One of the benefits of writing a video game music blog is that I meet people with similar interests as I. Over at the site VGCB, they have showcased bands that people may not have heard of such as Year 200X, or Kirby's Dream Band. These are all bands you should give a listen to if you are a fan of video game music. I may cover Year 200X and Kirby's Dream Band some time in the future, but today I would like to take a look at an up and coming Square Enix cover band called The World is Square and their first release No Phoenix Down Can Save You Now.
For the most part, I prefer the music in JRPG's far more then music in Western RPG's. I don't know if it's just me, but I haven't found a series that has hooked me the way jRPG's have. I know for the most part that the music you find in Western RPG's are far more ambient, with the sounds of leaves rustling and birds in the tree's. This is far from a bad thing as it draws you into the world. However when it tries to be more musical, I feel it doesn't fair as well as their Japanese counterparts. There are exceptions to the rule with some games like Skyrim, bit for the most part, Western RPG soundtracks just don't hold up.
What I like about the band is that they are not limiting themselves solely to music from the Final Fantasy series. Of course most of the music is from that series, but they have also selected tracks from both Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross. The album isn't bad, but it seems that the band was trying to play safe with their debut which is understandable.
When it comes to albums like this, there are usually two or three tracks that really stand out and have me take notice and I have a hard time making a choice. Of course, this being a Final Fantasy Album, the choice of song I prefer are between Final Fantasy VI's Terra's Theme and Final Fantasy VII's Cosmo Canyon. One one hand, The World is Squares rendition of Cosmo Canyon has a very primal, tribal feel to the song that seems to have taken cue's from Reuban Kee's rendition of CosmoCanyon which is fantastic and you should check out.
However, the bands version of Terra's Theme is also quite memorable. They have taken the original theme's feelings of loneliness and desolation and dialed it up. Terra is truly one of the more tragic characters in the Final Fantasy series and her original composition highlight that. The World is Square takes it up and you want to feel sorry for this character. She has been alone all her life. Brainwashed to be used as a biological weapon. She has never known any emotion and when she becomes free, she wants to feel them. Unlike the assassin Shadow, Terra has never had emotions. She has never experienced fear, sadness, joy or even love.
The World is Square is a good band. They are obviously playing it safe with their first album, making minor alterations to the classics. As a debut CD, it's not a bad album. That being said, they need to do something bombastic that will get peoples attention. Perhaps they could do a Final Fantasy Rock Opera in the vein of The Megas or doing a concept album from a hidden gem like the Soul Blazer Trilogy. I would like to see these succeed as they have the talent, but to do so, you need something that makes you stand out.
Taking a listen to No Phoenix is like slipping on a old pair of jeans you haven't worn in a very long time. It is a comfortable, familiar feeling that comes back to you after a while. It's a good feeling and I believe worth the 7 dollars. You can buy their album on their bandcamp page.
This is Daimo Mac and I am lost in the music.