Gotta Go Underground

Since hearing the news of a new Yoshi game for the Wii U, I’ve had the strongest urge to play Super Mario World.  I’ve already written about the game, so I’m not going to rehash it here; but one thing I didn’t mention in that post was the soundtrack.  Because I’ve been thinking more about SMW of late, its soundtrack has been bopping about in my head. I’m pretty sure that SMW was really the first time that a game’s soundtrack penetrated my thick skull and stuck there.  The mere thought of the peppy opening music is enough to bring back full visions of Mario and Yoshi.  But one tune in particular really earwormed its way into my brain, and it remains my a personal favorite of any diddies in any Mario games before or since: Underground.

From YouTube user Marlon Burns.

You’ll notice that the video specifically states that the song is with “[the] yoshi bongo beat.” It’s true – finding Yoshi in SMW changed the music slightly, adding a quick drum beat underneath whatever was playing.  What I really enjoy about this song is how it sits in stark contrast to the rest of the super happy fun time soundtrack. The twangy melody resonate only slightly proud of the “baseline.”  The addition of the bongos at the 0:49 mark heightens the song a bit, but not much.  While most of SMW delightful tunes are quite prevalent throughout the game, the Underground theme (mostly heard when you are…you guessed it!…underground) plays so serenely, almost to the point of being meditative. Underground is so very different than the game’s other songs, with it’s pseudo-primal sound, that it really makes you feel like you’ve entered a very un-Mario-like place.  A quiet, dark, gray place void of the colorful flora and fauna of the land, seas, and sky worlds. A place of respite (though not really) from the hyperactivity of the surface.

See, special things DO exist Yoshi coins. (source)
See, special things DO exist underground…like Yoshi coins. (source)

Click here for the full soundtrack and a little trip down memory lane. The Athletic theme is still a favorite. And the Haunted House theme has an almost Metroid-like appeal. But the mysteriously muted Underground theme remains the one that will forever remind me of my travels in Super Mario World.


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