This is a good opus which fits in snugly with the atmosphere and events of the game, with a prevalence of anxious, melancholy tunes cohabiting with more aggressive, martial rhythms. It continues to develop on character themes, as Rydia, Palom and Porom, and Cid now get their own. “Rydia” is a lovely, pensive tune, “Palom & Porom” sounds fittingly rambunctious, and “Hey Cid!” gives a good idea of his peppy, busybody self. Besides those, my favourite tunes are “Mystic Mysidia”, with its odd, hooting leitmotif, and “Theme of Love,” a beautiful, poignant melody which has been revamped as the vocalised theme song for the DS version of the game (“Tsuki no Akari”). “Main Theme”, the world map music, has a feeling of scope and underlying disquiet about it. “Castle Damcyan”, with its sad, vaguely medieval melody, sounds like something Gilbert/Edward would’ve composed. “Kingdom Baron” and “Red Wings” both have a bellicose ring to them. “Mt Ordeals” sounds perfect for hiking. “Dancing Calcobrena” is a hypnotic dirge. “Within the Giant” contrasts an industrial, mechanical tune with more delicate piano strains, as if machinery were destroying nature (which is exactly what’s happening at that point in the game). And “The Big Whale” (“Magic Ship” in the DS version), the theme of the final airship the party obtains, is appropriately grandiose.
On the other hand, you have “Golbez, Clad in Darkness”, which, despite being the first proper villain’s theme in the series, is excessively pompous. There’s also “Another Moon”, which suffers from over-syncopation, and “Fabul”, which makes my hair stand on end (what is that horrible “pweeeeeng” sound the song starts on?). But thankfully, there are few pieces like that, and the overall impression is a positive one.
All tracks are from the DS version of the game, although I’ve also included the SNES version of “Mystic Mysidia”, which I prefer to its remix.