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Blue Dragon OST - Soundtrack Review

Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Track Listing
Disc 1
1.Waterside
2.A Lamenting Bell Toll
3.The Land Shark is Coming!
4.Crisis
5.A Mysterious Village
6.Dragon Fight!
7.Thumbs Up!
8.Peaceful Days
9.Mystery of the Ancient Machine
10.Challenge
11.An Omen
12.In Search of the Ruins
13.Ruins
14.High-Speed Flight
15.Anger and Sorrow
16.My Tears and the Sky
17.Cave
18.The City Lights
19.The Ruined Village
20.Exceed the Land
21.BAD BUT BAT
22.Torippo!
23.A Smiling Face
24.Knock It Down
25.Army of the Holy Sword
Disc 2
1.Gibral Castle
2.Zola's Theme
3.A Little Fight
4.Frozen Village
5.Nene's Paradise
6.Giant Mechat
7.Advance! Drill Machine
8.The Dance-Loving Devi Tribe
9.The Ancients
10.An Ancient Fortress
11.The Mechanical Temple
12.The Path to Gibral
13.Mecha-Robo Corps Charge!
14.The Land of Happiness
15.A Village of Murals
16.The Calm Waterside
17.An Uneasy Night
18.Eternity
19.Mechat Takes Off!
20.Take Back the Shadow!
21.State of Emergency
22.CAVERN
23.Revival of the Ancients
24.The Seal is Broken
25.Happy Birthday
26.Blue Dragon Main Theme
27.Waterside ~for Piano and Orchestra~
Total Playtime: 2:06:56
Composer
Nobuo Uematsu
Arranger
Satoshi Henmi
Hiroyuki Nakayama
Publisher
Aniplex

   Blue Dragon is Nobuo Uematsu's first complete offering since his work on Final Fantasy IX's soundtrack. Now assisting former boss Hironobu Sakaguchi and his new company Mistwalker, Uematsu has composed the entire soundtrack for Blue Dragon. Fans of his work on the Final Fantasy series will recognize his style, as it is ever present throughout the soundtrack and could even cause some flashbacks. Luckily, many original tracks make this soundtrack entertaining, though not flawless.

   The official soundtrack for Blue Dragon does feature quite a few impressive original tracks. The mysterious, flowing piece "Cave" is easily one of the more memorable tracks of the entire collection. Its beautiful melody is haunting with an undertone of urgency. The cryptic track "An Omen" is also quite haunting and features a techno background about a minute and a half in that enhances that feeling. "Anger and Sorrow" and "A Lamenting Bell Toll" are two very dramatic pieces that seem like they could take place within very important parts of the game. "Zola's Theme" is very beautiful and does a good job of conveying a theme of sadness as well as mystery. One track that offers a positive feel is "Army of the Holy Sword." This piece has an aura of exploration and combat to it, almost like an army is marching off to war with a strong hope of being successful. Both the original and the orchestral/piano version of "Waterside" are wonderfully arranged pieces that heavily focus on the piano melody. "Waterside" stands out as an impressive original piece and is very similar to style Uematsu's earlier piano-focused themes. "The Seal is Broken" starts off slow with an intro featuring chanting. After that brief introduction, the piece has a quick piano solo and goes straight into a fast-paced rock theme that comes across as music for a major boss battle. Though not the best overall track, this is one of the most original pieces of the entire soundtrack.

   Blue Dragon also features some other original, though slightly less impressive tracks. "A Mysterious Village" and "The Frozen Village" are both decent town themes. While they are good as background music, neither stands out as great on its own. Other pieces that are not really engrossing by themselves, but make for good incidental music are "Gibral Castle," "The Path to Gibral," "Ruins," "The City Lights," "An Ancient Fortress," and "CAVERN." "Challenge" and "Dragon Fight!" are both mediocre combat themes which don't draw attention to themselves, but thankfully don't become irritating.

   A few pieces seem to have borrowed bits from Uematsu's older Final Fantasy soundtracks. "The Land of Happiness" seems to take a little from Final Fantasy IV's "Prelude." Parts of "Nene's Paradise" sound like clips from Final Fantasy VIII's "Maybe I'm a Lion." The biggest offender comes in the form of "The Dance-Loving Devi Tribe." This Hawaiian-style track's electronic drum sounds and chipper feel will remind many of any Chocobo theme. These are just a few of the easily identifiable pieces that feature a heavy influence from Uematsu's earlier work. Many more might very well be present, but weren't as obvious as these.

   The soundtrack isn't all grand as it does offer a few rather horrid tracks. "BAD BUT BAT" and "A Little Fight" are both repetitive and annoying pieces. The "Blue Dragon Main Theme" is also less than stellar and easily forgettable. Also down near the bottom of the list are "Giant Mechat" and "Advance! Drill Machine." Sadly, the vocal pieces "Eternity" and "My Tears and the Sky" are seriously lacking. "Eternity" is sung by Ian Gillan and sounds like a song from a bad anime movie. "My Tears and the Sky" is much better than "Eternity," but also seems to fall flat when compared to other Uematsu vocal offerings.

   The soundtrack for Blue Dragon is a mixed bag. It does offer a good amount of originality, but a few tracks seem to borrow from Final Fantasy games while others don't impress at all. The soundtrack is enjoyable, but even the greatest pieces are downplayed in the overall scheme of things by the lack of a major groundbreaking track. Such tracks as "Cave" and "Zola's Theme" are wonderful, but even the best tracks don't seem to vault this soundtrack into greatness. The vocal tracks had the potential to raise the bar, but in the end just assisted in watering down the experience. With a couple of these vocals getting English translations via the localization process currently in progress, there is chance for redemption when the game arrives in North America. Until then, Blue Dragon's OST remains impressive, but not fantastic.



Musicianship
Sound Quality
Production Value
OVERALL
3.5/5
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