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Another strong collection of game scores
on November 10, 2012
The first volume in what I hope will be a long-running series, "The Greatest Video Game Music", was focused on two major types of music, with one foot in whimsy ("Tetris", "Angry Birds") and the other firmly entrenched in the martial melodies of military shooters like Battlefield and Call of Duty. With the second volume, the tone steers away from both, moving towards the recent video game trend of the "angelic female" vocalist, as evidenced on tracks such as "A Future for the Krogan/An End Once And For All" and "Assassin's Creed - Revelations: Main Theme."
A wide range of games are still covered, touching on some classic themes, such as Chrono Trigger and Super Metroid. Most of the arrangements work well; they're slavishly faithful to the originals, so they don't make many mistakes along the way. The lone clunker is "Still Alive", which doesn't really work with the vocalist chosen. I've heard the original version of the track, Jonathan Coulton's own voice, and the version he released on his latest album, sung by Sara Quin from Tegan and Sara, and this interpretation is easily the worst rendition. The song simply isn't designed to be sung the way it is here. It's designed to be silly and a bit small. "One-Winged Angel" also lacks some of the dynamism of the version from the album "Final Fantasy S Generation", though it would be hard to match that harrowing and dramatic arrangement.
The recording quality is strong, and aside from a few minor flaws, it's a solid album that does a good job of covering the many niches of gaming, from classics to modern titles, big-budget blockbusters to little indie efforts. With the breadth and depth of the entire field available, I can't wait to hear what music is chosen for the next volume.