Legend of the Seven Stars
Super Mario RPG
The end all be all of VGM medley remixes, Legend of the Seven Stars, as far as I'm aware, holds the record for longest VG tribute song, at a whopping 37 minutes. Nearly every song from Super Mario RPG is featured with only a few exceptions.
The soundtrack to Super Mario RPG is among my top 5 favorite VGM soundtracks of all time, maybe even in the top 3. When I was little, I used to record songs from the game by putting a boom box against the tv speaker and recording it on a cassette tape. I'd later listen to it on a walkman when I went to sleep. Then I'd wake up and walk 15 miles in the snow to get to school.
Ok, so maybe I didn't really walk 15 miles in snow to school, but all this talk about boom boxes, cassette tapes, and walkmans started to make me feel really old.
Needless to say, I have a strange emotional bond to the soundtrack of SMRPG which explains why I hadn't done a SMRPG song up to this point. You see, I have this fear of covering a song from one of my favorite soundtracks and doing it badly... my favorite VGM soundrack is Final Fantasy VI and I haven't done a song from it as of this writing. Weird, eh?
Anyways, back on point. I was working on a cover of Fight Against a Somewhat Stronger Monster, even got all the rhythm guitars, bass, and drum tracks down. Then I decided it wasn't good enough and set it to the side.
It took a year later till I felt like I was good enough to approach SMRPG again, but I wanted to do more than just one song. Then the most insane idea I've ever had in my life popped into my head:
The thought alone was so crazy I blacked out for roughly 2 seconds. When I snapped back into reality, I realized I was being silly and decided a medley of a bunch of the best songs from SMRPG was the much more realistic thing to do.
So, like I did with Ocarina of Time, I started to list out some of the best and most popular songs from the game. I had a pretty good line up down, when the voice came back to my head.
I blacked out again for dramatic effect and was brought back about 2 seconds later. I tore up the list and decided to do the unthinkable: a medley of nearly every song from the game, regardless of how long the medley would end up being.
I took a different approach in song order for this one as opposed to my previous mega medley, Ocarina of Time. The song order in OoT was very loose in regards to when the songs appeared in the game. In Legend of the Seven Stars, each song is much closer to the order they appear in the game. The goal was to create more than just some medley, it was to create a musical journey through Super Mario RPG.
This made a lot of the arranging part pretty simple. The songs already flow into each other pretty well, in fact it's sort of creepy how well it all does, considering its like 50+ songs.
The keys/synth get a lot of love in this medley. I didn't want to wear out the guitar, and wanted the lead sounds to be changing regularly to keep things different, I figured it'd be the best way to go about keeping someones attention for 37 minutes. Regardless, the lead guitar still shows up in almost every song.
I made it a point to add some emphasis on the more popular songs, you may notice songs like Fight Against a Somewhat Stronger Monster, Fight Against an Armed Boss, Forest Maze, etc, have a little bit more to them than the others. Those songs had to be good.
Difficulty-wise, most of the soundtrack isn't too bad but there are a few tricky ones. Songs like Still the Road is Full of Dangers and Docaty Mountain Railroad come to mind. There's more hard organ stuff than anything.
One part I really enjoyed doing was Margarie Margarita. The original is all harpischord, and I always thought it would sound really cool done on acoustic. There are 3 parts to it in all.
Something I've always hated with long songs is when you want to hear a certain part but you're listening to it on something that forces you to fast forward/rewind (IE a car stereo), and you have to skip through a bunch of stuff to get to that part. So to avoid that problem, I released both the full-length song, and a 7 track split version. The tracks are split into 'acts' as I like to call them, and are as follows:
1. In the Beginning
2. Mushroom People and Tadpole Adventures
3. Geno, Yoshis, and Moles
4. Boosters Wedding
5. The Sea, the Monster Town, Clouds, and Volcanoes
6. The Path to Smithy and the Final Battle
7. A Grand Ending
Let's talk about the stuff I left out. Happy Adventure, Delightful Adventure is the song that plays in the opening sequence. It is a neat song, but for one it's pretty long, and two I didn't want to use it as the opener.
The save file screen is a neat little tune, but it's mainly a small remix of the original SMB overworld song, which we already would be visiting in Super Pipe House.
In the Flower Garden is the song that plays during the small cutscene when you first start a new game that shows Peach being abducted by Bowser. I felt The Sword Descends and the Stars Scatter was the best song to start the medley, and didn't really find a good place for Flower Garden to go.
From Inside the Earthen Pipe is the song that is a remix of the underground theme from SMB1. It didn't felt well in it's appearance order, and since it's just a remix of the SMB1 underground (which, again, would already be visited in The Axem Rangers Drop In), I decided to leave it out.
Fight Against Culex, as most people know, is actually the boss theme from Final Fantasy IV, which I've already covered. I didn't want to put a Final Fantasy song in the middle of a SMRPG tribute, as good as it may be, and even though it does appear in the game.
The only song that I ever get asked about that got left out is The Dungeon is Full of Monsters, the song that plays in the sewers and a few other underground places. I was fully intending to put this song in the medley, it was slated to come after The Starlight's Flower and before Here's Some Weapons! (It would've started out Act 5). I had it mostly recorded, but I just didn't like the way it sounded, so I left it out.
Honestly, I forgot about Grate Guy's Casino. Oh well, I never won there anyways.
That about covers all the songs that were left out.
In conclusion, Legend of the Seven Stars was a huge hit that got a lot of attention. I feel it's a great piece of work, I could do it better now, but I think that about everything. I do remember being very satisfied with how it came out, and I'm sure it will continue to hold its legendary status in the GaMetal library for years to come. This one's for you, Yoko Shimomura, thank you!