The results are in. This is one of the toughest processes any of us here at OSV have had to go through, but we’ve finally come to a list and ranking that we can all at least kind of agree upon. No, I’m kidding. Even though we each fought for our individual favorites, we all stand behind the results, and we hope we can turn you on to some new music that you may have missed this year in the process.
After the jump you will find the results from our 2nd Annual OSVOSTOTY Awards. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to bring up your own nominees if you feel we’ve left something out, and give us a little justification for why you think it belongs in the list of soundtracks to be remembered from 2010! Congratulations to all of the winners and to the nominees, and see you next year!
Best Handheld Soundtrack
|1st Runner-Up:||Valkyria Chronicles 2|
|2nd Runner-Up:||Etrian Odyssey 3|
There were some amazing soundtracks on handheld platforms in 2010, but in the end, we had to go with the JDK band’s latest outing. There are many fans out there that had believed that the JDK Band’s best years were behind them, but the Ys SEVEN soundtrack may have changed that. Wes Chung, who reviewed the album, notes that this soundtrack is downright catchy. We’re all in agreement with that. And with track titles like “A Sunbaked Throb,” how can you go wrong?
Best Arrange Album
|Winner:||Benyamin Nuss Plays Uematsu|
|1st Runner-Up:||Symphonic Fantasies|
|2nd Runner-Up:||Distant Worlds II|
Some may see this as bit of an upset, but all of the albums nominated in this category are truly phenomenal. In the end, the originality and sheer passion behind Benyamin Nuss Plays Uematsu won us over. Not only does it feature fantastic arrangements of long-forgotten pieces from some of our favorite games, but it also brings to light some of Uematsu’s latest work and even brings in original compositions by Nuss and Uematsu in a nice tidy package. And let’s not forget about the epic crotch thrust on the front cover.
Best Rhythm Game
|Winner:||Rock Band 3|
|1st Runner-Up:||DJMAX Portable 3|
|2nd Runner-Up:||DJ Hero 2|
It took longer than initially expected, but the rhythm game surge of the last few years is beginning to bottom out. But that doesn’t mean the quality of these games has decreased. There were some very interesting games this year, but the top pick absolutely goes to Rock Band 3 from Harmonix. Why? We think you know why: the addition of keyboards, the absolutely insane “Pro Mode” (learn to play the actual parts on all instruments), not to mention the great, diverse song picks.
Green Day: Rock Band
Best Album Presentation
|Winner:||Granado Espada Renaissance Original Soundtrack Volume 3|
This was certainly a fun last-minute category. We think it’s important to recognize excellence in album presentation because so many of us as collectors really want to continue to see physical album releases. There were some great presentations this year, but we thoroughly enjoyed the two packaging variations on the Granado Espada Renaissance Original Soundtrack Volume 3 album. A magnet to hold the case together? How cool is that? The artwork (with more breasts than ever before) is a great addition, and both sets are quite impressive to look at.
Akumajo Dracula Best Music Collections BOX
DJMAX TECHNIKA 2 Original Soundtrack
Final Fantasy XIII Original Soundtrack [Limited Edition]
Final Fantasy XIV Battle Tracks / Field Tracks
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together Original Soundtrack
Best Anime Soundtrack
|1st Runner-Up:||Vanishment of Haruhi Suzumiya|
|2nd Runner-Up:||Gundam Unicorn|
Shounen shows usually aren’t a place one would normally go to find sterling examples of anime music, but Fairy Tail manages to be the rare, wonderful exception. Composed by Yasuharu Takanashi, whose illustrious, but underrated career includes gems like Towards the Terra‘s and Jigoku Shoujo‘s soundtrack, Fairy Tail‘s score is an excellent implementation of Celtic rock. The music brings unto the anime a great deal of energy, making it suitable accompaniment to all the action (ass-kicking and all) that goes on during the course of each episode.
Sora no Woto
Best “Other” Release
|Winner:||Ge-On-Dan Rare Tracks Vol. 1 by Various Artists|
|1st Runner-Up:||Prescription for Sleep by Norihiko Hibino|
|2nd Runner-Up:||Rocky IV by Vince DiCola|
There was a lot of music released this year that we’ve covered on the site that didn’t fit into traditional categories. The Ge-On-Dan Rare Tracks Vol. 1 was one such album, and how can you argue with several of our favorite composers writing original compositions as members of an insane Japanese super-group of freelance composers? It will be interesting to see what Ge-On-Dan ends up doing for composers in Japan, but if it means more albums like this, we’re all for it!
Best Doujin Album
|Winner:||Super Mario Kart by The OneUps|
|1st Runner-Up:||Contra 4: Rocked ‘n Loaded by Klub Konchadunga|
|2nd Runner-Up:||Expansion Pack by Metroid Metal|
When it comes to game music cover bands, it’s hard to beat The OneUps. They incessantly teased us with samples of this album, and when it was finally released, pretty much everyone here at OSV was floored. The snazzy cover art, awesome music video, and variety of genres featured on the album really hit the spot, and this was certainly a soundtrack that deserved more attention. It will be interesting to hear what The OneUps do next with the new sound they’ve unleashed, first seen in the recently-released Intergalactic Redux.
Best Indie Game Soundtrack
|Winner:||Tower of Heaven|
|2nd Runner-Up:||Super Meat Boy|
Before saying anything else, we have to come out and say that among these nominees there was fierce competition and in-fighting with the OSV staff. Everyone had their own favorites, and in that sense, everyone in this category should be considered a winner. We’re extremely thankful to all the indie game composers for the work they do. That said, the most popular vote went to the tiny soundtrack for a Flash game called Tower of Heaven. Heavy on the chiptunes, light on the fluff, this soundtrack gets in your face from the start and just doesn’t let up.
Best Live Concert
|1st Runner-Up:||Distant Worlds Returns Home|
|2nd Runner-Up:||JDK Band Live 2010, Live!|
When it comes to symphonic representation of video game music, no one pushes the concept as much forward as Thomas Böcker and his European team with their “Symphonic” shows. Symphonic Legends was a showcase of the incredible music library of Nintendo, and the way they were presented were unlike any before concert before it. From the frightening Super Metroid arrangement to the breathtaking 36 minute long “Symphonic Poem” based on the Legend of Zelda, it’s no surprise that Symphonic Legends is truly the best concert of the year, and one to be remembered.
Best Chip Music Release
|Winner:||The Best Music by George & Jonathan|
|1st Runner-Up:||PPPPPP by SoulEye|
|2nd Runner-Up:||Dark Void Zero by Bear McCreary|
Coming seemingly out of nowhere, dance party duo George & Jonathan have smitten us this year with their toxic tunes and endearing, finger-wagging sass. While not “chip” music by its most precise definition, the intricately-programmed anthems of The Best Music, constructed lovingly in Daisuke “Pixel” Amaya’s Pxtone Collage tracker, have swallowed whole the hearts of those who have experienced it. Like a sugary candy, we can’t help but gorge ourselves again and again on the sweet, teeth-rotting exuberance and saucy funk stylings G&J offer. Having already played shows with the likes of chiptune heavy-hitters Anamanaguchi, Sabrepulse and Starscream, there’s little doubt we’ll be hearing more from them in 2011.
Best Sound Design
|Winner:||Metroid: Other M|
|1st Runner-Up:||Call of Duty: Black Ops|
|2nd Runner-Up:||StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty|
This one will surely turn some heads, but if you ignore exactly what the characters in this game were saying, perhaps we can all agree that the voice acting was great, and the sound effects were downright stellar. Metroid games have always been known for generating some amazing atmospheres with their music, but sound design has always been a key element as well. In this respect, Nintendo and Team Ninja did a great job with Metroid: Other M.
Best In-Game Soundtrack
|1st Runner-Up:||Metroid: Other M|
|2nd Runner-Up:||No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle|
To put a nice bow on our context debate, we decided that it would be best to present an award to the soundtrack that best sets the tone for the entire experience whilst playing through the adventure. This doesn’t necessarily have to be the best musical soundtrack, per se, but it must create a sense of drama unparalleled. Garry Schyman’s Bioshock 2 score is not only a staggering work of music, it is also a dramatic poem that illustrates the Big Daddy/Little Sister relationship (the centerpiece of the game’s theme) better than any spoken word of dialogue through the use of the Pairbond theme. The Big Daddy is represented by a sustained string drone symbolizing his stoic yet caring nature. Above it, the cello sings a haunting melody varied upon several times in the score. The game never allows the player to forget his purpose (or bond, in this case) by recapitulating the theme with astonishing aplomb. A well-deserved winner in a tough category, no doubt.
Soundtrack of the Year
|Winner:||NieR Gestalt & Replicant|
|1st Runner-Up:||Final Fantasy XIII|
|2nd Runner-Up:||StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty|
Well, what can we say about this one? Many OSV staffers had this one nailed for soundtrack of the year from the moment we heard it. It honestly came out of nowhere, most of us had zero expectations going in, and it’s forced us to re-evaluate the way we think about game music. Vocalist Emi Evans’s unique and haunting vocals paired with the majestic musical backing provided by MoNACA will probably remain a fan-favorite soundtrack for years to come. Everyone involved with the production of the game’s music has a lot to be proud of. We hope the release of the 15 Nightmares & Arrange Tracks is not the last we’ll hear of the music from NieR, as there’s a lot of life left in the themes, so it will be interesting to see if Square Enix devotes more attention to the game’s music moving forward.Awards, News, OSVOSTOTY 2010, Site News