Before I became a full blown gamer, I was always an anime fan first and foremost. When I discovered a taste for Japanese music through the opening and ending themes of most animes I watched, I began searching the Internet far and wide for copies of these songs I heard to take with me on my iPod. Along the way, I accidentally stumbled upon music that came from video games and it started with Final Fantasy.
My knowledge and game experience with the entire catalog of Final Fantasy games have been largely limited, mostly because I became a gamer late or a lot of Final Fantasy games are only exclusive to the Playstation. Whatever access to the games I did eventually get, the music from Final Fantasy has become a huge part of my music playlist. The following are my personal favorite vocal tracks across the Final Fantasy franchise.
1. Eyes On Me. This song sung by Faye Wong and from Final Fantasy VIII is special in many ways because it’s the first time I discovered video game music during my search for anime music. The version of the song I have on my iPod is a remix of the original song, making it more of a dance track. After eventually listening to the original, it made me realize why I ended up loving this song so much. The lyrics are wonderfully romantic in nature and what little I knew of the game’s main couple Rinoa and Squall, the song seemed to fit their relationship really well.
2. Cosmos. When I started slowly building my gamer identity and figuring out which type of games I prefer to play at the time, among the platforms in my possession was a Playstation Portable (PSP). Being extremely eager to play any sort of Final Fantasy game in some capacity, I found and bought Dissidia Final Fantasy. It became one of my favorite games to play when I still didn’t have much of a backlog of games like I do now. This fighting game features all the major players from every Final Fantasy game ever to be released with the addition of newer characters, such as Lightning and Van, when Square Enix released Dissidia 012 Duodecim Final Fantasy. One of the songs I instantly loved to bits was Cosmos by Your Favorite Enemy. It was one of the songs I preferred hearing in the background during a fight, and the haunting vocals really stuck with me even when I wasn’t playing the game. The song truly captures the gentle and ethereal essence of Cosmos herself.
3. God In Fire. I may be sort of cheating to feature two songs from the same game, but honestly, most Final Fantasy music is instrumental and orchestral in nature. This is why when a game has one song with lyrics and a singer among their tracks, I always like every opportunity to be able to sing along with it, especially if the vocals and lyrics are just too good not to have on endless repeat for a time. God In Fire sung by KidneyThieves from Dissidia is a nice shift in musical tone from Cosmos. The entire song has a heavy rock beat with some killer violin mixed in. I especially love any rock song sung by a female lead. There’s an edginess to it and it echoes the fight between Cosmos and Chaos for the fate of the world in the Dissidia games. The song also conveys what it must be like to be Chaos––deliciously wicked and sinister.
4. Sunleth Waterscape. Final Fantasy XIII may be considered one of the more weaker entries of the entire franchise, but it’s undeniable that its music is still very much on point. Sunleth Waterscape is by far one of my favorite tracks with vocals in it. Sung by Frances Maya, the musical accompaniment with the lyrics feels as dreamy and fantasy like as you’ll ever get in a Final Fantasy game. There’s something about the whole song that makes you feel happy and want to skip along with it.
5. Stand By Me. Maybe this song might not really count as an original Final Fantasy song, as it is a cover version of Ben E. King’s famous original. Yet, the different musical take along with Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine providing her powerful voice to this new cover of Stand By Me for Final Fantasy XV makes it feel entirely brand new. Since much of Final Fantasy XV takes place on the road, Florence and the Machine’s Stand By Me somehow evokes the idea of being in a car with the top down and the wind blowing in your face. The first half starts off sounding like a soothing lullaby before the later half of the song transitions to grand drumbeats and the high crescendos of Welch’s voice, as if she were singing to the heavens at the top of her lungs. I think it fits in nicely with the rest of the Final Fantasy catalog of great music.
Which Final Fantasy vocal songs stand out for you?