Listening To: The Super Mario Bros. Theme Song

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Two weeks ago, I talked about the classic “A” theme from Tetris. I really enjoyed searching the web for modern and quirky renditions of classic gaming tunes, and so today I bring you all the unforgettable, the classic and the unbelievably catchy song you all know as the Super Mario Bros. theme song. Easily one of the most well known themes in the history of games, Nintendo’s timeless classic is the embodiment of early gaming. I’m sure many still remember playing their hours away on the NES, essentially growing up with the theme.

So with that, let’s go back to when it all began. Released in 1985, the theme was officially known as “Ground Theme” and was played on the over world of the Mushroom Kingdom. Described as a tune with a calypso rhythm, Koji Kondo is the one responsible for creating one of the world’s most addictive hits.

Now for the next one, I know that I said modern remakes of the tune… but I couldn’t pass this up. Played on an instrument known as the “Shou”, it dates as far back as 1100 BC and is an extraordinary (and highly amusing) instrument. Props to the lady for being able to play such an ancient instrument with such skill and humour.

This one is pretty metal and an excellent example of just how awesome science is. Played by tesla coils, this Mario theme is electrifying to say the least. This pretty much made the nerd inside me squeal, so sit back and enjoy the power of science. Also shout out to Nikola Tesla for making this possible.

Nobody ever said that Mario wasn’t classy. I got to hand it to this violinist – he manages to play a few themes and sound effects from the game as someone plays it behind him quite well. He has the sounds down pat, so give it a try, jeeves.

We’ll end this list with a medley of themes from the original game. The ground theme is at the beginning and it soon covers other memorable tunes, my personal favourite being the Underwater theme. These guys do it well: it’s funny, quirky and really skilfully done. Check it out!

And that’s the end! Another five different versions of a classical gaming theme, one that’s sure to be in the memories of any gamer. See if you can find any other versions, and not only with this theme, but with any of the tunes that have a place in your heart. Happy hunting!

Listening To: PMMMM: The Rebellion Story OST

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Bundled together with the DVD and BD releases of Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie 3: The Rebellion Story last month, the soundtrack of the film is an excellent example of how melodies evoke sincere emotions in those who listen. Almost the entire track is comprised of sombre themes, matching the overall mood of the film quite well. While the film isn’t necessarily an uplifting addition to the series, and by extension it’s soundtrack, the sounds that it manages to convey are not only presented at a high standard, but are also highly emotive.

Anyone remotely familiar with the series understands that, although the plot centres on magical girls, it is by no means a childish or joyful series. Instead, it takes a dark and grim approach to the traditional magical girl genre, creating a more meaningful story than anyone could have imagined. The new film, The Rebellion Story, is a worthy addition to the franchise, and it’s OST certainly doesn’t fail to keep up with the tone of the series.

Yuki Kajiura’s work on the soundtrack is simply amazing – each of the tracks composed by her are coherent, relatable and most importantly: genuine. It’s no surprise that her experience in working with other anime soundtracks have led her to create such a refined OST, and I’m glad that she managed to keep true to the heart of the story. The pieces that feature orchestral sounds are by far my favourites, but by no means are her other tracks less than stellar. Her tracks encapsulate chaos, disorder and the death of hope, acting as the basis of the entire film.

I first got notice of the soundtrack when they were uploaded onto media sharing websites a few days ago. A few friends and I were, as expected, thrilled to be able to hear the music from the film. Now proudly close to the top of my phone’s playlist, I’ve been replaying the more sadder songs of the OST simply because they’re emotionally powerful. Although the film’s ending wasn’t exactly what I had hoped for in the storyline of Puella Magi, I have zero complaints about the soundtrack.

Songs to look out for:

  • Holly Quintet
  • One For All
  • Something, Everything Is Wrong
  • Noi!
  • Theater Of A Witch
  • I Was Waiting For This Moment

Listening To: The Tetris Theme Song

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Everyone – and I mean everyone – instantly remembers this iconic theme song upon the mere mention of the word Tetris. It was, and still is to this day, one of the world’s most addicting games. Being ported to a huge variety of consoles, any person (and anyone who claims to be a gamer) has at the very least played a round of this never-ending game.

I still remember the onslaught towards the higher levels. How my perfect builds of those blocks were suddenly ruined by a single fumble of the directional pad, and how it just as quickly built into a monstrosity that rose to a Game Over. Today, I heard the absolutely breathtaking rendition of the classic “A” theme. Here it is down below:

(Thanks to 1001-Up for showing me this earlier today)

And with that cover, I took it upon myself to find out any other ways the song we all know and love has been updated, changed or had some flavour  added to it. It first began with the original theme – the theme based on “Korobeiniki” (A Russian folk song) that was introduced in Nintendo’s Gameboy Colour Version.

This next one is something at first I was sure wasn’t real – the tetris theme song being played on a laser harp. You read that right, laser. There’s a good build up to the real thing in this video, and by following it through the right links, you can find yourself seeing it in double the speed (which is scarily similar near game over!).

Now I love a good acapella – and this one is pretty darn good. Just try to focus on a single sound and try to see which face is making it. You’d be surprised how similar it sounds to the real thing!

Finally, this last one is the tetris theme song played on an accordion. I don’t know much about the instrument, or how difficult it may be to play it, but boy do his finger work some magic. Check it out!

And there you have it! Five different version of the “A” theme of Tetris – a song full of memories of a much more simpler time. Got any other nostalgic gaming hits that are always on the back of your mind? Be sure to leave a comment, or better yet, find a newer (and more awesome) version of it and just enjoy. Sometimes its better to turn back the clock.

Listening To: Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun Original Soundtrack

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Although I had planned a review of another album today, I had listened to the soundtrack of the romantic comedy anime Tonari no Kaibutsu-Kun (Eng; My Little Monster) and I just had to talk about it. Now I watched the anime as it came out, and while it’s not one of my all time favourites, it certainly had a very strong and solid comedy element which I more than appreciated. It also, to my surprise, had an amazing musical score.

Certain tracks feature synthetic melodies while others are comprised of mainly orchestral symphonies. To call it diverse would not give it much justice. It seems that the soundtrack itself covers the emotional spectrum –  the album seems to tick off emotions; from melancholy to unbridled optimism. If anything, theres a track for any occasion, making it perfect for the anime – as although its primarily a comedy-romance, it does touch on the darker and somber aspects of life and love.

I find that the tracks consisting of guitar and/or piano leads were more defined and better suited to the overall theme of the show. Although it may be preference talking, I believe that they were considerably much more emotive and at a higher level than other tracks that focused their sounds on other instruments. Another worthy mention goes to the highly enjoyable tracks with a peppy, almost cocky tone, as well as those that were comprised of positive notes and rhythms. In saying that though, the more pensive tracks don’t, by any means, fail to please.

At the end of the day, the Tonari no Kaibutsu-Kun Original Soundtrack is an absolute delight to listen to. With a range of sounds and emotions to accommodate the daily lives of anyone, it came as a wonder to me that it’s not better known within the anime community. If you’re willing to take the chance and take a listen, I have very little doubt in my mind that you would be disappointed with this underrated gem of an OST.

Songs to look out for:

  • Tetsukazu no Kanjou 
  • Monster March
  • Yamaguchi-Sanchi no Kenji-Kun
  • Appare Sanningumi!
  • TEBASAKI
  • Memento 

Listening To: Chemistry (Trouble Maker)

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For the three months I’ve been reviewing music, and it occurred to me that I’ve never really gone over an album that wasn’t associated with other media. So in saying that, this week I bring to you the latest addition of the risqué duo Trouble Maker, Chemistry. Still reeling from the unexpected kiss in 2011’s MAMA, fans from all over the world were left seeking for more after their debut album. Chemistry definitely gives fan another irresistible dose from the superstars, all the while kicking their “sexy” concept up a notch.

It was only a matter of time before Hyunseung and Hyuna were brought back together to continue their strong stage presence and the commotion that seems to follow close behind. Known for pushing the boundaries of censorship in the Kpop world, even a limited edition 19+ version of the album was released. Chemistry as an album features varying music styles, and so there’s a big chance you’re bound to find something to your liking.

Some songs possess an early 2000’s vibes, making it highly nostalgic and notably different from what dominates today’s music scene. They feel sincere and genuine. Others, like the lead single “Now (There is no tomorrow)” , express a vibrant and extremely sensual feel that is simply captivating. Both JS and Hyuna use their distinct images and voices to their advantage in their duo and solo songs, providing a number of explosive performances that are exquisite to the ear.

As a whole, the entire track is an abundance of emotion and exciting melodies, making it the kind of music that would gladly be played at any club or for adding a bit of spice to everyday tasks. I sincerely believe that no other couple would be suitable to play the roles the duo play for Trouble Maker (Let alone give such life to Chemistry‘s tracks) and so it is with great joy that I welcome their latest work into my playlist. If you’re after music sporting strong beats and even stronger leads, look no further than this – it’s definitely worth your time.

Songs to look out for:

  • Turn Up the Volume
  • Now (There is no tomorrow)
  • Attention
  • I Like (Hyuna Solo feat. Flowsik of Aziatix)

 

Listening To: Pitch Perfect Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

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Lately I’ve been moving away from video game soundtracks and a lot more into film territory. The latest soundtrack that’s been on repeat at my household is the Pitch Perfect Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. Now although all the hype over the movie has subsided, I’m still in love over the remixes of great songs. The fact that I also like the a cappella style of music helps.

It’s simply great that both the past and present in music are, well, remixed together. It’s new and exciting, seeing old hits given a complete and (Pitch) perfect make over. Songs that I haven’t heard in many years, and some I’d never think I’d hear again, were pleasantly accepted and enjoyed.

It’s no secret that the musical comedy took the world by storm. Starting in the West and gradually overcoming the worldwide music charts, many of the hits of the song just… connect. Even if you can’t understand English or don’t follow Western music, sounds and beats evoke certain emotions that are moving. And no, not in an emotional sense, but in a “move your body” sense.

I think the distinct voices of the singers make the album what it is. Obviously voices in a cappella songs are extremely important, but they are surprisingly unique, in turn creating unique renditions of classic hits. The ladies’ voices have a sense of power and strength that adds a torrent of emotion and feeling – something that audiences worldwide can appreciate. And the guys aren’t too bad either.

I have had this soundtrack saved, stored and replayed on my computer for the past month. It’s not just good – but great. The movie by itself was unforgettable and, like many others, I am looking forward to the sequel and what songs they’ll be introducing. To say the album is anything less than extraordinary is a mistake, and I’m sure that after hearing it – actually hearing it – you’ll understand what I mean. If you’re going to take the chance, be absolutely ready though – because you’re about to get pitch-slapped.

Songs to look out for:

  • Since U Been Gone
  • Cups
  • Riff-Off: Ladies of the 80’s & Songs about Sex
  • Bellas Regionals
  • Trebles Finals
  • Bellas Finals

Listening To: The World Ends With You Original Soundtrack

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I’m not ashamed to say that I’m still on the Video Game Soundtrack high, and this week I’d like for all of you to take a listen to the Soundtrack of the amazing DS game The World Ends With You. Now I talked about the music of the game briefly before in it’s review, but I feel that the music needs to be talked about – and you should too.

I like to think of the music of TWEWY as a gift from the creators. It’s hip, refreshing and contributes greatly to value of the game itself. Different songs evoke different emotions in player, an idea that was used initially to represent the complex nature of the real-life town Shibuya. The primary styles of music include rock, hip hop, and electronica.

Takeharu Ishimoto took advantage of the various moods of Shibuya by incorporating a range of voices to perform the tracks. Artists that featured in the compositions include Sawa, Makiko Noda, Leah, Ayuko Tanaka, Mai Matsuda, Wakako, Hanaeryca, Cameron Strother, Andy Kinlay, Nulie Nurly, and Londell “Taz” Hicks.  Rather than posing a risk in making the overall soundtrack cluttered, the range of voices the artists provide… just seem to fit. When the soundtrack is listened to as a whole, the songs, although unique, act as a collective, creating an amazing masterpiece (Hats off to you, Mr. Ishimoto.).

I have to say, I’ve listened to this soundtrack time and time again. I can’t seem to stop – its uplifting and just manages to put me in a better mood. More energetic, in a way. I don’t know how else to tell you, but please, do yourself and your ears a favour and listen to this soundtrack. If you’re looking for something to listen to to just brighten up your day or to encourage you to do something, then I say “Look no further”.

And you’ll see exactly what I mean.

Songs to look out for:

  • Twister (Vocals by Sawa) 
  • Long Dream (Vocals by Makiko Noda)
  • Calling (Vocals by Leah)
  • Hybrid (Vocals by Sawa)
  • Someday (Vocals by Hanaeryca)
  • Owari-Hajimari (Cameron Strother)
  • Game Over (Vocals by Andy Kinlay)
  • Twister (Gangster Ver.)

Note: Although it is not included in the soundtrack, the ending theme, “Lullaby For You” by Jyongri, should definitely be added to your playlist as soon as possible.