There are certain songs in my life that, no matter when, where, or even why I hear them, have a much more powerful impact on me than songs I might love. To put it another way, listening to these songs provides an experience rather than a reaction. I like to refer to these as “songs etched into my heart.” There are three video game songs that elicit such a response regardless of how often I hear them. The first is the song “Sacrifices” from the Super Nintendo game ActRaiser. Second is the vocal theme song for Final Fantasy IX, titled “Melodies of Life.”
Lastly, and more relevantly, is “The Ballad of the Wind Fish” from Link’s Awakening.
Medli’s Melodies is a series in which we choose our favorite songs from The Legend of Zelda franchise, or highlight a special piece of music from the perpetually creative fan community. Music has always such been such an integral component of Zelda games, and we’re here to celebrate that every week!
It’s sometimes strange to think about how impactful the song is, what with it being simple beeps and boops. Walking around Mabe Village only to find Marin singing this wonderful song was an experience I will never forget. I must have only been six or seven years old when I first heard this song, as I had the DX version of the game and a Game Boy Color. Perhaps it was because I felt so lonely as a child that I learned at a young age to engross myself in things and understand them at a deeper level. Whatever the case, Marin singing “Ballad of the Wind Fish” was something that helped me to appreciate music in general.
I was watching a friend’s live stream when I heard it in their intermission: a beautiful rendition of one of my most beloved Zelda songs, “Ballad of the Wind Fish.” Upon hearing it, I was brought to tears. Those memories from so long ago came rushing back, and that song etched in my heart became even grander than it had ever been. The song itself reminded me of when I first heard the song all those years ago as a child. Those feelings of loneliness and sadness, but the comfort of having my video games in front of me to pick me up when I was feeling down.
This remix of “Ballad of the Wind Fish” is by the amazing and talented Rozen. Though it starts as an orchestrated piece — which in and of itself is fantastic — it is when the vocals kick in that the song becomes something truly special. It’s strange, but it’s hard for me to figure out how to write about what makes this song truly so powerful without simply saying “The entire song is just great!” No matter what words I try to put together, it doesn’t ever feel right.
I suppose it’s the memories associated with this game and the initial, euphoric feelings it provides me that make it seem as though words could never be enough. During that time in my youth, I dealt with a lot of bullying and being an unwilling loner. My parents fought and argued and would I hole myself up in my room all day, treating each day as something to get through rather than something to live in. The only things that made me happy were video games. Exploring their worlds, learning all sorts of new things from them, and triumphing over insurmountable challenges. Link’s Awakening came into my life while I was still unable to fully process these emotions. I knew they were there, but I had no idea what to truly think of them.
I think when I did hear “Ballad of the Wind Fish” it, in a sense, resonated with me and my emotions in an unwritten way. I also think Rozen’s version of “Ballad of the Wind Fish” represents the evolution of who I am now from who I was then. I’m no longer that same child I was, but I still hold onto all the childhood things I consider dear to me. The yearning for friendship. The desire to live a peaceful life. These hopes are the best way I can explain how powerful I find this song to be; it makes me remember all of my past and present feelings and goes beyond being something that “sounds good,” as it were.
I suppose for some this may seem silly or even downright absurd. But I believe music has a strong power to it; music does indeed soothe the savage beast. Rozen has created a very wonderful song and I can easily say it’s one of my favorites. I can also say with certainty that it’s a ballad etched into my heart, right alongside all the others.