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Sing Us a Song, You're the Poké-Man - Lavender Town Theme



When I was a kid my family couldn't afford to buy my brother and I many games, so we played the same ones over and over. A lot of them were garbage licensed titles for Game Boy or Playstation 1, but I was fortunate enough to get a copy of Pokemon Red for my birthday. This game possibly had the biggest impact on my young life. I played it constantly for years, piling up dozens of playthroughs and hundreds of hours. After all that time with the game the most memorable singular aspect for me was definitely the music. Even today I will start humming a familiar poké-tune at any moment. Even though I'm not the most musically literate, I want to try and convey how I feel about this fantastic soundtrack and the only way to do it is to break it down track by track.

I want to start with one of the more memorable tunes and that is when you first enter Lavender Town. Unlike the music in other areas of the game, which tends to be upbeat, Lavender Town is much slower and ominous. The buildup starts with dreary single notes that seem to echo slightly with just enough space in between notes to feel the reverb. Then the rest of the theme begins to kick in and is layered overtop the single notes. This new section has strong, deeper notes that seem to travel down the scale to produce a more melancholic rhythm. After a while the opening notes are replaced with a very high pitched, almost spectral sounding, loop and then the deeper notes are held out longer for emphasis.

The Lavender theme is very much supposed to give off the feeling of supernatural, but it succeeds in doing more than that. It makes you feel empathetic rather than horrified. You feel as if you already lost something rather than being in fear of losing something. Just listening to the music you can tell that Lavender Town is a center of great sorrow in the universe. The music lets you know this before you even know that the purpose of the Pokemon Tower is for trainers to mourn their lost companions.

The theme of Lavender Town is a very powerful and emotional score that catches you off guard. Up until this point the most ominous place you have been on the journey was the dark cave, which doesn't quite compare to Lavender. This is the first and only song in the game that makes you feel a connection with those who have lost, which is a grim reality that you would never expect a child's game to illicit. The Lavender Town theme is shocking in the way it challenges your basic human morality to feel this empathy and that's why it sticks out to me personally.

As an aside I'd like to mention the Lavender Town Syndrome. This is the urban legend that the theme made people so depressed that it drove them to suicide. While this legend has been disproved, it still spreads around to this day. A modern day ghost story of sorts. This speaks volumes to the power of the Lavender theme and the strong emotions that it can pull. When a rumor saying this song made people so depressed they couldn't take it anymore can be believed, then the composer absolutely nailed the mood they were going for.

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About Garett Meffordone of us since 4:41 PM on 01.20.2016

My name is Garett. I play a lot of video games and write a lot of stuff about video games. I try to play as many different games as I can and I enjoy a bit of everything, but some of my favorite series are Metal Gear, Resident Evil, Pokemon, and I guess Assassins Creed? I mean, I've played them all, I must be a fan.

Anyway, I'm a pretty rad dude and it would be pretty rad of you to read some of my stuff and give me some feedback.I also write over at thatvideogameblog.com
Also I have a YouTube channel and it would be swell of you to come check out some videos.: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYukWA_cU7sSWNuU2-NG_LQ

Currently Playing:
Pokemon Silver
Titanfall 2
Final Fantasy X