The Final Fantasy 7 Remake ending theme is something a little different to the series norm. Hollow is a raw, emotional number that plays during the credits, offering a deep and somewhat downbeat insight into one of the characters. Here, we’ll provide the lyrics along with some further information about this excellent and interesting song.
Below the lyrics, we will delve into their meaning, inevitably leading into SPOILERS of the original Final Fantasy 7 along with Final Fantasy 7 Remake.
Here’s everything you need to know about the FF7R ending theme ‘Hollow’.
Who sings the Final Fantasy 7 Remake credits theme ‘Hollow’?
The vocals of Hollow are sung by Yosh from Survive Said the Prophet, who felt honoured to be offered the role in such an iconic project.
It was composed by the legendary Nobuo Uematsu himself, who discusses the song in a ‘Behind the scenes’ video on Youtube. When asked about Yosh’s appeal, Uematsu says:
“The sound of his voice, without a doubt. His voice, and his amazing vocal range. It makes you think ‘Wow, how high can this guy go?’ And in his case his appeal is completely different between the low, middle and high ranges”
Anyone who can impress Uematsu is definitely doing something right. Yosh was also trusted to let loose with the emotion of the words, rather than being confined by the composition itself. The end result definitely reflected that.
Lyrics for Final Fantasy 7 Remake credits theme ‘Hollow’
Here are the song’s full lyrics from start to finish, which we’ll break down afterwards.
I would be lost, drifting along
Floating up high, time after time
And there you’d be, shining brightly
Your smiling face, to guide my way
Bloody and bruised, brought to my knees
When beaten down, when broken up
You would appear, reach out to me
Heal every wound, and make me whole
Was it all a dream? Will I never know?
Foolish and blind, to everything
Had I realized, had I thought it through
Would you be here, in my embrace?
Shine bright, once more
Guide me, to you
Smile bright, once more
This time, I will never let you go
With your every smile, hiding something more
Dark mysteries, lurking beneath
But I was consumed, with this emptiness
This selfishness, this void to fill
Hear me, once more
Show me, your smile
This time, for sure
I’ll see, the truth hidden inside your tears
But I, I know
That you’re, long gone
But I, I will
Go on, howling and ho-hollow
To never know
Is there a Japanese version of ‘Hollow’?
Nope. Interestingly, the Japanese version of Final Fantasy 7 Remake features the very same English credits theme.
This isn’t unheard of, and was done to keep a consistent image between the different versions of the game. Many English RPG releases feature songs with Japanese lyrics, and vice versa. The Persona series is a good example that represents a bit of both.
WARNING: SPOILERS START IN THE SECTION BELOW
What is the meaning of ‘Hollow’ from Final Fantasy 7 Remake?
In the very same ‘Behind the scenes’ video referenced earlier, Nobuo Uematsu takes the time to explain the inspiration for Hollow and the image that represented it.
“There’s rain pouring over a barren, empty place that I’m visualising in my head. And Cloud is standing there.”
The song comes from Cloud’s perspective, bringing up his feelings of guilt and emptiness. These feelings definitely appear to stem from the original timeline rather than the timeline we have followed during Remake.
Who is ‘Hollow’ about in Final Fantasy 7 Remake?
It’s clear that Hollow is about Cloud and Aerith.
I have seen it theorised that Hollow could be about Aerith, Tifa or even Zack, but based on the lyrics and some additional trivia I believe I can put a compelling case forward in favour of the flower girl.
The meaning of ‘Hollow’ lyrics
Let’s start with the lyrics. I’ve picked out some of the most important lines.
“Your smiling face to guide my way”: This early line may simply be a reflection of Aerith’s positivity, but maybe there’s more to it. To me, it brings back memories of the original game. When the party return to the Highwind at the end of disk 2, Cloud says “Aeris. She was smiling to the end. We have to do something, or that smile will just freeze like that.” Even when the graphics couldn’t reliably show it, her smiling face was a key feature of the character.
“Heal every wound and make me whole”: Aerith may be a formidable magic-user in general, but her biggest talent is for healing. The limit break Healing Wind features in both the original and Remake.
“Was it all a dream? Will I never know?”: Aerith is certainly partial to a dream appearance. It happens in her Chapter 14 scene in Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and she also pops up in Cloud’s dreams immediately after the Temple of Ancients on her way to the Forgotten City.
“This time, I will never let you go”: Well, we all know what happens at the end of disk 1 in the original. Cloud is determined to save Aerith this time around. Now we’re in an alternate timeline, who knows?
“With your every smile, hiding something more”: This definitely rings true of Aerith during Final Fantasy 7 Remake. She clearly has far more knowledge that she lets on. Cloud directly confronts her about this in Chapter 17, before she lays out some further details about the threat posed by Sephiroth in Chapter 18. As the last Ancient, she can hear and understand the calls of the planet.
“But I was consumed with this emptiness. This selfishness, this void to fill”: Cloud’s focus on the void of his own memories and personality pulled his focus towards settling the score with Sephiroth rather than understanding Aeris’s role in saving the planet. When he found out the true, it was too late.
“I know that you’re long gone”: This rules out Tifa who is still by Cloud’s side. Technically this could refer to Zack, but wouldn’t particularly make sense alongside everything else. Surely this is simply another reference to Aerith’s death.
“To never know”: The final line of the song, raw with emotion, is another clear hint. Aerith’s resolution scene in Chapter 14 has an interesting related line – “Don’t fall in love with me. Even if you think you have… it’s not real”. This might all feel bit harsh on Tifa, but the most logical conclusion to this line of Hollow is that Cloud will never really know if his feelings towards Aerith were real, or simply a remnant of Zack’s persona. And he’ll never know if Aerith truly reciprocated them, or whether she was just drawn to Zack’s likeness.
Further ‘Hollow’ trivia
There are some more nuggets of information that shine Hollow’s spotlight straight at Aerith.
The song’s original title was Empty Sky, referencing some of her dialogue. The final line of the game is Aerith saying “I miss it. The steel sky”.
As a sidenote, the meaning of this line has been explained by Nomura: “The sky sort of symbolizes sadness for Aerith. Zack and her mother were both taken away to the sky, the sky above the slums is covered by Shinra, and the calamity that destroyed the Ancients, Jenova, also came from the sky. Knowing all of that, Aerith prefers the artificial steel sky.”
Another tidbit is that an instrumental version called “Hollow Skies” plays in Chapter 8. This is a chapter that centres around Cloud and Aerith, who meet properly and spend time in the Sector 5 slums. The number of mercenary quests completed here also dictates which dress Aerith wears during Chapter 9.
Add it all together, and I suggest there is only one logical conclusion. Hopefully that rests the case – Hollow is about Cloud’s guilt over Aerith’s death.
Check out some further explanations below, where we explore the Final Fantasy 7 Remake ending along with the new ending of Intergrade Intermission: