Nobuo Uematsu - "Fanfare"
June 5, 2004: Ronald Reagan dies and I play Final Fantasy VII for the first time. A pretty good day, I must say. Bought it used before arriving back at my apartment after a friend's wedding, came home and mixed myself a Jack & Coke, tore open a bag of Twizzlers, and sat down to begin the game that would eventually take me almost 3 years to complete.
This was the first proper RPG that I'd ever play, and when that first battle began I remember being confused and sure that I was about to die right away, just like I did at age 7 when I played Super Mario Brothers for the first time, running straight into the first goomba in World 1-1. Somehow, I surived this first encounter and managed to board the train heading to the Mako reactor. Little did I know, my troubles were only just beginning!
Anyway, emerging victorious from this fight, I twirled my sword in the air as the camera panned around me before cutting to the menu screen. This is a time-consuming and unavoidable part of the game that many players find quite annoying, though even from the very first time I sat through it, it had an afterglow to it that I found most pleasant. Who doesn't like collecting items and watching their bank account grow? Anyway, the music in this short break... endlessly repetitive, and I knew from that moment that I'd be hearing it at least a thousand times more before the game was finished. But it was so hypnotic, so comforting... had I been waiting more than seven years to hear this?
So many people just adore "Tifa's Theme," "Aerith's Theme," or whatever their favorite character's theme is. I watched a few thousand (?) people go apeshit when "One-Winged Angel" was performed twice by an orchestra and choir at the Chicago premiere of the Play! Symphony. It's probably laughable that this is my favorite piece of music from this game, but it is.