Top Ten Pokemon Songs
Out of all the video game franchises in the world, Pokemon is one of the biggest and with damn good reason. Not only are the original games addicting but add in a decent card game, television show, and oodles of other merchandise and you’ve got a global phenomenon on your hands. There were other monster raising games that gave their own unique take on the genre such as Digimon and Monster Rancher, both very fun games in their own right. However, none seemed to match the planet wide craze that Pokemon achieved. I was growing up during said craze, so having a copy of Pokemon Red version turned the wimpiest kid in the class to a cool kid, a brief time in the school lime-light that I enjoyed thoroughly.
Even though Pokemon may not be as popular as it was back in the 90s, fans both new and old still get a great deal of enjoyment from it. The series continues to evolve, adding new Pokemon to the roster and new areas to explore, and everyone from new comers to die hard 150 purists will have their opinion whether these changes are good or unnecessary. However, one thing that I know for sure a lot of fans can agree on, is the impressive quality of music that has gone into these little hand held games. Whether it’s the classic Gameboy chip tunes or the advanced scores of the modern generation, Game Freak has managed to provide memorable little tunes that will get stuck in your head for years. With that said, lets count down the top ten best songs in Pokemon. Keep in mind; I’m only using examples from games I have played, which are mostly the hand held titles. If you feel there was a song that I missed that deserves to be on this list, let me know what it is and why you think it should be on the list.
10) Red and Blue Opening Theme
You can’t argue with the classics. This was the first song we all heard when turning the game on for the first time. The fast pace beat promising the challenging but fun adventure that was to come. I don’t know about you but no matter how many times I hear those first few notes of this song, I get chills. Even though some Pokemon nay-sayers complain on how childish this series is, I dare you to play this song for them without telling them what it is, and ask what they think. It’s the perfect tune for getting ready for something big, whether it’s a journey into the unknown or getting ready to play in a sports match. It gets the blood pumping for action and considering how this theme has become the main theme of the entire series, I’m clearly not the only one who thinks so.
9) New Bark Town
This song just feels like home to me, not sure why. You would think that since I started playing with Pokemon Red that I would be more sentimental with the Pallet town theme. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the Pallet town song, and I always will, but no matter how many times I listen to that song and this one back to back I always enjoy the New Bark Town theme more. I guess due to the relaxed pacing of the whole thing or even the innocent sounding tune that changes as the song progresses. The word of when I hear this song is childhood, not due to the fact that I was young than I played this but it sounds like what childhood should be, fun, adventurous but also safe and secure. This makes the beginning of the Pokemon journey all the more exciting when you leave behind the safety of New Bark Town to explore the rest of the world. The warm, welcoming song in New Bark Town keeps the tiny town in your heart no matter where you go.
8) Pokémon Center Theme
Here is another song that has kept its memorable tune for over a decade with a few modifications here and there. Considering how much time you spend in a Pokemon center in every game in the series, it’s a blessing they kept it the same with each new release. The song is energetic but also has a gentle sound, making it relaxing. Here, you don’t have to worry about making eye contact with trainers or getting jumped by wild Pokemon. Here, you can rest up your Pokemon with that weird machine (god knows what it’s really doing) and take a load off for a few minutes before going back out and training your team.
7) Celadon City
After travelling all over the country side, going from small town to small town, you finally make it to the big city. And boy is it a sight to behold. The buildings are huge; there are tons of people walking around, tons of shops and even a place to gamble for prizes. All of the excitement with exploring this huge place is complimented by a fast paced song that captures the fast but fun life of the big city. Playing Red for the first time, Celadon was always my favorite place to visit. Even after I beat the game, I would always come back and take a seat on the mall rooftop and buy soda after soda. Humming the tune all the while. It was thanks to this experience that I always look forward to the city areas in later games, with Castelia City the only one coming close to matching the wow factor I had gotten from Celadon. With so much to offer, in both sound and content, Celadon city is a place I’d gladly visit any day.
6) Gym Leader Battle Theme (Johto)
All of the gym leader themes are some of the best music in the series, but out of all of them, I get the most pumped when I hear this one. It has a fast beat like most battle themes but has an edge to it that makes you excited as well as nervous. You are up against the best trainers of their chosen type, even if you have a Pokemon with an advantage over theirs, victory will still not come easily (Unless you’re massively over leveled). I like what this song does as it covers the highs and lows that the battles can take. While one round may go more in your favor, things can turn south at a moment’s notice. It is a song that really keeps you on your toes, making you ready for anything.
5) Giratina Battle
Battling the Legendary Pokemon, the titans of the Pokemon world, are as fun as using them in battle once you’ve caught them. Starting with the legendary birds of Kanto all the way to the Unova dragons, each game unique legendary has an awesome design and incredible powers that makes you want to catch and tame them all the more. The battle themes for these monstrosities are always grand and epic as they should be. However, there is one that rises from the darkest pit of the Pokemon world and swallows all the others with its creepy yet powerful sound. That is, of course, the encounter with Giratina. Never before with any of the Legendarys (save for Ho oh’s battle theme in Heart Gold) has a battle theme fit its Pokemon so well, down to the very design. The eerie sound effects mixed with the fast beat makes the song sound alien or not of this world, exactly like Giratina itself. You could argue that the beat is similar to both Palkia and Dialga’s theme, but Giratina’s theme goes much farther by upping the creepy factor. The song and Giratina both live up to the hype it is given throughout its signature game, making it look like this unholy abomination that human beings were never meant to interact with, let alone control. Thus making it all the more satisfying when you manage to conquer the beast and add it to your all-star team.
4) Team Plasma
As far as villainous organizations go, none are more kick ass than Team Plasma. Though Team Rocket was cool, but they never really got anywhere with their schemes. Team Magma and Team Aqua were just rival gangs vying for control, leaving Team Galactic to be one of the only legitimate threats to the world at large. Though Team Galactic was intimidating Team Plasma elevated themselves higher than just intimidating or threatening, but downright sinister at times. Instead of just declaring war on the world, they took their time, gaining followers by making themselves look like the good guys. Convincing people that they were doing the right thing getting rid of their Pokemon for the Team to use (If they didn’t just take them). When this theme plays, the nice routine drops and you are in for a fight. It’s funny to say but this theme makes the Team Plasma grunts more intimidating than they really are, given their Pokemon of choice. However, its cool factor lies in the fact that the song is very in your face and hard hitting with its notes. Signifying that these guys are not going to pull any punches, due to how much they believe in their cause. Out of all the music in the series this is one that I keep going back to. It was able to characterize a group of individuals with a few minutes of sound. That is impressive.
3) Blue/Green/Gary Champion Theme (Kanto)
Oh, I can’t tell you how ticked off I was when got to this point in the game (I’m sure I’m not the only one). After all that hard work to become the champion of the region, beating Lance and earning your place as the best…only to find out your rival (whatever you decided to name him) has beaten you to it. After doing nothing but mocking you for the entire game he is now at the king of the castle, and it is high time you knocked him down a peg. His team is powerful and the music does a good job of not only conveying the power this guy as at his disposal but also all of the animosity that has been built up between these two characters the whole game. Certain parts of the song sound like he’s still mocking you, going “Na nana na na!” How can a song do something like that and still sound intimidating? I’m not sure but it works you up enough to take, that sucker, down!
2) N’s Farewell
Unlike that…other rival…N was a pretty nice guy. A bit crazy perhaps, alright a lot crazy, but he was kind to Pokemon and even to the player at times. By the time you face him near the end of the game, him and the main character are more friends than enemies. Friends that have had a difference in opinion, you may not agree with what they believe in but you still appreciate their company. It was the big appeal with this character made all the more sad when you have to say goodbye to him when the conflict is finally over. The game gives you an honest to god piano piece as he gives you his best wishes and continues journey to find his place in the world now that Team Plasma is disbanded. Even the time with him was short; it was special making the sad piano pull at the heartstrings all the more. N is one of the better characters in the series and will be interesting to see where his journey takes him next. But for now, we can enjoy this wonderfully sad song as we say farewell for now.
1) Johto Champion Battle (Lance and Red)
It is time for the ultimate test. All your hours of training and levelling up your team have been for this one last battle. A battle that will decide the next champion and surpass all who came before. Though it was hard enough to beat Lance once, facing him again with a revamped team is even more challenging. However, when I hear this awesome piece of music there is only one fight that comes to mind. Where you have to hike all the way up a freaking mountain to face the one, the only, Trainer Red. The same Pokemon trainer you guided to the top after hour upon hour of game play is the same trainer you now have to beat. Gold and Silver were already great games in my mind but it was when I made it here that it became cemented as one of the greatest games of all time. This epic battle is accompanied by one of the finest battle songs in the entire franchise, which entire composition comes down to a single word, epic. Great beat, hard hitting notes, going from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other even including a few riffs of the main theme to show this is the end, the climax of the long journey. Win or lose (if you’re fighting red and aren’t ready, you lose a lot), the Johto Champion fight is one that won’t be soon forgotten by Pokemon fans, with a great song that will cement its infamy no matter where the franchise goes from here.
What was your favorite song in Pokémon? What are your thoughts on the music or the series in general? Post your thoughts in the comments below.
Other Top Ten Lists: