Game music: it’s a spiritual thing. A body thing. A Dawn of Souls thing. And instead of letting the pirates run wild, Square Enix has posted a massive treasure trove of their game soundtracks from NES Final Fantasy to modern day – even with special mixes if you need to chill or give yourself an energy boost.
It’s extraordinary what’s there – you get really high-quality versions, including (to my ears) all the old 8-bit era. (Those vary – some are taken from the DS remakes, for instance, but still sound terrific and I think true to the actual compositions.)
You’ll find a bunch of stuff on the Square Enix Music channel on their YouTube channel:
Check the playlists…
It’s all well-organized, with grouped playlists so you can find complete soundtracks, plus those aforementioned bonus mixes. There’s probably a lesson for all of us in music, because they then grab everybody as a subscriber so they can promote new videos, plus there are links to buy downloadable versions.
And then you’ll also find complete albums on YouTube Music (confusing, but a separate site/service – also with a RADIO option):
A great place to begin is this enchanting (subtitled) interview between Square Enix Music and music director Keiji Kawamori of Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts.
There’s lots of gorgeous new stuff I’ve been skipping through, but it’s hard not to get lost in some of the old stuff. I’m struck by how harmonically adventurous and chromatic and unusual a lot of the writing is. That goodness starts more or less right at the beginning. Skipping some arcane early entries for Famicom, Final Fantasy I is just gorgeous and inventive work by composer Nobuo Uematsu:
Saga, MANA, Final Fantasy, Chromo, and NieR series are all well covered, but you get a lot of extras, too, including newcomers like Octopath Traveler, The World Ends With You, and SINoALICE, the choBIT Orchestra, and even Valentine’s and holiday playlists. What’s absent is unsurprising – Disney and Mario crossovers – but with thousands of tracks, who’s complaining?
Ooh, those sweet, chippy rolled arpeggios:
Just in case your mood is sagging these days, because I don’t know, reasons, they’ve got you there, too.
Need a potion to calm down? There’s the Mellow Minstrel Mix “to chill, study, work.”
Prefer to up your HP and get hyped? Then they recommend the “Airship Cruise Beats,” which is hyperactive upbeat ultra-cheery stuff they call “EDM” but I would call “JRPG candy-flavored energy drink”. Set the DJ mix tempo to, like, really twitchy:
Then again, if “EDM” starts combining high-tempo beats with accordion, breakdowns with xylophones, I’m probably up for it.
There are other DJ mixes, too:
A seriously chill SQUARE ENIX good time:
I should really get some Kenji Ito in here, too:
And there’s NieR live. (Well, the music part, not the stuff in the game; that’d be a little freaky.)