In the Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver soundtrack, we find a couple of diamonds (and pearls) in the rough.
Seriously, when they named this album “Music Super Complete,” they weren’t kidding. Every single melodic theme, and all its many variations, found a way onto this soundtrack. The average (mean and median) track time is under 50 seconds, as each disc holds anywhere from 80 to 99 tracks. The sheer quantity is daunting. And though, for some rabid PokéFans, every single jingle found on this soundtrack might be worth its weight in (Heart)Gold, I found that only a select few tracks stand out.
Someone should really consider doing a 15 track arranged album using some of the best themes from all the Pokémon games. That would be worth listening to.
But enough speculation. We’re here to talk about the three disc soundtrack for HeartGold & SoulSilver. This is a DS remake of Pokémon Gold & Silver, the definitive Pokémon games for Game Boy Color. The first two discs feature all the music for the two DS games. The third disc is a collection of music from the original Game Boy games (though this set of music seems slightly less complete, at least by comparing tracklists). What was packed into 3 discs really should have been expanded to a five or six disc set with looped tracks. Because even the lengthiest, most enjoyable tracks (some nearly reach the two minute mark!) deserve more time so that the listener can soak in the melody.
Among the tracks that I found to be enjoyable, the big two, by type, were town themes and battle themes. I don’t think this is an uncommon finding when surveying the whole of Go Ichinose’s and Junichi Masuda’s Pokémon work. But there’s just so much music, so many short little melodies, that break up the action of the “good songs,” it’s hard to appreciate a straight listen of this soundtrack. I eventually found it better to create a custom playlist with some of my favorite pieces to listen to. When there are nearly 300 tracks for one soundtrack, consolidation is the only sane thing to do.
Nearly every Pokémon soundtrack has gone out of print shortly after release, with no reprints in sight. I recommend interested fans buy this album now, before they lose the opportunity. If nothing else, the bonus disc with the original Game Boy chiptunes serves as a wonderful lesson in PokéHistory. And if you’re really into chiptunes, you may well find disc three to be your favorite. Me? I liked the DS music a lot, but the GB music was also great. I’m not sure which I like more. But I’m glad that both came in this package!