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OSVOSTOTY 2017: Shawn's Picks

OSVOSTOTY 2017: Shawn’s Picks

December 30, 2017 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook OSVOSTOTY 2017: Shawn’s Pickson Twitter

OSVOSTOTY 2017: Shawn's Picks

And here I thought this was a hard post to write last year! I honestly didn’t hear much original game music in 2017 that lit me up. A few songs from a few different soundtracks got some love but not much of it stuck with me. On the other hand, choosing just three arrangement albums has been much harder to nail down. That’s the territory I cover the most here on OSV and I found quite a few favorite new albums throughout the year. So click on in to watch me navigate a flaming crash-dive through my 2017 in game music!

Game Soundtrack of the Year

OSVOSTOTY 2017: Shawn's Picks

Nidhogg IIMux Mool with Geotic, Osborne, Doseone, and Daedelus

I have never played Nidhogg or Nidhogg II but all it took was one Quick Look at the sequel to send me running for the full soundtrack. It reminds me a lot of the fantastic Hotline Miami soundtrack with pulsating beats, trippy soundscapes, and wildly different styles from a handful of contributors. Nidhogg II’s music is all original though and it somehow perfectly fits the tense back-and-forth battles of the game and its polarizing new art style. For me it proved to be a regular listen at work since its release in September, the chill beats and grooves carrying me through some tough workdays.

 

Runner Up

OSVOSTOTY 2017: Shawn's Picks

CupheadKristofer Maddigan

I love jazz and big band sounds, especially when they show up in video games. It’s still a rare pairing to find but Kristofer Maddigan blew the lid off of it with nearly three hours of original period music for Cuphead in 2017. I admit, it didn’t completely win me over like I expected it would but like the game’s visual style, the music was a highlight of gaming in 2017.

 

Honorable Mention

Super Mario Odyssey’s soundtrack was almost a total letdown for me but there were a couple of splendid standouts. It had a lot to live up to after the spectacular “Jump Up,Super Star!” led the game’s marketing push months before release. On finally playing it I found myself more impressed by the game’s lack of music, coming out of the entire experience with only a couple of favorites: the Wooded Kingdom’s breakbeat surf-rock was a total surprise as was the vocal End Theme… even if Sonic totally did it first.

 

Arrangement Album of the Year

OSVOSTOTY 2017: Shawn's Picks

Space Pirate Collection II – Jesse Jace Thomas

Well this is a bit embarrassing. I have been trying all year to find the words to describe how much I love this album and here I am having to explain it in my year-end picks! What I admire most are Jesse Thomas’s seldomly selected sources. A mellow, club remix of the original Tomb Raider theme with lots of turntable scratches sure caught me off guard. A Blaster Master remix isn’t a surprise but choosing the ice caves over the iconic main theme sure is.

The one that impressed me the most though was “Chemical City”, a mashup of Sonic 2’s often-heard Chemical Plant theme with the hardly-ever-heard theme to Grand Theft Auto III. Simmering the two down into a smooth jazzy number with lots of bass is just brilliant. The album is capped with another dazzling feat: a five-minute tribute to Overwatch that manages to feature every character and one fantastic drop. Yup, nine months later it’s still my top pick.

 

Runner Up

OSVOSTOTY 2017: Shawn's Picks

Universe – The Swinging Globes

French duo The Swinging Globes came out of nowhere late in the Fall with the album Universe that completely won me over. Minimal piano jazz arrangements would have been enough but the way they fold game, film, and classical melodies into one another feels really fresh and fluid to me.


Honorable Mentions

Even eight months later the spooky synth treatment of Switched On: A Link to the Past continues to sound great to me. It is still dreadfully short but the album packs in all the best themes and redresses their 16-bit instrumentation in that warm, fuzzy, and slightly melancholy analog synth sound.

I liked Steel Samurai’s self-titled album so much that my little news story about its release turned into a full-blown review. Like I said back in August, I remain impressed with how the band took songs from so many obscure sources and pulled them all into place under their own power rock style.


Thinking ahead to 2018 I can’t say there’s anything I have my eyes (or ears) on the lookout for. As ever, I’ll be catching soundtracks and albums as they hit the internet, waiting to see which ones strike my heart at just the right moments. Cya then!

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