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Final Fantasy IX
Uematsu's Best Collection

(TokyoPop Soundtrax tp cd 0201-2)

Final Fantasy IX CD Cover
Purchase USA version
Purchase 4 disc import version

composed, arranged and produced by
Nobuo Uematsu

orchestrations by
Shiro Hamaguchi

"Melodies of Life"
written by Nobuo Uemastu and Ciomi
arranged by Shiro Hamaguchi
vocals by
Emiko Shiratori

33 tracks 64:19

Nobuo Uematsu is easily the best-known game music composer in the medium's short history. He is arguably the greatest composer to create music for video games. Either way, Mr. Uematsu's name will forever be associated with the Final Fantasy game series.

The high mark of Mr. Uematsu's Final Fantasy work has been FF6 (FF3 in the USA), which was created for the SNES. I will never forget the opening credits. I thought then and now that the music rivals and even surpasses a lot of famous film music. Jump to Mr. Uematsu's three Psone soundtracks: FFVII's is very nice with a futuristic flavor and FFVIII has a large elegant, which is also nice, but kind of dry (the orchestra version is fantastic). The third game released for the Psone, FFIX, has one-disc soundtrack released in the USA and a four plus disc collection released in Japan. While it would be nice to have the entire soundtrack released in the USA, I understand Tokyopop's decision. It would have been too cumbersome a listen, and too expensive to buy for the casual listener. If you like this disc, then hunt down the four disc version and buy it. You'll like it.

The music for Final Fantasy IX is more in line with FF VI than the other Psone versions and in general has a lighter tone. Its exceptions are the haunting "Freya's Theme," "Soulless Village" and the heroic "Night in Alexandria." Two other tracks "A Place to Call Home" and "Fu-Ru-Sa-To" (bonus track) use "ancient" instruments from the middle ages. Both tunes are exquisite. There are just so many good tunes to listen to. Like all Final Fantasy scores there are several famous themes that Mr. Uematsu re-uses, but with varying arrangements. "Ukulele de Chocobo" is a cute and refreshing version, while the "Prelude" is done in a typically peaceful setting. The English version of "Melodies of Life" is nice, but I find it weak when compared to FFVIII's "Eyes on Me." Emiko Shiratori's performance is OK.

Final Fantasy IX is easily the best score Mr. Uematsu has created for the Psone, and is arguably his best work to date. I highly recommend this disc.


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