After doing an entire list dedicated to Super Mario Galaxy – and even another just for its equally awesome sequel – I found myself more inclined than ever to listen to the soundtracks, and my God are they gorgeous.
I’ll give Galaxy 2 its own list at some point, but for now I have to talk about the genius within the Galaxy 1 soundtrack – I was originally going to just do a top 10, but this collection of songs is just so iconic that I had to push it to 20; but hey, I’m not complaining and neither should you!
This is easily one of my favourite gaming soundtracks of all time, so how would I rank the top 20 tracks from this incredible game?
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20 – Toy Time Galaxy
I can imagine the briefing for this one went something like “Oooh, do the Mario theme again … OOOOOH make it really Toy Time-y!” – and in fairness, they did a fantastic job.
They couldn’t have arranged a better version of the classic Mario theme for this galaxy, it has all of the jovial whimsey and nostalgia that I could ask for.
19 – Space Fantasy (Matter Splatter Galaxy)
I don’t know if this is specifically used in “Matter Splatter Galaxy” alone, but that was the galaxy where it stood out the most to me.
Quintessentially spacey, it’s songs like these that make for fantastic additions to the already superb Galaxy soundtrack, and each individual track has an important part to play in providing a suitably ethereal and memorable experience.
18 – Melty Molten Galaxy
Equal parts intense and intriguing, I actually get quite a big “sand level” vibe from this one. At the same time, the furious drums and mellow violins / synths make this track a memorable one in an already stellar galaxy.
17 – Bowser’s Galaxy Reactor
I love how bombastic and intense the final battle themes get, and “Bowser’s Galaxy Reactor” has to be one of my favourites. It has the varied orchestration that makes the rest of the soundtrack so great, but this one also has the added bonus of some cool synth effects that make it slightly more memorable.
16 – Honeyhive Galaxy
This one is probably just for nostalgia reasons alone, but I really like the nonsensical and bubbly vibe that this one gives off.
This is also one of the “tamer” arrangements we’ve seen, as not much goes on other than the main melody – it’s almost like a “Super Mario 64” song in that regard.
15 – Beach Bowl Galaxy
The Super Mario Galaxy composers always understood the assignment, and once again I cannot think of a better track to accompany a chill, blissful adventure in a tropical galaxy.
It’s quite incredible how the composers managed to capture the essence of each galaxy in their track, and I can’t think of a single song on the soundtrack that felt out of place or lacking.
14 – To The Gateway (Gateway Galaxy)
One of the most relaxing, serene track on the whole OST, I got a lot of enjoyment from just sitting back and re-listening to this one.
13 – The Wish
Maybe an unconventional choice, as it is very much a B-side of a track, but “The Wish” has always been the most emotive of the Galaxy songs.
Playing while Rosalina reads through the storybook in The Library, this song coupled with the surprisingly tragic story in the book made for one of my personal favourite tracks of the bunch.
12 – Freezeflame Galaxy (Fire / Ice)
When making this list, I completely forgot that there were two different versions of this track – but that’s what makes it so special. The duality of the same track played slightly differently is a stroke of genius, and it’s quite incredible to me that the melody works in both the fire and ice settings.
11 – Overture
This is the theme that plays when you open the game for the first time, and while I think it’s done better elsewhere (we’ll get to that) this is still an excellent theme to kickstart any game.
10 – Battlerock Galaxy
I’m pretty sure most of the love of this galaxy stems purely from the song alone, it’s just that good.
It has all the grandiose orchestration that you’d expect from a show-stopping galaxy, and rarely has a Mario song sounded like such a call to adventure.
9 – Buoy Base Galaxy
Similarly to “Battlerock Galaxy”, I’m pretty sure that all of the praise of the galaxy itself comes from the amazing soundtrack that goes along with it.
The music here is just so hype, and it makes ascending the Buoy Base tower all the more exhilarating.
8 – Final Bowser Battle
One of my favourite final boss battle themes in all of gaming, the mixture of frantic synths / violins and even a choir turns the drama and tension up to 11.
They went all out making this track a climactic finale to the game, and it accompanies the awesome final Bowser fight perfectly.
7 – Comet Observatory
The most nostalgic track of all, as this was almost definitely the song that most players would listen to the most when exploring the various locations around the Comet Observatory.
There’s something so innocently beautiful and fascinating about this track, as if it’s encouraging the player to explore the universe to its fullest potential. Super Mario Galaxy wouldn’t be the same without this masterpiece.
6 – Good Egg Galaxy
“Good Egg Galaxy” is possibly the most iconic galaxy in the entire game, so it made sense that the soundtrack was also a banger.
Mario soundtracks had never sounded quite like this before, and when you land on the planet to the beautiful sounds of a full orchestra, you know you’re in for a special gaming experience.
5 – Ghostly Galaxy
This might be my strangest / most controversial pick on the entire list, as I don’t think anyone else has ever rated this track that highly. The first part is just a standard spooky song after all, so why have I ranked it so high?
Well, at about the halfway point (or 0:52 ish on the video), the real track kicks in. We get some plucky synths coupled with a melodramatic violin line, and this was one of the few tracks in the game that physically made me stop playing it to enjoy it.
4 – The Star Festival
I guess this is the unofficial “victory” music in the game, or at least it certainly feels like it.
Playing while Mario enjoys the final scene at the titular Star Festival, saving Princess Peach was worth it for this track alone.
3 – Super Mario Galaxy (Main Theme)
Of course the main theme was going to rank highly – it’s one of gaming’s most iconic themes, and every player gets flooded with childhood memories when it plays.
I think we take it for granted, but the composers did a spectacular job of providing a song that feels both joyous and space-themed at the same time, and all of our childhoods were much better for it.
2 – Space Junk Galaxy
The top two tracks are both some of the greatest pieces of videogame music of all time, without a doubt.
I saw a YouTube comment that said “Space has no oxygen because this song is so breath-taking”, and I couldn’t have summed it up better myself. This is undeniably the most ethereal track of the lot, and it makes “Space Junk Galaxy” a true highlight of the game.
1 – Gusty Garden Galaxy
Here it is, one of – if not THE – greatest videogame songs of all time. It helps that the galaxy itself was probably my favourite in the game, but the soundtrack alone has made “Gusty Garden Galaxy” the stuff of legend.
Making full use of the whole orchestra, every instrument plays their part in making this song the stand-out track in the game. The combination of the furious guitar work and beautiful soaring melodies is what makes this so special, and I don’t think any videogame soundtrack will top this.
Aaaaand that’s my list. I’m sure I’ll get on to SMG2 at some point, but until then you should check out my latest blog posts:
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