Review: memória! / The Very Best of Yoko Shimomura

I think most people will agree that Yoko Shimomura’s drammatica album was fantastic, and Square Enix has hinted at wanting to create a follow-up. When memoria! was announced, I hadn’t actually realized this was that follow-up, instead thinking it was a best of collection. However, you’ll be pleased to know that the music gets the full treatment in terms of arrangement for orchestra, piano, and live band.

It’s an eclectic mix with something for everyone. Find out what’s inside below.

Longtime fans of Shimomura should be pleased that Kingdom Hearts, Legend of Mana, and even Super Mario RPG are very well represented. There’s a beautiful piano version of “Dearly Beloved” to start us off, a whimsical and lovely orchestral take on “Beware of the Forests’s Mushrooms” from Super Mario RPG (my favorite track on the album), and heart wrenching “The Revolving Wheel of Fate” from Children of Mana. Front Mission and Parasite Eve both get piano arrangements, which is a nice treat given how often these franchises are neglected on the arrangement front, and the powerful orchestral takes on “Vector of the Heavens” from Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and “Song of Mana” from Legend of Mana (so incredibly beautiful!) will blow your mind.

The two tracks from LIVE A LIVE get a live band performance, with “Kiss of Jealousy” taking on a tropical vibe and “MEGALOMANIA” going more in a rock direction, both with vocals. On that front, you can’t miss the heavy rock session for “Pain of the Universe” from Legend of Mana.

Bonuses include an epic orchestral track from Final Fantasy XV, “Omni Lacrima,” a track from Demon’s Score, and the karaoke versions of the two vocal themes from LIVE A LIVE.

This is definitely a solid collection for any Shimomura fan. The arrangements from some of her lesser-known titles, as well as two tracks from Super Mario RPG and the Final Fantasy XV bonus should make this a worthy purchase. The neat slipcase that goes over the jewel case is a nice touch, too.

Grab it on CD Japan.

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