Soundtrack Saturdays: Katamari Damacy – Que Sera Sera

You may not have noticed, but my YouTube account was terminated a few days ago. I could talk about how annoying and frustrating it is to lose something that I’ve had for years, all due to the site’s inconsistent copyright notice system, but I’ll spare you. It’s fine, really. I’ve restarted from scratch and am currently getting my travel videos reuploaded. I didn’t lost anything important…aside from my favorites list.

Having to redo my favorites list has actually been a blessing in disguise; it’s made me revisit videos and songs that I haven’t heard in ages, like the Katamari Damacy soundtracks. If you’ve followed the blog for a while, you know why I love the Katamari series: A bizarre, hilarious premise involving physics and mythology, accompanied by an eclectic blend of rock, jazz, pop, electronica, mambo, gospel, and pretty much every other musical genre you could possibly think of. “Que Sera Sera” was one of those great standouts in the original game; no one expected chill English lounge music in such a wonderfully strange Japanese game.

If you want more Katamari Damacy, you can listen to the OST here.

Good gaming, good music.

Soundtrack Saturdays: Katamari Forever – Cherry Blossom Color Season

Pretty sure I’ve expounded on the virtues of the Katamari Damacy series a few times. Katamari Forever in particular is a treasure trove of eclectic remixes of songs seen in the older titles. “Cherry Blossom Color Season” hearkens back to the original game, which featured the same tune sung by a Japanese children’s choir. This version by Yuu Miyake not only has the vocals redone, but adds some acoustic guitar and a little Burt Bacharach-style brass into the mix. The result is a strange, but oddly relaxing piece of music.

If you want more Katamari, you can find a partial series OST playlist here.

Good gaming, good music.

Soundtrack Saturdays: Tekken 6 – Yodeling In Meadow Hill (Hidden Retreat)

Continuing my Tekken fix from the last two weeks, I delved deeper into Tekken 6’s OST and found this gem buried deep in the playlist. This is a song exclusive to to the Bloodline Rebellion, which was a re-release of the previous game, but with more characters and rebalanced combat mechanics. “Yodeling In Meadow Hill” continues in the series’ tradition of trying out different genres and blending them together. It’s hard to say if it’s a parody – yodeling, sheep, and the Matterhorn don’t really work with the game’s dark and demonic theming – but it’s undeniably catchy. And if you think it’s silly, you should check out this hilariously cheesy High School Musical parody track in the Wii U version of Tekken Tag Tournament 2. Not so bad now, huh?

If you want more Bloodline Rebellion, you can find the full OST here.

Good gaming, good music.

Soundtrack Saturdays: Tekken 6 – Edge of Spring (Mystical Forest)

Last week, I posted one of my favorite tracks from Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection. In doing so, I realized there were several more awesome songs spread throughout the Tekken series. I decided to check out Tekken 6 first; I’d played it a few years ago, but had mostly forgotten about it. Its soundtrack is an eclectic blend of heavy metal, techno, and instrumentals. Some songs, like the “High Rollers Club,” fit their stage’s tone perfectly. Others, like the “Anger of the Earth,” go for something a little more epic. “Edge Of Spring’s” guitars and piano won me over, though. In a game about demons and martial arts, you need a track like this to mellow things out.

If you want more Tekken 6, you can find the full OST here.

Good gaming, good music.

Soundtrack Saturdays: Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection – Snow Castle

At first glance, it’s easy to overlook Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection. It was an update of the Tekken 5, arguably one of the finest 3D fighters ever made and an impossibly tough act to follow. Rather than giving players a wholly new experience, DR retold the story of the previous game and added two more competitors to the already 30+ character roster. Despite its shortcomings, however, the game was one of the biggest successes in 2006, thanks in part to its release on the PSP. Gamers with the handheld console were clamoring for a high-quality exclusive title, and DR pulled it off spectacularly. Years later, it’s still regarded by some as the pinnacle of the Tekken series.

This is thanks in part to the game’s superb soundtrack. Most of the music features remixes of Tekken 5’s playlist, though “Snow Castle” is entirely new track. The combination of chanting, instrumentals, and rock blend perfectly, giving the fights a decidedly epic tone. It was so popular, it received an orchestrated remix in Tekken Tag Tournament 2. The jury is still out on which one is better, though…

If you want more Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection, you can find the full OST here or here.

Good gaming, good music.

Soundtrack Saturdays: We Love Katamari – Katamari On The Swing

Last week, I posted one of my favorite songs from the We Love Katamari soundtrack. Upon further listening, I realized that I’d completely overlooked “Katamari On The Swing.” Pretty sure no one was expecting swing music in a Japanese niche game. As the replacement for “Katamari On The Rocks” as the game’s main theme, it set the tone of the sequel perfectly: it was bigger, grander, and flashier in every way. Compare the original intro to the one in the sequel, for example. This track was so popular, it got its own synthesized remix in subsequent titles.

If you want more We Love Katamari, you can find the full OST here.

Good gaming, good music.

Soundtrack Saturdays: We Love Katamari – Heaven’s Rain

When Katamari Damacy became a sleeper hit in 2004, Namco decided to take the popularity and run with it. A year after the original game, We Love Katamari was released on the PS2. It’s one of the rare examples of a sequel improving on every aspect of its predecessor. The already bizarre narrative was made even more meta, stages were scaled up, there were hundreds of more interactive objects, challenges were more difficult to complete, and there was far more variety in terms of settings and visuals. You want to build a snowman? Try making one with a head the size of a house. On the game’s final stage, your katamari gradually grew from the size of a small animal to rolling up entire countries in the span of a few minutes. Seriously, check it out.

The soundtrack was greatly expanded as well. While the first game utilized mostly rock and jazz, We Love Katamari delved more into instrumentals, beatboxing, and techno tracks. “Heaven’s Rain” is one of the more relaxing songs in the game. The soothing vocals, accordion, and strings always made me want to just kick back and finish the stage at a slow pace…then the beats kicked in.

If you want more We Love Katamari, you can find the full OST here.

Good gaming, good music.

Soundtrack Saturdays: Katamari Forever – Katamari On The Funk (Senor Coconut’s Katamambo! Remix)

If there’s any musical genre that was unexpected for the Katamari Damacy series, it was probably Mambo. But when the trailer for Katamari Forever debuted, this remix of the original Katamari On The Funk stole the show. It rounds out an already eclectic soundtrack with some powerful brass instrumentals and one of the most upbeat rhythms in the entire series. In a game that involves rolling the entire universe up into a gigantic sticky ball, you need a track like this to cheer you on.

If you want more Katamari Forever, you can find part of the OST here.

Good gaming, good music.

Soundtrack Saturdays: Katamari Forever – Sayonara Rolling Star (Yuri’s Mix)

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned Katamari Damacy’s eclectic soundtrack before. In a game series where you roll up everything into a giant sticky ball, you’d think the music would be overshadowed the bizarreness. But with each successive title, the remixes and sampling became longer and more complex. This is especially evident in this song; in the original game, it was a mellow electronic tune called Lonely Rolling Star. In Beautiful Katamari, it was revamped as a pop song called Sayonara Rolling Star. In Katamari Forever, it was finally remixed from pop into disco. And it sounds awesome. Fun fact: the song is about lovers parting ways. Seriously.

If you want more Katamari Forever, you can find part of the OST here.

Good gaming, good music.

Soundtrack Saturdays: Tekken 5 – Moonlit Wilderness

Video

I love fighting games. Always have, always will. However, I’ve been more of a Street Fighter and King of Fighters kind of gamer. It’s more to do with pacing and character design than anything else. However, that doesn’t mean I dismiss 3D fighters. Take Tekken for example; as of 2014, it’s got one of the biggest and most diverse playable casts in gaming history. The sheer amount of detail and variety put into each game is staggering, and it’s still going strong.

The series reached new heights in 2005 with Tekken 5, which boasted 32 fighters, robust gameplay modes (including the first three games!), and the continuation of what had become a character-driven story. Corporate espionage, assassinations, ninjas, robots, boxers, kangaroos, pandas, demonic possession, high schoolers, sibling rivalries, daddy issues…Tekken 5 went over the top and just kept going. The same goes with its soundtrack, which took full advantage of the PS2’s audio quality and gave fans some of the best tracks in the series. Nearly a decade later, it’s still superb.

If you want more Tekken 5, you can find the full OST on YouTube and iTunes.

Good gaming, good music.