It's still hard to believe that Kirby: Triple Deluxe is now a decade old. Has it really been that long already? Because it certainly doesn't feel like it! Triple Deluxe still holds up so well to this day that it doesn't feel like it's that old. There are so many things I love about this game, but one that stands out to me certainly is the music. There are so many memorable tracks, incredible remixes, and an excellent use of leitmotifs. Later Kirby games would do that again, but I feel it's all thanks to Triple Deluxe setting the standards for Kirby music in the modern era, as it distinguishes itself from anything seen in its predecessors. In particular, I feel that it was Triple Deluxe that truly made me love Kirby music and start analyzing it, to the point where today I joke that I'm a "self-proclaimed Kirby music nerd" due to how much I can talk about the music of the series and how much information I know about it. And so, what better way to celebrate the anniversary of this game I adore than by talking a lot about its music?
Two Main Leitmotifs
A leitmotif, to put it simply, is a musical idea associated with something or someone. In games, it's usually that song or songs that you often recognize in many different themes across the game. An easy example of a recent game is how, in Kirby and the Forgotten Land, "Welcome to the New World!" and "Running Through the New World" can be heard in multiple songs of the game. But back to Triple Deluxe. Thanks to a Miiverse post about Triple Deluxe from HAL Laboratory, we know exactly the two themes that became the basis of many key songs of the game. The first of these themes is "Spring Smash Factory":
If you know Triple Deluxe music, you may recognize the melody of this song in various other tracks. The most notable example is "Revenge of the Enemy", which starts with a faithful remix of that theme. This leitmotif is also present in various cutscene themes, including "Waking to a Flowery Coup!" As for the second leitmotif, it is "Floral Fields":
This one was arranged, rearranged, and rearranged once again in many songs. It's the basis of the theme for Hypernova, "Hypernova Inhale," which in turn is the basis for "The World to Win," one of the final boss themes. "Floral Fields" is also the basis of the main boss theme, "Bouncing Boss Battle," which then in turn is the basis for "Fatal Blooms in Moonlight", another final boss theme. And, basically, to create the song that is the identity of Triple Deluxe, we have "One of the Miracles":
This is the credits theme, and a short version of it, called "Sun, Sky, Dreamstalk", is also the title screen theme. It starts with "Spring Smash Factory", and it eventually incorporates "Floral Fields". It uses various remixes of these leitmotifs to create its own identity and become its own composition. Not only does this song showcase composer Hirokazu Ando's amazing skill of getting some songs and combining them to create something new, it really encapsulates what Triple Deluxe is.
There are way more songs in the game that use these two leitmotifs; talking about them all would take very long. Why don't you try to find some the next time you listen to Triple Deluxe music?
Let's face it: no Kirby game soundtrack is complete without a couple of new remixes. While some games have more remixes than others for various reasons, they are always present. Some staples like "Kirby Dance" will almost for sure get a new remix, and popular songs like "Green Greens" most likely make their way into each game. Triple Deluxe strikes a good balance when it comes to presenting remixes and original tracks. Other than the new obligatory "Green Greens" remix, some notable remixes include "A Forest Hike," a remix of "Mountain Stage" from Kirby's Adventure, "Silver Snow Story," a remix of "Peanut Plains" from Kirby Super Star, and "Ripple Red," a remix of "Ripple Star" from Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards. They are all so good, and more than simple rearrangements of the songs; I love them so much. However, my personal favorite remix of this game by far is "Dedede's Royal Payback," a remix of "Masked Dedede's Theme" from Kirby Super Star Ultra. I don't even have words to describe how much I love this arrangement; the original song was already incredible, and somehow composer Jun Ishikawa managed to make his composition even better, perhaps even legendary.
Those Majestic Tracks
I talked about leitmotifs and then remixes, but like all other games, Triple Deluxe has a good number of new, songs with musical ideas that aren't used in other tracks (apart from sometimes cutscene themes). It would be impossible to highlight all of them here, so I will mention some that personally stand out to me. The first one, sadly, is one of the few songs of this game to not have an official name, but fans have called it "Cold Odyssey." It's simply beautiful. With its 6/8 time signature, it gives a very mystical feeling that perfectly fits the game's theme of a fairy tale. I've never been anywhere snowy in my life, but somehow this song is capable of making me feel like I am somewhere full of snow. True to its name, "Mysterious Trap" notably sounds so mysterious. I truly cannot explain why I love it so much, but I always just have a good time listening to it. It's one of those songs that was carefully put together with the right melody, instruments, and musical ideas that you can't help but love. And as a percussion enthusiast, I naturally love the percussion instruments in this song; they are so good. Another song carefully put together is "Beautiful Prison." I may not understand most music theory, but one of the few things that comes naturally to me is rhythm, and naturally, I love odd time signatures. And what about a song that has changing odd time signatures? Sometimes it's at 5/4, sometimes at 6/4, and even at 8/4 at times... and yet it doesn't sound bad. On the contrary, this song is just beautiful. It perfectly fits the last stage of the game and matches Queen Sectonia's image of a beautiful tyrant. It's madness how a song can sound so somber and majestic at the same time. And speaking of combining two completely different things into one song, and managing to make it make sense, it's time for me to end this section by talking about my personal favorite song of this game, and one of my favorite Kirby songs ever: "Mountains in an Angry Sky."
Every time I listen to it, I still get amazed at how good it sounds and how this combination works. The main melancholic melody is played by orchestral instruments, while an intense dubstep-like beat plays for the whole track. Somehow the two complement each other? It just works? If this isn't incredible, I don't know what it is. So, while this song may not really give the best image of what Triple Deluxe as a game is, it definitively represents what Kirby music is like. It is unexpected. It can be anything. And, no matter what, it will sound amazing.
Before You Go, Some Fun Music Facts!
I could make a whole post about fun facts about Kirby music, including about this game, so I will just leave three quick ones: "The Cave in the Sky" sounds oddly familiar to an unused song from Kirby's Dream Land 2. It appears both were composed by the same composer, Hirokazu Ando. I wonder if that's a coincidence or if he decided to revisit that track? The cutscene theme "Taranza, the Master of Puppetry" would later become Taranza's theme, being remixed in many other games after. The fun part is that this theme actually is a partial remix of "King Dedede's Theme", most evidently at the start, which ties into the fact that Taranza kidnapped King Dedede. I personally wonder if this song was originally meant to be Taranza's theme, or if it ended up happening, as cutscene themes are usually medleys and rarely remixed. In one of the last extra stages of the game, instead of reused music, we get a new arrangement of "The Adventure Begins" from Kirby's Return to Dream Land, called "The Adventure Begins (Original Short ver.)"... Wait huh, something is not right. "Original Short ver."? And why alongside reused songs in an extra stage? Turns out that the internal filename of that song is "gck_plants", and if you don't know, "GCK" stands for... "GameCube Kirby"; GCK is an acronym used in many files of Kirby's Return to Dream Land, and said files are believed to be leftovers of one of the lost Kirby games. So, linking all this information, this song is believed to be one of the early renditions of "The Adventure Begins", likely from the Kirby for Nintendo GameCube days. Interesting that the developers decided to put such a wild Easter Egg like that!
And with that, this is all I have to say about the music of Kirby: Triple Deluxe. What is your favorite song from the game? Do you have any memories associated with any song from the game? Let us know in the comments!
Star Slam Stances is the Kirby Informer Staff's column for opinion and commentary pieces. All words reflect that of the author's opinions. Be sure to share with us your thoughts on the topic discussed above in the comments section or on our social pages!