Sunday, May 5, 2013

TOP Tracks #27 - "Birth of a God"

For about ten years, I was convinced "One-Winged Angel" was the greatest piece of music in Final Fantasy VII. For the most part, I don't think I even remembered "Birth of a God." It's really dwarfed by the grandeur in sound and cinematic that follows it within the game. I remember being on a forum somewhere and reading through criticism and comments on Final Fantasy VII (a hobby of mine) when I saw someone say they thought "Birth of a God" was a much better piece of music than "One-Winged Angel." Blasphemy! I rushed to the soundtrack to compare the two.

Don't get me wrong, I still think both are amazing. However, I was convinced that what "Birth of a God" does is a lot more interesting than "One-Winged Angel." It really blends together a lot of the musical themes in the game that encompass Sephiroth's transformation from prominent military hero to tortured soul to false god. I would say "One-Winged Angel" really captures the end result of this transformation into a faux-divine being, but "Birth of a God" ties together all the turmoil and strife Sephiroth has endured, and adds to it a frantic tension for the player to stop this transformation from happening.

Sephiroth is one of my favorite villains of any video game. (Perhaps next year's countdown has just been discovered?) He has a depth that is rarely explored in most games. He is not just insane, or evil, for the sake of a plot device. He was once a great man who was broken when he found out the truth of his origins. He was driven to madness and vengeance. The player is able to sympathize with his situation, even though Sephiroth also has the capacity to upset the player so much that you can't wait to destroy him. The development of Sephiroth is part of what makes Final Fantasy VII such a fantastic game and "Birth of a God" captures the essence of that development.


I really love Final Fantasy VII, but that's mostly thanks to TOP. I'm fairly simple minded when it comes to video games, but TOP explained the nuances, details and intertwining connections that make Final Fantasy VII such a great story. I keep telling him he needs to write a literary analysis on the game. I'd buy it! My point is, I love the game even though I didn't "get it" right away. I played through the PC version, and I used a hack so I could enjoy the story without worrying about my party stats or burning through items. It was a really fun time, but the music never leaped out at me during this first run through the game.

Most of the time, I think that remixes of original songs are better. Take "The Decisive Battle" for instance. I love the original version, but when I listen to the Black Mages arrangement, I feel like Popeye after a spinach binge. The first time I truly noticed "Birth of a God" was when I was listening to Powerglove's album Total Pwnage. Not bad. Then TOP sent me a link to the original version and I was sold. How did I miss this? Maybe, when I encountered Bizarro Sephiroth, it was 1AM and I needed the volume low so not to awake any parents. Whatever the case, I much prefer the original version of "Birth of a God" to any other version I've heard yet.

- Deez

Derivative Tracks

Birth of a God by Powerglove on Grooveshark

Birth of a God by (S_S) on Grooveshark

Beginning of the End (Birth of a God) by bLiNd on Grooveshark

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