Sukesha Ray: Digital Pop Art Siren

By an off-chance passing on Tumblr of mutual likes, I found today’s artist’s site.  When I arrived, I was mesmirised on not only how legit her art was, but how legit it was in different circles.  It speaks professionality by it’s discipline.  Her many types of specialisations and varieties of styles speak of her flexibility and ability to adapt.  Some of those variations in her style even boast street cred, showing qualities that you might see in the most beautiful mural art…or graffiti.

Imagine my surprise when I learned that my admired artist was also a musician!

Ladies and Gentlemen, please meet Sukesha Ray!

 

 

You’ve spoken of coming from a life of means and privilege that has afforded you great opportunities. You also spoke of how your life changed forever by something that challenged your dreams. Is it okay for us to ask you to expand upon that? We think that our readers might gain some inspiration by your story.

 

Sometimes you are put in a position where people are jealous of what you have, what you are doing, what you stand for, etc. They will do anything to tear you down to pieces; destroy you and everything you stand for, just for their own satisfaction. My dad always told me this happens to dreamers, the go-getters, the people that want to forge their own path. Basically, in a generalized aspect this is what happened to my family for a couple of years:  people were jealous of my father, had a lot of power, and wanted to use it to destroy him and his career. For a while we fought and fought, but through all the struggle I think we learned to see different blessings and amazing miracles in that time of struggle. So for people who are fighting their own wars, there is a light, just stay strong.

 

 

You come from a medical family. In fact, I heard that you originally went to school to practice the medical sciences. How much of that is a part of your life, now?

 

Honestly, not a lot now since I’ve dedicated myself to the arts. However, there are times when I miss the scientific part of myself. Sometimes, I get ideas in which I want to tie science into my art, which I already have in some cases. 🙂

 

 

I have a friend that trolls on other artists about “You need to brush up on your anatomy books!” The layman might not get it. Does studying the medical sciences help in your arts?

 

Yeah definitely! It also helps when you come from a medical family, hahah. But on a real note, all you have to do to become better at anatomy is keep drawing and practicing. There’s no cheat code around it!

 

 

I have to say that I instantly fell in love with your visual art style. It’s one part manga, one part graffiti, one part hip hop, one part tattoo aesthetics, and a whole lot of fantasy. It’s sensual. It’s warm. It’s powerful. It reminds me of so many genres that were bourne from a style that elitists and orthodox practitioners fail to professionally recognise, yet are made legitimate. How would YOU describe your visual art style?

 

I honestly would say what you said above! I sort of morph all of these styles into my own, and it seems to have always worked for me. I always say that the most successful artists are not successful solely based on skill, but have something different, unique and avant-garde to give to the world.

 

 

You’ve openly spoken how video gaming influenced your visual art style; I think otaku culture in general has also. You’ve also mentioned comics. What other influences are there on your style?

 

I draw influences from everything around me to be honest. Whether it be food, music, culture, etc., I look for inspiration everywhere, and try to find the artistic beauty in every little thing.

 

 

What are all of your specialties in the visual arts? What are all of the types of art that you practice?

 

I would say both digital and traditional (street art included). Honestly, I love trying everything, but if I’d personally have to pick I’d probably go digital. ‘No mess, and super convenient especially when I’m touring.

 

 

Is there anywhere that we might have seen examples of your visual art?

 

I’ve worked with a couple companies with regard to my art (t-shirt, gaming, trading cards, etc.) in which I’ve designed logos and concept art… as well as album art for countless musicians. The list goes on!

 

 

I was turned on to your work as a visual artist, but I was surprised to learn that you were more well-known in some circles as a musician. On your official artwork page, you talk about your sketches at a young age. How long have you been exploring that facet of yourself? Could you enlighten us on any projects in music that you are especially proud of?

 

Back in the day, I always sang, but just not professionally. I was kind of “discovered” in Miami a few years ago by a producer who loved my art, and found out that I could sing, so he kind of guided me into the world of the music industry. Right now, my most recent accomplishment is signing a distribution deal with Warner Music, so I’m really excited about that.

 

 

How would you describe your musical style? Who are some musical artists that you admire? Are there any artists that you could see yourself working with?

 

I think for me, pop is my go to, but I really like to infuse pop with different styles (trap/edm/etc.). I love artists like Sia, Travis Scott, Kid Cudi; honestly, I could probably go on forever because I respect so many artists. I’d kill for a feature with Kanye though, haha. Or maybe Post Malone.

 

 

Are you able to practice both artistic aspects of yourself in harmony or ease? Do you find that it is easier to create visual art regardless of external stimulus or challenges, or does music come easier? Do you find yourself indulging in one, while neglecting another, sometimes? Does creativity come in cycles between the two, or is it constant?

 

For me it depends, sometimes I’m in a mood and I’m sitting here like “Nah”, haha, and sometimes I have this burst of creativity that comes from literally nowhere. I don’t think forcing the process is right, you just gotta let it happen. If you find yourself having an art or music block, take a break, go outside, enjoy nature and draw some inspiration.

 

 

This might sound like a strange question, but I want you to hear me out. I found it a little hard to believe that “Sukesha Ray: The Visual Artist” and “Sukesha Ray: The Musician” were the same person. I think that people tend to introduce themselves like a resume. They list all their talents and qualities they consider attractive to their audiences, and bill themselves as a talent explosion. You, on the other hand present your facets for their relevant talents, and let them stand on their own as their own public figures. Is this a conscious decision by design or a happy accident?

 

I had to make this decision when I started working professionally as a musician. It can get confusing for music executives to look at a page and see all this randomness(music, art, photographs) going on, and I wanted something clean and concise.

 

 

I also noticed that you do not use your beauty to promote your visual art. I guess as a musician you have to show yourself to promote your art, but you don’t push your natural physical gifts to help promote yourself as a visual artist. Is this by design?

 

Kind of the same response to the above question…I had it all concise at one point, but when I started to work with a professional team with regards to music, they told me I should separate it just because music and art execs would be very confused. You should dedicate a different page to each of your talents and create a niche, so that everything is very organized. However, I still link them to one another, so that they are linked to my name. Branding is the most important, and it’s different for art and music. Two very similar, but different industries.

 

 

Well, it’s the end of the interview, and I like to end it with asking our guests to the page if there was anything that they would like for your fans and our readers to know.

 

I would just like to say thank you to everyone for the support of my music and art. I work very hard everyday and I hope that what I create can put a smile on someone’s face. Thank you!

Anime Weekend Atlanta 2019

This was the last Anime Weekend Atlanta before COVID-19 hit.  According to the forums, it is even quite possible that some people that attended had transmitted and caught COVID-19 at AWA 2019. 

It was the first Anime Weekend Atlanta to be held around Halloween, and was very special and celebrated.  That Thursday night, there were three parties going on at once.

Anime Weekend Atlanta expects AWA 2021 to go off without a hitch, but only time and vaccines will tell.

DragonCon Afterparty at Battle & Brew 2019

Anime Weekend Atlanta 2015

Anime Weekend Atlanta 2014

MomoCon 2014

Anime Weekend Atlanta 2012

Mother Monster’s First Collaboration with Ariana Grande “Rain On Me” Is a Beauty of a Banger!

“I’d rather be dry, but at least I’m alive, rain on me.”

Fewer statements better encompass the overall sentiment of 2020 better than this one. 

“This is about an analog of tears being the rain. And you know what it’s also a metaphor for, is the amount of drinking that I was doing to numb myself. I’d rather be dry.” Lady Gaga explained via Vulture

In Lady Gaga’s second single from her sixth studio album Chromatica, she gifts us with her first ever collaboration with pop princess Ariana Grande. The team up, in their twinsies fetish wear, elicit a sentiment that while they both share powerhouse pipes in the same genre of music, that is where their similarities end as they each have unique expressions of their musical personas. Together they demonstrate through their complimentary/contrasting vocalizations and personal style attributes that not only is there room for more than one fierce femme in the pop game, they would rather be pop sisters rather than rivals. 

Musically the song is soft and upbeat, a contrast to the stormy lighting and set design of the music video. Yet Gaga/Grande conjure color in naughty neon pinks, lusty pastel lavenders, combining a sexy fusion of leather and latex punk with “pretty girl” fashion. By the end of the video Gaga/Grande appear as doppelgängers reminiscent of characters from the HBO series Euphoria, cool gals from the neighborhood that know how to get into dance clubs with fake ids, sexy outfits, lots of eyeliner and molly.

While many fans have been long awaiting a return to the avante garde Gaga we saw in the Fame Monster and Born This Way era (especially after the stripped down rawness of Joanne) Rain On Me is probably a bit more “mainstream music for the masses” than some would prefer. However considering Chromatica comes after a four year long hiatus between albums, returning with easy to digest, feel good tracks -is a smart move towards a sustainable comeback.

One must always remember when it comes to Gaga that while her sound passes as mainstream her intentions have always been to subvert the industry from within. Lady Gaga is a Queer, hard femme and judging by the esthetic choices in Stupid Love and Rain On Me she clearly doesn’t want you to forget it. Punk, leather and fetishwear all have their intersections in the queer community’s efforts to subvert gender norms and Gaga/Grande standing side by side as the hard and soft sides of the same femininity coin, owning their sexuality while defying expectations, certainly deliver subversion successfully. Futuristic fun was a fabulous choice in regards to makeup and hair styling, as Gaga/Grande’s flawless faces were BEAT to the gawds while they flipped and swished inches upon inches of rain slicked, gorgeous hair, stylishly serving dirty pop glamour. 

Despite the somberness within the song’s message, the video invokes jubilation in its choreography, laden with some of Gaga’s (a former gogo dancer) signature moves. From arms waving over head and jumping up and down, to pelvic thrusting and hip grinding, watching Grande dance á la Gaga, was more adorable than any of us could have imagined. Clearly Chromatica is a place of great diversity as we see a broad spectrum of back up dancers in Rain on Me, just as we did in Stupid Love. It is almost as if the storyline of Chromatica is that of a planet within the universe Gaga presented us with in the Born This Way video, as a continuation of the narrative (pertaining to unconditional acceptance and radical self love despite societal hardships) she started with it nearly a decade ago.

Back to the song itself, while some might find the repetition basic and blatantly reminiscent of Stupid Love, it gives both tracks a “song stuck in your head” quality that all hit songs have. In the case of Rain On Me, that repetition represents a mantra, a thought for meditation to recenter yourself and breathe. That’s what this song is, a reminder that no matter how difficult life is right now -if you are alive to learn and grow through it- you are winning.

This makes a truly powerful statement alongside a few others that resonate deeply to a millennial (born the same year as Gaga) like myself. In the  opening verse: 

“I didn’t ask for a free ride

I only asked you to show me a real good time

I never asked for the rainfall

At least I showed up, you showed me nothing at all”

There is a sense that the stereotype of the ‘entitled millennial’ is being confronted here with the sentiment of our generation’s reality; we were told we could accomplish anything if we just pulled ourselves up by the bootstraps and worked hard enough (while being held to the highest expectations) regardless of being abandoned to fix a broken world left behind by our predecessors with no support. While Gaga has been able to break through using the Boomer method, this feels like an acknowledgement of how challenging it is for the rest of us to do so as well.

Then we get to Ariana Grande’s verse which brings up some intriguing implications:

“Livin’ in a world where no one’s innocent

Oh, but at least we try, mmm

Gotta live my truth, not keep it bottled in

So I don’t lose my mind, baby, yeah

These words really evoke an admission of being complicit in the systems of oppression that we are all guilty of perpetuating and the struggle to freely express yourself in a world of “cancel culture”. What makes this verse especially poignant being sung by Grande is the fact that the singer’s career has endured ongoing contention since her striking transformation after the cancellation of her Nickelodeon series “Sam & Cat” and the debut of her first studio album “Yours Truly”. Many critics of Grande have accused her of being a “Blackfish”, or a white woman profiting off her racial ambiguity, exploiting  the “exotic” appearance of minorities who regularly face discrimination. Though Grande has repeatedly refuted these claims, not all fans have been swayed by her responses. Perhaps this verse is meant to serve as a reminder to leave room for her humanity along with our own as we all make mistakes on the path to finding our identity.

Regardless of how one might feel about the controversial careers both artists have held, ultimately this song with its accompanying music video is a showcase of the endurance these two women have acquired to maintain successful careers while navigating the pain of heartbreak, tragedy and loss in both of their lives along with the beauty that comes from releasing those tears while dancing joyously in the cleansing rain. 

About the author

Guilty Pleasures: Divas of YouTube

I’ve actually lived half a life that if I wanted to learn about the latest music, I go to YouTube, Vevo, or Vimeo.  ‘The other half before, I would go to MTV, VH-1, or BET.  This isn’t one of those “yesteryears articles,” so don’t worry.  You’ll be spared of any stories.  I thought I’d talk about some of the ladies of YouTube that I’ve been occupying my time with, lately.. .If you haven’t heard of them, you might be glad you just did.  Each one of them are very unique, even amongst themselves, so I think you’ll be entertained by my choices  These are my Guilty PleasuresDivas of YouTube.

Yeah…I know. You try to find a better word for “woman who musically vocalises or stylises well.”

 

Lion Babe

“We wanted there to be a certain duality, like there is with Blondie, with me as the frontwoman, you might think I’m Lion Babe, but it’s like, no, we’re Lion Babe. We liked that. It’s about embracing your uniqueness and rocking it.” – Jillian Hervey  to Billbard magaine

Well, it worked!  Lion Babe is actually the duo of Jillian Hervey and Lucas Goodman, and I thought it was a diva that liked to show off her handsome boyfriend in her videos. Jillian Hervey is the singer/dancer combo we have all come to know and love in entertainment, and Lucas Goodman is a producer. I think that he plays guitar and some other instruments, as well as handling sound quality, but there is not very much written about him.

As a style, I would describe them 2 parts Erykah Bahu, 1 part Beyoncé at her funkiest, and a big pat of Doja Cat for thickening and smoothness.

Atmosphere-wise, Goodman does not stick out like “The Other Guy from Wham!” and have you wondering “WTF is he doing here!?” He’s more like “The Other Guy from PM Dawn.” You think, “Okay, I don’t mind. Just be good and don’t get in the way of the real talent.  (I’m kidding.  Hervey is very vocal that Goodman is the full other half of Lion Babe.)

Lion Babe has some visually appealing videos that compliment the music, well. Lion Babe has worked with Moe Moks, Disclosure, and Childish Gambino.

For trivia sake, you may want to know that Jillian Hervey is the daughter of Ramn Hervey II and former Miss America, Vanessa Williams. She is also the niece of actor Chris Williams and great-great-great-granddaughter of William A. Fields, a former USAmerican slave that was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives during Reconstruction.

 

Brooke Candy

“I have been kicked out of my home for being gay.  I felt that.”  –Brooke Candy

Brooke Candy is a straight up succubus that found YouTube and said, “Bet! I’ll never go hungry for souls and sex again!” Background-wise, Brooke Candy is a rapper/singer, songwriter, fashion stylist, and director from LA.

Her father is Tom Candy, a former CFO for Huslter. In fact, Larry Flynt was even in one of her videos. (Then WTF did she get thrown out the house for being gay!!? I guess you can be as sleazy as you want in the Candy Household.  Just don’t be gay…)

I think that musically speaking, she is probably still trying to fine tune her exact sound. She screams, “Brooke Candy is in The House looking to fuck!” That’s about it, for the most part.

She is one of those entertainers whom’s music is sometimes hard to separate from her videos because she puts so much into the imagery and story of the video, itself.

Some of her music is like that of many of the nasty girls of rap’s, but with a good helping of Lady Gaga and Lords of Acid. However, she is not above pop tunes like “Volcano” or “Paper or Plastic.” Brooke Candy even performs jazzy and happy songs like “Nasty,” and flat out sings ballads in songs like “Living Out Loud” and “Freak Like Me.”

If I could sit down with Brooke Candy, I’d love to get her drunk and have her tell me the real stories behind each and every one of her tattoos.

 

Zheani

“You said you fucking picked me, cos I looked like your daughter, sixteen.  You’re ‘disgusting paedophile cunt!  ‘Hope you’re glad that I’m finally gushing!” – Zheani, The Question

Zheani, also known as Zheani Sparkes, is an Australian rapper that received a lot of press and social media attention and from her controversy with Die Antwoord.

According to Zheani, she was a fan that was contacted, groomed, and then lured to South Africa to meet Ninja (Watkin Tudor Jones), where he gave her drugs, alcohol, and performed strange sexual and mental acts both with and against her will at times. This was a part of his conditioning to make her a convenient human sex object.

According to Die Antwoord, Zheani has been called everything from a former girlfriend, a fan, an employee, and even a satanic prostitute looking to come up. Ninja said he had her flown to see him, but felt “catfished” when she arrived. Even though he was displeased with her, he had sex with her, became friends, and even hired her.

I’m not going to get into the controversy anymore. I felt that I had to touch on it for her background. As for the rest of it, much of the money she got for her career she got as investments from crowdfunding and what she might call “creative marketing.”

I think this is a shirt is actually merch from her site.

What can I say about Zheani’s style? Zheani sort of reminds me of an anime pixie with an angel’s voice, and a sailor’s vocabulary. She likes to sing and rap about having a good time and screams about the bad ones…but it ALL sounds great! Of course when she vocalises about lighter and happier things, the melodies of the music fit; it’s almost two different great styles.  However, I think she really shines when she’s angry or excitable, like in “Powder Tuff” and “The Question.”

Zheani was good enough to put her whole EP, “The Line,” on YouTube with filtered background images of her.  In fact she has many playlists on her YouTube channel.

 

Snow Tha Product

“Yo soy primero, no nunca creo en el last.  I don’t need a record label, I already got my fans.” –Snow Tha Product on Snow Tha Product Quotes Facebook, December 23, 2018

I get the feeling that her name is more telling than people realise, in the fact that the personality is somewhat of a product. When I look at the total package of Snow Tha Product, I get the feeling that she and several individuals sat down to think of the best YouTube personality that she could become…and that is the brilliance of who she really is.

While I do not believe that Claudia Alexandra Feliciano, the person, and Snow Tha Product, the entertainment personality are 100% the same, I do believe that Claudia Feliciano is a scrappy spirit with some street in her, and one of the laws of the street is that if you are a hustler, then have your hustle game on point; be the best you can be and to see all the angles.

I think that Snow Tha Product is the epitome of certain facets in Claudia Feliciano, so where there may be some exaggeration, there are still no true lies. Snow Tha Product is a product based on a true story: A Mexican-American bilingual, bisexual rapper that still loves to party and mix it up.

Snow Tha Product is just as entertaining and addicting to listen to when she spits English or Spanish. She’s sexy. She’s bold. She’s even cute when she wants to be. (not nearly as often as I wish she was, BUT…that could be a part of her charm that just isn’t meant for me)

Trivia: I believe that she is a mother of one son (about 11 years old), and said she wanted to be a social worker when she was growing up.

 

Ashnikko

“pooping is honestly the best part of my day I swear to god” – Ashnikko on Twitter, September 29, 2019

I think Ashnikko, Ashton Nicole Casey, is how a lot of non-Millenials see Millenials.

We are all products of our times, in some aspects. They try to mold us by their rules. ‘What’s acceptable for race, sexual, sex, professional, as well as so many other relations. As we grow up, we push, ignore, and create our own norms. The distance we travel and the morals that we establish, much to the dismay to the ones that came before us, become the new times that contribute to, and judge the new future.

I’m sorry, I tend to wax didactic. ‘Back to Ashnikko. None of the artists that I’ve mentioned in this article can really fit in a box. No style of anything should really be absolutely uniform or predictable. Ashnikko practices this concept very well. She raps. She sings, but what is her style? That’s hard to explain, because not only would Ashnikko not be able to exist 20 years ago, (Such fusions of styles and images would be far too unfamiliar and incompatible.) but her style is understood without words, as her image is almost cliché…for the times.  (Am I the only one that could see her dating Oliver Tree for a second, only to have him stalking her for the rest of her life?)

Ashnikko is a sign of the times. She is an avatar. She is Hip Hop with a Punk aesthetic, an weeaboo frame, a digital coating, and creamy inside that has a slightly more refined and aged taste than you would expect. Oh, and she smells female. She smells extremely female, which of course attracts other females. This seems to give her some amount of pride as well, despite not really trying for any male attention, except as a target for her rage for being mentally inferior. (“Stupid”)

Ashnikko: She’s NOW! Try some! You just might like her!

 

Jessi

“I don’t have to fake it. Real recognise real. They already know.” –Jessi, “Who Dat B

Ho, ho, ho! I had to write about this lady! She is the antithesis of many of the other ladies on this list! She is from the East, heavily dipped in music and culture from the West, and her love is serious! ‘Don’t understand? Just how Zheani surrounds herself in otaku kawaii in “LULU,” Ashnikko is portrayed in “Tantrum,” and Snow Tha Product gets down in her kigurumis in “NoWhere To Go,” Jessi immerses herself in the Hip Hop culture…However, Jessi can argue that Hip Hop IS her culture, and her claim to it is legitimate in almost every way. Let me explain…

Jessi was bourne Jessica Hyun-ju Ho, and as you might have guessed, is a Korean-American rapper/singer and songwriter. In fact, Jessi was bourne in New York, raised in New Jersey, and moved to South Korea when she was 15…Yeah, she was pretty much USAmerican when she moved.

I don’t know how attitudes are in South Korea, but I heard that North Koreans have a serious problem with Korean-Americans, and that would-be idols have suffered for it in the past.

Just like her Western counterparts that adopted music and culture from their opposite hemispheres, Jessi is attracted to the more flashy and attractive attributes of that music and culture.

Jessi is Gucci. Jessi is Cristal. Jessi is Ciroc. Jessi is Hennessy. I’m surprised there isn’t a project with Jessi and Lil’ Wayne somewhere. (Somebody get Weezy on the phone!)

 

Whitney Tai

“It’s been difficult releasing music, but I remind myself that everything made in love must permeate and keep us bonded together in strength.”  –Whitney Tai, April 13, 2020

I have been enjoying this woman’s music for some time, now.  I have listened to her music break through the mold of time and trend, and become something truly timeless.  Even songs like “To Be Loved” seem to have matured and evolved, when listen to, in recent performancesWhitney Tai sings with heart, soul, feeling,  and true talent, separating her from a sea of synth and autotune in her own atoll of sonic beauty.

If this was 4,000 years ago, Whitney Tai would be sunning herself in shallow waters luring mariners into the foamy depths with her beauty and song.

Whitney Tai is a true balladier.  Her style poetically and organically swims in pop, jazz, rock, tech/synth, and even country when the desire arises.  Whitney Tai’s music has no boundaries of stone; only of sensibility.

The 1905

While Whitney Tai definitely deserves the lion’s share of credit for her growth, she has worked with many people along the way, including an inner circle of similarly talented musicians and professionals in the biz.  Men like Tim Janssens, aka Sunfreakz, and Andrew Kingsley have worked with her for years on many occasions, forming a perfect synergy both on stage and in the recording studio.

In fact, Whitney Tai and Andrew Kingsley also have their own group, that like Lion Babe, is a full partnership in music, completely different from Whitney Tai in feel and style:  The 1905

Whitney Tai dropped her latest LP, “Apogee,” a couple of weeks ago.  Her single, “Surrender” is enjoying rotation on some impressive playlists at the moment, and is receiving great reviews from critics and fans of music everywhere. Her single, “Righteous,” comes out May 12, 2020.

 

Conclusion

These are some of my ladies of YouTube. There were quite a few others that I enjoyed to some degree, yet didn’t quite find them entertaining enough to feature in this article. I even contemplated making this a two or three part article, but in the end, I just wan’t feeling them enough. If you want to check them out, feel free:  Alice Chater, Nitty Scott, Bebe Rexha, AleXa, SoRi, Ängie, Qveen Herby, and Kerli.

Some of them like Alice Chater and Bebe Rexha sound somewhat dated and ordinary, while acts like AleXa, Ängie, and Qveen Herby should probably work well on paper, but also seem ordinary. I guess at one time, they would have been a little edgy, but you can’t just say “pussy” and expect be shocking anymore. You also can’t depend on trendy directing in a cool music videos to carry a song, either.

The one honourable mention that I wanted to be on this list was SoRi, but there just wasn’t enough recent stuff from her released. From what I understand, she had some small amount of success about 5 years ago, and she is in the middle of her comeback, but two songs are not enough to get a good idea of her.

I should say that I was impressed by what was out there, and both songs and videos were very different from each other. This speaks to me of hopes that her style is very versatile and that there will be different sides to her as an entertainer.

So what do you think? After you get a chance to check out some hyperlinks and listen to some songs for yourself, please come back and and share your opinions. Share and start some discussions. We would love to hear what you think.

Rango’s Smash Column – The Importance of Music in Super Smash Bros.

When Super Smash Bros. released in 1999, it brought with it 12 characters from 10 different franchises. With each character, a stage, and with each stage, a song from their respective game. These throwback tracks, arranged by Kirby composer, Hirokazu Ando, brought forth the love of Nintendo’s 18 year history. But when Super Smash Bros. Melee arrived in 2001, it changed the gaming music landscape forever.

Melee’s soundtrack changed the landscape thanks not only to its orchestral remixes, but the sheer quality and quantity of music. Not only did each stage feature one of these beautiful arrangements, but some of the stages even had a “hidden” track which could play if you held the correct button down while picking the stage. In addition to both F-Zero and EarthBound gaining a stage, Nintendo even brought over Fire Emblem’s recruitment theme, “Together, We Ride.” This piece in particular became an instant favorite among players. In fact, it created so much impact that Nintendo even re-used the theme as the recruitment theme for the first western release of the series, Fire Emblem: Blazing Blade, in 2003.

You can listen to Melee’s orchestral playlist here.

My Music

When Super Smash Bros. Brawl arrived for Wii in 2008, director Masahiro Sakurai once again changed the gaming landscape. Introducing the My Music feature, players could pick and choose which songs they wanted to hear. No longer limited to one or two tracks per stage, each stage featured a handful of tracks dating back years to the series’ respective history. Brawl’s soundtrack even included music from series not represented by characters in Smash.

Not only did My Music bring in a much wider variety of tracks, but it introduced multiple composers to compose on the same game. Final Fantasy veteran composer, Nobuo Uematsu, composed the game’s opening theme. And various songs would be handled by well-known composers of video game music. Yoko Shimomura, Motoi Sakuraba, Yuzo Koshiro, and more would contribute to a singular soundtrack. This tradition would continue through Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (Smash 4).

In Smashville and Town & City, K.K. Slider would appear, on Saturdays, to play one of his songs.

One particular thing to note, unfortunately, is Square-Enix‘s lack of contribution to Smash’s music. When Cloud came to Smash 4, he was given only two battle themes from Final Fantasy VII. Neither were remixed. While fans lauded Cloud’s debut in Smash, many of them sent backlash towards Square-Enix, accusing them of being stingy.

The Ultimate Soundtrack

When Super Smash Bros. Ultimate came out, it featured over 900 tracks. This includes nearly every track from the Smash series history as well as new ones featured for many of the stages. Even Capcom, creators of Street Fighter and Mega Man, let Nintendo use nearly their entire Street Fighter II soundtrack just for the Suzaku Castle stage. Plus, some stages received a prominent number of remixes. Wily’s Castle received a dozen new remixes alone just for the love and recognition of the Mega Man soundtracks.

Michiru Yamane, one of the composers for Smash 4, composed music for the Castlevania series. One game later, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate would introduce the Castlevania series to the line-up. Sakurai would later showcase this in a Nintendo Direct. Much like Mega Man, Castlevania is highly reputable for its music among fans.

DLC

When Joker, from Persona 5, debuted in Smash, Sakurai did something special with the character’s stage, Mementos. Featuring remixes from Persona 3, 4, and 5, the song you picked on the stage would change the stage’s very color and thematic. Even Joker’s victory theme would come from the respective game that the song was playing.

Once again, however, with the debut of Dragon Quest‘s Hero in Smash, the character was given zero remixes and only a handful of songs from Dragon Quest’s legendary soundtrack history. Much like with Final Fantasy’s lack of music in Smash 4, fans would once again react similarly to Square-Enix’s reported stinginess.

On the flip-side, however, Banjo & Kazooie’s entrance into Smash brought many wondrous tracks from their titles into Smash. Sakurai even noted that this was the first time he collaborated with a western composer for music in Smash. The composer in question was none other than Banjo-Kazooie series composer, Grant Kirkhope. He would arrange the series’ main theme for Spiral Mountain stage.

Also noteworthy was Terry Bogard’s debut into Smash brought perhaps the single biggest selection of new tracks, including remixes, to the King of Fighters*** Stadium stage. Not only did this introduce many new fans to the wondrous tracks of Fatal Fury and SNK’s history, but even Sakurai showed his love for their music in his Nintendo Direct.

Finally, Byleth’s inclusion to Smash introduced the final bit of first-wave DLC. Their reveal included a stage – Garreg Mach Monastery – along with a new arrangement of their game’s main theme. The stage also received tracks from the critically-acclaimed Fire Emblem: Three Houses.

Mii!

Finally, one of the biggest surprises for fans was the debut of Sans, as a Mii Fighter, from the notable RPG, Undertale. In addition to the Mii Costume entering the game, Sakurai featured a remix, arranged by composer Toby Fox himself, of Megalovania. Fans reacted with great joy upon hearing this news. Similarly, Cuphead’s Mii Costume also featured Floral Fury, a boss theme from the game, but it was not a remix of the song.

Final Thoughts

One cannot understate the importance of Smash’s musical presence. It contains over 40 years of history and roughly 1,000 tracks of memories and new introductions to players. All of these tracks either came from their respective games or were remixed by talented composers.  Furthermore, you can even take your Switch with you and play it using a Playlist feature. This debuted initially in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. With each game’s soundtrack building over the last, it would not be a surprise to state that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has one of the best soundtracks in gaming history.

What are your favorite songs in the Smash series? Let us know in the comments below.