It’s that time of the week again! Well, technically it’s that time of the week a week late, but close enough. Two weeks ago we posed the soul-crushingly harsh task of naming favorite Zelda songs, and the people responded. We received quite a high amount of feedback, and are ready to reveal, once and for all: The Best Zelda Song Ever By Transient Subjective Internet Opinion! And in an honestly surprising twist, there was a clear winner.
First off, there are simply too many poll options to make a nice sizable chart of, so here’s the full list of all the songs that received too small an amount and grouped as “other” (together they make a total of 20%, but each song is a fraction of a percent of the total vote):
Astral Observatory, Majora’s Mask
Bolero of Fire, Ocarina of Time
Boss Battle, Ocarina of Time
Clock Town, Majora’s Mask
Credits, Link’s Awakening
Credits, Ocarina of Time
Credits, Skyward Sword
Credits, Twilight Princess
Deku Palace, Majora’s Mask
Don’t Want You No More (Trailer Theme), Twilight Princess
Face Shrine, Link’s Awakening
Farore’s Courage, Skyward Sword
Forest Temple, Ocarina of Time
Great Sea, The Wind Waker
Hidden Mountain and Forest, A Link to the Past
Hyrule Castle, A Link to the Past
Hyrule Field on Horseback, Twilight Princess
Impa’s Fate, Skyward Sword
Koholint without a Sword, Link’s Awakening
Lake Hylia, Twilight Princess
Legend of the Hero of Time, The Wind Waker
Lost Woods, A Link to the Past
New Wave Bossa Nova, Majora’s Mask
Nocturne of Shadow, Ocarina of Time
Requiem of Spirit, Ocarina of Time
Sadness, Oracle of Ages
Secret Maze, Oracle of Ages
Sheik’s Theme, Ocarina of Time
Skyloft Theme, Skyward Sword
Sonata of Awakening, Majora’s Mask
Song of the Hero, Skyward Sword
Special Credits, Ocarina of Time 3D
Spirit Duet, Spirit Tracks
Tal Tal Mountain, Link’s Awakening
Title, Twilight Princess
Triforce Chamber, A Link to the Past
Veran’s Theme, Oracle of Ages
Windfall Island, The Wind Waker
Zora’s Domain, Ocarina of Time
My that’s quite a list! Yes, as it turns out, people love their Zelda music. In a way, you could say the winner of the poll is the “other” category. But alas, that is not how this specific system works. Here’s the final chart!
Yes, as you can see from this lovingly created chart, the main theme of The Wind Waker comes out as the singular favorite song from the series, followed by Gerudo Valley, the Song of Healing and Ballad of the Wind Fish. This was a truly large poll, and people were pretty darn vocal over what they believed to be the best. Now it’s time to move on and select the winner of the best comment contest! There were quite a few well-thought-out and intelligent comments for which I must thank everyone, but a few really stood out - unfortunately, only one can win. Here are the runner-ups’ reasonings, starting with a one-two Majora’s Mask punch by Martinglow:
“1st place: Song of Healing from Majora’s Mask. Listening to it gives off a real sense of calm. Just hearing it in the Clock Tower makes me feel at ease, as even the passage of time is stopped inside. It is comforting, and you can really see its effect put into full perspective when you play it for each character that needs to be healed. It truly does heal the soul when listened to. It’s perfect. It conveys its message that it tries to send, and I believe it is the best song in the entire Zelda series. (sidenote: the Song of Unhealing popularized by Ben is extremely unnerving.)
2nd place: The Final Hours from Majora’s Mask. (I know, little of MM spree going here). So you play through the three days, you can tell things are becoming more dreadful as the main Clock Town theme intensifies. You know shit is going to go down. Then you reach those final hours. And the music comes in. Instead of fear and dread, you feel oddly alone. The streets are empty, save the poor guards who stand their ground (against their will), Mutoh whose pride keeps him from leaving, and then other characters, like the swordsman, a proud man who now is cowering in fear of the moon. The song strikes so many emotional chords for me. It truly tells you that the end is drawing near. Everyone will die. And that makes me feel sad, especially those remaining in town. This song is perfect in that sense.”
Skia1717 gives a thoughtful analysis on the musical structure of his/her/its favorite piece in the series:
“I chose Gerudo Valley because it has a certain authenticity that the other Zelda songs don’t have. I can picture Gerudo people actually playing the song. The percussionists on either side, the three guitarists in the middle (yes, there are three separate guitar parts, maybe more), and the trumpets on a lower layer in front. Plus, it’s a really catchy tune and doesn’t get annoying until you’ve listened to it for 4 days straight. I also like how well it’s designed, like if you listen to it with headphones you get the sudden snaps from the percussion bouncing from side to side. And there’s always the fact that it plays while you’re sneaking around the coolest place in all of OoT.”
TheatreKidd prefers to examine the thematic elements of his/her/its favorites:
“Wind Waker’s main theme earns the number one spot not simply for nostalgia reasons, but because it genuinely encompasses the theme that rests at the very core of Zelda: adventure. This theme has a whimsical feel, still is born from the melody of the original Zelda theme, yet creates something entirely new with it; thus, this theme represents the ideal Zelda for most all fans, one that takes what was amazing about the previous titles, and creating something (based on them) new.
The Ballad of the Wind Fish in second place for its consistency to provide the feel for Link’s Awakening. Link’s Awakening is a game that brilliantly uses surrealism to tell a down to earth story. Each time we hear the Ballad of the Wind Fish, we are reminded of our goal and the impending doom of the paradise of Koholint Island, as well as our love for Marin.
The Song of Healing found in Majora’s Mask provides the exact same feel as the Ballad of the Wind Fish, but in a polar opposite way. The Song of Healing represents hope for the apparent chaos of Termina, as it puts souls to rest and represents the coming of the hero to save the land. In this way, Link’s Awakening and Majora’s Mask are foils of each other. Koholint is a place of Paradise, which Link in a sense must destroy in order to go back to his world, whereas Termina is a land in chaos, which Link must save. These songs are created in order to represent that purpose and theme.”
Excellently put, TheatreKidd! Our last runner-up comment comes as an examination of Sheik’s Theme by tk4jesus:
“This is a personal favorite of mine, partially just because it’s so pretty and pleasing to listen to. This duet of harp and strings, while maybe not immediately an obvious choice to match the character of Sheik, actually has a lot more depth than most probably realize. The melody is a paradox; both mysterious and familiar, out of reach and yet intimately playful all at the same time, which is really a perfect representation of Sheik. It’s a comforting piece for a character that appears to guide you along the way, encouraging you and making you feel that what you seek (Zelda) is MUCH closer than you realize. It’s a piece of duality and contrasts for a character of duality and contrasts.”
Again, another great examination of musical theory in the series - thank you for your insight. And now, the winner of the third weekly Zelda Informer Official Poll Comments of Greatness Award is…Guest!? Damn you, man - curb your mind and let the others have a chance!
“I can’t do this. At least not easily. I love too many songs from the series to choose just one. From almost every damn song and dungeon theme in OoT, to MM’s haunting music, to the melodies as moving as WW’s Great Sea and beyond, to the Ballad of the Goddess…they’re all just so wonderful. They encompass such a range of emotion and atmosphere, and they all stick with you forever, evoking memories of playthroughs long past and altering our very moods. Really, try it—play any song from a Zelda game you’ve played, and it will undoubtedly awaken your emotions and conjure that comfy feeling of nostalgia. By far, music is one of Zelda’s greatest and most beautiful strengths. It may even be a greater link between the player and the game than Link himself is.
As difficult as this is, I need to cast a vote for one song, and I think the Wind Waker title screen/credits theme embraces everything I’ve already said about Zelda music. You can practically smell the salt air over the sea when you hear this song. The Celtic-inspired sounds and melody flow over you like a soft breeze above the ocean waves before settling deep down into your mind and in the recesses of your memory. You know you’re about to embark on an adventure from the first chord during the title screen, and you know it will be nothing less than an epic undertaking. It tells of the innocence of a young boy voluntarily leaving his home to rescue his sister and ultimately stumbling upon his destiny through his naive yet sweet heroism. It speaks of a young boy whose growth and transformation is only dwarfed by the scope of the journey before him, the depths of the ocean he sails upon, and the attitude of a certain pirate princess. When you hear it again during the credits, you immediately recall every person you met, every place you explored, and every hardship you overcame from a voyage just moments ago completed…and you get the overwhelming urge, like Link, to return to the sea once more. I love this song to pieces.
I think the reason I love this song so much above all other reason, beyond anything I’ve just said, is that it never fails to put a big, goofy smile on my face.”
Well, then. Three (four) weeks running and we already have a reigning champion. So here’s to Guest - again!
As promised, you win a wonderful (horrible) song! Name the Zelda song you’d like covered and specify what you want the lyrics to be about, and you shall receive it for the results of the next poll! Speaking of which, the next one opens up tomorrow, and it’s getting to be late. Have a great night, denizens of Zelda Informer!