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Hey! Listen! 5 Video Game Soundtracks You Should Get In Rotation

So you haven’t played that Japanese Dreamcast game where you run around tagging up Tokyo with your skate punk friends at the behest of a pirate radio DJ. That’s cool. You can still benefit from its awesome electro-acid-soul soundtrack.

There are some game soundtracks out there that truly stand up as albums and deserve some attention, and unlike wearing the shirt of a band you’ve never seen, there’s no shame in digging into them without knowing their sources. Seriously, guys, it’s fine—we said so. Without further ado:

1) Jet Set Radio/Jet Grind Radio (US) (Hideki Naganuma)
If you can find it, this one’ll put your head on a swivel with bouncy Propellerheads-style spy-beats, and crisp, funky basslines. Spray paint and skateboard sold separately.
Click to Preview or Buy.

2) Bastion OST (Darren Korb)
The core soundtrack is twangy, bluesy, and built on thick almost-trip-hop beats, and the few vocal tracks are nothing short of haunting. A very cool, tightly composed album.
Click to Preview or Buy.

3) Katamari Damacy OST (Various Artists)
Super-excited fanfare for the world’s happiest picnic? Sure. I can’t overstate how much fun it is to run/bike to this album.
Click to Preview or Buy.

4) The Orange Box OST (Kelly Bailey)
Spy music! Dark ambient stuff! Twitchy electro! This is, at times, very straight-up soundtracky, but great for, say, reading on the subway.
Click to Preview or Buy.

5) Portal 2: Songs to Test By (Aperture Science Psychoacoustics Laboratory)
You like Daft Punk? You’ll like this album. You can grab all three volumes of this awesome electro-romp on the Portal 2 website, but frankly, this game is so good that you should just play it.
Click to Preview or score a Free Download.

Honorable mentions:
Deus Ex: Human Revolution OST (Michael McCann)

Very, very well-composed soundtrack, but toes the cheese line a bit, and sounds very much like a video game. Still, I find myself listening to it kind of a lot.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game OST (Anamanaguchi)
Easily makes the Top 5 for its composition and raw, chippiness, but the tracks are all 1:00ish loopable samples, making for a not-so-great album experience.

Quake OST (Trent Reznor)
The Nine Inch Nails album that never was. Spooky and brutal, and totally worth a listen.

Earthworm Jim: Anthology OST (Tommy Tallarico)
Straight up impossible to find at retail, but I highly recommend exploring this soundtrack on YouTube. The combination of 80s-montage-level guitar riffs, insane banjo breakdowns, and oh-by-the-way there’s a full-on tarantella on the album—is pretty wild stuff.

What did we miss? Let us know your favorite video game tunes in the comments below!

@mrbaehr

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