Today I continue to celebrate my first year of blogging with listing my personal top 10 original songs, and top 10 OCReMix songs.
On Monday I wrote that Chrono Trigger was tied for the number 1 spot of my favourite VG music. Of all the music from OCReMix I have, not including albums, Chrono Trigger music makes up the most of that list coming in at over 110 tracks. Maybe some day I will go through every track and give it a proper review, but today I will be only reviewing 10 of them, along side the 10 tracks from the original soundtrack that inspired them.
10: Singing Mountain (Unreleased)
Singing Mountain never got an official release until the DS port of the game came out. It, like one of the battle themes were cut from the game. According to Chrono Compendium, Singing Mountain was originally going to be a dungeon, but the developers didn't have a need for it and was inevitably cut. The song remained on the OST and wouldn't be seen in game until the DS Re-release.
This song itself is a great piece and I do wonder why it was cut. Was it for time or did the dungeon simply felt tacked on? The song is certainly more morose then some of the other tracks on the album and would have served well as the dungeon to where you find Crono and restore him to life. Honestly I would have preferred to have this song play in the background while scaling Death's Peak
10: Crying Mountain ~ saiko
Crying Mountain by saiko can be considered a companion piece to Suzembachi's Forever (see below). Where Forever was the song of bringing Crono back from the brink, Crying Mountain is the song that is played while they are on the journey to save their mute comrade.
I love what saiko did with Singing Mountain. He gives the track an air of danger and desperation. The team is trying to save Crono and there is a huge chance that it won't work. That their trials and struggles would be for nought. It makes the song feel far more important and you know that failure is not an option.
9: Frog's Theme
Frog is a badass character. Underneath his amphibian appearance, he is a loyal soldier. Although he lost his humanity to Magus, he continued to defend the crown of Guardia. To his last breath he will fight and die for his his homeland.
His theme exemplifies those characteristics. It's a wonderful track for a hero, that inspire confidence and competence to those who serve with him.
9: Knights Come Marching Home ~ Ailsean
I have to give kudos to remix artist for this song. Many artists will merely use other VG music while making a track, but Ailsean took the war song When Johnny Comes Marching Home and mixed it with Frog's theme. In the end it became less Frog's Theme, and a theme for all of the soldiers serving under the amphibious warrior.
Ailsean also incorporated Beatrix Theme (not The Rose of May) into this mix and I feel it completes the song. Added with When Johnny Comes Marching Home, and you have one of the more unique tracks ever put out by Ailsean. While it is not his best work, (Terra in Black is his best work IMO), it is still a great song to listen to.
8: Robo's Theme
Due to the meme status of a certain 80's singer, Robo's theme has exploded in popularity. Due to the fact that both songs sound incredibly similar
Despite that, Robo's Theme is still a good personal character theme. Unlike Frog's medieval style fanfare, Robo's is far more futuristic and showcases the robot's sweet character. He is a big brick of a character, but a loyal friend and comrade to the group. Unlike the other machines in the series, he cares for all life and exists to serve and help humans. Not to enslave and exterminate them.
8: The Incredible Singing Robot: Star Salzman
I love what Star Salzman did with this song. While the techno/electronica aspect of the song is great, the added lyrics are what sells the song for me. Star Salzman takes the role of the copper tinted titan and sings the praises of Robo.
You would think that the song would be obnoxious or annoying when using a robot voice, but Star Salzman plays down the voice work so it is more subtle. It allows the listener to visualize that it is Robo singing without being over the top or obnoxious.
While the track is not superior to the original song, I do like what Star Salzman did with it and hope that it inspires other performers to tackle this song.
7: Memories of Green
Memories of Green is an enigma for me. As a song, I enjoy it a lot. Like many of the world map themes in the game, it is soft and relaxing. However unlike the other tracks, it doesn't make me curious about the world I am in. Honestly it makes the world seem kind of bland and empty and at the start of the game, you don't want that. You want to question what is over the mountain ridge or across the ocean.
At the same time, though it suits the world because at that moment, the world is supposed to be bland. History has forgotten the war with the Reptites, the segregation between the Earthbound Humans and the population of Zeal and the War against Magus and his Mystics is a distant memory. The population also is unaware that they are simply cattle to be culled when Lavos awakens in 1999.
The song maybe bland and boring, but it fits the world.
7: Destiny Ark ~ Ryo Lion
I don't know why this track appeals to me so much. Perhaps it is because it has taken the familiar Memories of Green melody and turned it around. While listening to this song, I want to explore the world of 1000 AD. To cross the mountains and voyage over the seas. It makes me interested in the world I am saving.
Ryo Lion did a great job here and there is a part of me that wants to replace the original track with this. However I do know that it wouldn't fit with the world map of 1000 AD
6: Wind scene (Medieval Theme)
In the fantasy genre, the medieval era is usually considered quiet and reserved. The battles take place in far off lands away from their homes. It's a far more simple life then what we are sued to today. That is what I feel when I am travelling around the world of Chrono Trigger during the middle ages. It is a peaceful era for them, even with the war against the mystics near their front door, people still get on with their lives.
6: 600ad in Piano ~ kLuTz
Doing a piano only remix is hard work and very few people can pull it off successfully, so when I came across 600ad In Piano, I didn't know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised however and for the longest time this was the crown jewel of my OCReMix collection. Of course as my music collection grew it was soon replaced, but this song has always stayed with me.
In turning Wind Scene into a piano work, he has stripped the song of any meaning. However that is not a bad thing as the end result sounds like something you would hear in the castle. It is a nice track to listen to when you need some time to be alone and think.
5: Corridors of Time (Zeal Island)
As I said on Monday's article, the theme to Zeal Island, is one of magic and mystery. The people of Zeal were a people who embraced hedonism and sloth. To them they were not vices, but a way of life and the track showcases that element, while giving off an air of mystery. In the game they explained that the Zeal way of life used to be worshipping the Sun Stone, but soon after they had found a greater source of power to worship. It wasn't until the end of that era that both the characters realized what was the source of worship.
Corridors of Time is fantastic in portraying the land of Zeal as mysterious and aloof civilization. It distracts you with the magic while having you ignore the true threat. Over time you come to feel comfortable with the hedonism and you want to forget the problems.
5: Island of Zeal ~ MazeDude
Mazedude didn't do much to the original track, but his subtle work is what makes this track all the more endearing. From my perspective, it seemed that the artist was trying to make Zeal what it was before the corruption of Lavos. Zeal was supposed to be the future of humanity. To be free of the sins that kept the Earthbound shackled to their lives. They wanted to set an example and lead Humanity to a golden age that would never end.
Mazedude did a great job on his re-imagining of Corridors of Time. While there wasn't extensive work done like other remixes, he made enough subtle changes to make the song feel new.
4: Peaceful Days
Crono is quite possibly the most “normal” jRPG hero to come out of the 90's. Instead of being an amnesiac with tremendous power, a care free vagabond or a disgraced, angst-ridden knight, he was just a kid living in a small kingdom. The most he had to worry about was not getting injured through one of Lucca's inventions. The track, Peaceful Days allows the listener to visualize what the world of Chrono Trigger is like in the year 1000 AD. A calm, serene place where the neighbours know one another and the kids can play in the fields from dawn till dusk.
In a sense, Peaceful Days could be the theme for any small town in North America.
4: Blue Skies over Guardia: Darkesword
If Square Enix were to ever make a Chrono Trigger anime, they would need to put this song at the start as it fits the series so perfectly. This song instills of wonder and excitement and gets the listener wanting to experience the world of Chrono Trigger.
Darkesword did a fantastic job on this song and it is the best way to introduce someone to the series. While Inciting Incident and Morning Sunlight is good for starting Chrono Symphonic, it is Blue Skies Over Guardia that works as an introduction.
This song is so happy and full of energy that you cannot help but smile up listening to it.
3: The Day the World Revived
This track is one of the game most simple tunes. It is a single instrument work that plays only once during the course of the entire game and that is when Crono is revived on the summit of Death Peak. You cannot help but feel a renewed sense of hope when hearing this track.
There are times for fanfares and a time for simplicity and the moment Crono was brought back from the brink, it was time for simplicity. I honestly believe that had there been a boisterous fanfare, it would have ruined the moment.
3: Forever: Suzumebachi
Simplicity works for the original track, but Suzumebachi decided to go against the grain and give the song a bit more life, for lack of a better term. Forever is a perfect companion peace to saiko's rendition of Singing Mountain. While the former is about the journey to saving Crono, this track is about the act. Marle and company are willing to go on a wild goose chase to save him and risk everything.
While The Day The World Revived gave the listener a renewed sense of hope, Forever makes you feel that you never lost hope. That despite the problems, there was always a small glimmer of hope left. Forever grabs onto that light and never lets go, no matter the cost.
2: Epilogue; To Good Friends
There was no need for a big bombastic farewell party. After a journey through time and space, the fire forged friends are finally leaving. Frog, goes back to serve the royal family, Ayla goes back to her time and leads her people through the start of the ice age, Robo goes back to the future to help the changed world and perhaps to reunite with Atropos XR and Magus goes to wherever to search for his time displaced sister. It is a rather sombre affair as they know that this is their final farewell.
Of all jRPG's from the SNES era, I believe that the Chrono Trigger ending is by far the best one I have seen. The developers decided to keep the ending rather low key and downplayed the role of the characters. While they were indeed the heroes, the world didn't know it. The people didn't know who it was that saved them.
2: To Dear Friends ~ Erutan
Early last year Erutan had gotten her Twitter account hacked and her Youtube account suspended and for an indie music producer that could do alot of damage. However after some time, everything became rectified and she was able to continue to upload her covers and original work (go buy Raindancer now).
The first song she uploaded was her cover of the To Good Friends which was sung in the perspective of Crono recalling there trip through time. Obviously the song was inspired by the opening of the first cinematic where Crono looks at the picture of him and his friends.
Honestly, I feel that this song was a letter from Erutan to her fans, thanking her for sticking with her throughout her trials. I could be wrong however.
Still it is a solid song and is second only to the next song.
1: To Far Away Times
The 90's era of video gaming wasn't all that strong on story telling when it came to people in love. There were some good examples, but they were few and far between. Chrono Trigger did it right with Marle and Crono as I felt that the two began to get close during their adventures. When Crono died trying to save his friends, it deeply affected the tomboy princess and she was willing to do anything to save the spiky haired swordsmen.
While these days it can seem cheesy and cliche, it shows that there was a time that Square and Enix could write a good story, making the romance blossom naturally and not so angst ridden. Each character has a reason why they are in that mind and despite some hardships, the characters don't complain about their lot in life. They do things to change it.
Will we ever see a resurgence of that era of writing? Who knows, but if not we could always look back fondly.
1: The Place We Knew: Jillian Aversa/Reuban Kee
I love this song so much. It is such a warm song that when I listen to it, I get a bit misty eyed. I can't help but imagine that this is being sung by either Marle, Crono or Lucca in their twilight years, reminiscing about their adventures through time.
This song remains my favourite Chrono Trigger remix and I highly doubt any song off the site could replace it. When playing the game, when I get to the end, I will mute the game itself and put on this song as I feel it is far superior to the original track away in every way.
When I first heard the lyrics, I admit I was apprehensive, but as I continued to listen, I began to mentally paint a picture of the three main characters far older remembering their life.
Reuban Kee and Jillian Aversa did a wonderful job on this song and I cannot help but see this song as my number one.
There you have it, my top 10 songs from both the official soundtrack and from OCReMix. There are countless other songs and bands out there, but for this, I wanted to stick with what I knew best and that was OCReMix. There are dozens, if not hundreds of wonderful different variations of the Chrono Trigger OST out on the internet from the folks over at The World is Square to The Bad Dude's CHRONOTORIOUS album.
It's been more then a year, and a hundred articles, lets go with another year and another 100.
I'm Daimo Mac and I am still lost in the music.