MusiCube | Pokémon Music Retrospective - Favourite Songs Playlist

By Jorge Ba-oh 06.11.2013 3

There are many elements that have come together to make the Pokémon series so addictive, so compelling to fans both young and old over the years. A versatile roster of cute, powerful and downright quirky critters mixed with memorable characters and heated multiplayer battles. The series has evolved from the days of black and white pixels to eye popping 3D, bringing in more than 700 monsters to meet and a huge community of online players.
 
One of the features of Pokémon that isn't as talked about is the hours upon hours of intricately composed music that really brings out the mood and sets the pace of the entire journey from start to finish. Given Pokémon launched on the Game Boy, the original graphical capability of the hardware made it difficult to convey a feeling about the environment - so the NPC dialogue and sound had to step up and bring it all together.
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The musical world of Pokémon to date has been led by the now producer Junichi Masuda, who first started at developer Game Freak by being the sole composer and sound effects designer for Pokémon Red, Green and Blue. In the early nineties Masuda developed a piece of software known as "Sound Driver", which was used in the production of various Game Freak projects including the famous animal noises in the original Pokémon games. Masuda has been involved as a composer for all the main series titles to date, joined by fellow musicians Hitomi Satō, Gō Ichinose, Morikazu Aoki and Takuto Kitsuta.
 
Many years on, the soundtrack has evolved to incorporate more layers and a growing synth and futuristic sound, yet maintaining the core charm and simplicity that the Pokémon series has been known for.
 

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To celebrate the release of Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, the Cubed3 Team put together a handful of our favourite songs in the series so far. This isn't a definitive list, nor in any particular order, but certainly a selection we feel are worth including.
 
The Glass to the Wall podcast, featuring Jorge, Susan, Rudy and Adam first aired on 24th October and can be listened again below, or as a GrooveShark playlist.
 

Pokémon Music Glass to the Wall Podcast - Listen Again


 

Pokémon Music Special - Playlist

Pokémon Music Retrospective - Favourite Songs by Cubed3 on Grooveshark

 
Radio Tower Takeover! (Pokémon Gold & Pokémon Silver)
There was a bigger drive towards communication in Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver to keep trainers in the loop during the grand adventure and at the heart of it all was the Goldenrod Radio Tower, a beast of a building that broadcast all sorts of Pokémon shows across the land - including Professor Oak's Pokémon Talk. At one point the tower was raided by Team Rocket and so it was up to our trainer to break in and save the day. Fiddly, sneaky with light brush strokes on the drum, "Radio Tower Takeover" was a perfect melody for the hapless Team Rocket. Jorge
 
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Gym Leader Battle (Pokémon Stadium)
For me, Pokémon music is synonymous with battle themes. The games themselves revolve around making Pokémon compete against each other. So it's only natural that very early in the series there would be a fondness for battle themes in particular. The "Gym Leader Battle" from Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow is engraved in my memory, highlighting the feeling of the danger of the situation whenever hearing it, as well as making me pumped up for the challenge! Its rendition in Pokémon Stadium had the same effect, but only reinforced. Rudy
 
National Park (Pokémon Heart Gold & Soul Silver)
"National Park" is a beautiful diversion from the high pitched adrenaline of Pokémon battles; a tumbling piano with a cascade of chords over a slowly rocking bass. I remember this place well from the original second generation game, walking with the selected Pokémon, watching trainers and their creatures strolling around the centre. It was one of those generations that allowed trainers to do more with Pokémon than just acting as battle machines; they felt more like pets, like companions. Susie
 
Gym Leader Battle (Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald)
Gym Leader themes are some of the most memorable soundtracks in the entire series and the one for the Hoenn region is no different. While this one may seem like an untypical choice, Pokémon Ruby was the first Pokémon game I played despite following the franchise and watching the animé since its inception, so this soundtrack is a particularly nostalgic one. While it has received two official remixes over the years, the original Game Boy Advance tune is still quite charming in its own way. SirLink

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Anistar City (Pokémon X and Pokémon Y)
Towards the later stages of Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, players will wind up in the cold, slightly unsettling town of Anistar City, home to a gym that dabbles in the mind. It's here that this particular sound fits into the place, a fairly slow and more mysterious track than your common Pokémon landmark tune. A soft, chiming piano drives the song forward with the occasional bell and consistent ticking clock driving the mood into a spacious daze - a strong contrast to the more upbeat areas in Pokémon X and Pokémon Y. Jorge
 
Rival Battle (Pokémon Stadium)
I don't know about you, but I played the Pokémon League over and over and over again on Pokémon Yellow. After all, the trainers there were the strongest in the game and battling was the best way to farm experience, so naturally, I would play it on repeat. Every time, it would end on an epic "Final Boss" theme, against the rival in the game, who became the great champion ahead of our protagonist. Again, the Pokémon Stadium version only increases the grand vibe compared to the Game Boy original. Rudy
 
Kalos Power Plant Pokeball Factory (Pokémon X and Pokémon Y)
"Kalos Power Plant Pokeball Factory" is in all parts fantastic; this atmospheric industrial tune is parts haunting, parts funky, but all subliming into a perfectly balanced mix when entering the Pokéball Factory in the Kalos region. We hear the swinging bass punctuated by the squeaks of the synth. It has an underlying sinister layer, but it wouldn't stop you dancing along to your doom... or something. Susie
 

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Team Magma/Aqua Boss Battle (Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald)
The Hoenn region has a very unique twist on its antagonists that makes it stand out from the rest of the series. Instead of a single team like Team Rocket or Galactic causing havoc, players fend off Team Magma and Team Aqua in Pokémon Ruby and Pokémon Sapphire respectively and deal with both at the same time in Pokémon Emerald. While the teams have different goals, they share the same boss theme and it's very catchy, featuring a bass line that's actually reminiscent of classic Final Fantasy battle themes. SirLink
 
Snowbelle City (Pokémon X and Pokémon Y)
Again one of the later moments of Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, it's not too difficult to guess what this particular city is like. Drained of any sense of warmth, this small village is stained with heaps of snow and frost. The track that goes with it helps set the mood perfectly, slightly sad in its town initially, though delicate single, rousing piano notes and twinkling at the beginning which eventually builds up to a trumpet driven, soothing finish as if to say there really is some hope and ambition in an otherwise frosty place. Plodding and delicate, "Snowbelle City" is one of the standout tracks in the 3DS game. Jorge
 

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Route 30 (Pokémon Silver/Gold/Crystal)
It might sound like a strange choice, much time was spent on route 30 very early in Pokémon Silver, to train Pokémon. I've come to associate the second generation of Pokémon with this particular track. Why not a battle theme? Well I never grew fond of the battle themes from that particular generation, except for the "Wild Pokémon" battle theme, despite much preferring those games to the previous generation for all the things it introduced, on top of finally being a true Game Boy Color game; Route 30 is a cool place to be, baby! Rudy
 
Santalune Forest (Pokémon X and Pokémon Y)
What a light tune, reminiscent of American Beauty and Chrono Trigger (a bizarre mix); a light frosting of xylophone hangs over the mist with a foreboding hint of strings. "Santalune Forest" is a short little tune, the length of say, a mobile ring tone, but it's a beautiful sprinkling of atmosphere as you enter the forest. Less sinister than say, the original generation's take on caves and forests, but just as effective for mood building. Susie

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Final Boss Battle (Pokémon Colosseum)
While Pokémon Stadium and Pokémon Stadium 2 on the Nintendo 64 were the first 3D Pokémon games, it wasn't until Pokémon Colosseum on the Nintendo Gamecube that the series had a fleshed out 3D RPG on home consoles. Developed by Genius Sonority, the setting and tone were unlike anything the series is known for and the same can be said about its music. The final boss theme is just one example, featuring a majestic orchestral tune that perfectly captures the thrill of the battle. SirLink
 
Trainer Battle (Pokémon Black & Pokémon White)
There are perhaps too many different trainer battles to count in the Pokémon series, right from the earliest steps out into the Kanto region to the more recent Kalos adventure. One of the highlights of the numerous variations is the theme featured in Pokémon Black and Pokémon White, which set the pace just right in its introduction, building into an energetic composition that leaps from here to there in urgency. Synth driven, with prickly trumpets and a rambunctious, marching drum, "Trainer Battle" fit the bill and suited the game well without becoming a hindrance given the number of times its heard. Jorge
 

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Battle! Team Galactic (Pokémon Diamond/Pearl)
In the Pokémon series the final boss in the game usually isn't the main antagonist of the story. In the first generation, Team Rocket was the main group of villains, and in Generation IV it was Team Galactic. While there wasn't any fondness for Team Rocket, other than the two villains from the animated series, I thought Team Galactic had something distinctly cooler about them - their battle team sure was epic enough! It was even one of my favourite battle tracks in Super Smash Bros Brawl. Rudy
 
Kimono Dance Theatre (Pokémon Heart Gold/Soul Silver)
I loved the oriental inspired tunes in second generation and this is no exception. The ladies have each an Eevee evolution as their faithful companions, and it was an amazing thing to see both Espeon and Umbreon ready for battle. It was where I found some of my favourite Pokémon in the flesh, staring down the barrel of the impending battle. Plucky shamisen trills and flutes rent the air in this dainty but powerful tune. Susie

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Miror B. Battle (Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness)
Despite its lower sales compared to series standards, Pokémon Colosseum eventually received a sequel called Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness. Much like its predecessor, its soundtrack is a highlight of the game. While the epic orchestral tunes are still there in full force, one track in particular is something nobody would ever expect to hear in a Pokémon game. It's extremely catchy disco music and the battle theme of a dancing, wacky villain called Miror B. SirLink
 
Viridian Forest (Pokémon Red/Blue/Yellow, Pokémon Heart Gold & Soul Silver)
A prominent and memorable song for anyone who played either the first or second generations of Pokémon, "Virdian Forest" comes in two very distinct flavours due to when players encounter them in which games. The first, which comes immediately after setting off at the very start of Pokémon Red/Blue/Yellow echoes a haunting, spooky melody that still sends a shiver down your spine years one; it's effortlessly dangerous. However in Pokémon Heart Gold & Pokémon Soul Silver, the trip to the woods comes a lot later, so serves up a more jubilant and very contrasting feel. Jorge
 

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Battle! Champion (Pokémon Diamond/Pearl)
Battle themes resonate more than any other type of music in RPGs in general, along with emotional, "sad" themes but that latter kind isn't very prominent in Pokémon in general. Battle themes are though, since each episode has more than a few types of battles, each with its own musical theme. And that particular track, for the final Pokémon master in Generation IV, did the job of conveying the fury of the fight particularly well. It remains one of my favourite Pokémon tracks, all generations included. Rudy
 
Lumoise City (Pokémon X and Pokémon Y)
What a tune to start off the Pokémon X and Pokémon Y generation! The heralding of trumpets and bells is the perfect rousing anthem when entering the big city. This beautiful orchestrated rendition is a light beat nature, bells chiming and swooping bass as a happy note to leave town on, a thrill of a city with promise. This is a place with many lights, sights and sounds with many things to do, reflected well in the tune. Susie
 

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Mysterial Battle (Pokémon Battle Revolution)
After the two games on the Nintendo Gamecube, Genius Sonority developed Pokémon Battle Revolution on the Nintendo Wii and it's essentially Pokémon Stadium 3 but with a lot of wasted potential. The soundtrack, however, doesn't disappoint. Each available Colosseum has its own catchy soundtrack with a different style to match the location. The theme for the final boss is appropriately epic and grand. SirLink
 

You've heard some of our favourite Pokémon songs, so what are yours?
Box art for Pokémon X
Developer

Game Freak

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (42 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop

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It would be great to hear what other people's favourite Pokémon tunes are. Please let us know!

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
goldentyphlo (guest) 07.12.2013#2

I'd definitely have to say: Suicune's theme (Heart Gold and Soul Silver), Ho-oH's theme (heart Gold and Soul Silver), Goldenrod City's theme (Gold/Silver/Crystal), Yveltal/Xerneas/Zygarde's theme (X/Y), Deoxy's theme (Emerald), Champion Lance's theme (Heart Gold and Soul Silver), and maybe even Olivine City's theme (Gold/Silver/Crystal). Please add them!!! They're awesome Smilie

Thanks for the suggestions!

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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