesty, I was a bit skeptical of how all these different arrangements would work in one album. But somehow, Falcom managed to pull it off rather immaculately. Nothing seemed out of place; even the piece from Provincialism Ys and Kawana Midori's perky vocals (reminiscent of anime pop idol singers) on "Victory!!" managed to find their niches in it. If Falcom is like this with all their best collections, I would love to get my hands on all of them!
I am not an Ys fanatic in terms of the music or the games so I'm not sure if Very Best of Ys, which basically samples selected tunes from the vast music library of Ys, would be worth it for them. But then, hardcore Ys enthusiasts collect as much as they can even if it means having doubles of certain music tracks, don't they? However, for someone like me who merely wishes a taste of the different compilations, I say the CD is a good investment.
It's worth it.
Reader review by Abe Foster
Having never played the game Ys, but hearing the reputation of the CDs, I decided to buy Symphony Ys '95. I was much impressed, so I bought Very Best of Ys. This CD is, as you can probably gather, a collection of the best of Ys (in the producers' opinions). There are two symphonic tracks and three vocal tracks. The rest of the CD is full of very contemporary rock style BGM, aside from two piano tracks.
When I first listened to the CD, I was not all too impressed; the only tracks the struck me as worth listening to were tracks 1 and 12. This soon changed. As I listened to the CD more and more, each track grew on me, and so I began to appreciate the way in which many different themes were woven into a medley of different styles. Since I don't know the names of each particular theme in the series, I cannot say which track has what theme. One notable new theme for me is the "Lilia" theme, which is great, both in symphonic and vocal forms. The vocal tracks in particular are extremely good. Each vocalist has a great voice, and perhaps the CD is worth it for the vocal tracks alone, but there are so many other good things about it.
The only track that strikes me as a little strange is track 5, which has very good music, but a couple of odd monologues (in English) woven into the music. The monologues sound fake and scripted, and the voice actors don't have very good english, so they can't act, but I like the track anyway for the music.
Most of the other rockish tracks are very upbeat, or very diabolical sounding, I guess to add to the mood of the tracks. The symphonic tracks are beautiful, and rival Final Fantasy's symphonic music in terms of the orchestration.
If you are, or plan to get into game music, this is definitely a good buy. It has examples of orchestral, vocal, and OST game music. Give the CD a few listens and you'll really appreciate it.
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