Touch! Generations Soundtrack
Touch! Generations Soundtrack
October 14, 2008
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The Touch! Generations Soundtrack commemorates Nintendo’s highly successful line of DS and Wii games intended to appeal to broader audiences than the traditional gamer. There is a lot covered on this CD, including learning (Big Brain Academy), simulation (Nintendogs), and sports (Wii Fit) games as well as even a selection of music from the Wii channels and the Animal Crossing series. The catches? It was only available to members of Club Nintendo in Japan. It was also selected to receive CD treatment above musically praised projects like Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. Does the CD provide a pile of muzak unworthy of stand-alone listening or does it serve a greater purpose? Well, there’s quite a lot to like…
Among the main draws of the soundtrack are the melodies. The title theme for Wii Sports is instantly attractive, for instance, thanks to the gliding and memorable verse. The Mii Channel theme seems to be Kazumi Totaka’s tribute to one of his earliest compositions, Mario Paint‘s “Monkey Paint”. Further bossa-nova pieces are heard in Cooking Guide‘s lovely violin-based main theme and Kenkou Ouen Recipe 1000‘s “Kitchen Bossa” for piano and guitar. Some of the more upbeat tracks have charming melodies, especially the two retro-influenced dance themes for Wii Fit. The curious and comforting melody of “Nintendogs Theme”, on the other hand, seems to have been directly inspired by puppies. Totaka’s silly off-beat accompaniments to the Wii Shopping Channel and Mii Contest Channel are surprisingly endearing too; they help to keep his mentor Hirokazu Tanaka’s distinctive influences to Nintendo music alive.
Another strength of the soundtrack are the distinctive palettes adopted. Wii Play‘s title theme is an appropriate introduction to the soundtrack given it features many components used in subsequent compositions — jazzy piano melodies, repeated treble frills, and some smooth synth interludes. The colourful instrumental blends of “The Scent of Color…” can inspire synaesthesia while training to be a calligrapher. There are also two very pleasant acoustic themes from the Animal Crossing series; the guitar use of Wild World’s title theme is very expressive while the piano and strings combination of Brawl’s “The Roost” arrangement is sure to inspire nostalgia. There are some uninspired compositions on the collection, though. Wii Play‘s “Fishing” is basically an underdeveloped assortment of random synth fragments while Nintendogs‘ “Walking the Dog” has a very imbalanced palette despite its jazz leanings.
One of the more surprising features of the soundtrack are the tracks that integrate vocals. Kenta Nagata’s title music for Big Brain Academy is dominated by synthesized childish vocals but never becomes annoying thanks to the mixing. Ryo Nagamatsu revised the vocals for Wii Degree and melded them with nicely done instrumental passages. And then there is Daisuke Shiba’s tongue twisters about Peter Piper for the Japan-only English Training. It’s perplexing but very catchy. The soundtrack concludes with two arrangements performed by members of Nintendo’s sound team. “Nintendogs Theme” sounds excellent in its upbeat jazz rendition and the saxophone work is more elaborate than most muzak out there. The Wii Sports theme takes the album round full circle. A quartet led by Totaka demonstrate their musical sensitivity with contemplative melodies and solos for flute, guitar, piano, and tuned percussion.
The Touch! Generations Soundtrack turned out to be significantly better than expected. The selection features most of the interesting and memorable themes from otherwise bland and derivative soundtracks plus several excellent bonuses. It also demonstrates the collective effort of Nintendo’s sound team to distinguish the line’s music from other muzak by offering youthful catchy melodies and distinctive synth blends. As a bonus item, the album satisfies as a whole. It makes for pleasant hour’s worth of occasional background listening for those looking for a break from more emotionally or intellectually stimulating music. When its superficial charms have worn away, it will still constitute a cherished collector’s item for many of Club Nintendo’s fans. Overall, a surprisingly nice if inevitably shallow commemoration of one of Nintendo’s most popular lines of games.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.