EarthBound – “Smiles and Tears” (Keichi Suzuki)

September 8, 2010

EarthBound has a great soundtrack. It really does. Keichi Suzuki (EarthBound series). There’s comedy, there’s horror, there’s intensity, there’s weirdness…in short, the entire game is summed up in this one song, “Smiles and Tears.” The track plays during the credits and displays photographs taken during your adventures around the world. With each image, you remember the event that happened here with laughter – but you also know it’s time to say goodbye to the friends you met in this game.

EarthBound – “Smiles and Tears” (Keichi Suzuki, Hirokazu Tanaka)

“Smiles and Tears” has a mix of joy and sorrow, nostalgia and melancholy, all wrapped into an enchanting piano piece. The notes climb high, seeking happiness of friendship, and the short steps of the notes gives the track a confident, homely feel. At 2:04, we’re given the theme played back in minor key – the sadness of leaving friends and loved ones behind. But at 2:33, we dry our tears through resolution, reassurance – and hope. Everything is going to be alright because we still have the memories. From here, we return again to the main theme, this time with confidence (3:20) which slowly builds in intensity until we have a pause – and a synthesized voice – and the song fades away into disollution.

In the collaborative EarthBound remix project, Bound Together, Dhsu produced a touching piano arrange called “Bound Together.” His hands deftly play with a kind of tenderness from someone immersed in the emotion of the piece.
Actually, there are also some lyrics that go with this song, too. The only work in Japanese, but there is a literal English translation available. The lyrics were written by the game’s designer, Shigesato Itoi, and they were included with the Japanese version of the game. Players were encouraged to sing along. This video is the official lyrical version by Keichi Suzuki. I also like this fan rendition, but it doesn’t have karaoke.

I haven’t lived even half as long as adults have,
but I do have plenty of memories in my backpack
My favorite baseball cap, my sneakers with worn-out heels
Deep in my pocket is my worn-down guitar pick
There were some things sad enough to make tears come out,
but you were always by my side
I thought of the two of us as just friends the whole time
I probably loved you without ever realizing it

We walked while we laughed, played, and got hurt
I realized it as we took shortcuts and went in circles:
that even if you can’t believe in everyone
you can’t cast aside a heart you do believe in
You made me stronger just being who you are
Like a gentle wind blowing and swaying the grass
you always walked with a smile

Yes, the two who shared smiles and tears one after the other…..
(I miss you)
…..are now far apart…..

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