Starting today, I’ve decided to also make reviews of my favorite songs, soundtracks and musical artists just because. These goosebump-inducing masterpieces totally need to be listed down and documented.
Let’s start with the album I’ve been raping the replay button with these past months: Nier’s Original Soundtrack. Nier, being an underground and underrated JRPG falling under Square Enix’s mature-genre games, has this masterful OST that brilliantly captures the game’s core and soul.
Although definitely not the best in graphics and gameplay of its time in 2010, its quirky plot backed with peculiar characters, especially the game’s ethereal music, pretty much make up for it. Personally, the combined elements of Nier immersed me in its world more than most modern RPGs of late did- you can thank the OST for that. I only even bought the game after stumbling on one of its songs online!
What makes it so awesome? For starters, composer Keiichi Okabe: the masterful crafter of anime and game soundtracks including that of Valkyrie Profile: Sylmeria, Tekken 6, Working! and Fate/Extra CCC. If you don’t know any of them, you gotta check them out soon. You won’t regret it!
“Okabe did not want to use traditional lyrics, as he felt they would clash with the design of the world in the game, and wanted to use a variety of languages to represent the open nature of the game’s world. He also did not want easily recognizable lyrics to be sung in the background while the characters were speaking, and for any noticeable words to instead evoke emotions in the player.” –Music of Nier
Secondly, Emi Evans– I only knew about her because of Nier, but her works there alone were enough for me to acknowledge her voice and musical prowess as that of a goddess! Her ‘Song of the Ancients’ is just…wow.
“The composers gave her preliminary version of songs and the style they wished the language to be in, such as Scottish Gaelic or French, and she invented the words. Evans wrote songs in versions of Scottish Gaelic, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, French, English and Japanese, and wrote “Song of the Ancients” in an entirely fictional language. She wrote that song by listening to songs in as many languages as possible and jumbling them up together. For the other languages, she tried to imagine what they would sound like after 1000 years of drifting.” –Music of Nier
Fun fact: in the game’s production, the songs were produced separately from the game itself, and had the game adjust to fit the musical elements rather than the other way around. The OST was boss in this one!
The soundtrack has a total of 43 tracks, with nine being the only ones with no vocal parts. And besides Ashes of Dreams having four separate versions (English, French, Scottish Gaelic and Japanese), the lyrics in the other songs were just a mixture of various languages intended to have no meaning at all.
Truth be told, I’ve always been a fan of songs with made-up lyrics. Well, isn’t it ironic that such songs could be better and more powerful than those that try to convey thoughts and feelings with actual words?