Important Importables Review: Final Fantasy Vocal Collections Vol. 1: Pray

January 31, 2010 - 3:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports Review: Final Fantasy Vocal Collections Vol. 1: Pray

Section: Reviews, Exclusives, Originals, Features, Columns, Japanese Imports, Gear, Audio

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Final Fantasy Vocal Collections Vol. 1 Pray

Title: Final Fantasy Vocal Collections Vol. 1: Pray
Artist: Risa Ohki
Price: $28.57 (CD Japan)
Release Date First run November 25, 1995, reprint October 1, 2004
Rating: 8/10
Pros: Risa Ohki has a fantastic voice, and sings beautifully in multiple languages. There are a nice selection of Nobuo Uematsu tracks from multiple Final Fantasy games represented. The arrangements are wonderful and unique takes on established songs.
Cons: The lyrics might not be what you expect. Some of the songs’ titles were changed. It’s out of print and can be hard to find.

There have been a number of Final Fantasy compilation albums, featuring music from multiple entries in the series on one album. One such album is Final Fantasy Vocal Collections Vol. 1: Pray, which takes established tracks from Final Fantasy IVI, offers a new arrangement, has a number of lyricists provide words and then has talented singer Risa Ohki provide the vocals.

Risa Ohki is especially impressive, as she manages to sing beautifully in multiple languages throughout Final Fantasy Vocal Collections Vol. 1: Pray. She sings in English on two tracks, Japanese on three tracks, Portuguese on two tracks and French on two tracks. In each, her tone and pronunciation is so perfect you’d think she’s fluent in each language. She’s a delight to listen to, and makes the album even more memorable.

Vocal renditions of popular Final Fantasy themes.

Final Fantasy Vocal Collections Vol. 1: Pray begins appropriately enough with “Prelude”, a haunting track with vocals but no lyrics that acted as the opening theme for the original Final Fantasy game. From there, the tracks jump around and are from a variety of different Final Fantasy games. It then proceeds to “The Promised Land”, which isn’t one of the best tracks on the disc, but does help set the stage for forthcoming tracks both with its music and lyrics.

The album does a wonderful job of presenting tracks that evoke different moods and emotions. “Mon Petit Chat,” “Esperança Do Amor” and “Au Palais De Verre” are very lighthearted and happy, lifting your spirits as you hear them. “Prelude” and “Once You Meet Her” are more ethereal pieces, that attempt to present a sense of wonder. “Não Chora Menina” are very low-key and relaxed endeavors. “Pray” and “Voyage” both are more epic endeavors, hinting and building towards something greater than the simple songs could be.

There is one issue though. Some of the tracks have lyrics that are a bit questionable. Not questionable, as in offensive, but questionable in that they sound awkward. Or sometimes downright silly. A good example is “The Promised Land”, with lyrics like:

“I’m glad to know now I am not the only one
I’ve got nice friends who share dreams with me
We’re so young, we’ve got some magic powers
We are nourishing like flowers.”

It sounds more like the lyrics to some cheap, animated kid’s show’s theme than lyrics to a Final Fantasy song. Thankfully, “The Promised Land” is the main offender on the album, and the other songs come across better. “Once You Meet Her” also has some awkward lyrics, but for some reason it seems easier to bear the offenses when listening to it.

Track Listing

  1. “Prelude” (Rendition of Final Fantasy‘s “Prelude”)
  2. “The Promised Land” (Rendition of Final Fantasy II‘s “Main Theme”)
  3. “Mon Petit Chat” (Rendition of Final Fantasy V‘s “Music Box”)
  4. “Wanderer of Time” (Rendition of Final Fantasy VI‘s “Terra/Tina’s Theme”)
  5. “Into the Light” (Rendition of Final Fantasy IV‘s “Theme of Love”)
  6. “Esperança Do Amor” (Rendition of Final Fantasy V‘s “Dear Friends”)
  7. “Voyage” (Rendition of Final Fantasy III‘s “Boundless Ocean”)
  8. “Au Palais de Verre” (Rendition of Final Fantasy‘s “Matoya’s Cavern”)
  9. “Once You Meet Her” (Rendition of Final Fantasy III‘s “Elia the Maiden of Water”)
  10. “Pray” (Rendition of Final Fantasy‘s “Pray”)
  11. “Não Chora Menina” (Rendition of Final Fantasy V‘s “Kid’s Run Through the City Corner”)

Something special for fans of the series’ music.

Final Fantasy Vocal Collections Vol. 1: Pray sometimes feels like more of an experimental work. It takes established and loved tracks from the early entries in the Final Fantasy series and offers listeners a new take and interpretation of those tracks. The result is a musical experience that is pleasant and unexpected. You may find yourself not even recognizing the tracks once you hear them, but loving them nonetheless. There are occasional issues with the lyrics, especially on “The Promised Land,” but aside from that it’s easy to get lost in the melodies created by Risa Ohki and the orchestra.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports reviews the Final Fantasy Vocal Collection Vol. 2: Love Will Grow CD.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports reviewed Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 2 for the PSP.

Read [Japanese Lifestyle] Also Read [Japan-Guide.com] Site [Play-Asia] Site [YesAsia] Site [NCSX] Site [Himeya Shop] Site [Strapya World]

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