Fang-tan’s Top 10: Undertale Tracks

Undertale

I don’t post about games often but I especially don’t post about western games a lot. Like, pretty much never. However, this game was pretty good and had Toby Fox has outdone himself with a fantastic soundtrack so let’s get this out of my system so I can finally stop talking about Undertale listening to this soundtrack. I meant to post this when I first played the game weeks and weeks ago but hey. I’m a very busy person.

Of course, spoilers ahead. Just go play the game if you haven’t yet. Get it over with. Bite the bullet.

Also, a lot of songs feature and sample other songs either entirely or as motifs (usually for a level or specific character theme) so that made this list very difficult but I tried to clear up if it was needed.

10. An Ending

I kept forgetting why this was on my list since I’m not terribly fond of the beginning but the end (around a minute and thirty seconds) with the backing to the piano is so lovely that when I get to that point, I remember why this is one of my favourite songs from the game. It’s a sad track, even if what you read is kinda goofy (or it could be super sad and awful if you played that way, whatever).

09. MEGALOVANIA

Ok so yeah this is a good track, sure, whatever. But I can’t shake that the first time I heard this was in Homecluck and I couldn’t understand why anybody was talking about a random song from Homeduck in 2015 1. But this is definitely the better version and sure, yeah, it’s cool. It’s definitely not the best boss theme song but hey it’s pretty cool overall.

08. Dummy / Ghost Fight

I absolutely could not pick between Death by Glamour and Spider Dance so I went with the unlikely underdog, Dummy! I like Spider Dance more but I think Death by Glamour is a better song. But I think I listen to Dummy way more than either of those songs so here we go.

Ghost Fight is fun and though it was Heartache that sold me on the game, this song was the first one that really surprised me and caught my attention. Dummy kicks it up a notch and makes the song even more fun and upbeat. It just gets me into such a good mood and I love that.

07. Here We Are

This might seem like an odd choice, especially one ot put before the Hotland bosses or San’s boss theme but downplayed ominous music that sounds vaguely reminiscent of the Shadow Temple theme from Ocarina of Time? I’m all about that shit.

Gamewise, it adds a lot of creepiness as it should. The juxtaposition of this area (along with it’s enemies) to the dating skit before or hell, the entire game before (Flowey fight included) is so insane and that has a lot to do with this creepy-ass song that I’m constantly listening to now.

06. Your Best Nightmare / You Idiot

This is a weird track because it’s not one I can listen to very often. The laugh at the beginning (though effective in game) is a bit awkward really. This is the track of the true final boss of the first/neutral playthrough and it’s got that circumstantial boss song feeling to it (lookin’ at you Final Song from Drakengard 3). In this case, it features the fight of each soul so there’s a bunch of interesting musical interludes between the main track which is frantic mess meant to scare and intimidate you. And I mean, I guess it does it’s job. It’s just the middle parts are so much more interesting sounding.

05. His Theme

By this point I’ve realized that a lot of the fun tracks have gotten shafted for the many more melancholic and mellow tracks in the game but make no mistake, I love them too. Oddly enough when I first played the scene this played in didn’t get me very much. Maybe because I was still riding high from the TTGL-levels of badassery from the previous fight. Then I watched someone else play and get to this scene and their reaction along with actually watching what was going on really made me tear up.

It feels like such a longer song than it really is but maybe that’s because the build-up to the “now we’re really sad part” seems to go on for so long. Like An Ending, it’s because the last part of the song is so moving that it’s one of my favourites.

04. Heartache

This was the point where Undertale went from “eh alright” to “OH BOY???” for me. This song, rather. Not so much the fight. Though it’s a good fight and set the tone of the game really well. There’s just something about this track that reminded me so much of Touhou though. Of actual Touhou tracks 2 from the game which are good and sometimes great, if you’ve forgotten.

The track does live up to it’s name though. It reminds me of how I’d once heard Symposium Magarum from Puella Magi Madoka Magica described as the sound of a broken heart. This is sort of the same (though maybe not as extreme as that example). A reluctance to fight but also the desire not to get hurt again. To resist being hurt.

03. Bergentrückung / ASGORE

In terms of tonality, I absolutely love Bergentrückung more than ASGORE. It’s such a sad yet ominous track. It perfectly captures the “you know what’s coming but and I’m sorry” feeling of the scene between Frisk and Asgore. And, much how like the following track has a single line that’s so powerful to me, the message before you fight Asgore while Bergentrückung is playing is “It seems your journey is finally over. You’re filled with DETERMINATION” and goddamn what an exciting mix of sobriety and finality.

ASGORE itself has mixes of Heartache in it too but I felt better seperating them because I just like Heartache so much. Less than that one though, this still has that ZUN-esque vibe to it (especially that ‘piano’ part, gosh) and obviously I’m a huge sucker for that.

02. Undertale

When I had to pick between this and ASGORE, I realized this probably has more staying power. ASGORE is a great song but it’s not one I find I can listen to very casually. This is very much my kind of music and I know I can put it on to just relax or just listen to like any other song. It’s quite a bit longer than most other tracks but it evolves from something very simple to something large by the end. Yet it never loses it’s melancholic sound. That’s what makes it such a beautiful track.

It also plays at what is one of the strongest moments in the game (second to Your Best Nightmare and the battle described below) for me. It was an unexpected transition and when this strangely sad song begins to play, it only makes it more powerful. Indeed, I might not care for that scene very much if it wasn’t for this.

It’s also playing when you read the best line in the whole game and that counts for something in my mind.

“Despite everything, it’s still you.”

01. Hopes and Dreams / Finale / SAVE the World

It was an incredibly tough choice picking what my absolute favourite track was from the soundtrack. Even now, depending on how I feel I could easily waver between these top three. All of them have completely different tones too. That’s what makes it so hard to pick. Anyways, both Finale and Hopes and Dreams focus a lot on the same song with a few major differences. Finale is shorter and is more actiony sounding where as Hopes and Dreams is the Big Damn Heroes climax of the game (the fight that this places in reminds me so goddamn much of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and god do I ever love things that remind me of TTGL) and it’s reflected incredibly well in the song. Surprising instrument choices along with a mix of anxiousness and of course, hopefulness. 3

Finale is sort of the opposite, especially since I see it’s part in Hopes and Dreams as the despair that their hope is crushing and defeating. Like the songs are battling each other. It’s nowhere near as grim as Your Best Nightmare though. It just sounds like such a fight. And it is, of course.

Maybe it’s just because these songs represent such a culmination of emotion – the end of your journey, the fight to save everyone, to see hope triumph over despair – in the battles they’re used in that make them so endearing and exciting but whatever the reason is, I love these tracks most. 4

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You can get the soundtrack (which is obviously really good) on Steam or you can purchase it directly from Toby Fox on his bandcamp. I really recommend you go do that!

And if for some reason you still haven’t gotten sick of Undertale, go listen to the first episode of Rental Circulation spinoff, Platinum Discourse! Where we just happened to have discussed the game to great lengths.

Notes:

  1. And not even one of the best songs from it either
  2. Someone asked if this made me want to listen to original Touhou more like it had for them and the more I think about it, yeah. I’ve definitely been listening to ZUN’s tracks a lot more since playing this game
  3. Cliche as it is, I also find the first minute or so definitely fills me with determination.
  4. Until I think about how much I love ASGORE, Heartache or Undertale itself and change my mind on which is number one…

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