Melodies Of Life ~featured in FINAL FANTASY IX

Melodies Of Life ~featured in FINAL FANTASY IX. Slipcase Front (1st print). Click to zoom.
Melodies Of Life ~featured in FINAL FANTASY IX
Slipcase Front (1st print)
Covers release: nitro322
Composed by Emiko Shiratori / Nobuo Uematsu
Arranged by Shiro Hamaguchi / Tatsushi Umegaki
Published by King Records
Catalog number KICS-811
Release type Game Soundtrack - Official Release
Format 1 CD - 4 tracks
Release date August 2, 2000
Duration 00:23:20
Genres
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Overview

Emiko Shiratori introduced herself to the world of Final Fantasy when she provided the vocal piece for Final Fantasy IX. Astonishingly enough, the piece she contributed was not only the last vocal piece for a PlayStation Final Fantasy title, but also one of the best vocal themes to appear in the Final Fantasy vocal repertoire. Her piece is also the second longest vocal theme to appear in the series, just a few seconds shorter than "1000 Words". You might think that I'm being overly-positive for this vocal track because Final Fantasy IX is my favorite of the series. Well, that may be true, however I'm going to show you exactly why this album deserves the praise it has already received.

Body

The album begins with the Japanese version of "Melodies of Life." In the game, this theme is connected to Garnet, and is personally sung by her while on the upper levels of Lindblum Castle. The musicality of this track is really fantastic, because even though it sounds very much like the traditional romantic ballad, we get extra instruments which provide some much needed variation to the track; the oboe especially is a great addition. Altogether, this track very much suits the setting of the game, in that it has sort of a light renaissance sound to it that is reflected in the aesthetics of Alexandria and the surrounding countryside. Shiratori's voice is also very soft, something that the Final Fantasy vocal pieces tend to avoid. However, the softness of her voice really brings the track to a whole new level. Her voice doesn't become screechy in the higher registers, and the lower octaves are well-rounded and pleasant to listen to.

We are also given the English version of "Melodies of Life" on this album, and in my opinion, it is the stronger of the two. Shiratori's voice has a very unique sound to it, and hearing her in English is a real treat. She doesn't stumble with the pronunciation of words, and the phrasing is natural rather than forced, further adding to the soft, almost spherical nature of her voice. I also really like the volume range that she has, in that she can be weak or strong where needed, while still maintaining a soft edge. An instrumental version of the song is also included on the album, and allows you to really hear how simple, yet complete the instrumentation of the track really is.

An extra vocal track is included on the album as well, titled "Galway." This is a sort of soft rock or pop piece which really suits Shiratori's voice well. The light, flowing lyrics contrast well to the flutes, strings, synth, and percussion of the background instrumentation. Her voice comes through clear, and the Japanese lyrics are without fault, despite all the instrumentation that you would think may drown out her voice. The best way to describe this track is unique. It gives you a real feel for how versatile Shiratori is, as this track is very different from "Melodies of Life." Instead of soft flowing lyrical lines, we get a melody which is very casual, yet comfortable for the style of the piece.

Summary

This album is very pleasant to listen to. While it doesn't have the power of Koda Kumi on the "real Emotion" / "1000 Words" single, or Angela Aki on the "Kiss Me Good-Bye" single, "Melodies of Life" is a very soft, luxurious album to play over and over. Some people may be turned off by this, but I think anyone who loves a great piece of music, regardless of the style, genre, or instrumentation, will enjoy these tracks.



Album
8/10

Music in game
0/10

Game
0/10

Andre Marentette

Overview

"Melodies of Life" is the vocal track to Final Fantasy IX. On the single there are three versions of the song. The first is in Japanese, the second is in English, and the third is an instrumental version. Also included on the single is "Galway Sky", a completely new song for the CD.

Body

"Melodies of Life" is a straightforward ballad about feeling alive with love. Many accused the song of being a bit too laid back, but I don't find that the case. After a soft beginning, it gradually builds up for the choruses, which are fairly powerful. If you found the song too laid back, then it's probably due to the rest of the soundtrack being a bit more low key compared to, say, Final Fantasy VIII. Instead of going militaristic, this is Final Fantasy returning to its roots and the song would not be out of place in, say, the Vocal Collections CDs.

Of the two vocal versions of the song, the Japanese version is better, because the singer's voice is more fluid with the instrumentals. Sometimes Emiko Shiratori arrives a little too late for the piece's English version and fluctuates in tone a little too much. The Japanese version is what "Melodies of Life" was written for, and that's why it stands out more. The instrumental version is a bonus, and can be used for Karaoke purposes since it has no synth voice.

"Galway Sky" is the new song and is absolutely astonishing! Would you ever expect a Final Fantasy single to be accompanied by a song with a dance-like drum beat? Well here it is, admittedly for the chorus only but, wow, what a song. It doesn't borrow from any song from the Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack and comes across like a breath of fresh air. "Galway Sky" has a distinct Japanese feel, from the vocals to the instruments used, and, for the first time in a long while, a male and female vocal track actually works! "Galway Sky" is reason enough to buy this single.

Summary

Whether for the theme song or the B-side, this vocal single is very impressive. It is slightly more mature in composition and performance than Final Fantasy VIII's while still representing the game well. Highly recommended.



Album
9/10

Music in game
0/10

Game
0/10

Simon Smith

"Melodies Of Life ~featured in FINAL FANTASY IX <Japanese Version>"
   Lyrics by Ciomi
   Composed by Nobuo Uematsu
   Arranged by Shiro Hamaguchi
   Vocals by Emiko Shiratori

"Melodies Of Life ~featured in FINAL FANTASY IX <English Version>"
   Lyrics by Ciomi
   Translated by Kazumi Someya & Alexander O. Smith
   Composed by Nobuo Uematsu
   Arranged by Shiro Hamaguchi
   Vocals by Emiko Shiratori

"Melodies Of Life ~featured in FINAL FANTASY IX <INSTRUMENTAL>"
   Composed by Nobuo Uematsu
   Arranged by Shiro Hamaguchi

"The Skies of Galway"
   Lyrics and composition by Emiko Shiratori
   Arranged by Tatsushi Umegaki (梅垣達志)
   Vocals by Emiko Shiratori


[note: first print bonus was a rice paper slipcase.]
Album was composed by Emiko Shiratori / Nobuo Uematsu and was released on August 2, 2000. Soundtrack consists of 4 tracks tracks with duration over about 25 minutes. Album was released by King Records.

CD 1

1
Melodies Of Life ~featured in FINAL FANTASY IX <Japanese Version>
05:51
2
Melodies Of Life ~featured in FINAL FANTASY IX <English Version>
05:51
3
Melodies Of Life ~featured in FINAL FANTASY IX <INSTRUMENTAL>
05:51
4
The Skies of Galway
05:47
30.04.12
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