4 September 2012


Dearly Beloved
Of course, this is the track I wanted to begin with. I composed this melody in the image of waves lapping in and out on the shore. I made it just thinking it would be nice to use for some kind of scene someday, and then it went and ended up with the huge position of title song! I decided on the name ‘Dearly Beloved’ in a flash, I was really happy with it. -Yoko Shimomura

Hikari (‘Light’) -KINGDOM Orchestra Instrumental Version-
As music with the image of Kingdom Hearts goes, you cannot leave out this song. I love this melody and I love this arrangement of it. In the first meeting with Mr Kaoru Wada, who I asked to do the arrangement and orchestration, I asked him to “please compose to your liking a grand arrangement that gives the feel of a huge drama.” –Yoko Shimomura

Now, this piece is the first I made and included that represented the Darkside (ha ha) of the Kingdom Hearts project. The musical phrase is incorporated in every title, including the latest one, Dream Drop Distance. But, in the games, it does not actually exist as a song as it is~ Because of that, I worried to the last moment over where to place this track. –Yoko Shimomura

Traverse Town
When originally directed to create something that felt like a stroll through a fun town, this is what I made. It’s quite a short tune, and I wish I’d made it slightly longer… I do regret that a tiny bit, haha. But, well, when I think about ways it could be lengthened, adding any more to the melody would feel redundant, so I guess maybe it is fine the way it is after all~ that’s what I end up thinking! –Yoko Shimomura

Hand in Hand
For the first half of Traverse Town, the battle theme was the same as on the darkened islands, and I thought, I want to fight battles that are as bright as I can make them! I went and made this additional song without being directed to do so. I was told that “if the song is good, then we’ll think about it,” and so when they listened and gave me the OK, I remember being incredibly happy. –Yoko Shimomura

Kairi I
For some reason, Kairi is the only one who has had a theme from the first title. On top of that, there were three versions of it, haha. Between I and II, only the first chord is different. Even just that changes the feel of the song significantly~ I made three versions to fit the cutscenes properly. I’m glad I wasn’t told to make three versions for all the themes from then on, haha! –Yoko Shimomura

Hollow Bastion
Before I had started composing this song, I was playing through the game myself, and the moment I arrived in Hollow Bastion I thought, “Ahh, I’ve made it this far, then. The last dungeon feels close…” I put that impression straight into the song. Even now when I listen, I am reminded of falling willy-nilly down traps and get sad, haha. –Yoko Shimomura

Always on My Mind
I have deep memories of this song. I recorded and made a movie file of the cutscene myself, and to make the song match the events in the scene, I adjusted it over and over, I really mean it, over and over and over and over and over and over!!!!! (to be repetitive! haha.) It incorporates many musical phrases. Actually, from KH2 onwards, the title themes (apart from BbS) all incorporate the first part of the melody of this song. –Yoko Shimomura

And now we’re finally at the theme song for the first title, Hikari. I’ve heard the demo track from before this song was finished. I’m really proud of that, haha. Even the demo track had an indescribable strength to it and I felt a premonition that it would be a famous song, but even so, when I heard the master track I was still surprised at what an amazing song it had turned out to be. This song, which Ms Hikaru Utada said had the first title she’d written in kanji, and that she had taken it from her own name, is a hugely impressive famous song. When I’m down town, even now, no matter where I am around (ha ha), for an instant I slip back in time. –Yoko Shimomura

Another Side
Pardon me for taking a moment to speak of personal things, but this was actually the last song I wrote as an employee of Square. At the time, I wrote this not knowing what was happening regarding a sequel, and with the chance this would be the last song I’d write. I remember going home feeling as exhausted as a mere shell (ha ha). Ten years has passed, and the fact that I still have the privilege of being in charge like this, and the fact that this song is still regarded so highly among you, makes me so very happy. –Yoko Shimomura

The source of these sounds is Re:Chain of Memories, the version for the PS2, but the song actually first appeared in Chain of Memories for the GBA. It comes before KH2, so it’s the second theme song for a person, after Kairi. Heroines being treated a bit too well, haha. I composed the song with images I got from the name ‘Naminé’, of gentle rolling waves drifting, and of the underwater movement of water. –Yoko Shimomura

Lord of the Castle
This is a final boss theme added to the Re:Chain of Memories version. The two final boss themes I originally had were relatively plain, none in a fiery vein, so I wanted to make a super fiery theme, I decided! And so I made it! But… the truth is, when I presented the demo, I was told I had to re-do it, and to ‘pump it up more’. More? More?? MORE~??? RAAAAGHH~!! I pumped up just like that, and it turned into a pretty grand theme, haha. –Yoko Shimomura


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