I really, really wanted to put ‘You are in a subway. And you are a giant banana.’ as the title for this post, but I feared people wouldn’t pay it the due attention if I merely used one of the best line notes I’ve ever read. Yes, the World of Goo soundtrack is here. Yes, it’s free. Yes, it’s more than we’d hoped for. And yes, it’s bloody amazing. You can download it here. It’s just over 80mb, so while that’s downloading, I’ve written a pseudo review/impressions. They’re going to be fawning, but you already know that, because you’ve played the game, and you know how good the music is.
There are 27 tracks in all, and while quite a few of them are just the 30 second tracks that were on loop for the game, a fair few are extended far beyond what you’ve heard before. They are just as brilliant as ever, and it just astonishes that Kyle Gabler could’ve written all this music and managed to make the best game of last year. It’s times like this that you feel hopelessly inadequate. For the most part I’m going to ignore what is the same, and focus on the extended and new tracks (yes, there are a few new ones), but there are still a few standouts that just happen to be short.
Threadcutter was my favourite track of the game before, all sweeping chords and male choirs while a massive, echoing drum pounded out a rhythm. It doesn’t matter that all this is just the soundtrack to a game about making structures out of goo; the game was just as much about the music as the music was about the game. They were entirely unrelated, but they fed off each other to create something better than both. I don’t doubt that people’s impressions of the game were coloured by just how great the music was. So Threadcutter is just as powerful now as when I played the game, but perhaps it wouldn’t had been had I heard it before that. Similarly, Rain Rain Windy Windy and Screamer, the two other most haunting tracks on the soundtrack, are still just as powerful.
Reading the line notes, there seems to be something almost autobiographical about the soundtrack for Kyle. Many of the tracks are grafted onto World of Goo from games he’d worked on before, or projects he’d been a part of and written music for. Perhaps the most famous track on there, the Red Carpet Extend-o-Matic, was just an undergraduate project. The fact that only the beginning of the track was used in the game, and it descends into melodramatic 90s dance-pop after a minute doesn’t detract from it. If anything it makes it even better, as now it’s amusing as well as beautiful.
The other stand out track is Regurgitation Pumping Station, which again only had limited play time during the game, but here is a sprawling mess of funky guitar and springs (?), moving on from the bouncing bass heard in the game and becoming much lighter. If there is a theme at all with the soundtrack, it’s one that starts out optimistic and descends into haunting organs and choirs of sorrowful voices. Placing Red Carpet Extend-o-Matic at the end of the album works well, bringing the tone up before it springs back into the World of Goo End Theme, which is just the World of Goo Main Theme, but at the end.
Ignoring all the ridiculous language I just used, this soundtrack is more than I had anticipated by a quite considerable stretch. The fact that it’s free and comes with a set of amusing line notes is just icing on the cake. If this doesn’t get an obscene amount of plays in the next week on my player, I’ll be very surprised. If you haven’t already started it from the link up top, you can download it here, which is also where the line notes are.