Top 10 Video Game Theme Songs

10. I’m going to start this list with a fun classic. Final Fantasy VIII wasn’t amongst the most popular games but whether you loved or hated the game itself, you have to admit that the music was still top notch. So my number ten slot goes to:

The Man With The Machine Gun – Final Fantasy VIII

9. Here’s a different type of song right here, replete with interesting xylophone sounds. Dimentio was my favorite Paper Mario character, hands down. But this song is even better. Love it!

Super Dimentio Battle Theme – Super Paper Mario

8. This song makes me all weepy eyed every time I listen to it. I think a large part of that is because I can identify with the lyrics. Maybe I’m not autistic like the main female character from the game but sometimes, I can really identify with her as a character. Especially the part where he can’t read her and she doesn’t know what to do. 🙁

Everything’s Alright – To The Moon

7. Strega might be my favorite group in Persona 3 but their battle theme song isn’t my favorite. Gotta be honest, it was tough not to put in the various versions of the pharmacy song from the Persona 2 games just for the lulz. But for serious, this is my favorite Persona song:

Heartful Cry – Persona 3 FES

6. It’s so hard to pick just one of my favorite songs from the Sonic series. I honestly loved pretty much all of them in 2 and 3. But I have to give it to the Ice Cap Zone for this one. I love this song so much!

Ice Cap Zone Act 1 – Sonic 3

5. Here we go with another boss battle theme that starts all sad and then gets all cool. I sadface though when I hear the start of this song because I know what’s coming. Here you go:

Irony of Fate – Tales of Destiny

4. I always felt awesome when this song started because I knew I was getting somewhere in my investigation. Plus, it’s so darn jaunty.

Cornered – Phoenix Wright

3. There are a lot of songs by Akira Yamaoka–the composer for the Silent Hill games–that I love and it was tough to choose just one to list here. Maybe one of these days, I’ll make a list of the top ten Silent Hill songs. For now, however, I’ll leave you with this haunting number:

Save Before You Quit – Silent Hill 3

2. In second place comes another nostalgic song from an older JRPG. This song is actually an opening theme song rather than background music but I think it still counts. Just listening to this song makes me feel peaceful and happy inside.

Song of Mana – Legend of Mana

1. And in first place for best video game theme song! The following is my favorite video game theme song of all time. It captured my heart and emotions during the game so perfectly that it has remained with me through all these years. That honor goes to:

Reminiscence – Suikoden II.

Music and Writing

So why does music help me as a writer? I don’t have any cool sciencey answers for you but I can take a wild stab at why it works for me, personally. Basically, music has been in my life since before I was even born. My mother is a huge fan of music so in the womb, I was listening to her favorite rock gods–The Rolling Stones was the most notable for me, as they’re still one of my favorites today.

As a kid, I remember receiving a tiny pink handheld radio from my grandmother for a gift. I can’t remember if it was for my birthday or Christmas or whatever but I remember that I went everywhere with that thing. When I went to bed at night, I would hang it on my bedpost from its little pink wrist strap. I barely even remember the kind of music I listened to. A weird mix of korean pop, Michael Jackson, Elton John, and of course, my mom’s rock dudes.

I also wrote a lot as a young kid, although most of my tales were copying my own favorite stories, with my own spin on them. I remember hiding my tales from the adults but my mother and grandmother found one story at one time. One notable story from my younger years involved Floppy, my old stuffed dog, who accompanied me on many adventures. I even took him away with me to a show and tell at school! (And I still have him to this day.)

The two combined and now I love to write while listening to music. The music comes in many varieties. A favorite would be music without lyrics from various soundtracks, from movies to video games. There are also groups, like Two Steps From Hell, that make a lot of inspiring music without lyrics. These are great mood makers. Then there are angry rock songs for angry scenes and gentle love songs for romantic scenes. And there are soul crushing emo songs for sad moments. I listen to so many different genres of music that it really helps in the writing process.

I also tend to create soundtracks for characters. I have playlists for specific characters that I write the most. These lists grow the more I write with them and even now, songs associated with older characters still remind me of those characters!

I think music tends to color my writing and inspires the scene. So that’s why I write while listening to music.

KCON 2014

KCON 2014 was pretty exciting. I didn’t spend much time at the con itself because I was highly disinterested in the panels (who wants to hear people read fan fiction aloud or learn how to react to a video—who needs to LEARN how to react, period? Yeah.) And since I didn’t win any passes or engagements for anything, I was like “I don’t want to stand out here in the heat and pay 4 bucks for a 1 dollar bottle of water. Pfft.”

I was there for the concerts and possible merchandise (the only things I bought at the con itself were two magazines with giant pictures of idols. Yassss! Everything else wasn’t quite what I expected—I would have liked bags, sweaters for the winter, cell cases…) My friend bought me a BAP fan though and it came in WAY handy at the concert on Sunday night. (Too bad I forgot it on Saturday.)

Saturday night was pretty damn awesome. B1A4 was freaking adorable with their squirt guns, jumping around all excitable. I was mostly watching for Gongchan and I was pretty excited that he actually came over to our side of the stage quite a few times. (We were in a shitty spot, so we spent most of the concert looking at butts, which isn’t bad but… you know.)

Teen Top was pretty active, too. VIXX was really great. I got all kinds of excited when Eternity started (even though they didn’t play my favorite song of theirs, it was worth it!) IU was so adorable in her little dress and bright, glittery shoes. Sadly, I didn’t know any of her songs because I’ve only seen her in Dream High but she was such a cutie. I had a nasty panic attack (I have GAD and social anxiety…) so I had to leave during G-Dragon’s performance. The noise level doubled during his performance and the people around me were stifling me… 🙁

Sunday night, for me, was VASTLY more exciting. I LOVE Jung Joon Young and CNBLUE and BTS in particular! YAY! I’m not really into a lot of the girl groups (and I honestly never even heard of SPICA before KCON but they turned out to be really catchy.)

BTS was so energetic and so into their performance that it’s impossible not to be pulled into that energy. I loved every song they performed and I was singing along, cheering them on. They even kept their aerial moves which I was vastly impressed with. Yaaay!

By and far, though, my most favorite performance was from Jung Joon Young. I think I screamed louder for him than anybody else (my throat’s still sore). He’s such an awkward guy when he tries to emcee but as soon as it was time to perform, he delivered. Such flawless vocals and the live band was just UMF. The Michael Jackson cover. Hahaha! Oh, it was so much fun to watch him strut his stuff. 10/10, would see again.

Same with CNBLUE. I kinda lost my shit even before they were on stage.  I loved the live band, I think this kind of performance is just my favorite when it comes to seeing the guys live. <333 The second they come to the states, I’m seeing Royal Pirates. (But I still really, really, REALLY want to see GOT7, MYNAME, and Topp Dogg live some day…)

So yeah, definitely enjoyed the concerts. Now I’m home and just looking at all the pictures and videos and I wouldn’t say I miss being in LA (the traffic, UGH) but I definitely miss the excitement and high of being at a concert watching groups I love.

B.A.P’s First Sensibility Album

KM0002529-B.A.P_1_-0203.170x170-75B.A.P – First Sensibility 

Tonight, I’m going to review B.A.P’s latest album, First Sensibility. B.A.P is a Korean boy group from South Korea, made up of six members, as follows: Bang Yongguk, Kim Himchan, Jung Daehyun, Yoo Youngjae, Moon Jongup, and Choi Junhong (AKA Zelo). I listen to a variety of music, including K-pop, but B.A.P is by far my favorite Korean boy group and definitely in my top ten list of musical groups/artists all together. Their music tends to be very powerful, carrying strong messages and featuring lyrics that don’t always focus and revolve around love and romance. Of course, they have their occasional light-hearted romps into romance, but as a whole, they do tend towards a more powerful group.

First Sensibility is their first full-length studio album and it was released on February 3, 2014. It’s a little late but since I’m going to the concert in April, I figured I could celebrate with a review!

Bang Yongguk is credited in the lyrics of every song, so he had a strong hand in the creation of this album. Because of that, I think this album is especially personal for him, at least, if not the entire group.

So what about the songs? Let me go through each one and review them piece by piece.

Listen along here!

First up is B.A.P (Intro). As the title suggests, the song is a short 1:28 introduction to the group. It features a very typical B.A.P sound, with the electro-pop sounds, the distinctive rapping style of Bang and Zelo. Bang is low and smokey as usual, Zelo complementing him with his higher, more staccato rap style. Mostly, we’re delving back into the group, since they remind us that they’re back again! Considering these guys make a comeback every couple of months, we’re not surprised but we definitely want to see them keep up the hard work. B

The next song is 1004 (Angel). Starting slow and soft and building up to a relaxing croon, we are greeted to a new almost rock ballad sound. The emotion in the vocalists’ voices are absolutely beautiful, particularly Daehyun and Youngjae. They are the main vocalists and it shows. However, their longing sound is punctuated by the tougher sound of Bang’s low raps. The song is the sad tale of losing somebody you love and trying to get them back. This is one of their forays into romance and it really pays off. Very delicate in some parts, very powerful and moving in others. I especially love when their voices all come together and then the music stops and the lyrics are softly murmured, then Daehyun leaps in with his unbelievable talent. A+

The third song is 쉽죠 Easy. As the song title implies, this song is easy listening. It’s a very smooth song, quiet. The piano sound especially gives it a sort of classy lounge feel. Here is another song full of longing and remorse, but less powerful. It’s definitely more relaxed, less desperate than 1004 (Angel) is. This isn’t really one of my favorites, but you can’t deny that the talent and feeling is there. C

The fourth song is Spy. This song is a funky, old school hiphop sound. Very, very reminiscent of older B.A.P work! The tune is jaunty. The lyrics sound a little shy but at the same time a little stalkery in some parts. I love the vocal job in this song, though. Very fun, sassy, entertaining to listen to. You just want to dance to it and something about the horns in the music makes it very “big band”, too. B+

The next song is Check On. This song, while the music is a little sway worthy, lacks a little something for me. The lyrics are kind of typical of American pop music, which is about dancing, ladies, dressing, looking good, that swag thing. Not really a fan. C-

The sixth song is Shady Lady. A very lazy song, reminiscent of the Coffee Shop sound. Despite the way the title makes it sound like it’s a song about a cheating woman or somebody sneaking around or lying, this song is actually about how a women in the shadow, with low self esteem, is still beloved and shiny in the eyes of the boys. The message is cute but it’s also important: women spend so much time obsessing over how they look. Sometimes, it’s nice to hear we’re great the way we are. Shady Lady is a bit like Korea’s version of “Just The Way You Are,” I suppose. B

The seventh song is Lovesick. WOW. I love this song. Finally, we’re hearing more from Jongup and Himchan and guess what? They have a beautiful pair of voices. In the past, it was difficult to tell if I liked their voices or not, since they only had a line or two each per song! But this time, we’re getting an actual listen as they both get a whole verse! You can tell Jongup’s not totally confident yet, but man, when he is!  Daehyun and Youngjae still steal the show, though. The song itself is a love song, exactly as you would expect by the title. A

The eighth song is Bang X2. This is one of my favorites on the album. So, so very different. When I first heard it, I thought they must have given me the wrong file on accident! Hard rock music? On my B.A.P? No, it’s B.A.P and it’s glorious. I didn’t even recognize Bang’s voice, that’s how crazy this song hit me. Daehyun’s voice, beautiful as always. An empowering song, too. I always love songs about throwing it all away and just living. A+

The ninth song is S.N.S. Usually, S.N.S means Social Networking Site, so the fact that it’s talking about tweeting them a mention makes sense. The song itself is about romancing a sexy lady over twitter, I imagine, from the lyrics. This another one of those funky types of songs. Catchy, but not very special, despite the lyrics. B-

The tenth song is Body & Soul. It’s a testament to the boys growing up, since it’s probably the sexiest song on the album. Even the music reminds me of old 90s style sexy R&B. This is probably the most subdued I’ve ever heard Daehyun, which (as much as I love him) is nice to give others more of a chance to shine. (And he’s still there, belting out his lungs.) The most fantastic part of the song is Jongup’s high note! Baby! That’s beautiful! A

The eleventh song is Save Me. Another one of my favorites. I love the 90s alt rock sound at the beginning. I squeed like a fangirl when I heard it for the first time and it’s still one of my favorite songs from the album, a month later. It’s another break up song, about a man with a crushed heart, bitter and calling out for help. I love this song, what can I say? There’s nothing about it that I don’t like. The lyrics, the background shouts, the desperate rush of the rapping parts, the soft urgency in the vocalists’ parts. Just… Perfect. A+

The twelfth song is B.A.B.Y. This song was made for the the fans of B.A.P (affectionately called babies). The lyrics themselves sound more like they’re falling slowly in love with somebody they can’t live without now. Which I suppose is pretty much how it is with fans, right? 😉 I think it’s a sweet and light song. B+

The last song is With You. Aw, look, we’re at the end of the album! Another light and affectionate song, I adore this one. It’s very soft and almost like a lullaby. We all need a little fluff in our lives. There’s not much else to say about this song, but I really love it! So… A!

So all in all? I’d grade this album as an A or a five out of five stars. There are a few songs on it that I don’t love dearly but there’s nothing on here that I want to smack my head against a wall for listening to. There’s a good mix of music on here, even spanning genres and I love it. I think there’s something for nearly everybody on this album and I think you should definitely check it out!

You can buy it here!