I just love the Christmas season! It's that time of year when everyone decorates their homes with beautiful lights and Nativity scenes. We get to see the Claymations our parents grew up with, and we prepare to give gifts and have a hearty meal with the people we love. But one of the best parts of the season is the Christmas carols that fill us with anticipation and excitement. Apparently Square Enix feels the same as we do because not too long ago they released a Christmas album featuring remixes of their most beloved songs. One of these is Chocobo's Happy Christmas, a Christmas take on the song Chocobo Theme made popular in Final Fantasy II.
While Chocobo Theme was composed by Nobuo Uematsu, Chocobo's Happy Christmas was arranged by Masashi Hamauzu. You may know Hamauzu from his work in the Saga series, Final Fantasy X, and more recently Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2. If you have listened to his work in the XIII games, you will quickly notice that Chocobo's Happy Christmas is every bit a Hamauzu piece.
The beginning of Chocobo's Happy Christmas starts of very strong with its violins cutting straight to the chase saying, "This is a Christmas song so let's get happy"! From beginning to end, the sound of those small, shaking Christmas bells add the imagery of falling snow. After the amazing violin intro, the first few seconds of Chocobo Theme is played on a flute, but the piece then smoothly transitions into a very different melody. The melody is even more lighthearted than the Chocobo Theme could produce as it lightly adds music from the piano into the mix. As it continues on, sprinkling elements from Chocobo Theme here and there, the violins return as the church bells ring in for the first time. As the chorus repeats, the previous instruments continue to join in adding a more pleasant layer to the music.
At the half way mark, when it seems like the chorus is about to repeat for the third time, the violins take over playing at a greater, dramatic pitch for what seems like the climax. Then, a single violin takes center stage playing the most beautiful rendition of Chocobo Theme that I have ever heard, with it tailing off once again into the chorus with tambourine crashing softly in the background as all of the instruments join together in harmony.
I have always been a fan of the various Chocobo themes in the Final Fantasy games. Even Crazy Chocobo is rather entertaining for me to listen to. So of course I was excited to see this song available on iTunes along with Christmas remixes of Wind Scene from Chrono Trigger and Botshaft from the Saga series. But Chocobo's Happy Christmas jumped out at me like none of the others could. It sounds so similar to other Christmas carols that if I had heard it on the radio, I most likely would have mistook it for a new Christmas song. When I close my eyes listening to the energetic music, I often picture a group of Chocobos and Moogles decorating a Christmas tree and putting up the stockings around the fire place while a couple of Moogles leave out cookies for Santa. It's just one of those Christmas songs that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
You don't have to be a fan of Square Enix to enjoy this song. By itself, it's an excellent addition to the many Christmas songs we hear every year. If you're looking for something a little new to add to your Christmas spirit, I highly suggest that you give Chocobo's Happy Christmas a chance. It captures the same magic that so many others carols do and adds a little something extra that will keep you singing in your head for days to come.