Editor's Note: I'll admit it. Final Fantasy VII is one of my all time favorite games and going through this list and listening to all these songs again brought back a lot of memories. Especially #3. Great work as always Guardian!
Hello there G1s, how are you all doing? Hope you're doing well today and work/school are treating you okay. To break up my grind and yours, let's listen to some good music. While we do that, how about we discuss it as well, hmm?
Today I'm bringing to you a list that was originally for a collaborative effort that ended up not happening. Instead we picked a different game after some difficulties, expect that soonish. Well now I have this list just lying around... doing nothing... might as well share it. And before we all go crazy because our favorite isn't in here, that's what makes the list great. No one's is going to be the exact same.
So enough of all this and time to start up the 10 best songs from Final Fantasy VII.
10. Interrupted by Fireworks
So here’s where we start this shindig, in the gondola at the Gold Saucer. It may be the scene that accompanies this song, but I have a little place in my heart that will always love this song. The song just sets the perfect tone for the scene, just tender and warm, like an auditory hug. It’s just the perfect background for a quiet moment on your date.
I hear this theme and the scene and the memory just come flooding back. I can see the whole cutscene in my mind as I listen and remember how great I thought the date with Tifa was when I was 9. It’s just one of those tracks that I love but can’t rightly quantify why I like it. There isn’t a phenomenally recognizable melody, the bass isn’t amazing, in fact there is no bass, it is just an all-around great song. I guess I’ll just chalk it up to the Uematsu factor.
Starting the list off right, #10, Interrupted by Fireworks.
9. The Highwind Takes to the Sky
This is one of my favorite vehicle themes in video game history, right up there with the bicycle theme from Pokemon Red/Blue. Just the gradual take off that the song has, up to the main melody, and then it just goes off and soars. The "trumpets" make this song work really well, because they are naturally powerful instruments. They tend to punch through the rest of a band and "soar" above the noise. The lack of much bass in this song also gives it a light, airy feeling. If there was a bunch of bass, the song would feel heavier and wouldn't take off as easily.
The way I've been describing this song with flying adjectives and aviation terms, the theme obviously hits its mark almost perfectly for being the theme of a flying machine. Another reason this song is great is because... well you now have an airship! Hell yeah, it's one of the best moments in any Final Fantasy.
One of my favorite vehicle themes ever, #9, The Highwind Takes Flight.
8. Bombing Mission
Tell you heard that and got a nostalgia trip as hard as I did. Oh man, you know a great adventure is about to begin when you hear this song. Oh my goodness, I'm going to have to sit down for a little bit, I'm light-headed.
Okay, and we're back, had to change pants as well, but enough about that stuff. The song starts off so soft and quiet, with trains going by in the percussion. The tension is there in the back ground and it keeps building as the song gets louder. There is a constant dissonance in the harmony. It's all building towards a break... and 1:13 is that break.
The mission is a go! The train comes to a stop and AVALANCHE piles out to wreak some havoc! Oh, that glorious melody part at 2:17 with the brass taking charge, love it. An absolute icon, everyone who's played this game has heard this song. The song has so much tension in it, the driving percussion, the driving piano, the industrial sounds, and the hurried tempo at 144 beats per minute.
This song is a stark contrast to Highwind. It has loads of bass that hurdles this gone along and keeps a steady core for the song. Where Highwind had almost no bass, the bass here makes the song. It lets you know that this is where really battle is going to happen. This is where the heavy lifting is done, the hand-to-hand (or gun), look your enemy dead in the eye fighting. This is where men with hairy chests live, the cowardly need not apply.
What a great tone to set for the very beginning of the game. Just absolutely amazing, #8, Bombing Mission.
7. Cid's Theme
Cid has my favorite character theme in this game, so naturally it would be in my top 10 somewhere. Cid's Theme is similar to The Highwind Takes Flight, but at the same time it has some serious technical differences.
Cid's Theme has that absolutely beautiful trumpet that is carrying the melody throughout and it just soars along, like any pilot's theme should. But at the same time he has some seriously mean bass going on as well. He is this pilot, but he's more than just a flying man, unlike the Highwind, which is just a flying machine. He's also full of doubt and broken dreams, he is just a man. The song is almost like two different parts of him being represented.
On the one side, he has always had this dream of going into space. He was on the launch pad, ready to go into orbit when Shinra, at the last second, called it off. Ever since then, Cid has been keeping the rocket operational in case he ever gets the chance to finally fly to the stars. We'll say that's the soaring trumpet in the song.
On the other side, we have the reality around him, life. He has Shera there who cares about him very much, but he can't get past his dream. When Shera is almost killed by the rocket, Cid abandons everything and goes down to save her. We can call this the bass, since it is holding him in reality.
This song is all about the fight within Cid between Life and Dreams and how they can relate. In the end, Cid does get to go to Space, and he does get to come back and live his life. So he gets to do both, expertly displayed by his theme, which has both parts of him in harmony. #7, Cid's Theme
6. Mount Corel
After that long philosophical write up, I have this song here because it makes me feel good inside. Just that simple, I enjoy listening to this song. It's amazing that a theme that plays in what amounts to a transit point where you don't even do anything, and it stuck with me. I would literally go to Mount Corel just to listen to this song.
After all the hard fighting you've been doing through the game, it's nice to have a little relief from all the tension with this nice relaxing tune. With all the high action, fast tempo songs that are in the game, this has one of the slowest tempos in the whole sound track, coming in at a turtle-like 72 beats/minute. This song also has the calming qualities of no bass, no brass instruments, and a major key. It almost feels like a dream.
I regularly listen to this song when I'm trying to fall asleep; it's that peaceful and calming. Just for being one of my favorite listens, #6, Mount Corel.
5. If You Open Your Heart
This is one of those songs where I could write three pages in Word and still not know why I like this song. I have a couple of those that I just can't seem to place why I like them, but I know I like what I'm hearing.
This plays in two parts of the game, Fort Condor and in space aboard the Shinra Rocket with Cid. Maybe that's part of why I like it, the whole space and Cid thing again. It could just be like with Mount Corel where I like it just because it is calming and peaceful. Earlier in the game you go to Fort Condor and protect it from invaders, so this is a total 180 from that. When I came back to Condor, I was stopped in my tracks by the new theme I was hearing.
Okay, but seriously, I don't know why I like this theme so dang much, only that I do like this theme that much. So... I guess just listen and enjoy this one, #5, If You Open Your Heart.
4. The Prelude
For me, no list of Final Fantasy music can be complete until the Prelude is on it. The Prelude is here, we can finally start this list for real. This is without a doubt one of the most iconic themes in video game history, bar none.
That classic arpeggio, the classic melody, the "orchestration", absolutely flawless in almost every way. It helps that this is one of my favorite flavors of the Prelude, up there with X and VI. I said that almost everyone who played this game heard Bombing Mission, absolutely everyone who ever played this game heard this song.
The only down side to having The Prelude be one of my favorite songs is that on occasion I can get stuck on the opening screen for a few hours. Or I might accidentally fall asleep while listening to it. It has strange magical properties I'm telling you!
Probably the most recognizable song in Final Fantasy, #4, The Prelude.
3. Cosmo Canyon
Yeah, you probably saw this one coming, I know. This has that same beautiful driving percussion in it that some of the previous songs have had, but it doesn't have the same tense feeling. The instrumentation is all different from say, Bombing Mission, because this is a native village versus a large metropolis. I like how Uematsu did that in the music.
Like I said, the instrumentation is completely different from most of the rest of the game. Whereas most of it is steampunk and industrial, Cosmo Canyon has been virtually untouched by technology. It's reflected with the deep drum beats, the woodwind instruments, and string instruments, things aboriginal people would use, as opposed to brass instruments.
What helps this song's case is that Cosmo Canyon is one of my favorite places in the game. The past of Red XIII and being with his grandpa and all we learn there I LOVE. This song, just like Mount Corel and The Prelude, can get me stuck in place for a good hour if I'm not careful.
I also like how the song matches the people of the village. The heavy, driving pulse of the drum for the proud hearts of the people who live there. Just the earthy feel of the song making them seem more connected to nature than anyone else in the game. The high pitched woodwind representing both their eye toward the sky with Red XIII's grandpa and their hope placed with XIII.
Overall, I just really like Cosmo Canyon's Theme and it's one of my favorite "town" themes ever. #3, Cosmo Canyon.
2. Flowers Blooming in the Church
Wow, just wow guys. You step into the Sector 5 church for the first time and this little patch of awesome in a sea of ugliness greets you. It’s an amazing contrast that this song pulls off. Sector 5’s theme is very industrial and heavy, lots of metallic sounds and bass. By contrast, this flower girl in a church with the only living plants for miles has a light, airy theme, it still has a little industrial sound, the percussion sounds a little metallic and clangs, but it also sounds kind of on the outside of the song. It is still there, but it is not very pronounced. Like the church building dividing this beauty from the outside industrial clamor.
And let’s face it; this song is the basis of Aeris’ Theme, one of the most iconic in the game. This theme has so many memories; so many emotions wrapped up in it, almost everyone can agree that this is an amazing piece of music. Going back to the church on the third disc and seeing Aeris for a moment while hearing this theme… yes.
It’s funny how well this song plays a dual role. At the beginning of the game, it is just so beautiful and you want to know this flower girl better, it is a bit mysterious, she’s mysterious. Then later in the game you realize the key is minor and it now holds an entirely different meaning.
Rightfully earning the number 2 spot on my list, Flowers Blooming in the Church.
1. The Great Warrior
Absolutely no contest at all for the top spot, I can hear some of you whining that this is almost the same as Cosmo Canyon, don’t care. It has a different title, it’s a different song. It was only recently that this song has made its full impact known to me. When I was little and played through (until Aeris met Sephiroth, then I quit) this scene and song were just a little blips on my radar. I’m now playing through the game again and his song hit me like a ton of bricks.
It is a combo package as far as I’m concerned, scene and song; neither would be as powerful without the other. The song really accompanies the action in the cutscene flawlessly. The slow tempo and minor key set the mood, somber and repressed. Then as Red XIII is being told about his father and the camera scrolls up, the music at 0:55 picks up when we are told about Seto. The thing that my mind has become really good at is placing the "tear" sound effects in the song when I hear it.
I have no actual evidence to claim that this is the best song in Final Fantasy VII. All that I need is the emotional response this song can evoke from me, which is what music's most basic aim is, emotionally affect the listener. I tear up sometimes when I hear this song, like while I'm typing this. To somehow cut the scene away from this song is impossible for me. I hear the song, I see the scene. I see the scene, I hear the song. They will both always be with me.
Nonnegotiable, the best song in Final Fantasy VII is The Great Warrior.
There's my Top 10 Final Fantasy VII Themes, how does it compare to yours. I can think of two you probably have that I don't, but that's what makes this fun, isn't it?
See ya next time.
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