Japanese games and Jpop/rock theme songs go together like peanut butter and jelly, so it's not uncommon to find so many games with such themes. Konami in particular, though, has a penchant for finding good music for their games, and Zone of the Enders featured a song that worked great for the game. It was slow, romantic, and methodical. The voice work is quite beautiful and the english in the song actually doesn't sound so bad. What's greatest here is that the song fits the game extremely well, a must for any lyrical song in a game. It's a memorable Jpop song and a great addition to Konami's long line of classics.
Although the game was never released in the U.S., and only met with moderate success, it is what many might call a dream meeting between two legendary companies. The theme for this game is easily one of the best Jpop themes for any game ever. It's extremely catchy, energetic, and the melody sounds great. The singer has a very mature voice, which helps steer away from the girly sounding songs of so many Jpop stars. This is a song that can easily be listened to time and time again,a personal favorite. It's a shame that the game never saw a U.S. release, as many people missed out on such a great experience.
Essentially a remake of the original theme for the first Silent Hill with added lyrics, the song is made even better by some great instrumentals and the haunting voice of Joe Romersa. The song fits extremely well with the game, not just in terms of it's fitting melody and beat or Joe's epic voice, but it's lyrics too, which sing of the madness of Silent Hill. In fact, much of the song owes its greatness to Joe himself, an award winning music industry veteran. Coupling Joe together with voice actress veteran Mary Elizabeth Mcglynn created some of the best music any game had to offer.
There was a time when video game music was very narrow. Sticking mostly to pre-established genres of music and more electronic fare, when gaming technology finally allowed games to upgrade the ability to create music for games, composers began exploring genres. However, when Otherworld was revealed in FFX, it was still surprising. One of the few notable metal songs written for a game, Otherworld remains a classic if only because of the genre it takes on. It's certainly a fitting song for it's part in the game, a game with some of the most notable music in the entire FF series. But, what's even better is that it's a good song. Sure, metal isn't for everyone, but even as a metal song it has a great melody, and the lyrics and singing aren't too bad either. Anyone who played FFX certainly has this song engrained into them.
Ace Combat is no stranger to good music. Since AC4, the music of this series has been phenominaly produced, covering a range of genres, from folk to rock to symphonic and electronic. Just as well, the series always features fantastic songs sung by fantastic professionals. One of the best themes ever produced, Blue Skies captures the feel of the game quite well. It's light, capturing that feel of flying, with lyrics that tell a message that fits that of the game: that there is a constant struggle that has to be pushed through. It talks about a long journey it will take to meet goals, primarily to achieve peace. The melody is fantastic and Stephanie Cooke has an amazing voice that adds so much more to an already amazing song. Although a bit more jazzy than your average video game theme, this is quite possibly what makes it so fantastic.
One of the most haunting songs for a game ever produced, Room of Angel may very well be THE theme of the Silent Hill series. As I stated, Silent Hill is a series known for it's music and sound, so in crafting a lyrical song for this game, you have to find just the right singer and just the right melody. Mary Elizabeth McGlynn was the perfect choice, and with Room of Angel, she speaks of a tale of a broken relationship and haunting memories. Mary's voice sends chills down your spine and the melody invokes feeling that you don't quite want to feel, but don't have much of a choice with. It's become one of the most popular songs of the series and one of the greatest songs ever produced for a game. Though SH4 didn't garner the following the other games did, it's still a game of great note, particularily it's music.
If you're surprised to see this on the list, don't be. Snake Eater may very well be one of the funniest theme songs ever. It's taken absolutely seriously, and produced fantastically, as Konami is accustomed to doing. But, it's an obvious homage to James Bond, and the game itself has several features in common, not the least of which is it's 1960's time period. Like all James Bond themes (with exception to the newest ones), the song is titled after the game itself, the intro it plays over is a collage of scenes and symbols, and the lyrics are fairly nonsensical. Nonetheless, the song is great. It sounds great, is extremely catchy, and Cynthia Harrell sounds fantastic singing the song. The game also features a great song by Starsailor for the credits, but Snake Eater steals the show as one of the most memorable songs ever produced for a game.
Final Fantasy X probably had the best music of any game in the series. Already on this list for one fantastically produced song, FFX features probably the greatest lyrical theme of any FF game. While FFVIII and IX both featured great songs, Suteki is an epic love song that pulls together the entire weight of the emotional journey that had taken place prior. Square musters up their entire expertise in creating fantastic music for their games into a grand, orchestrated epic of a song. It inspires emotion and memories, especially when considering the ending to the game. It's also a very fitting song for the game, as it greatly captures the most important element of the game: the love story. Even if you aren't a fan of the game, it's hard not to get emotional over the songs grand melody. And if there's anything more important for the theme of a game than it being a fitting song for the game, it's that it inspires emotion it it's listener.
It was a little too difficult for me to choose just one of the songs, seeing as they have very similar qualities. Both are Jpop songs sung by world renouned Jpop superstar Utada Hikaru. Both are from the same series. And both are somewhat similar songs, although I would argue that Passion is probably a bit heavier. However, whichever order you put them in, I doubt that anyone will disagree that these are two of the greatest theme songs ever produced. After all, both of these singles from two different Utada cd's. For those who don't know Utada, her status in Japan is the equivelant of Mariah Carey, however she is years younger. But, it's not surprising that such choices were made for the games. We are talking about both Square Enix and Disney, two companies whose experience with music in video games goes back years. And with Kingdom Hearts being one of the greatest video game collaborations ever, it would be a crime to have a theme song that was any less epic and fantastic.
That's right, Still Alive. By now, everyone has heard the song. Maybe you've never even played the game, but you know of this song. Written by song humorist Johnathan Coulton, Still Alive might very well now be the most well known lyrical theme song of any game. But beyond have widespread recognition, Still Alive is an all around good song. It has a good melody, humorous lyrics, is catchy, and very entertaining. Beyond this, the song ties directly into the game, being sung by it's thought-to-be-deceased antagonist. She tells a story here about still being alive and having successfully completed her experiment, despite your escape and attempt to "murder" her. She also boasts about how much your life sucks and about how you're a monster, etc, in true GLADOS fashion. Its a very well written song, endlessly entertaining and funny, and the perfect way to end a game that ended up being a phenomenon. It's going to be difficult to top something like this with the sequel, but I'm sure they'll try. I have no doubt that everyone will expect it, and I have no doubt that Still Alive is the greatest lyrical song ever written for a game.
Music for video games has evolved over time, and as such has taken on more instrumentals, more genres, and better produced songs sung by professional artists. As long as games continue to get more cinematic, tell deeper stories, and advance more and more, we should expect the music in games to be just as technically proficient. Although this list may contain my top ten lyrical songs in a game, there is no doubt that this list will change over time, as we can expect the music to get better and better.
List by Pierce_Sparrow (09/23/2010)
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