If you didn't know I am a fairly big EarthBound fan. Since 1995 this game has been one of, if not, my favorite games of all time and one of the reasons why I love the game so much is the music. The soundtrack is very much different from other RPGs on the SNES as it doesn't go for the orchestral style most commonly found in those games and instead goes for a more horn heavy style that feels like, to me anyways, that it is being played by a band. Of course my understanding of music is pretty limited so forgive me my rather limited takes on music. As it is though, I know what I like and I like EarthBound's music It is probably my favorite soundtrack in any video game and while this Top 10 list is certainly just my opinion, I hope you will enjoy my selections in anticipation for EarthBound finally getting released onto the Virtual Console this year. I'll try to black out spoilers as necessary.
Just a weird song. A weird song you get to listen to while beating up on the local New Age Retro Hippies, who might I remind you started the fight. It seems even the free love and peace types are also easily susceptible to subtle evil that emanates from Giygas. This is one of the tunes that may have been the reason that EarthBound was held up from being on the Virtual Console in the first place since it samples from Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Barry. The song Marty McFly plays at his parent's prom. It makes for a fun fight song as you beat the evil out of the local smelly hippies that infest Twoson.
One of the many travel songs that play during EarthBound. This song occurs when when Jeff meets his father Dr. Andonuts at his Stonehedge Laboratory and uses the UFO shaped Sky Runner to rescue Ness and Paula and then when the trio take a trip back to Winters and then to Summers. The song just feels like something that you would listen to while riding in such an oddly shaped flying contraption.
Runaway 5 Twoson
The first song you ever get to listen to by the Runaway 5, the constantly indebted band who can't seem to keep from being swindled by manipulative theater owners. Strangely enough there are 6 members in the band but you never see him in the groups dressing room, only on stage. How mysterious. The Runaway 5 have a Blues Brothers type feel to them and while their music might not perfectly match the style of that duo they do have the same penchant for getting caught in odd situations.
As maybe the most meta moment in the game, Shigesato Itoi through Dungeon Designer turned Dungeon Man Brick Road pontificates on the rather odd nature of the RPG dungeon. Whether it is about the way monsters are seemingly attracted to them, the availability of rest stops or the signs that point out these weird tendencies of everything is kind of surreal. The music itself is no different as it doesn't seem to have a real logic to it but to be weird. Weird as it may be Brick Road seems to be happy with it and isn't that all that matters?
The theme that plays when traveling through Winters is a song that nicely encapsulates the feeling of walking through a snowy area with the bells and all. It feels like a song you would listen to during Christmas season or walking during the winter. Which is appropriate isn't it?
As the sun rises as you leave the Minch household this song starts and Ness, armed with the Sound Stone, start's his journey proper. Up till this the music has had a kind of otherworldly or nighttime feel to it and this really gives a feel that you a starting on a long quest while being a comforting song of still being close to home and not yet fully into the strange locals and beings that Ness and his friends will eventually run across. But first you've got to take out Frank and the Sharks.
After learning the 8 parts of the melody necessary to open the path to defeating Giygas, Ness is pulled into a world created when Ness simultaneously observed himself as a baby while as a baby observed himself observing him. Confusing I know. As maybe the strangest place in all of EarthBound, Magicant is place where Ness's hopes, dreams, victories, failures and fears all converge to create a world within his mind. Here memories take human form and provide him a sort of safety and comfort that he wishes for. But yet there is a darkness and Ness will have to fight that darkness if he is to ever unlock his true potential. The song has a very dreamy quality and goes from being kind of off kilter in the happier part of Magicant to the places where enemies reside where the music takes a more somber, dreary tone.
Because I Love You
Ness and his friends beat the odds and defeat the very essence of evil, Giygas. After being returned to their human bodies this song starts and the four friends separate. Poo goes back to Dalaam, Jeff stays with his father and Ness has to escort Paula back to Twoson before heading home himself. The song has a melancholy pace to it but yet is a happy song as Ness has saved they world, if not the universe, and all he has to do now is go home and be a kid again. Of course you don't have to do it right away as Ness is free to travel to almost any place he previously visited in the game and find out what became of the various people he met along the way. It is a great song that doesn't make you in a hurry while still feeling like it is encouraging you to finally end Ness's journey.
Pokey Means Business
As far I am concerned this is my personal favorite song in the game though I felt I had to give the nod to the number one. The reason why I like this song so much is that it is very distinct from the rest of EarthBound's music. The song starts off as a rather offbeat but typical EarthBound song only at the 50 seconds mark to shift into maybe the best heavy metal riff the SNES could produce. And since it the song that plays while Pokey is there, starring at you from behind that pig-like countenance of his in his spider-mech thing while Giygas in the Devil's Machine looks on, it really feels like the tone has changed from before and you are in the fight of your life.
Cast Roll and Credits Roll
I know this is kind of a cheat but yet when I consider these two songs I consider them part of a whole. The cast roll is very upbeat and happy while credits roll is a sad tune signalling the end of the game. To me they go so well together separating them just feels wrong somehow. In fact the EarthBound soundtrack I have includes them together and that is good enough for me. Both songs represent to me the emotional highs EarthBound's music can create and are a very fitting way to end the game.
I hope you guys enjoyed my Top 10 EarthBound Songs. This is a game that means a lot to me and sharing my favorite songs from the game also means something to me. Listening through the many songs of EarthBound always makes me happy and it is a shame I could only fit 10 (I guess 11) onto this list. If you have any favorites be sure to share them! And I hope that when EarthBound is released on the Virtual Console that those of you who haven't gotten to play this game will be able to enjoy it as much as I have.
I'm happy to see Pokey Means Business placed so high in this list As a metal music fan, I enjoy hearing metal-esque music tracks in video games, and Pokey Means Business was a particularly entertaining one.
Nice list! It's a good mix of EB's stronger melodies and its more eclectic, unique-sounding songs.
I can't disagree with the top 1 (two) at all--both Good Friends/Bad Friends and Smiles & Tears are marvelous in their own way, and a perfect way to wrap up the game.
There are a couple songs I have to give a shout-out to though, and they're among my favorites. I love Twoson's small-town feel; it's hopeful and pleasant while also being upbeat enough to feel like an adventure. Fourside is up there too, with its big-band arrangement perfectly accenting the fact that you've come a long way and you're stepping into the big city. And a few of the shorter songs are real stand-outs to me as well, such as the Hotel theme and Drugstore theme (Humoresque of a Little Dog), which to me really help define what EB is.
Pokey Means Business always really stuck out to me as well; the 8-bit into hard rock idea is inspired. I have to say, though, I greatly prefer the awesome melody in the first part of the song to the somewhat aimless rock in the second part.
I really wanted to include Humoresque of a Little Dog but it just fell out as I really wanted to include the Hippie Battle Theme more. Just the limits of a Top 10 I guess. Also yes I do agree that the metal section of Pokey Means Business is chaos but yet I think it fits that overall battle perfectly. And the fact that it is so out of step with the rest of the game's soundtrack just makes it more memorable to me.
Ah, so wonderful to have a fellow fan of all things EarthBound among the Negative Worlders. The music in EarthBound, and sound effects and such in general, tell just as much of the tale as the words and visuals. The sound design is perhaps one of the greatest video game marvels of our time.
Your list is a fine one, indeed, though it does differ from what I consider favorites quite a bit. However, your placement of, Because I Love You (Love & Peace), probably matches mine. I have a hard time ranking things, but I generally know the abouts. This song is softly beautiful in the most wondrous of ways.
I can't claim my favorite at this time, but I would like to mention a few of my top picks:
I was thinking of asking if you wanted to give me some thoughts seeing as you are the only other EarthBound icon sporting Negative World poster. Just for fun. But alas, I started putting this together late last night and it slipped my mind.
As much as I like Earthbound, the music has never particularly stood out to me. In most cases it suits the areas in the game well, but it's never been anything I have wanted to listen to outside of the context of the game as Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy, etc. have.
Not only that, but Earthbound's rendition of my favourite Mother piece, "Pollyanna," is kind of terrible. The original version may be my favourite piece of music from any game ever, but the composition in Earthbound ruins it by making it sound melancholy.
As for the list, I don't know if I could rank them as you have, but most of those would be on my own. Dungeon Man, Magicant, and Pokey are the three that I wouldn't pick. For ones not mentioned, one of my faves has to be Fourside, which really captures the feel of a big city. I first heard the SSBMelee version of this piece and didn't think much of it, and was surprised when I played the game and discovered that the original was so different. On the battle theme side, I liked the one where they somehow managed techno on the SNES, which is apparently called Kraken of the Sea. For a more obscure rendition, even though it's barely ten seconds, I've always liked the "music" in the Cave of the Present. It really embodies the distortion of the place.
Oooh, we should do a collaboration together on an EarthBound thread in the future. Perhaps when the VC release nears. That would be gnarly! It is nice, indeed, to see someone else sport an EB avatar. I switch mine around for some reason, but always gravitate back to King, or now, the Territorial Oak. It's what I used to use on IGN, so I thought I'd use him again - only this time I made him blink!
I also meant to mention earlier that I liked and enjoyed reading the descriptions you gave to each selection.