By MajorMitch 4 Comments
Alright then, let's start this show with a show stopper. Stickerbrush Symphony (or Bramble Blast, if you prefer) from Donkey Kong Country 2 is without a doubt one of my absolute favorites. First thing's first- if you haven't heard it before, have a listen.
I think the setting of the level itself is the primary key to appreciating Stickerbrush Symphony. The entirety of Bramble Blast takes place in a dense forest of deadly, thorny vines that is far removed from civilization of any kind. It has more of an isolated feel as a result, and the beginning of the song does a great job at capturing this feel. It consists of few simple rifts that seem to stand all on their own, which is a stark contrast to the rest of the game's highly populated levels and busy songs. Also, your main foe in Bramble Blast is nature itself. Rather than battling K. Rool's minions, you're fighting for survival within one of nature's most oppressive environments. The giant vines that seem to bear down on you throughout the level take on an almost majestic quality, and the song's ambient background chords do a great job at emphasizing nature's wonder. In addition, the song's central rifts are composed of short, punctuated notes (staccato if you will), which seem to characterize the sharp, pointed thorns that you're constantly trying so hard to avoid impaling yourself on.
I also like the way that Stickerbrush Symphony always seems to be moving. Its constant beat propels it forward at all times, slowly adding layers of complexity on top of an initially simple tune. This mirrors the way you experience the level, where the simple task of avoiding thorns quickly evolves into one of the most devilishly complicated levels in the entire game. In fact, like most levels Bramble Blast turns out to be a pretty action-packed affair, and the song has a compelling undercurrent that suggests as much. What I really love about Stickerbrush Symphony is how it manages to combine all of these aspects as it moves along. It ends up being a pretty busy, complicated song that seems fitting for an action game, yet never loses its melancholy vibe that set the tone to begin with. It's peaceful and frantic all at the same time, which is amazing. Or if you're looking to bring out the action side a little more, there's always the Super Smash Bros. Brawl remix.
In some ways, I like this version even better than the original. It contains all the same basic parts, but really ramps up the action component (and in general has better instrumentation and higher sound quality). This is a song that's going places, and the ride it takes to get there is a blast. It's a super fun, energetic song that feels just as appropriate in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as the original felt in Donkey Kong Country 2. That's a testament to Stickerbrush Symphony's staying power and versatility, and goes a long way towards summing up why this song remains one of my favorites to this day.
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