Square Enix is keeping their SQ arrangement series alive, this time with what is supposed to be a swing-flavored edition. Like many of their past efforts, I can’t say the music here conforms to the style of the album’s namesake save for a few tracks, but I really do love the jazz and lounge arrangements presented here.
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The album opens with a medley performed with whistling and finger snaps, which I skip each time. From there, “What the Forest Taught Me” from Secret of Mana gets some amazing strings and acoustic guitar that are very fitting of the fun and folksy nature of the original while an energetic and upbeat Kingdom Hearts II medley features “Dearly Beloved” and a number of other memorable melodies. Final Fantasy VI’s “Johnny C Bad” is the only track on the album to truly encompass swing, which is a perfect style for this theme. There’s a lullaby-esque “Gilbert’s Lute/Ilusionary World” from Final Fantasy IV, a lovely jazz ensemble cover of Chrono Trigger with one of the best versions of “Wind Scene” that I’ve ever heard, a character medley from Final Fantasy VI with a sleazy take on “Shadow’s Theme” and surprisingly creepy one of “Cyan’s Theme,” a OneUps-esque take on “MEGALOMANIA” from LIVE-A-LIVE, and a folksy version of “Schala’s Theme” and some great guitar work in “Corridors of Time” from Chrono Trigger.
In all, this is one of the strongest SQ albums in recent memory. I recommend picking it up from CD Japan if you’re hankering for some classic Squaresoft remixes!