Thursday, May 30, 2013

TOP Track #2 - "Hikari" & "Hikari (Instrumental)"

I need to be clear that "Hikari (Instrumental)" is really the song that made it into the #2 spot. Originally, we were judging these as two completely different songs, but they both did extremely well. When we got down to the final 31 Tracks, both made the cut. I decided it would be awkward and wasteful to write up two different versions of "Hikari" on two different days. Judges unanimously decided that "(Instrumental)" was the better version of the song and so I cut "Hikari" from the running and decided they'd both be posted together where ever "Hikari (Instrumental)" landed in the running. Surprise! It landed at #2! Quite frankly, it tied with #1 but in a last minute tie-breaker it slipped into second place. 

One of my earliest articles was about how the music of Kingdom Hearts affects me. (Read it!) It's great music and its important to me, so obviously I'm slightly biased on rating up "Hikari" but I do think it's an amazing song. What I like about the instrumental version in particular is how much it blends this Japanese pop song into a real "Disney" wrapper. It sounds like some grand Disney fantasy story and yet still conveys all the power and passion Utada put into "Hikari" itself. I'd tell you all the things that pass through me when I listen to either of these songs, but it would take a lot more space and time. I implore you to read that ancient article if you want to know what the music and the series means to me.

Read: A Music Chain of Memories

- TOP 

The Kingdom Hearts series was (briefly) my favorite franchise during the Playstation 2 era. The first game was so enchanting. Although I was skeptical of the involvement of Disney, the game was pulled off flawlessly and I was instantly in love. This was my first action RPG and it took a while for me to get used to the learning curve, but for my money, it was one of the best games I played during my teenage years. The ending was so tragic, I couldn't help but tear up as our hero (who had just saved the day) was ripped away from his two best friends. But during the credits, the instrumental version of "Hikari" played, and I knew that Sora's journey wouldn't end here.

"Hikari" is one of those great songs that, like many on this list, perfectly portrays the characters that it represents. Sora, for no apparent reason, is never afraid and approaches each situation thrown at him with unbridled enthusiasm. Throughout the song, I imagine him teaming up with various allies against strange and unknwon monsters. He uses his negative emotions for a positive gain, and he'll do it with the help of his friends. My favorite part of the track comes from around the 2:40 mark, and it gives me goosebumps every time. This is one of those songs that just makes you feel good, despite its sadder, quieter moments. I don't know what life has in store for me, but this will always be a good pick-me-up. It's also the leading candidate for the song I want played at my funeral. 


Derivative Tracks

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