FF Music - 8 Is Great, but 7 Is Heaven

by Andrew Gonzalez

Now that we're past the corny title... :-)

Anyway, this is a bit in concurrence with Tom Moore's editorial about "The Extreme" (final music fighting Ultimecia) from FF8. I feel he was absolutely correct in stating that the most important thing about video game music (especially RPG's) is that it transmits mood effectively, but I think that FF7, on the whole, did a better job with this. Don't get me wrong; 8 had awesome music, but it didn't top 7.

Let's start with the last boss music. Final Fantasy 8 sported "Maybe I'm A Lion" and "The Extreme". Both were excellent tracks; "Lion" begins with the high percussion, gives a roar, so as to signify the beginning of a battle, and then shifts into the low electric guitar, giving a brutal feel. Truly, the battle raging between Squall, who has become a lion, and Ultimecia, who has become a "lion" after junctioning herself to Griever, makes this appropriate. "The Extreme" drastically switches gears at first, beginning with a quiet, subdued acoustic guitar and piano, then going into louder, more direct music, with a more rushed tone to suit the mood of the battle to stop Time Compression.

However, as good as the two tracks are, they do not compare to what I hold to be the granddaddy of all final boss themes, "One Winged Angel". The grand orchestral score is as unforgettable as Sephiroth, and is true to what he is, and what he seeks to become. He is god-like through the power of the lifestream. The voices in the song sound like Gregorian Chant, which was invented to praise God. Thus, the voices truly portray Spehiroth's deity and grandeur, as does the loud, pounding orchestra, especially the horns - it all shouts grandeur. And it just does it better than FF8 does.

And now, for other assorted examples. The regular boss theme, for instance. "Force Your Way", in 8, with its organs and fast-paced synthesizer, convey urgency and a frantic battle, but not nearly as well as the boss theme in FF7. The quick electric guitar, the flighty organ music, and the rock music score really makes you feel like you're getting down and dirty in a tough battle (plus, it's really catchy ). "Only a Plank Between One and Perdition" (in FF8, the battle theme for Bahamut and Ultima Weapon, among other things) comes close to the sense of urgency in the FF7 boss theme, but it's still no match for the speed and low, heavy sound of the FF7 boss theme and the good job it does of conveying the emotion.

FF7's world map theme has the same epic scope of "One Winged Angel" thanks mostly to the magnificent horns, and makes you feel that FF7's world is vast, with mant things to explore on an equally grand quest. FF8's world map music is...well, I think I know how we all feel about it. (I feel the same way.)

Last of all, the various town music. FF7 and FF8 do well in this department, but I feel that 7 again has the slight edge. In FF8, "Oceanside", with its acoustic gutiar chord-picking and ocean noises in the background, did an execellent job of making me feel like I was really in Balamb. Fisherman's Horizon also had great, laid-back, relaxing music, which perfectly suits the mood of the town. However, that's about as well as FF8 does with emotional town music. (I also liked "Under Her Control", the music in Deling City, but only because it was catchy.) FF7 does with almost every town what "Oceanside" did in FF8. The low synthesizer in Sector 5 gives a good feel of how horrible it is for the people who live there, Kalm's guitar and high-pitched flute-like sound convey a relaxed, country attitude, Wutai's heavy drums and gongs accentuate the Chinese atmosphere and feel of the town, and Cosmo Canyon's music, with its heavy, Native-American type drumbeats and high woodwinds,! signify how the people of Cosmo Canyon are much like the Native Americans in their beliefs in nature and the study of planet life, much in contrast to the low synthesized sounds of Midgar.

I've made this plenty long enough. <g> Like I said, don't get me wrong - FF8 had lots of great music I love ("Only A Plank...", "Premonition", "The Man With The Machine Gun", "Intruders", "Ami", and "Oceanside", to name but a few), but on the whole, and in the sense of conveying emotion, FF7 was better.

Agree? Disagree? Whatever you feel, if you have to spout it to me, spout it at

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