Pokémon Sun and Moon have officially arrived. Along with them comes a whole suite of new music to listen to for years to come, but if you — like me — like to jam along to music from other games while fiddling around on your Nintendo handheld, it’s hard to go wrong with these incredible tunes from the franchise’s past.
This is by no means definitive, by it’s a good start for the ultimate Pokémon playlist.
Years ago, when the anime was first gaining popularity, the folks behind Pokémon came out with a lovely little CD called Pokémon 2.B.A. Master. And by “lovely,” I mean “I love it” and not “It’s actually, objectively good.” The title track — “2.B.A. Master” — is a master class in goofy, ‘90s anime rap.
“Goodbye to You, Pikachu” by Sam Hart
Sam Hart made this one single song in lieu of designing an entire musical, but even as a standalone piece of music it really works. This is one of those songs I discovered years ago and keep coming back to whenever Pokémon is on my mind.
The original “PokéRAP” is reminiscent of a very particular time and place for many folks. For those not familiar, this is the names of the original 151 Pokémon over a beat in an excited fashion. It’s simple, but stupid catchy.
“Lavender Town Theme”
The “Lavender Town Theme” is creepy enough that it, and the fact that the town houses a giant funeral space for pocket monsters, have created dozens of creepypasta stories over the years.
“Team Rocket (Double Trouble)”
Jesse and James of Team Rocket might be the best thing to ever come out of the Pokémon anime. This song, also off the previously mentioned 2.B.A. Master CD, has the two plus their feline companion Meowth singing about the terrible crime spree they’d commit if they could.
“Ending Theme” from Pokemon Diamond and Pearl
The theme that plays after you beat the Elite Four in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl isn’t fancy by any stretch of the imagination, but it invokes the perfect relaxing mood. I still remember the first time I cleared the game and sat listening to this in my family’s home.
“PokéRAP” by Neil Cicierega
Remember how I said the original “PokéRAP” was simple and catchy? This version by internet musician Neil Cicierega is not simple, but just as catchy if not more so. This is in no way affiliated with the Pokémon Company, of course.
There are literally dozens of different battle themes to choose from when it comes to the games, and the original is an obvious choice, but N’s battle theme is maybe the best Game Freak have ever included. It’s the right tempo, feels somehow new and refreshing, and manages to not feel overly repetitive.
“KISEKI” is another perfect ending song, and marks the perfect end to the franchise’s first outing on the 3DS. Measured against every other song from the Pokémon franchise, it stands out as a bit unique and interesting. Listening to the Pokémon Diamond and Pearl ending theme and then “KISEKI” makes for a good time.
The original theme for the anime is a must. There’s really no substitution.
Photos via Pokemon Company International