Review: KINGDOM HEARTS -HD 2.5 ReMIX- Original Soundtrack

Having never explored the Kingdom Hearts soundtracks with their initial release, I’ve relished being able to experience them for the first time in this beautiful ReMIX version. I dug into the 1.5 ReMIX soundtrack a few weeks back, but I have to say that 2.5 ReMIX is even better. It’s much darker and heavier than 1.5, and it features recorded parts with the super talented Video Game Orchestra based out of Boston.

There’s so much music here to love, starting with a slower and more contemplative “Dearly Beloved” that sets the tone for the album. The vocal theme, “Passion,” gets a catchy ethereal version to start and end the game, but also a big orchestral version. It’s a fantastic track that will be stuck in your head for weeks. From there, “Lazy Afternoons” is simply gorgeous with its orchestral instrumentation, “Sinister Sundown” impresses with its decisive strings and marching snare, and “Tension Rising” brings big brass and ominous organ and some neat scale runs. “Kairi” gets a healing version this time around, while “Roxas” sports a rather tragic quality. “Magical Mystery” is unsettling with its out of tune piano and off-time bell tolls, while “*Organization XIII’ is ominous with its droning pads and choir. “Gearing Up” combines a playful toy-like vibe with rocking electric guitar, “Shipmeister’s Shanty” adds electronic elements to the same concept, and “Asteroid Attack” teases “Dearly Beloved” with its spacey pads and synth bass. “Waltz of the Damned” sports a nice swaying rhythm and references other themes form the game, “Dance of the Daring” is an upbeat folky tune with harpsichord, “Beauty and the Beast” gets a pop-oriented arrangement, and “The Home of Dragons” goes for majestic with a strong Chinese vibe.

Then there’s all the wonderful Disney music that you can’t help but smile while listening to. I’m looking at you, “Winnie the Pooh.” I have to admit it’s strangely satisfying hearing Disney classics sung in Japanese. Particularly “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid. Donald and Goofy are also amazing in Japanese.

I love a lot of music heading into the end of the album, but to call out a few, the lightning fast metal in “Hazardous Highway,” the ambient “Cavern of Remembrance,” the foreboding and exotic “Sacred Moon,” the lovely “The Other Promise,” and the triumphant yet melancholy “Fantasia alla marcia” all provide a wonderful closing to the album.

I’ve gone on quite long enough, but this is some of Yoko Shimomura’s best work of all time. I highly recommend picking it up on CD Japan.

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