it is no secret that the sims music was so fucking good. i still have the original album downloaded on my phone so i can listen to it when i'm being pensive on the train, trying to fall asleep on a plane, or need some chill background music for reading. here i will be revisiting each of the soundtracks introduced in the first sims series and grading them. let's go!
(official song titles attributed to the best of my ability, found here)
the buy mode music is clearly the star of the show here. every single track has the energy of a 1960s housewife pleasantly zooted off valium wandering through a grocery store, and i'm right there with her. there's a sense of wonder and endless possibilities that's perfect for decorating your dream home.
the neighborhood music is also impeccable, in my opinion specifically because of the marimba in many of the tracks. while sim-burbia itself is pretty temperate, much of the music evokes thoughts of a relaxing-yet-exciting and fresh tropical vacation. the tracks that don't necessarily fit that tropical bill resemble the buy mode tracks, evoking a sense of setting down roots and watching your family and community grow.
now hear me out, this album does have one con..... the build mode music. i know many will argue that it was peaceful and beautiful, but to me it has always sounded like the precursor to a depressive episode. build mode 2 is a bit melancholic, but saved by the upbeatness of build mode 3. build mode 4 sounds like the sand of your childhood slowly falling through the hourglass. that followed by build mode 5? honey, call the vet because i need to be put down!
notable tracks: mall rat, groceries, now entering, martinis for two, jacuzzi
okay, first off: hot date was clearly the most influential expansion pack on its own. finally we could leave the house, hang out with friends, go on dates, and meet strangers outside of the ones that happened to walk past the house!
the adrenaline rush of calling a taxi to take you downtown. seeing that deep red loading screen. the saxophone-heavy jazz. i just remembered the music feeling so adult. like "wow, this is how it feels to be on a date in the big city!". it evoked feelings of excitement, mystery, and romance all at once. between this soundtrack and hey arnold, they were really selling us 90s kids on jazz (side note: downtown 5 has the most hey arnold vibes imo).
notable tracks: cab ride, smooth, let's dance
while i loved this expansion pack when it first came out, the music had very little to do with that. few of the songs really stand out to me. looking at the sims music overall, you can tell a lot of care has gone into crafting songs that really fit the mood of the game. unfortunately with superstar, a lot of the music comes across as generic eurodance beats. even the best songs seem to be missing the personality of the sims itself.
with that being said, if the sims superstar theme came on at a party i would lose my mind. the dancefloor would become my personal studio 54.
notable tracks: superstar theme, the spa treatment
where the sims superstar falls short in incorporating the feel of the sims itself into the music, the sims vacation excels. i love all of the simlish lyrics-- the vocalists are what truly make it feel like this is the music of the sims world. the instruments and beats transport me to a tropical vacation, and i'm not even mad the music doesn't fit the snowy mountain and forest locations!
also can we talk about the absolutely chaotic combination of genres it puts together for "sims vacation"? the song features a mix of caribbean music, polka, and... yodeling?
notable tracks: chimonganalai, song of the island