So...Smash for the Switch, huh? Whether it is a Mario Kart 8-style deluxe port or (heaven forbid) an entirely new game, I am already majorly looking forward to it! Seems as good of as time as any to wax enthusiastic about a piece of the series’ music.
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U
Time for a confession. Starting with Melee, I have never been entirely on board with the epic, cinematic orchestral sweep of its and Brawl’s intro and menu themes. Admittedly, a big part of it has to come down to sheer bias. My entry point into Smash was the first game for the Nintendo 64—it was my jam as a kid!!—and that eternally defined what I felt about the sounds of the series going forward.
Its character select music had always been my favorite of the menu music themes, partially because it was simple yet awesome, but perhaps more importantly, that rapid jittery beat and those action brass stabs encompassed the Smash ideal so completely. At its core, it will forever be about a bunch of primarily Nintendo but now also other peoples’ characters beating the crap out of each other getting flung across Dragonball Z-scale distances. It’s inherently ridiculous, but also a boatload of pure fun, and the music just fits all of that to a tee. That’s a theme to prepare to throw down with.
The comparative songs for Melee and Brawl, on the other hand, never really sounded like Smash to me to quite the same degree. They’re good pieces of music, unarguably, but Studio Ghibli statements of intent—let alone a frickin opera choir—aren’t necessarily what a beat-the-crap-outta-Mario-using-Dr-Mario simulator calls for. What they gained in fidelity and scope, they traded away the momentum and the ‘tude.
Well, since the heyday of the Wii and Brawl, the N64 menu music has officially been dethroned by the 3DS/Wii U edition of Super Smash Bros. It doesn’t choose either the momentum and ‘tude or the fidelity and scope of past renditions; it goes for ALL OF THEM AT ONCE. For the first time in fifteen years, the series once again gets the hype train-rolling, blood-pumping type of shit that it deserves.
One thing that I, as an N64 Smash-biased person, especially love is how this theme heavily call backs to that old-school menu music, most apparent in the beginning but then afterwards interpolating it all throughout the track. There is a whole lot of rock going on with the drums and electric power chords galore, and they mix brilliantly with the symphonic brass and string sections. And that is all in service of the most kick-your-ass melody ever committed to an original Smash Bros. theme.
This is henceforth the new standard against which all subsequent themes shall be judged.
RedStripe Loved Trax—originally from days of Tumblr past—is a series about the music Justin adores, with special emphasis on songs from (or introduced by) video games and anime.