Monday, 11 March 2013

Crowning Music of Awesome: A Flower Blooming in the Slums (Aeris' Theme)

Other then the guitar, my favourite musical instrument is the piano. I cannot play the instrument mind you, but I can appreciate the music is produces. I find that video game music, be it original compositions or arrangements, done on the piano are far more relaxing and sometimes more intimate. I understand that piano work can be used for more jazz and rock style compositions. However from my experience within this genre, whenever someone makes a song with a piano, the mood is usually set to be somber.

When I first started playing Final Fantasy VII, I was drawn to Aeris above the other two female protagonist. Yuffie was the typical brash and boisterous tomboy and Tifa was a tough but sensitive childhood friend, but there was something about Aeris that I loved. So when I played up to the end of Disk 1 of the game and Sephiroth murders her I was shocked. This being a Final Fantasy game I assumed that all the characters would be at my side till the end, or at least go out in an epic battle. But not this time.

The only music to play during this scene was Aeris' Theme and that didn't start until after Sephiroth had killed her, making this scene incredibly moving. After the cutscene and the second battle against Jenova started playing, I expected that theme to be playing. Instead however, Aeris' theme continued playing making this battle feel far more personal.

While the games graphics have not aged well, the soundtrack is still spectacular, especially with this song. The characters may be crude polygons, but it's the music that helps carry the game and Uematsu's music made this game. Every time I play this game and get up to this point, I still feel sad. The villain made this fight far more personal then previous bosses. In Final Fantasy IV and V, the two main characters that died went out battling against their foe, hitting him with every powerful spell and special technique they knew. It was depressing that Tellah and Galuf died in their respective games, but they went out fighting. They were not in deep prayer, oblivious to the world around them.

That is what makes it different.

Aeris' Theme pretty much exemplifies an awesome musical moment. The song is not bombastic or in your face. It is more of a somber hymn. In Crisis Core, the song was remade to A Flower Blooming in the Slums (how apropos) and has gained a guitar line to accompany the piano work. This turns the songs from a hymn to more of a love song with a tragic twist.

I absolutely love the added guitar work in A Flower Blooming in the Slums as I feel it makes the song a bit more complete. It can also be argued that the guitar represents Zack and the piano represents Aeris and once he was gone, so was the guitar from the song. I do wonder if that is what the games composers had in mind when they were scoring the OST.

Not every song on Crowning Music of Awesome has be an epic. For every Dragonborn, there is an Aeris' Theme.

This is Daimo Mac and I am lost in the music.

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