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Ah, Paper Mario. One of the greatest video game series of all time. It has great levels, great characters, great combat, and a brilliant soundtrack. Thankfully, I’m not alone in the thought that Paper Mario has absolutely GODLY music. My good friend JakeTheGinger also agrees that Paper Mario has an amazing soundtrack, and as such we have agreed on 10 great songs. Through grueling decision making, we have finally managed to order this list.
So once again, take out those headphones I tell you to put on basically every time I post a music blog and lets get this started!
10-Castle Bleck (Super Paper Mario)
Xl9: Castle Bleck is a trippy song. At times, I find myself annoyed with it’s retro beats, but the chiptune sound effects are broken up by odd wails and other otherworldly noises. It sounds familiar enough to the classic Mario songs of old, but strange enough to stop me from getting comftorable. And if there was a better way to describe Bleck himself, I couldn’t think of it.
Jake: Super Paper Mario was different. Not… terrible, by any means. But it deviated from the traditional RPG format of Paper Mario. Still, it had many saving graces, unlike It That Shall Not Be Named. Anyhoo, this theme is pretty sweet, feeling like some retro game where you raid a castle or something, but with added weird Bleck sound effects. I can’t describe music very well, so get used to it folks.
Also, I can’t read Bleck anymore without imagining Jontron saying it like ‘ECH’.
9-Keeping Pace (Paper Mario)
Xl9: Ah, Keeping Pace. The theme song of the objectively best boss in Paper Mario history (Yes I went there). General Guy is an amazingly fitting boss for an amazing world theme, and this song just NAILS it. Come on, you’re in a Toy Box, fighting a Toy soldier, while music this freaking goofy and fun is playing. How can anybody hate this song? I know we can’t help but love it. Speaking of loving...
Jake: How can anyone not love Shy Guys? They’re so cute, but also kind of freaky when you consider what might be underneath their masks. This boss theme isn’t really a serious one when you listen to it. It’s lighthearted, with a silly army element mixed in. But when you’re fighting a General in a big pink vehicle with a giant light bulb on… are you really going to care if it’s not serious? Revel in it’s zaniness.
8-Bowser, King of Koopas (Paper Mario)
Xl9: This song resembles the iconic final Bowser theme from Super Mario 64, but it somehow sounds ever more menacing in this version. The guitar adds for a good buildup, and the overall beat kept me motivated throughout the entire fight. A standout tune for a standout boss fight.
Jake: When those first notes play, you just know you’ve entered a Bowser Battle. But this ain’t a fight where you throw him by the tail or make him explode three times or something. No, this is an epic duel between Mario and his long time nemesis. Not only do you get an awesome Bowser-y esque theme running through (I’m not musically adept enough to actually describe what half the sounds in these games are), but you also get a kickass drum beat in there too. And don’t forget the guitar. Seriously.
7-The Sun Tower (Paper Mario)
Xl9: Taking on a surprisingly Spanish flare, the Sun Tower is an excellent song that shows up in Paper Mario… And then vanishes. Almost as quickly as it started up. Which is quite as shame, because this song is very fitting for the desert tower. While you only visit the Sun Tower once (And for about 3 minutes total, to boot) this song has stuck with me more than any other overworld theme in the game.
Jake: Not sure why, but Nintendo seems to have a knack for nailing desert themes. The Sun Tower is no exception, which is why it’s on this list (duh). Like XL says, it’s got an odd Spanish to vibe, considering Mario’s meant to be a racist Italian stereotype. But it fits, and makes a good tune to journey too, even if it’s short lived.
6-The Crystal King (Paper Mario)
Xl9: If I didn’t know any better, I would think that The Crystal King was a song from a Sonic the Hedgehog game. It starts with a sort of techno riff, but quickly shows its true colors as a Paper Mario boss theme. It has that same percussion you will get from every boss theme in the franchise, but the catchy electronica makes it our favorite boss theme from the original Paper Mario.
Jake: The song manages to convey the feeling that, yes, you are fighting an ice boss. It doesn’t overdo it though so that it becomes cliché. I think the drum beat and the techno help that more than anything else. So it’s far from that one Batman movie. You know the one...
5-Title Theme (Paper Mario)
Xl9: After I finished Top 15 Happiest Songs in Gaming, I was kicking myself for not including this. It’s just so damn cheerful and lighthearted that I grin like an idiot every single time this song plays without fail. I don’t know, those trumpets and bells always sell it for me. It may not be entirely fitting for the surprisingly dark at times game, but I love it nonetheless.
Jake: The first part of this theme really reminds me of Pikmin for some reason. Not sure why. But that alone is enough to secure it a place on this list, I reckon. But after the beginning, you get a really cheerful tune. It’s not really suitable music for an adventure, even the whole tone of the game perhaps, but it’s just so darn happy I don’t care.
4-Outer Space (Super Paper Mario)
Xl9: Wait. This ISN’T a track from Super Mario Galaxy? Could’ve fooled me. This song sounds just like one of Mario Galaxy’s finest, with a sweeping score and a great sense of adventure. Hearing this song just makes me want to go out and play Super Mario Galaxy again, which is ironic considering Super Paper Mario predates Super Mario Galaxy by months! Either way, I love this song and it’s perhaps the best thing to come out of Super Paper Mario. Well, besides that amazing animation on Bowser’s arms.
Jake: XL took the best comparison out there, so, er…
3-File Select (Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door)
Xl9: Now THIS is a theme song fit for a Paper Mario game! It starts off whacky and fast paced, but quickly changes into a more calm, but still noteworthy breakdown. While it does overuse extremely loud noises a wee bit TOO much, this is a song I can always go back to and have a blast.
Jake: A much more fitting theme to the game than Paper Mario’s title theme. This is a delightful tune, while still managing to hold an essence of adventure in its heart. The title theme of the first game is a bit too peaceful, even if good. This, however, is upbeat and fast paced. It just screams “You ready for adventure? ‘Cause we are.”
2-Doopliss (Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door)
Xl9: You know, I would put a long entry here, but Jake just loves this song to death, so take it away Jake!
Jake: When being evil is so damn fun yet creepy at the same time, you get Doopliss. Stupid name, and he kinda looks it too, but you do not want to mess with this ghost. Not even the Ghostbusters would, since he’d probably steal one of their bodies and murder all the others in their sleep. Regardless, this theme excellently portrays both the boss and the world you had to get through in order to reach him. Early on in the chapter, it’s established that a ringing bell signals that one of the townspeople will turn into a pig. Guess what you repeatedly hear during this theme? And it works. Really damn well. Plus there’s an organ playing too. Organ’s are never not creepy.
1-Rogueport (Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door)
Xl9: And now here we are. The best Paper Mario song in the franchise. Rogueport takes the mystery and semi-eeriness of Dooplis, the happiness and sense of adventure of the File Select theme, and gives it its own nice seedy feeling. Rogueport is an excellent area to explore, and this is a song that will always be stuck in my head as “That one awesome song from Paper Mario”.
Jake: An actual port is your first port of call on this adventure. Either that’s rather fitting, or I should stop with the puns. So you get a tune that really gets you geared up for the journey ahead. But not only that, since the theme also gets across Rogueport itself. Rogueport isn’t your standard hubworld. It’s filled with secrets, and it’s shown to be a pretty rough place. The music manages to get all this across without sounding disjointed or terrible. And that’s a darn impressive feat, I reckon.
Honorable Mention: The River Twygz Bed
Xl9: This is one spooky song.
Jake: It's like Cthulhu got a record deal!