Game Music, Reviews

The Sims 3 Soundtrack: It Doesn’t Surprise Much, But It Sure Goes Down Smooth (Review)

May 25, 2009 | | 3 Comments Share thison Facebook The Sims 3 Soundtrack: It Doesn’t Surprise Much, But It Sure Goes Down Smooth (Review)on Twitter

I’ve played the first installment of The Sims twice. Both times I failed miserably and managed to get my character so depressed that they eventually could not afford food to eat. In the background there was this MIDI-ish soundtrack that can best be classified as easy listening, and while I never found it to be overly impressive, it did the job. I’m pretty sure that if I had continued playing that some of the tunes would have stuck.

When the second installment came along, it definitely had a lot more polish while still staying true to its roots. Now that The Sims 3 is upon us, however, what will composer Steve Jablonsky unleash upon the unsuspecting world?

Find out more about this simtastic offering after the jump!

Jablonsky is now the fourth composer to join the ranks of those who can take pride in writing a score for such a successful game series. The first game had Jerry Martin and Marc Russo laying down some jams, while the second installment took things one step further with a relaxing score by Mark Morthersbaugh. Joblonski continues in this direction, and does little to surprise. But that’s not to say he doesn’t do a good job, as his vivid and lively take on the tried and true formula developed by his predecessors works wonders in the game.

First of all, the instrumentation is much more versatile and the sound quality is through the roof this time around. It still manages to evoke an air of a 1950s setting as imagined by those old sitcoms focusing on cozy suburban lifestyles, but that‘s the whole point to this affair, is it not? From the title song onward you are guided trough the album’s 17 songs like a potential house buyer is guided by a real estate agent. You are likely to “Ooh” and “Aah” over all the pretty details until it eventually hits you: this score is not all bells and whistles, and a couple of the songs are actually quite impressive.

“Versimitude” pairs guitar with some orchestral goodness, and the surprisingly versatile melodic progression keeps the interest high throughout the piece. It even sports the sounds of an electric guitar to spice things up a bit. With its lovely instrumentation, it is easily my favorite amongst the songs found here. I also want to mention “Maps & Simbols” and “Amazing Facsimile,” both of which add interesting elements to the otherwise typical easy listening experience. While the former distinguishes itself little in terms of instrumentation, the melody really speaks to me, and has that little extra something that is hard to define. The latter brings on the spice with its radio friendly pop-like approach that sets it apart from some of the other tracks. There are also vocals on some of the tracks, but don’t bother trying to make out what they are saying because the words resemble the nonsensical language the Simmers speak to one another in the game, something which I found funny if not hilarious.

Most of the other tracks are quite conservative, which may or may not be to your liking. If you do not take an active listener role, these 17 tracks tend to fly by. It is an enjoyable experience although it should be noted that the album never really challenges you in any way. One of the basic concepts of this type of music is that it is meant to be played in the background, hopefully adding a pleasant atmosphere to whatever else it is that one is doing. While it may not make for the most engaging outside listening experience, to paraphrase intellectual titan Ron Burgundy from the comedy The Anchorman: “It always goes down smooth.”

The album will be available on iTunes tomorrow, so feel to check out the samples if you’re interested. Are you a fan of the easy listening approach of The Sims series? Have you been looking forward to this release?

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