With the release of Super Mario Maker 2, I thought now would be a perfect time to dive into the Super Mario franchise to find those few tracks which could use some extra love. Here are eight tracks that deserve your attention.
“CHARACTER SELECT” (SUPER MARIO BROS. 2)
Widely regarded as the black sheep of the Super Mario Bros. trilogy, Super Mario Bros. 2 can’t quite compete with its predecessor or successor in terms of gameplay or music. Nonetheless, “Character Select” has a certain charm that helps it stand out from the rest of the soundtrack, provided you ignore the bizarre, frenetic accompaniment. Josiah Everheart taps into this charm with his acoustic rendition of this classic tune.
“ENDING THEME” (SUPER MARIO BROS. 3)
End themes tend to be rousing pieces of music meant to give emotional closure, and Super Mario Bros. 3’s “Ending Theme” is no exception. Imagine my surprise when I could only find a handful of covers online, including this excellent piece by String Player Gamer. This particular cover enhances the original with an orchestral arrangement before injecting Afro-Cuban beats for an upbeat finale.
“FLOWER GARDEN” (SUPER MARIO WORLD 2: YOSHI’S ISLAND)
Much like the game’s signature aesthetic, Super Mario World 2’s soundtrack is colorful and whimsical. The underappreciated game and its amazing soundtrack were overshadowed by the release of Super Mario 64 the following year. Thankfully, artists like Banjo Guy Ollie haven’t forgotten this game or its soundtrack.
“LETHAL LAVA/SHIFTING SAND LAND” (SUPER MARIO 64)
I know, I know. How could any track from Super Mario 64 belong on this list? For one of the more memorable, atmospheric tracks in the Super Mario franchise, “Lethal Lava Land” (or “Shifting Sand Land” depending on who you ask) has far too little attention. Fortunately, BillytheBard11th gave it the djent treatment, adding detuned guitars, ambient keys, and a stunning percussive section.
“NOKI BAY” (SUPER MARIO SUNSHINE)
There’s no doubt in my mind that this track belongs on this list, because I couldn’t find a single cover or remix that came close to the original. For all you VGM artists out there, what are you waiting for?
“SPACE STORM GALAXY” (SUPER MARIO GALAXY 2)
I’ll be the first to admit it: I rarely think about the Super Mario Galaxy 2 soundtrack simply because I still can’t get over the original Super Mario Galaxy soundtrack. Fortunately, The VGM Flowerman reminded me of this track, and after a quick listen, I can confirm that this is indeed a hidden gem. DSC Music took this gem and polished it even further, adding thick, crunchy rhythm guitars and a memorizing lead guitar.
“WORLD BOWSER” (SUPER MARIO 3D WORLD)
“World Bowser” sees the evil mastermind at his most jazziest (is that a word?), and I dare you not to bop your head while listening to this track. Sure, there are SOME covers out there (including the aforementioned insaneintherainmusic one), but come on: this track definitely deserves more love. Thankfully, Qumu made this already irresistible track even more irresistibler (is that a word?)
“BREAK FREE/LEAD THE WAY” (SUPER MARIO ODYSSEY)
Thanks to Dacian Grada, I was reminded of this fantastic track from Super Mario Odyssey. Sounding like something from the Sonic Adventure 2 OST, “Break Free/Lead the Way” took me by surprise when I first heard it, partly because it was unexpected and partly because it’s SO DAMN GOOD. Gabocarina96 transforms the vocal performance into a stunning lead guitar solo, taking this 10/10 song to 11/10.