The World is Square – Stay Awhile and Listen Review

By Nick DeLong On 1 May, 2014 At 11:18 PM | Mission: Main Featured, Reviews | With 0 Comment

As a music loving, old school gaming lover of Japanese RPGs, it’s difficult to find something quite as unique and satisfying as The World is Square. Their folksy takes on this collection of JRPG tunes are at once relaxing and immensely nostalgic, lending themselves to plenty of gaming memories from my youth. On that point alone, Stay Awhile and Listen, their sophomore release, really tugs on my heartstrings. Heck, the name of the record (and the opening track’s vocal sound bite) are taken from Diablo 2, a game that I adventured through for almost a decade.

It was love at first listen.

As their name implies, The World is Square focuses their sound primarily on Squaresoft (that’s right; screw Squenix!) classics, with the odd outsider thrown in for good measure. Stay Awhile’s tracklist (which I will include below in an information section) heavily features Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger/Cross classics, with a Grandia 2 and Super Mario RPG track tossed in to round it out. While all of the songs are enjoyable, I must say that those from Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross stand out as superior to the rest, mostly due to the strength of their original compositions and how well they fit The World is Square’s folk-tinged instrumental sound.

On that note, the performances themselves are great. Using a more traditional collection of instruments, like acoustic guitars and a hand drum, the World is Square easily stands out among their more electric VGM peers. As much as I love big, booming, loud music, I found myself really enjoying these performances, often preferring these takes to their heavier counterparts from other groups. It’s nice to have something to listen to while I’m just trying to relax and get some work done, and Stay Awhile and Listen is a frontrunner for such an essential playlist.

Ultimately, Stay Awhile and Listen is a beautifully performed, eclectic collection of music that fans of JRPGs and folk music will adore. It of course won’t appeal to everyone, but those willing to give it a listen will surely find themselves smiling and reaching for their SNES or PS1 controllers. A true labour of love that deserves your attention and support. [9]

Nate Horsfall’s gorgeous, FFX-inspired cover art

For more information on The World is Square and their music, please visit theworldissquare.net or follow them on Facebook and Twitter. You can listen to and purchase their music right here.

Stay Awhile and Listen will be available on May 10th and features the following tracks:

1. Wait. (FFVI) – Shadow’s Theme
2. 6:10:50 (FFVI) – Zozo Town Theme
3. Millennial Falcon Fair. (Chrono Trigger) – Millennial Fair
4. Tim’s Car.(Chrono Cross)- Time’s Scar
5. Kitchen Nightmare Village People. (Grandia II) – Nightmare Village (A Great Unknown Anxiety)
6. Ipso! Facto! (Chrono Trigger) – Delightful Spekkio
7. Damn! That’s a Funky Frog. (Chrono Trigger) – Frog’s Theme
8. Damn! That’s a Funky Mog. (FFVI) – Mog’s Theme
9. Schala Bread. (Chrono Trigger) – Schala’s Theme
10. ZelBass. (Chrono Cross) – SS Zelbess
11. Optimism Prime. (Chrono Cross) – Optimism / Solt + Peppor’s Theme
12. Packie Theme. (FF: Tactics) – Shop Theme
13. Beware the Forest 1/8th of Mushrooms. (Super Mario RPG) – Beware the Forest Mushrooms
14. Under the Apple Cider Tree. (FF: Crisis Core) – Under the Apple Tree

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