Music creates an emotional response within us that can evoke strong memories if it leaves a lasting impression on us. Whenever I hear the video game soundtrack of a game I thoroughly enjoyed or it has moved me beyond measure, I can easily recall favorite moments from the video game or it stirs up certain emotions I have felt towards the characters and story.
Much of 2021 has been a pretty good year for video games, especially as far as having a bit of a completed list of games under my belt, which has led to the discovery of soundtracks I can’t stop rotating between on Spotify. Here are my favorite video game soundtracks of the year.
Every writer has a spot they have chosen as their writing space. Whether it’s by a window in their favorite cafe or sitting on their bed with a laptop propped on their lap, the location hardly matters as long as you’re getting your story written. Whenever I prepare myself to sit down and write for the day, one of the first things I do is put on some music.
One of the things I love about Christmastime are the Christmas songs. It’s the one time in the year I can listen to old favorites and some new ones with nostalgia and warm familiarity. There’s no other time to listen to these holiday specific songs without people thinking you’re weird for blasting them in the middle of July. But when December 1st hits, my whole apartment is filled with the catchy tunes most people would naturally know by heart.
Video game concerts have been around for a while, making the tour rounds in major cities around the world. Among the more popular video game concerts I’ve heard of are the ones dedicated to the music from Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy. I never had the opportunity to experience a video game concert until the Distant Worlds music from Final Fantasy concert came to town this past weekend.
Christmas is just a week away and everyone will be cranking up their favorite holiday songs, whether it’s a selection from a personal playlist or a radio station that has been playing non-stop Christmas music since the day after Thanksgiving. There’s always the usual favorites and classics, like Jingle Bell Rock or Carol of the Bells that will play without fail every single year. But then you have those other Christmas songs that don’t play as much on the radio or are original, new releases from today’s hottest artists that don’t get any air time at all. With Christmas almost here, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite songs that I wish played more often than they actually are. I mean, there’s only so many different renditions of Santa Baby or It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year you can listen to before it gets just the tiniest bit played out.
Final Fantasy XV is one of the few video games from the series where your time playing it is far from over. Square Enix hasn’t been shy in their intention to keep expanding the story with additional DLC content, either to improve some holes in the main story or giving each member of Noctis’ crew their own episode to fully understand what their personal motivations, hopes, and fears are. It has been a few months since I finished my first run with FFXV, but I’m eager to play the expansion the developers keep adding onto the game. With this in mind, the epic and emotionally resonant music from the soundtrack still haunts me and I occasionally set this as my playlist on some weeks when I’m commuting to work or going out for the day. In honor of the upcoming multiplayer expansion Comrades, which will be released later this week, and next month’s final companion DLC Episode Ignis, here are my all time favorite music from the FFXV soundtrack.
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.
A few months ago I decided to add an About The Girl page to my blog as a way for people to get to know more about me through my interests. You may have noticed I didn’t really list what artists and songs I generally call my favorite in the music portion of my page. As I have mentioned on the page, I don’t really have a particular favorite. I tend to add songs to my iTunes and iPod library based on what I find to be aurally pleasing to my ears. To me, almost all songs on my iPod are songs I like. My music taste is so varied it’s really hard to pin me down to one specific genre of music.
I love music. I never leave home without my iPod, and listening to a playlist of all my current favorite songs gets me through the morning commute to work. My musical tastes have always been varied. I’m the type of person who will listen to a song or artist as long as it appeals to me. I listen to the oldies, rock, pop, bubblegum pop, R&B…you name it. I have a little of everything on my iPod. When I got into anime and eventually video games, I discovered songs and artists I wouldn’t have gotten into if I didn’t become involved in these fandoms.
Watching anime was my first introduction to Japanese artists. I got acquainted with the terms, “J-rock” and “J-pop.” I didn’t understand a lot of what was being sung in the anime theme songs, but I enjoyed the instrumentals and the Japanese artist who sang the song so much that I had to look for it online. There was something incredibly different about Japanese music I couldn’t help but like. A lot of these songs had a good beat and a great singer. Through anime and beyond, I began seeking out other songs a certain Japanese artist did that was separate from doing one or two theme songs for a particular anime series. In a way, I owe it to anime for allowing me to discover artists I wouldn’t have found on my own. The only music I would have mainly had on my iPod would be American music and some songs from the UK (thank you Internet radio!).
Next came video games, and I’m slowly loving theme songs and musical scores from the games I play. Songs or scores I probably never would have imagined I would have on my iPod, are now songs I can’t dream of living without. I became a fan of Utada Hikaru after watching my friend play the Kingdom Hearts games, and I heard her sing the theme songs for those games. Her voice is amazing, and she adds a very dreamy and fantasy type element to the theme songs she sings for the games. There’s a lot of emotion expressed in her songs, and I feel she hits you right in the gut. In a good way, of course. Then there’s the musical scores for the Dragon Age and Mass Effect games. I instantly fell in love with the musical arrangements, which fit well with the mood or scene unfolding in the game. Every time I listen to my favorite piece of the score, I always end up reliving the experience of playing the game, or watching a particularly moving or uplifting cutscene from the game.
What’s curious is how you can discover good music in the most unexpected places. I always thought my music would solely come from mainstream radio and the occasional song from an indie artist that gets air play time in a movie or television show. Turns out, you can discover great music in your most geeky of fandoms. I’ve also noticed how declaring your love for J-pop or J-rock, at least here in the USA, comes off as geeky and maybe “uncool” by those who aren’t anime fans, an admirer of all things Japanese, or who just don’t get the appeal of Japanese music. I think most people would find it more chic to be a lover of French or European music. That’s the sense I get anyway. You mention you love J-pop or J-rock, as a non-Japanese fan, and people look at you as if you have two heads or something. Regardless, I’m proud to have Japanese artists, anime songs, and video game music on my iPod. They fit in well between my Adele and Bruno Mars jams.
Are you an anime, Japanese artist, or video game music lover? Has being a fan of anime or video games allowed you to discover music you wouldn’t have gotten into if you weren’t a fan?
I love J-pop and J-rock. I actually got introduced to the music because of anime. A lot of animes, television shows, and video games use really good opening/ending theme songs. I may not speak or understand Japanese, but there’s something quite catchy and different about their music. The music videos that go with them are also different from what you would see in American music videos. I always find the Japanese music videos to have a very artful and high production quality about them.
I decided I wanted to dedicate today’s post on the top 5 Japanese music videos I personally enjoy watching over and over again. I even have these songs on my iPod.
1. Kanon Wakeshima’s Suna no Oshiro
This song comes from the second season of the Vampire Knight anime. She also sings another song called Still Doll, which is heard in the first season of Vampire Knight. Wakeshima has a really great voice. The haunting tone of her voice matches well with the dark, moody atmosphere of VK. She’s also a skilled cellist. I feel hypnotized when I listen to her voice.
2. Utada Hikaru’s Passion ~single version~
Everything about this video is gorgeous. It has a very dreamy/fantasy like feel to it. And it’s Utada Hikaru! This is the theme song for the Kingdom Hearts 2 video game. The instrumentals in this song is a great compliment to Utada’s voice. It’s rock, electronic, and a ballad all wrapped into one.
3. Olivia’s A Little Pain
Here’s another video that has a very dreamy quality to it. It also reminds me of a fashion magazine spread in motion. This song is from the NANA anime. I never watched NANA, but I do know Olivia is the singing voice for a character named Reira who is the lead vocalist for Trapnest, a rock band in the anime. Olivia is pretty to watch along with everything else that goes on in the video.
4. Ai Otsuka’s Planetarium
This song was the love theme for the Japanese live action Jdrama of Hana Yori Dango. Judging from my list so far, you can tell I have an affinity for beautiful videos. I think this video tops all the other ones I’ve listed in the visual beauty department. It’s also romantic, sweet, and innocent. I think the video must be conveying what first love must feel like with the images of stargazing and pinwheels.
5. Bi Rain’s Sad Tango
And in a list dominated by ladies, I leave you with one male artist on my final pick. I know Bi Rain is Korean and not Japanese, but the song is sung mainly in Japanese. I love his smooth R&B voice and he’s hot too! The guy can move and as you watch the vid it makes you wonder, “How can any woman resist that Asian sexiness?” This is one song on my list that isn’t associated with any anime, television show, or video game but I like it all the same.
I hope you enjoy watching these too if you haven’t seen or heard of these artists before.