[Name: The Crossroads (Cid's Theme)]
[Project: Final Fantasy 7 - Voices of the Lifestream]
Disclaimer: If you thoroughly enjoyed this particular piece, this review will probably not be for you. But that's okay, no one has to like everything.
Allright, I've been quiet for awhile just simply enjoying the time and effort people have put into different musical tracks with a wide variety of tastes and concepts, but I have to say that with this latest release as part of a Final Fantasy 7 project...
I'm not impressed.
While I thoroughly enjoy some interpretations of musical themes and other people's ways of twisting it to become something more of what they envision or their interpretation, I am also a believer that there is a point that, when crossed, loses not only the essence of the music in question, but contorts it so badly that it has a negative impact on the original.
While I do enjoy most of the tracks that were present and have been recommending the entirety of the set to others, and will continue to do so... I think that one particular track doesn't deserve to be on this album compilation, because the nature of the music strays so far from the original that it blurs the theme into a series of nonsensical lyrics that have no bearing on the intention of the original music.
In this particular instance we're looking at Cid's Theme from Final Fantasy 7. The original piece was meant to be a forlonging tone of dream and intent, a desire unfulfilled and yet still yearned for, and the symphonic nature of the majority of FF's musical numbers lent itself to the drone of a horn lead. A sad yet hopeful number that lends itself to a dream-like quality as it plays, a slight military overtone to all of it (that's typical for FF7).
Then there's this remix.
The first minute or so of the tune was a watery reflection of the original's introduction, and I was holding my thoughts as I do whenever I first hear a tune. Then when it shifted into a hard rock-base, I thought, "Well, that's an interesting take on it, let's see where they go with it..." And then the vocals started.
Okay, let's be fair. Someone obviously put a LOT of work and effort into this. I'm really happy that someone would be willing to do that, and let me be the first to say, I really do appreciate it. Even as a fan of FF music, I appreciate the hardwork and time that had to have gone into creating this, and I hope you do more work because that's how you get better. A lot of music to go around, and frankly, while I myself don't possess the talent to even think of such an approach, I do know that something of this caliber took a lot of time to put together.
Now, my opinion:
I hated it. I hated every lyric, I despised the vocal tones and rythm, the fluctuations that didn't even come close to matching the tone of the original piece for a good majority, until what I can only presume was intended to be a chorus line entered in. It was as though someone had created this rock tune, had spent hours laboring over the vocals, the guitar, the beat, and the singing (which by the way, for a singer, they were -great-), then suddenly found out about a FF related project and slapped in the theme music almost as an afterthought to the whole piece.
Not only did it not adhere to the original except as notations scattered carelessly here and there for a 'sprinkle' of the original flavor, but the effect at the end felt downright insulting to anyone who'd enjoyed the original as much as I did. As though the author of this piece decided that they would bend the song to their will, instead of the other way around, and the end result was a mismash of harmonies that were completely unrelated with one another.
From a perspective, it's not fair to say what I didn't like, if I didn't use a different piece (from the same collection) as an example of what I did like.
Track 1-02: Big Giant Circles - Every Story Begins With a Name (Opening - Bombing Mission]
This particular piece fit the theme and buildup of the introduction of Final Fantasy 7 almost perfectly. Even though there were a few liberties taken, deviations from the path the original tune took, it was really nice to see that at certain points the author of this piece veered right back to the familiar tune that a listener might be looking for. With the introduction of unique pieces that were stylistic, he never strayed too far from the path without bringing up a memory of what we know to be the pace of the original.
And that's part of what's missing here. Cid's Theme is probably one of the most memorable in FF7, and I don't believe that this remixer did it justice.
One last thing I'd like to say on this: From the standpoint of a song all by itself with no relation to any other tune or mix or even the original it was based on... it was a pretty good tune.
Something I could see myself listening to over and over, if I didn't know where it'd come from. Adding lyrics to this tune wasn't a bad choice; it added a unique flavor that was very pleasing to the ear (when it wasn't straying off onto a tangent). I guess you could say, the concept was phenomenal, but the execution was just not up to par. With the basis of the original on my mind, it just felt like disappointment after disappointment as it wore on.
In any event, don't take this too seriously as it's nothing more than an opinion, and I'm sure there are others that enjoy it far more than I. But honestly, I wish I could hear a version of Cid's theme that was more orchestral goodness, more emphasis on a pair of horned insturments dancing together in the stars, and not just a 'jazzed up', 'funked up', 'rocked out' or 'interpretive danced' version; a simple relation of the theme with a grand, epic emphasis to it.