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Music Monday: Mario Kart

Having sunk something like thirty to forty happy, if sometimes sweary, hours into Mario Kart 8 this past week and a half or so (including a highly successful Cane and Rinse online session last Saturday night), my internal jukebox is now a jingly-jangly jamboree of jauntiness as performed and, in the case of the returning tracks, breathed new life into by the jazzy, funky Mario Kart Band.

My personal favourite pieces on the new game are probably the accompanying hoedowns to power-sliding around Moo Moo Meadows and the maze-like Yoshi’s Valley (now, endearingly, a ‘Wild Yoshi Sanctuary’), but the reworked version of the N64’s Rainbow Road is a brassy, nostalgic treat too.

Each of the eight Mario Kart games has at least one Rainbow Road, so this week I thought I’d compile their themes (or in some cases the variation upon a theme) for a triumphantly cheesy Music Monday. Working backwards we have:

Mario Kart 8 (2014)
Composer: Kenta Nagata

Composers: Shiho Fujii, Atsuko Asahi, Ryo Nagamatsu, Yasuaki Iwata

Electric Guitar: Takashi Masuzaki
Bass: Teppei Kawasaki
Drums: Satoshi Bandoh
Acoustic Guitar: Tetsuro Toyama
Trumpet 1: Eric Miyashiro
Trumpet 2: Koji Nishimura
Trumpet 3: Sho Okumura
Trombone 1: Yoichi Murata
Trombone 2: Kanade Shishiuchi
Alto Saxophone 1: Kazuki Katsuta
Alto Saxophone 2: Masato Honma
Tenor Saxophone: Masakuni Takeno
Baritone Saxophone: Takuo Yamamoto
Violin: Hitoshi Konno

Mario Kart 7 (2011)
Composers: Kenta Nagata, Satomi Terui

Mario Kart Wii (2008)
Composer: Shinobu Tanaka, Asuka Ota

Mario Kart DS (2005)
Composer: Shinobu Tanaka

Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (2003)
Composers: Kenta Nagata, Shinobu Tanaka

Mario Kart: Super Circuit (2001)
Composers: Kenichi Nishimaki, Masanobu Matsunaga, Minako Hamano

Super Mario Kart 64 (1996)
Composer: Kenta Nagata

Smooth McGroove’s acapella version.

Super Mario Kart (1992)
Composer: Soyo Oka

Smooth McGroove’s acapella version.

It’s fair to say I remember some of these tracks – and their accompanying (ahem) tracks – much more vivdly than others. Some key-changes and corners are imprinted on my mind’s ears and eyes from hours of exposure while others I have only raced a handful of times – usually just long enough to get the 150cc or Mirror GP gold trophy and to get pissed off with online cheaters. Or people who are just much better than me…

Mario Karts 7 and 8 are – as if you didn’t know – out now, and don’t forget you can also still get Super Mario Kart on Wii U or Wii Virtual Console and Mario Kart 64 on Wii Virtual Console.

Which is your favourite Rainbow Road theme and why? Let me know on the forum or in the comments below.

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