As a fan of video game OST’s, I often enjoy listening to popular tracks from video games in my spare time, whether while reading, writing, doing homework, or just chilling out. Admittedly, some of my favorite tracks this year are coming out of the brand new Gamefreak titles (and popular franchise), such as these tracks from Pokemon Sword and Shield.
This franchise often has some of my favorite music, just because of how cheery and uplifting it can all be. From the rolling hills of the Alola region, to the bustling streets of Unova or vast mountains of Sinnoh, each piece of music is atmospheric and fully encompasses each region quite well.
We only know so much of Galar region, with mere months left to go before we can finally experience the games. Here are five of my favorite tracks from Pokemon Sword and Shield revealed thus far!
1 — Rival Bede
This track is incredibly hype, drawing tons of inspiration from Pokemon Black 2 White 2 (Rival Hugh’s theme in particular) and the Pokemon World Tournament theme featured in the post game of Black 2 White 2. There’s also a hint of Gladion’s theme from Pokemon Sun and Moon if you listen closely enough.
This Gen 5-inspired tune is a nod to one of the most hardcore, high octane Pokemon soundtracks (in my opinion), which includes the most exciting Elite Four battle theme to exist prior to Gen 7, as well as the song that plays during legendary Nature Trio battle and Legendary Sword Trio battles; the low (Critical) HP chime rendition; and the uplifting and highly energized melody of Elite Four Champion Iris.
Rival Bede’s theme has a slight tinge of dastardly enigma behind it, seasoned by a fun and cheerful tempo which evokes a hip and catchy sense of friendly camaraderie, just like the themes that inspire it — Rivals Hugh and Gladion. Perfect theme for a sick arch-rival!
2 — Gym leader
This is exactly what I’d want to hear when I enter a gym, a stadium, or a coliseum. Very intense, very upbeat, very high energy. I love it!
You can feel the stakes of the arena — the tension between you and fellow Expert Trainer — as you vie for the privilege of earning that prestigious gym badge. The feeling is intensified just by the vibes of the beat alone! And there’s no stopping once it picks up — the track kicks off with a bang and just keeps going. If there’s anything to get me hyped up and excited for a match, it’s this track!
3 — Wild Area
The overall feel of this track is very relaxing and serene, a place where one can just lay outside and camp, or otherwise go out and capture some Pokemon. The Wild Area theme is a beautiful rendition of tunes complete with horns and drums familiar to the route themes of Pokemon Sun and Moon (or even Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire), laced sweetly with bagpipes riddled within track.
That’s one thing these games seem to pay justice towards — a symphony of very modern-inspired music cut with classical and cultural instruments that helps to ground the atmosphere of the games to the core of their region, which helps this song in particular seem very warm and peaceful.
This track really gives the sense of being in a vast plain or vista, with tons of Pokemon to discover. Let’s just hope that the in-game Wild Area itself lives up to the same expectations!
4 — Team Yell
This theme has an incredible use of rock and roll instruments covered by the occasional piano chime which creates an elegant sense of trouble and daring. The track opens up with heavy riffs, and once the beat drops (after the piano keys trickle in) the track settles into this very sinister and dark tone.
As a whole, the track itself is a pretty gnarly and radical incantation of the themes I’ve grown to associate with many of Pokemon’s dastardly evil team members, remixed in a way that is very fitting for the punk vibes of the UK-based Galar region.
That provocative riff just gives me all the more incentive to lay the smackdown on those wily grunge bandits!
#5 — Max Raid Battle
I immediately fell in love with this heavily remixed Galar wild battle medley the first moment I had a chance to witness a max raid battle via the Nintendo Treehouse Direct at E3.
The thing I love the most about this track, and the reason I chose this as the top pick of my favorite tracks revealed so far for Pokemon Sword/Shield, is this dynamic sense of wonder experienced by encountering such a gigantic and colossal being as Dynamax Pokemon in the wild area, with this strange nod to Super Mario Galaxy in a way.
I really love these sorts of tracks where the epicness is hyped up to a surreal and sort of supernatural level, and that is definitely what has landed this track as number one, in my first impressions of Pokemon Sword and Shield’s music!
These are only a few of the really good songs so far revealed by trailers that we know of. I shouldn’t forget to mention “Brand New World”, a beautiful anthem written specifically for the initial trailer for the games (it is not yet known if this song will feature in-game).
The ambiguous tracks that appear to be either route or town themes are worth mentioning as well. So far, everything sounds amazing, and I can’t wait to hear (and see) what the full game has in store. This one is looking like one of my favorite soundtracks of all in the franchise!
Only two months left. To everyone out there — never stop exploring. I’ll Catch You All, later!–Quinn