Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Biweekly Music Wednesday! No. 40 ~Have a Nice Talk~ (Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story)

OriginMario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
Plays In: Various scenes
Status: Original Composition
Composed by: Yoko Shimomura

One of the joys of the Mario & Luigi games--and while I'm at it, Super Mario RPG--is affirming how much Yoko Shimomura gets the Mario universe. Her use of xylophones and the like don't just perfectly complement their respective games' playful, comedic nature: they bear the as Koji Kondo's original source material.

Bowser's Inside Story remains the pinnacle of the series, so it's no surprise its soundtrack remains Mario & Luigi's finest. Above is what's perhaps my favorite selection from the franchise: Have a Nice Talk, which is one of many names it's gone through no other apparent source but YouTube (aside from the fact that it's my personal favorite, we'll stick with that one for convenience). Often reserved for Bowser's overworld portions of the game, the Koopa overlord encounters  a number of curious characters to this tune, not the least of which is Broque Monsieur and his horde of Blitties.

While short in length, this is probably my favorite Mario and Luigi song for more personal reasons. Back when Bowser's Inside Story landed in my hands during Christmas 2009, my life was in the dumps. My senior high school year was a bust in both social interaction and IEP management, my inability to speak up with my feelings set the course for a rather nasty online fallout, and the truth behind my disappearing video games would unravel an unspeakable betrayal...

My only solace, my one escape from the cruel world around me, was latest Mario & Luigi game and its antics.The return of Fawful meant NOA Treehouse's script-writing was at its finest, and the presence of Bowser --always the bratty showstopper in nearly every Mario RPG--was the icing on the cake. To this day, it still remains one of my favorite Nintendo localizations.

But it was Yoko Shimomura's score that captivated me most. From the treacherous winds of Cavi Cape to the funky Bowser's Insides rendition of Plack Beach, the music never failed to lift my spirits in the worst of times, even if it was only momentarily. Have a Nice Talk in particular was the most earwormy of the lot, and I was always turned to its respective YouTube uploads whenever I was sour. It was if  it was saying "we know things with your brother are tough again, but Mario, Luigi and Bowser are still here to make you laugh, so please don't feel lonely."

To be fair, it took me a long time to believe that; overall, it took three different files in all to play through the game in its entirety, and it was soon only after my brother's death that I found the courage to complete it. It wasn't necessarily done in his memory, but rather as a means to once again escape from the pain (that fall's revisit of Mario Kart DS was far more relevant in regards to Michael). To my surprise, there was a finality to it all; for instance, I found the music's quality and message to be completely unfiltered, and not once were they ebbed away by imminent sadness.

It's undeniable that game music forges a strong, emotional people with gamers, but it never ceases to amaze me that even the tiniest of jingles resonate such evocative nostalgia. Much as people praise the final boss theme, the simple NPC conversation theme still remains my favorite. Not simply because it helped me through a dark time, but because now even now, I still have a future. Because even now, even when my social life is still in the gutter...

I'm still laughing.

Final Thoughts: Man, I can't wait to replay this next year!!

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