*Note: We all know the battle themes are the bread and butter of Pokémon music. Of course, the series has a varied collection with other wonderful themes as well, so this will not be a list full of all battle bops (despite the temptation)… Carry on.
Pokémon music is well-accomplished in its ability to entertain throughout long journeys. The series’ impressive collection of soundtracks has produced some of the finest video game music out there. To commemorate its 25th anniversary, I’ve highlighted ten of some of the best tunes in the series and will do so again now by adding 15 more to the collection to equal a grand total of 25.
Gotta hear’ em all (two)…
Littleroot Town (Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald, 2002)
Ahhh, yes… the sweet sounds of Littleroot Town—music that just puts a smile on your face and inspires you to just enjoy the little things in life. Enough said.
Lavender Town (Pokémon Red and Blue, 1996)
The original Lavender Town theme from Pokémon Red and Blue may not be the most melodic or pleasing to the ear, but it is one of the most memorable for its simplicity and eerie undertones. It has even been sampled in multiple rap songs.
Battle! Ghetsis (Pokémon Black and White, 2010)
“Showdown music:” swift, dojo-like kick drums which emanate a powerful sense of urgency, perfect for a boss battle. This is one of the many great soundtracks in Pokémon Black and White, which perhaps has the best overall OST in the series?? (neck and neck with Sun and Moon, in my opinion.)
The Lament of Falling Stars (Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, 2014)
The title itself evokes a tingle of emotion. With keys full of sorrow and palpable emotion, this theme is equally sentimental as it is tender-hearted—a celestial melody, with beautiful harmony to behold.
Battle! Champion Cynthia (Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, 2006)
After a long and grueling journey, players eventually run into the Sinnoh League’s champion, Cynthia. What comes with is a frantic-paced and vigorous theme emblematic of a duel with a world-renowned champion. It’s widely regarded as one of the best themes in Pokémon.
Pokémon Center (Pokémon Sword and Shield, 2019)
A theme that is always refreshing to hear… For 25 years, the Pokémon Centers have been safe havens in the midst of the rigorous journey and many tough battles. Its themes have always been the sounds of healing and deliverance—musical therapy, if you will.
Pokémon Theme (Gotta catch ’em all!) (Pokémon animated series, 1998)
One of the themes of the 90’s. I have massive feels of nostalgia as I type this, reminiscing on old Pokémon VHS tapes—the good ole’ days.
This legendary theme song was the theme for the first season of the English adaptation of the Pokémon anime. It has become synonymous with the Pokémon franchise for its use of the line “gotta catch ’em all,” which has become its English slogan. The theme resurfaced in an official trailer for Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! in 2018.
Jubilife City (Pokémon X and Y, 2013)
Chill vibes galore accompany this theme from 2013’s Pokémon X and Y. It impresses with cool, jazzy keys and a refined bassline to boot. Relaxation 101.
Legendary Battle (Pokémon Black and White, 2010)
With the introduction of the 5th generation of Pokémon in 2010 (2011 for North America,) a new and revolutionary sound was introduced to the franchise as well. This theme is an epic bop with a hard-hitting tantalizing beat, and is one of the most technically impressive soundtracks in the series. It’s because of tracks like this one that generation 5’s music is collectively the most celebrated in Pokémon—it quite literally hits different.
Battle! Deoxys (Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, 2014)
For whom the bell tolls is impending doom and destruction when this theme from Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire plays. Its opening sequence of scattered synths and intergalactic vibe set the tone perfectly for an extraterrestrial showdown with the mythical Deoxys.
Title Theme (Pokémon Snap, 1999)
What better way to snap some high-quality pics than with this high-quality, lively tune? This blissful title theme from 1999’s Nintendo 64 release Pokémon Snap is a lively theme which admirably inspires the capture of some picture-perfect photos, with some harmoniously perfect pitches.
Team Skull Encounter (Pokémon Sun and Moon, 2016)
This soundtrack from Pokémon Sun and Moon is heavily influenced by hip-hop in what is an extremely refreshing and unique sound for the Pokémon series. Equipped with trademark hip-hop drum brakes, scratching, and an overall sound emulating the culture, this is one of the best pieces of music in the series in my opinion.
Battle! Zinnia (Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, 2014)
Sensational violin work at play here! I love this theme because I get heavy anime-type vibes from it for some reason. Overall, it’s another great addition to a series whose battle themes are among the greatest in all of video game music.
Gym Leader Battle (Pokémon Sword and Shield, 2019)
Sword and Shield introduced the world to the latest and eighth generation of Pokémon in 2019. Along with it came a more modernized sound in some of its signature tracks, such as this gym leader battle theme. I’m personally not a big fan of the chanting in many of the game’s soundtracks, but this one hits a bit different. Its disco and dance-type groove gives off strong resemblances of rave music and is overall lit.
Battle! Giratina (Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, 2014)
There’s so much going on here… so much.
This track is one of such great complexity and obscurity that it’s a wonder how it manages to sound so enticing. Its elaborate and unusual production just adds to its intrigue. It’s all over the place, but all good.
Pokémon music is without a doubt some of the finest gaming music there is. For 25 years, its soundtracks have guided us through many battles and adventures, all the while creating lifelong memories. As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Pokémon, let us rejoice in unison for a brand which has not only provided the world excellence in gaming and experiences, but also excellence in music.
Here’s to 25 and many more years of Pokémon!
Check out part 1 of the best Pokémon music here.