Video Game Music Rabbit Hole

A few days ago, I was scrolling the home page on YouTube. I do that. Maybe too much. One of the videos that surfaced was of
a composer’s reaction to the Final Fantasy VI song, “Dancing Mad.” Intrigued, I watched the whole video with glee! And a rabbit hole of Final Fantasy music swallowed me up.

When I was a teen, circa 1994, I played FFVI on Super Nintendo. It was called FFIII here in the west. And I recall the great final battle with Kefka and the music that played. Nobuo Uematsu’s score, “Dancing Mad,” was epic! The whole game and the ending were too, of course.

What intrigued me about the YouTube video were two things: the guy who reacted to it is a music composer. And he had never played the game, so he did not know the context of the song! His reaction would be purely based on the quality of the composed score itself, even in its SNES form. Nice!

Good news: I liked his reaction.

This led to me wanting to hear full symphony orchestrated renditions of Final Fantasy songs from the SNES and PS1 days, back when audio quality was still poor and video game music sounded only slightly better than the blips and beeps of 80’s gaming with Atari and the NES.

I discovered several YouTube renditions and covers and orchestrated pieces of FF music – lots to enjoy! Best of all, I also found some of these on Apple Music!

My favorite so far is the album, A Place To Call Home featuring orchestral tributes to Final Fantasy IX. One of my fave songs is Freya’s Theme! This song has so much emotion in it; you have to feel it, like ineffable earnest heartache with a twinkle of hope. Hultgren’s tribute captures the spirit of the song.

So after more than an hour, I was saturated in compelling symphonies of Final Fantasy video game music. What a time it was. Sonic serendipity.

What do you think?