'Simple and Clean'
Japanese songstress Hikaru Utada's popularity makes her the perfect performer to tap for movie and video game theme songs. Her upbeat and catchy 'Simple and Clean' ('Hikari' in Japan, where it was a No. 1 hit for three weeks) served as the theme song for the original 'Kingdom Hearts,' 'Chain of Memories' and 'Birth by Sleep.' It seems as if Square Enix likes this song just as much as the fans!
'Katamari on the Rocks'
Namco's bizarre junk-rolling game 'Katamari Damacy' had a varied and very memorable soundtrack, but no song stands out as much as the endlessly hummable main theme. It doesn't hurt that 'Katamari Nah-Nah' probably has the easiest lyrics of any game theme song ever created. 'Katamari on the Rocks' takes that theme and adds a full band and background voices to put it over the top.
'You're Not Here'
'Silent Hill 3'
The third outing of Konami's survival horror series continued the tradition of great music by composer Akira Yamaoka, but he outdid himself with the vocal theme 'You're Not Here,' with its haunting guitars and strong, driving beat. The vocal performance is by Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, a veteran voice actor and a regular singer for game and anime themes.
'Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII'
'Final Fantasy VII' came out right before the vocal theme song craze, but Square Enix made up for it with the 2008 release of the game's prequel, 'Crisis Core.' In this game, they tapped J-pop singer Ayaka for the ending theme, which was released alongside the game as a single in Japan.
'Suteki da ne'
'Final Fantasy X'
Translating to "Wonderful, isn't it?" in Japanese, 'Suteki da ne' carried over Square's 'Final Fantasy' love song streak to the PlayStation 2. Much like in 'Final Fantasy IX,' the game creators teased this theme all the way up until the climactic ending, where it was revealed as a fully produced recording, sung by Japanese singer Rikki.
'Kingdom Hearts II'
Hikaru Utada's 'Passion/Sanctuary' was the theme song to Square Enix's 'Kingdom Hearts II,' following up its insanely popular predecessor, 'Simple and Clean,' which was also recorded by the Japanese pop star. While 'Passion' may not have charted as well in Japan, fans of the Disney/Square Enix fantasy collaboration have no less love for it. In fact, die-hard fans will point out that there are secret messages to be found by playing the English language version backwards.
Composer Yasunori Mitsuda knew he had to strongly follow his work on 'Xenogears' with this series continuation, 'Xenosaga,' which was released on the PS2 in 2003. He again called on Irish singer Joanne Hogg for vocals, and revisited the Celtic themes and instrumentation with his ending song 'Kokoro.' It was released as a single in Japan, with its b-side being the other 'Xenosaga' vocal song, 'Pain,' which was also recorded by Hogg.
'Small Two of Pieces'
Mitsuda originally called upon Joanne Hogg for the vocal performances for PlayStation role-playing game 'Xenogears,' and has continued to work with her in subsequent games, much to the delight of fans. What started this fine musical partnership is the reception of the beautiful song 'Small Two of Pieces,' the ending theme to 'Xenogears.'
'Melodies of Life'
'Final Fantasy IX'
The love song most likely to stick in the heads of gamers back in 2001 was probably 'Final Fantasy IX''s love theme, 'Melodies of Life.' The song frequently made an appearance in the role-playing game's score in various forms, but hearing the full vocal version by Emiko Shiratori in-game is an especially memorable treat.
'Eyes on Me'
'Final Fantasy VIII'
It wasn't until the second disc-based release for the 'Final Fantasy' series that Square Enix tried to include a title theme song. The response was so overwhelmingly positive that it's doubtful that they will ever release a game without a theme song again. 'Final Fantasy VIII''s love song, 'Eyes on Me,' became popular enough to be released as a single in Japan, and eventually won a Song of the Year award in 2000.