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Spotlight: Nobuo Uematsu, Part Two

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This week, we continue with our Spotlight on Nobuo Uematsu. Enjoy!

PART II

Last week we looked at the beginnings of Nobuo Uematsu’s career, from being hired at Square Co. to his first two masterpieces that we can agree on with his soundtracks of FF4 and FF6. As a reminder, this is a special kind of Spotlight, one where you sit back, and enjoy the music.

Let’s continue from 1995. Chrono Trigger, the one fucking game that we need to play but can’t because of the official order of things, was a gigantic project for Square, and is often cited with FF6 as the greatest RPG game ever. Most of the music was composed by veteran composer Yasunori Mitsuda, but Nobuo would leave his mark on the classic game as well, composing 8 of the tracks for the game. Here’s the haunting theme “Silent Light”:

No, no no no. Silent LIGHT. Not Silent night… Jesus.. That was Josef Mohr.

1996 would be kind-of a dud year for Uematsu. The little known game “Dynami Tracer” would be his only solo work in 1996, and it’s definitely not one of his better soundtracks… But we wouldn’t wanna keep you wanting! Here’s a little piece called…music factory.

We’re not gonna even bother with his next work, contributing to the album for Front Mission: Gun Hazard with a half a billion of other Square composers. His next game was 1997’s fucking Final Fantasy 7. We can’t give you just one. Here’s his band, the black mages’ version of perhaps the most popular FF7 song One Winged Angel:

One of the most beautiful pieces from the game, Aerith’s theme, taking a cue from Terra’s theme in the last game, here’s an orchestral version of that song:

We can’t forget Kaleb’s favorite. This is Cosmo Canyon.

His next game would be that of FInal Fantasy 8. Nobuo has stated that with 8’s soundtrack, he worked hard to reflect the charcter’s emotions at certain parts of the game. It would be one of the more successful FF soundtracks with what is now as of 2016 the second-biggest video game music single ever, Faye Wong’s “Eyes on Me” selling over 500,000 copies.

Now… Final Fantasy VIII… This is a tough one because neither of us really care for the soundtrack of FF8. There’s something about the tone of the instrumentation and the terrible engrish lyrics of “eyes on me” that leaves us with a bad taste in our mouths, but no one can deny the power of the opener, Liberi Fatali!!!!

Eh, fuck it, we’ll give you “Eyes on Me”.

Along this stream of Final Fantasy games, the often-underappreciated Final Fantasy IX would follow. FF9 would take a departure from the previous games with the soundtrack offering a more medieval scottish highlands inspired milieu. Nobuo would do the entire 160 tracks on his own for this game. Here’s one of them, “The Place I’ll return to someday”:

We can’t forget “Rose of May”…

Along with these classic pieces, Nobuo wrote yet another J-pop single to go with the game. This the greatest cover of “Melodies of Life” ever made:

The same year as FF9, the year 2000, would be Nobuo’s first foray into feature films, where he would compose the main theme for the animated film “Ah! My Goddess: The Movie”

The first FInal Fantasy game without a soundtrack composed entirely by Uematsu himself would be the PS2 smash hit…. You guessed it! Final Fantasy X. One would guess that he may have been a bit burned out from FF9. In the end Nobuo ended up composing 51 of the game’s 89 tracks, including the Joe favorite “To Zanarkand”

One of the most commonly performed songs by The Black Mages is the incredibly zany “Fight with Seymour”

Can’t forget a Kaleb favorite, “Auron’s Theme”.

Oh, and one of the decent theme songs for a Final Fantasy, probably because it wasn’t awkwardly forced into the english language, here’s “Suteki Da Ne”

Final Fantasy XI, despite the arguments between Kaleb and I on whether or not he composed the soundtrack for the game, was composed in large part by him. NOT THE EXPANSIONS, but the original release. Here’s one of his tracks, “Ronfaure”:

Another insanely cool track from FF11 from Uematsu is “Despair”

…And one of the best-ever FF songs, one that Joe actually likes. This is the epic “Distant Worlds”.

Between 2003 and 2004, Uematsu seems to have been put on the backburner a little big, scoring for minor games like Hanjuku Hero Tai 3D and Egg Monster Hero, and only contributing one track for Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced during that time… Here’s the Main Theme:

In 2004 Square veteran Hironobu Sakaguchi famously quit Square-Enix to create Mistwalker Studios, and in a way Nobuo left with him. Wanting to work on his live performances, his band the black mages, and seeking other opportunities creatively, Nobuo decided he was going to forge ahead as an independant contracter, and since that departure he’s returned to the FF series 3 times. For the soundtrack of Advent Children he built on his previous themes from FFVII, with FF12 he gave us another pop song I really don’t have the stomach for right now, and with FFXIV… Well, despite creating a lot of tracks for the original release, A Realm Reborn got rid of much of the original music from FF14. His biggest recent contribution to the FF series is probably the song “Answers” from the tragic end of the original game.

Nobuo Uematsu has gone on primarily to work with his old friend “The Gooch” on the games Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey, and The Last Story. All of which feature great soundtracks. Here’s one from Blue Dragon, titled Waterside

And here’s another from his non-Square Work. Here’s the terrifying Howl of the Departed from Lost Odyssey:

Nobuo Uematsu’s touch can be felt upon the whole series. Without him FInal Fantasy wouldn’t be the same, and would be worse off for it. Nobuo Currently works hard at his live performances and various little composing projects for games and movies that he decides to work on. He’s doing so much, we can’t even cover it in a two-parter, but it seems he won’t be doing a full FF soundtrack anytime soon We are grateful to him and his work. What say we close with a gorgeous piece from “The Last Story” and close the book on our Spotlight of Nobuo Uematsu? This is “Lost Time”:

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