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Vocal Video Game Music

Discussion in 'Video Games' started by Wizard, Jan 7, 2019.

  1. Wizard

    Wizard Do you feel it? The moon's power!

    Level 1
    Jan 18, 2016
    Vocal game music seems to be on the rise over the past couple of years. Games like Persona 5, Xenoblade X, and now Super Smash Bros Ultimate all feature some standout vocal songs. There are of course many others. (Cant forget Heritors of Arcadia from Fire Emblem.)

    Do you like vocal music in games? What's your favorite vocal track in gaming?

    I've never played it, but I'm in love with Persona 5's OST. Its beautiful. Recent vocal music has been really great, although I used to dislike it. If you haven't heard the soundtrack, do yourself a favor and look it up. Phenomenal.
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  2. ShinigamiMiroku

    Sorceress' Knight
    (Ralts ♂)
    Level 23
    Aug 8, 2017
    Red Orb ★★★★★
    Sometimes they're good, like the ones in Persona, but sometimes they can just be grating and overbearing (I'm looking at you, Sonic...). My favorite is an old classic:

    "Eyes on Me" was composed by Nobuo Uematsu and sung by Faye Wong. In-game, it was written by a piano player who wanted to sing songs that she wrote. Her name was Julia, and she wrote it after spending an evening with a young soldier named Laguna Loire, who told her about his travels and aspirations. Afterwards, he left to go to war and never returned...
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  3. HeroofFire101

    HeroofFire101 Stirlingite

    Level 34
    Feb 13, 2017
    You forgot Persona 3 and 4's tracks. They also have vocal tracks, like Burn My Dread, Mass Destruction, Pursuing my True Self, Reach Out To The Truth, Shadow World, Want To Be Close, Burn My Dread Last Battle, Heaven, Heartbeat Heartbreak, Affection, When The Moon's Reaching out to the Stars, Signs of Love, Never More, Memories of You, Deep Breath Deep Breath, New Days, Wiping All Out, Soul Phrase, FES Opening, and many more. I have a new found like of Lotus Juice.
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  4. FireSpartan5

    FireSpartan5 Pokémon Professor

    (Genesect Egg)
    Level 5
    Jan 16, 2017
    Cooler Gary Oak ★★★★★Tapunium Z ★★★★★Choice Specs ★★★★★Flame Orb ★★★★★
    I only know half a dozen or so vocal tracks from video games, but my two favorites have to be Still Alive from Portal and Pollyanna from Earthbound. Whether the latter actually counts is debatable, but I still love it.
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  5. Hraesvelgr

    Hraesvelgr Snek in Your Boot

    Zapdos Egg
    (Zapdos Egg)
    Level 21
    Aug 2, 2014
    Trainer Card - Cave ThemeDragon Fang ★★★★Philosopher's CowlWater Stone ★★★Great Ball ★★
    If is done right and actually fit the game I usually end up loving it, like the Persona games. I heard a track from Neir Automata too that had vocals in it which I really liked as well. Final Fantasy XIV is on the vocal wagon too with a few tracks as well and I love them all.
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  6. Absolute Zero

    Absolute Zero The second seal

    Level 19
    Mar 17, 2015
    @Hraesvelgr you're right about NieR, almost every soundtrack has vocals and almost all are good. Bonus points for most songs being gibberish that has no meaning in any language (two songs have Japanese and English language versions), but still convey so much emotion.

    Particularly I appreciate the vocals on A Beautiful Song, the background music in the desert, and the male voices chanting in Birth Of A Wish and its variations.
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  7. Wolf Expert

    Wolf Expert Canine Scholar

    Level 24
    Jun 27, 2017
    Moon Ball ★★★★Love Ball ★★★★★Premier Ball ★Friend Ball ★★★★Luxury Ball ★★★
    Vocal music is great. My favorite is the theme for Guild Wars 2, which I'm very disappointed played without the vocals during the final core game boss fight. I became slightly less disappointed when I realized later that it seemed to be foreshadowing the first expansion. Unfortunately they seemed to have forgotten it existed when the expansion came out.

    One game that does vocal music really well is Stella Glow, which actually includes vocal music as a game mechanic. The characters in the game who can use magic sing to cast their spells and their songs play during the battles.
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  8. RadEmpoleon

    RadEmpoleon certified EPIC Gamer™ (they/them)

    Level 15
    Jun 4, 2018
    Comet Shard ★★★★Poké Doll ★★
    Due to my shallow knowledge of video games outside of Pokémon, I never heard any vocal tracks until I heard Lifelight, which I love.
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  9. Dawn

    Dawn La vie est drôle

    Level 1
    Oct 21, 2014
    How did I not notice this topic before now my god what have I been doing with myself.

    There are going to be a lot of links in this post, and it will be long. You have been warned. With that out the way...

    I LOVE vocal tracks in video games. And I mean, love. I am a very audio-centric person - I have bought and condemned video games based on their soundtrack alone, and dramatic vocal tracks that sound amazing on their own really sell it for me. I have an exaggerated sense of drama and I love it when games play to this. There is nothing more powerful in music than the human voice - other than silence, and I'll get to that in a minute - and when it's utilised properly...this is why I play video games. Why I put up with so much crap sometimes, both in gameplay and narrative. Dramatic moments make it all worth while. Vocal tracks are my lifeblood.

    So, some of my favourites? Oh boy...

    I think the first series I have to mention is Ar Tonelico. This is a game that takes its vocal tracks and builds the game up and around them; they're the most important part of the story and supports this with hauntingly beautiful and ridiculously complex tracks from Akiko Shikata, all in the game's own song language. Music is power. Whilst they're not the best JRPGs you'll find out there - Qoga in particular is a huge letdown - the concept is solid and really well written...and I can't think of a Japanese singer with a better voice than Shikata. She's a one-woman acapella. Most of her songs have, like, fifty overlays of her voice or something ridiculous like that.

    Chronicle Key in particular is one of my favourites.

    BAYONETTA. I have to talk about Bayonetta, right now. I honestly don't like Bayonetta's soundtrack...outside of the boss themes. It really takes it up to eleven when it comes to the boss themes. The second game in particular really stands out, since you're fighting more than just angels, and the vocal tracks adjust themselves accordingly. Compare Valor - In Courage and Gallantry to, say, Insidious - Consumer of All, and you can easily tell which one is angelic and which is demonic. Then compare that to Aesir and even the more significant bosses can take it up a notch. The Lumen Sage has three different battle themes depending on who he's fighting with!

    ...also, You May Call Me Father is one of my all-time favourite boss battle themes. The emphasis is more on the piano than the vocals, but that is absolutely fine. The Legend of Aesir and One of a Kind - the opening narrative music - are both spectacular too.

    Bayonetta has one of those soundtracks where just talking about it or listening to it makes me want to play the games again. It's THAT good.

    Whilst I don't think much of the games, I have to give major accolades to the Souls titles for having some of the best vocal tracks out there. At least the first and third games, anyway. Going from total silence to something like this...

    ...or this...

    ...is pretty phenomenal. There is actually an element of horror to it - only enhanced by what the bosses look like - that makes it all the more tense and exciting. That EVERY boss theme is like this only makes it better. I definitely can't fault the Souls series for vocal tracks.

    I have to talk about the Betrayers in NieR, because that is the BEST use of vocal tracks I have ever heard in a video game. Ever. Both Devola and Popola have their own version of Song of the Ancients, which they sing throughout the game. Song of Ancients - Fate combines both of their vocals, speeds up the tempo, and it's like they're singing it whilst you fight them. It's such a dramatic shift from the two calmer versions that it adds so much more tension and meaning to the battle...and then you kill Devola and the music switches to just Popola's version when you fight her again after that. It's haunting and beautiful and - considering she's screaming at you the entire time, and she's the calm one - absolutely TERRIFYING.

    Cold Steel Coffin is another track from NieR that stands out to me for how perfect it is for the scenery. It's a town theme. A town built into the cliffs, that is overrun by Shades, and the entire time I was there I was terrified of falling off the narrow walkways. It's just...ridiculous. Transition from the light-hearted and uplifting Hills of Radiant Winds to that is like putting your hand in ice water.

    Much as I loved Automata's remixes and new songs - Mourning in particular really stands out to me; it's right up there with Shadowlord's Castle - Memory for a mood enhancer - they didn't have the same emotional impact as the original's songs did. Perhaps because it wasn't almost entirely vocals, the same way that NieR was. Ashes of Dreams is also far more poignant than Weight of the World.

    A recent one that has become pretty memorable for me is the Valkyrie battle theme from God of War. I did enjoy the game, but it never reached the same heights as God of War III, which has some of the most ridiculously ham-fisted fights and overdramatic vocal tracks. Then it threw this at me and suddenly THIS is God of War. It's a surprisingly slow but effective track, especially considering how fast-paced the fights are, with the Valkyries screaming "VALHALLA!" at you every few seconds.

    ...oh, and God of War III has some of my favourite vocal tracks too. From the cinematic overture, it just keeps on giving in this department. Since you spend pretty much the whole game murdering the Greek pantheon, it's definitely fitting.

    ...quick shout-out to Octopath Traveler too, for being the only video game that uses operatic vocals effectively. Twice.

    I hate those battles with a passion because the AI is a cheating git, but the music was amazing.

    Will all that said, I feel that vocals should be reserved for special occasions in video games. They're often the most powerful element of a track, and having them can really make a difference. I mean, you KNOW it's a final boss when you get an ominous choir belting out pretentious semi-fake Latin at you, right? Overusing vocals lessens the impact they have on the atmosphere, and they can become an unwelcome distraction more than a mood enhancer when used this way.

    ...I could make a part 2. I might make a part 2.
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  10. Neb

    Neb Cosmog Enthusiast

    (Flabébé (O))
    Level 19
    Nov 4, 2018
    GS Ball ★★★★★Love Ball ★★★★★Poké Ball ★Potion ★Oran Berry ★★
    The amount of emotion that come from a game song with vocal tracks is difficult to describe. Most of my favorites have already been mentioned on this thread, but I’ll give some experiences for variety.

    My favorite section of Neir Automata is the first time you visit the desert area. It starts with a calm instrumental until you reach the housing area. From there, “A Beautiful Song” plays as you hear machines discus their fear of androids. To avoid spoilers, I won’t discus what happens when Birth of a Wish starts, but I will say it hit a lot harder when I played the game a second time and understood what was happening. It was a tidal wave of emotions I didn’t expect.

    I’ve been playing the Persona games in reverse chronological order since last year and adored just about every vocal track. The singers tend to butcher a lot of the words, but they’re too catchy and well composed for me to mind. When “Snowflakes” first played during my initial playthrough of 4 Golden, I almost cried. I had become so attached to these characters and knew I had to leave them as soon as March came around. Hearing a bittersweet ballad themed around Winter at that moment just made the reminder all the more emotional. Also Rivers in the Desert is a masterpiece.
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    #10 Apr 14, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
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