Game That Tune

Blue Dragon

The Neverending Hook

Nobuo Uematsu’s best-worst boss theme from Blue Dragon is a rite of passage.

By Matt Kodner • November 8, 2012

Game music has the power to earworm its way into your heart long after you put the controller down. Each week in Game That Tune, we highlight a great tune from a great game (or a great tune from a just-okay game).

Blue Dragon follows a ragtag gang of miscreants who save the world by killing giant monsters with their magical shadows. The game exudes genre trappings at almost every corner. There are appropriately grandiose orchestral backings for the open-world segments, and when it’s time to fight, you get the typical frenzied, synth-driven battle music. However, the usual rhythms are disrupted by composer Nobuo Uematsu’s “Eternity,” which plays during each boss battle.

“Eternity” is a very weird boss theme, structured as sort of a neverending hook. Because it plays during every big showdown, it’s easy to grow accustomed to its assault, in a Stockholm syndrome kind of way. The lyrics—written by Dragon’s scribe himself, Hironobu Sakaguchi—are incomprehensibly shrieked by the song’s vocalist. It sounds like a South Park rendition of Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan. But in fact it actually is Gillan wailing lines like, “This is the beginning, here’s where it all gets started! WAHHHHHYEAHH!!” against increasingly manic organ and guitar solos. The song seems absurd at first—almost likable—but quickly becomes irritating, until it becomes hilarious again. I experience these stages of song-listening grief ever time I hear the piece, and that mental bargaining has likely cemented “Eternity” in the scarred psyches of Blue Dragon players for, dare I say it, eternity.

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  • Aurora Boreanaz

    That.  Is.  Effing awful.

    First off, boss fights shouldn’t have vocals AT ALL unless they’re background choir or Gregorian chants.

    Second, a song that plays during EVERY boss fight that says “This is the beginning, here’s where it all gets started” is effing stupid.

    Third, GOOD GOD THIS SONG IS TERRIBLE!

    Thankfully for me it isn’t an earworm, because if I had this garbage stuck in my head for more than a few seconds I’d probably stab my eardrums out with my Pilot G-2-07 pen here.

    • Aaron Riccio

      Yeah. That’s awful. That sounds like a fan’s parody of a rock song that you might hear in a video game . . . to think that it actually wound UP shredding its way through Blue Dragon. Then again, from what little I remember of that game, wasn’t it somewhat of a serio-parody of the RPG genre? (You were fighting poo, no?)

      • dreadguacamole

          Poo snakes were the only fun bit in that game. The gameplay had a weird, barren feel, where the systems didn’t really feel developed enough to have any sort of depth; kinda like a MyFirstJRPG, but really not fun.

        • HilariousNPC

          I was trying to describe to some friends about how awful this song was, and I made the faux “WhOaaaoaoaoaoaoaoao”, and one of them said, “You describe every song you hate that way.”

          Then I found the song on Youtube, and played it for him, and the aforementioned “WhOaaaoaoaoaoaoaoao” part begins, and he said that I had basically described everything exactly the way it was.

          That scream at the end of the bridge reminds me of Eddie Money showing up in that GEICO commercial and trying to sing “2 Tickets to Paradise”. Just some washed up old rocker who knows that he’s garbage, and he can’t possibly make this sound cool, but he’s totally willing to take a paycheck if you think it’s worth it.

    • Binsbein

      Sorry, I think Nier, MadWorld, and both No More Heroes’ boss music are better with vocals. Get your hands off my stuff old man.

      • dreadguacamole

         Dude, You’ve got a thousand shitty j-pop* numbers stacked against you; those examples are just exceptions to the rule.

        • HilariousNPC

          NAAAAAA NANA NA NA NA NA NA KATAMARI DAMASHIIIIIIIII~!

    • Ack_Ack

      I bought this game a few years ago when I was sick and it was only $10.  Worst game I’ve ever played.  There’s a little blue guy in the game who has a voice like acidic sandpaper coated in herpes.  Very hard to listen to.

    • rvb1023

      I’m not totally against vocals in boss fight music, this song is just egregiously stupid.  Reminds me of one of the Final Fantasy XIII-2 themes that sounds alright until the vocals kick in, though these guys get screaming a bit better than the guy in the article did.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uncwKFZflS0

    • aklab

      Liked for the Pilot G-2 07.  That pen is awesome.  

    • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

       Obviously, it’s opposite day wherever you are because this song is THE FUCKING TITS. Holy crap. I have zero interest in playing this game, and probably never will, but getting to hear this at each boss battle would be the carrot that would keep me going.

      It gives me a real Rhapsody vibe.

    • George_Liquor

      Wow, hell of a fall from Billy Joe Royal to this dreck. I know a man’s gotta eat, but isn’t there at least a state fair to play?

    • http://twitter.com/MikoSquiz Miko the Squiz

      Nobue Uematsu is always pretty terrible, that special kind of hyper-competent terribility that produces Aerosmith ballads at one end of the scale and boy band smash hits at the other. If he was the in-house composer for a B-movie stable, nobody would ever have heard of him. Lucky for him Square got him.

  • doyourealize

    This should be available as a free download for Guitar Hero. Since I’m at school, I couldn’t watch the embedded video, but was interested enough to look it up and find this, a “misheard lyrics” version of the song. Featuring gems like “Fear an awl / In your eye / With that chicken steaming now.” Terrifyingly, I think the actual lyrics are worse.

  • ItsTheShadsy

    DAYTOOONNAAA-A-A-A
    LET’S GO AWAY
    DAYTOOONNAAA-A-A-A
    THIS IS THE BEGINNING
    HERE’S WHERE IT ALL GETS STARTED
    SEARCHING HANDS, YOU ARE BLIND
    STARING DOWN ETERNITY
    WEY HEY HEY HEY

    • Binsbein

      PUMPKIN IN THE ALLEY

  • rvb1023

    I’m with Matt, this is hilarious.  I honestly can’t believe that Uematsu attached his name to this.  Him and vocals (Ignoring pretentious non-latin ones) do not mix.  It also sounds like the singer is having trouble singing the song, which I don’t blame him for.

    By the way, I did not like Blue Dragon and this was my first experience with it’s soundtrack.  I’m not pining for more.

    • Bad Horse

      This doesn’t surprise me one bit coming from the guy who wrote Dancing Mad. The Venn diagram with ELP fans and Dragonforce fans is mostly one overlapping circle.

      • rvb1023

        …But I love Dancing Mad…

        Okay yes, FF fans are among the worst.

  • stakkalee

    Aww yeahhh, I think I just found a new ringtone.  RAWKON!!

  • Colonel

    This song is one of the many highlights of Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden.  I think the system folder for this song read “Holy shit, the singer from Deep Purple did this.”

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

      Oh lord, I had no idea that was from this game. I was laughing so hard during when I first heard it in Barkley though.

      This is the fucking greatest thing.

      My favorite part of Barkley was the save points though.

    • http://twitter.com/sl2c William

      It was actually, and I quote, “jesus christ the guy from deep purple sang this”

  • http://twitter.com/tapirman Kyle O’Reilly

    People actually played Blue Dragon? I’d heard nothing but terrible things about it.

    • Asinus

      A friend of mine snagged a bunch of Sakaguchi’s games not long after they came out, but held off playing them until we could allot some time to play through them together. They were all terrible. I liked the Dragonball look of Blue Dragon, but, goddamn if the game itself didn’t wear thin really, really quickly. I think by the time we got around to checking BD out, we had stopped giving the games the benefit of the doubt and quit pretty early on. It seems like I remember making a lot of fun of this song, but hell if I remembered what it actually sounded like. Who would think this is good and be like, “Oh yeah, go ahead with this one. This will be great, people will love it!” The best game music, in my opinion anyway, and Uematsu had been good at this, is the sort that works so well and so seamlessly, that you don’t really notice it unless you want to. This is horrible, grating crap. Hilarious, though. 

      • HilariousNPC

        Ever since Sakaguchi got fired from Square, every single one of his games has been a case of “Oh yeah, Square? Well watch this! Sakaguchi’s gonna go back to the well and dig some of that old magic up! You’ll regret fucking with me!”

        And then he makes a game that’s based off of 20 year old RPG mechanics, but with an inconsequential TWIST!

        I’d rented this from Gamefly, and here’s the precise moment in the story where the above song, the “Attack/Defend/Magic/Item” system, and the goddamn kids made me put the game back in the envelope and ship it out:

        Little dipshits fight boss.
        Clone of past Toryiama-works main character, who is a painful failed attempt to recapture the glory of Chrono Trigger: “You can’t defeat me! I’ll never give up.”

        Boss jettisons the shits out of his airship.
        They all plummet to their death.
        Bubble surrounds the characters, sadly allowing them to live.

        Stupid Toriyama girl: “Why are we flying?”
        MC: “I know why. It’s because I said I’d never give up.”

        FUCK. YOU. SAKAGUCHI.

  • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

    WOW. Okay, I kind of need to play this game right now. This song is FUCKING AMAZING.

    I’ll probably never have an XBox 360, and my patience for bog-standard JRPGs is at an all-time low, though. So I’ll just save this YouTube video to my “Favorites” for frequent revisiting.

    • http://twitter.com/DisinfoAgent Mike Wood

      If you want to play something prominently featuring this song, download the excellent PC RPG “Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden – Part 1 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa.” It’s a sequel to Space Jam imagined as a pitch-perfect sendup of 90s console RPGs set in a postcyberpocalyptic future where basketball is outlawed. I am completely serious. It’s a fantastic game.

      • Bad Horse

        Oh my freaking god why am I just hearing about this now? This game came out 4 years ago and nobody told me? 

      • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

         You know, I gave that game a pass because it seemed like “Wacky Internet Non-Sequitir: The Game.” But the inclusion of this song may just be enough to get me on board.