I’ve always loved the upbeat, whimsical nature of a lot of Rare’s soundtracks, and the Banjo-Kazooie games are arguably the best examples of this. The latest (and hopefully not last) game in the series, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, has a wonderful orchestrated soundtrack that’s a ton of fun. One of the most memorable tracks to me is Banjoland.
Banjoland is first and foremost a trip down memory lane for those who played the original Banjo-Kazooie. The level itself is a theme park built in honor of Banjo-Kazooie, and its theme is a mish-mash of original Banjo-Kazooie (and some Banjo-Tooie) tunes. All of the songs it brings together were great in their original forms, and they are even better here thanks to solid instrumentation and sound quality. Everything just sounds great, and there’s a lot of variety in the instrumentation. This song is kind of just all over the place, which might be expected given how many tracks it pulls together, yet it manages to transition extremely smoothly from on segment to the next. My favorite segments will always be the ones that showcase a lot of horns. They’re generally upbeat and jaunty in that classic Rare fashion, and never fail to put a smile on my face. I especially love them in the Freezeezy Peak segment, which is still one of my favorites from the original game (along with Click Clock Wood, which I’ve already given tribute to).
Ultimately, it’s the simple fact that I like all of these songs from Banjo-Kazooie that makes Banjoland so memorable to me. I also love that Nuts & Bolts, as a game, is equally as carefree and joyful as the Nintendo 64 platformers were. That means that these songs still work as well as they ever have, and to have them all strung together in a giant throwback level is pretty rad. It’s a nice level and a nice fit for some genuinely entertaining music, which goes a long way towards describing why I like Banjoland as much as I do.
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