Alola, PokéNerds! Welcome to this week’s Straight Outta Kanto blog post. Straight Outta Kanto is Ireland’s number one spot for Nerd Culture, Nostalgia, Nightmares and… more!
This week, we’ll be briefly discussing and ranking our personal favourite Pokémon soundtracks from the main RPG series. Lightly covering all eight generations so far to see if everything really was better in the old days, or if the modern soundtracks can hold their own against our collective nostalgia.
This is by no means definitive, and entirely personal, so please, enjoy!
(8) Pokémon X & Y:
Coming “last” in our list is… Gen six! I have a lot of love for poor old Kalos, unlike a lot of Pokémon fans out there. Compared to the epic and intense family dramas of both Gen five and seven sandwiching it, X and Y really does fall flat in comparison.
While the Kalos soundtrack is pleasant, charming and whimsical enough in it’s own right – compared to the unique and original soundtracks of the other games, the music feels like the storyline – safe.
Little sound effects in the themes mimic the environment the player is in (ie. the clock sounds in Anistar City etc.), adding a heightened immersion in the game. Sadly this is still not enough to make X & Y any more memorable than its other comrades in the franchise.
Best theme from the game? Lysandre’s cafe theme:
(7) Pokémon Black & White:
I know I’m placing this at seven, but I do really love the Gen Five soundtrack. It’s darker and more sweepingly epic. The N and Ghetsis storyline was the most intense and plot heavy storyline Pokémon had to date attempted. The entire game was more mature and catered for an older audience – and the soundtrack reflected this.
Keeping the quirky Nintendo-esque game music where applicable, regal choral vocals and crashing organs abound in this magnificently melodramatic soundtrack.
While the themes from N’s childhood bedroom and the Ghetsis Battle Theme would be up there as fan favourites, my personal favourite is:
(6) Pokémon Sword & Shield:
Gen Eight is coming in at number six! I don’t know whether I’m just blinded by how good everything sounds on the Nintendo Switch or if the music of Galar really is just that good. The themes sound more like full numbers rather than just accompanying music and the diverse range of instruments and effects prove for a really stand-out sonic experience. We will have to wait and see if it stands the test of time as a classic Pokémon soundtrack, but it looks promising. I think everyone’s favourite piece of music from Galar is… :
(5) Pokémon Sun and Moon:
Gen Seven gets a lot of slack from the online community at large but personally I found Alola to be rich in history, lore, humour and activities. I found Team Skull one of the more engaging ‘evil’ teams, thought the Lusamine storyline to be on par with the Gen Five Ghetsis/N one and found Alola to have some of the most post-game content and mini-games out of all the games. Also. Dat musicc tho.
I find the Hawaiian themes and overtones extremely uplifting and the over-all listening experience a very therapeutic one. Rural and laid-back in places, ominous and atmospheric in others – there’s something for everyone in Alola.
My favourite theme? It’s ya boi…
(4) Pokémon Gold & Silver:
Still torn about whether or not to leave this as is or put it in the Top 3, but I need to pick a pot and piss – so here it is.
Gen Two. The Gen that brought us “…” The only Gen with a multi-region function. That beautiful retro sound, the Japanese influenced motifs – the soundtrack for Gold & Silver really is heart-wrenching and memorable.
Dramatic and atmospheric in places, unique and surprising in others. The sweeping piano laced laid-back music for Goldenrod Park, the joyous and serene Surfing theme and eerie as feck Ruins of Alph soundtrack.
This is weeby nostalgia at its finest. And guess what I love!? That’s right:
(3) Pokémon Diamond & Pearl:
SEND… IN… THE… … … WHAMMY BARS!
I love Gen Four so much. I feel the soundtrack embodies everything charming and wonderful about the original early Pokémon game soundtracks. Which as Gen Four was meant to be a love letter of sorts to the earlier generations, it makes sense. Jaunty and hopeful with enhanced sound effects and atmosphere due to the greater capacity of the Nintendo DS’s sound system. And of course, the whammy bars. Some great little power rock numbers in these games (and I don’t just mean Geodude…!)
My favourite track of all time from any Pokémon game ever has got to be (oontz oontz oontz oontz oontz):
(2) Pokémon Red & Blue:
The generation that started it all! One of gaming’s single most well-loved, endearing and iconic soundtracks of all time. Every single last one of them standing the test of time and even incorporating themselves agelessly into the newer games.
The literal soundtrack to my childhood… teenage years… and twenties. And let’s face it. It’ll soundtrack my thirties too.
Here is the single most dramatic and nostalgic music my little nerdness can summon up for you. The ab. so. lute. tension:
(1) Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire:
TRUMPETS BROTHER! HARK! THE TRUMPETS!
Where do I even begin!? The most playful and jubilant soundtrack that just sucks you in for a full Hoenn immersion. AND THE TRUMPETS! MY GOD! The trumpets.
I tried to keep to just the original main games with this post but I can’t mention Hoenn without mentioning the absolutely stellar soundtrack from the Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire reboots. They took the original themes and enhanced them magnificently with the improved technology at their disposal for the 3DS.
From the epicness that is Wally’s Theme, the Apocalypse Theme, Zinnia’s Theme, the Hurtling Into Space on A Rayquaza To Battle Deoxys With Your Cosplay Pikachu Theme, the rapturous Slateport City song even all the way down to the lowly Hiker’s Battle Music – Gen Three is just bursting with numerous classic anthems.
I think we should honour our fallen little warrior wally with this:
There we have it, nerdlings! Keep watching the skeys! I mean, skies!
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