Great soundtracks to work to

Aka Soundtracks you don’t have to watch, play or enjoy the original content to enjoy the music.

It has been a few months since working from home became more commonplace and every now and then the music we listen to feels dry and needs a shake up. I’ve shifted from listening to random suggestions to BBC Radio 1Xtra with moderate success but there’s always a few albums to pop on when you need to focus and get something done. Plenty of albums by artists and singers to but sometimes you just need something that doesn’t need as much attention but isn’t trash. If you’re running out of music to get on with? Don’t stress! I’ve gotcha covered!

Airgear
Air Gear original soundtrack: What a Groovy Tricks!! &
Air Gear original soundtrack 2: Who wants more Groovy Trick!!??

If you love the eclectic beats of Jet Set Radio and you’ve listened to the Hover soundtrack too many times but need something new then give this a go. The 18 year old series isn’t that fantastic, both the manga and anime have some… issues. The actual content aside there is some fantastic music to be had and even Hideki Naganuma was involved with the anime, composing two tracks under the alias of skankfunk. It’s a hyper active adrenaline ride filled to the brim with funky beats. Highly worth a listen if only to bopping away all day!

Highlights – Snapped, Mad Babies & NOT Hummin’ BUT Vibin
Similar soundtracks – Jet Set Radio and Beatmania

Samurai Champaloo

Samurai Champloo Music Record: Masta, Departure, Impression & Playlist (Aka the Samurai Champloo Soundtrack)

I’m always surprised by how many people have never seen this series. It’s a staggeringly amazing anime and was even created by some of the original team behind one of the greatest of all time (Cowboy Bebop obviously) The soundtrack is incredibly special, split across 4 CDs and each having a fantastic flow. The best low-fi beats, hip hop slammers and generally the greatest background music you’ll ever hear. It’s superb music to relax to, garden to and really do any chores without getting too stressed. The opening theme is on the soundtrack as well so that makes it an absolute winner.

Highlights – Battlecry, Sanctuary Ship & Mystline
Similar – Afro Samurai & Fight Night Round 4

Oxenfurt

The Witcher – literally any of the soundtracks

I still haven’t finished The Witcher 3 yet. Despite having the game for years now it has  never grabbed me for long, but I’ve listened to the soundtrack so many times I’ve lost count. It’s the same with The Witcher 2 and original. There’s a flowing folk, orchestral and dark vibe to the music that makes for wonderful listening. The Netflix series follows this trend and adds in occasional lyrics and the occasional NIN sounding metal guitar to add a sharp edge. Every piece of media in the franchise has a simply fantastic soundtrack of amazing music. Any of them are worth listening to even without the prior lore.

Highlights – The Trail (Witcher 3 OST), Toss a coin to your witcher (Netflix OST) & Howl of the white wolf (Witcher 2 OST)
Similar – Panzer Dragoon Orta & Dot Hack Sign

fairy tail

Fairy Tail Original Soundtrack Vol. 1
Fairy Tail Original Soundtrack Vol. 2
Fairy Tail Original Soundtrack Vol. 3

Epic Celtic Rock. That’s it. That’s the pitch.
The manga is enjoyable enough and think what you will of the anime, there’s no disputing how great the soundtrack is. I’ve mentioned it a lot on Twitter recently when I found it was on Spotify but there’s good reason for that. Fairy Tail has a sound that’s just like nothing else. It’s just so uplifting and uniquely well made that it’s hard to pin any one aspect that makes for the best part. There are fantastic highs with celebratory playing and chords that lift followed by incredibly slow paced sad sounding violin that plays fantastically on early themes. The soundtrack is simply leagues apart from others.

Highlights – Dragon Slayer (OST1), Tsuioku – Kanashiki Tamashii (OST2) & Dragon Force (OST3)
Similar – Bleach & Naruto Shippuden (if you skip a lot of the more generic tracks)

blue exorcist

Blue Exorcist / Ao No Exorcist Original Soundtrack 1

If you’ve already listened to the Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood and most generic Shonen sounding anime soundtracks and don’t fancy a change then give this one ago. It’s the bar that all others should be reaching for. The first of the Soundtrack albums is where the creativity really peaks and it’s suitably full of epic orchestral moments mixed with fast and slow paced melodies. There are so many really great pieces here that the future soundtracks either nod or simply remix them over and over. Absolutely fantastic stuff here and really good for when you need to feel like overcoming a mountain of work.

Highlights – Me & Creed, éXORCiST & Call me later
Similar – Soul Eater & Attack on Titan

GITS SAC

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex O.S.T.

This is just simply an album that anyone with any interest in good music needs to listen to at least once in their life. The unfortunately titled GITS SAC has a soundtrack that’s easily on a par with Cowboy Bebop in quality. Every single track hits an impressive stand alone beat and all blends together into audio mastery that captures you and takes you through its paces. GITS SAC is the best use of the IP and sets itself apart with a techno punk feeling soundtrack that really is fantastic. Let’s hope Cyberpunk 2077 manages to hit these incredibly high notes because if it does we’ll have more brilliant music to enjoy.

Highlights – Inner Universe, Beauty Within Us & the end of all you’ll know
Bonus – Listen to Player from the Stand Alone Complex film (Solid State Society) OST
Similar – Nothing, Just go listen to it.

gitaroo man

Gitaroo Man OST

Gitaroo Man’s soundtrack really is fantastic. The PS2 had such a great library of experimental music rhythm games that it’s a shame we don’t see as many now because the result of this experimentation was the fantastically weird Gitaroo Man. There is such a little chance of this gem ever getting another release it’s worth listening to its tracks on the soundtrack. A brilliant mix of genres that all have a lead guitar are here to enjoy and it all just sounds so bloody good. Don’t worry about the skill check of the 4th stage, just listen to the soundtrack instead.

Highlights – Flyin’ to your heart, Tainted Lovers & Resurrection_(Ropeland_mix)
Similar – Guitar Hero 3 & Hellsing Original Soundtrack: Raid & Ruins (not Ultimate)

Nier

NieR Gestalt & Replicant Original Soundtrack

I would just like to say that despite hating the fishing segment in NieR with a passion, I was a huge fan of the game and this soundtrack before it became cool to like NieR again. Obviously the series has seen a bit of a resurgence since Automata really nailed the gameplay and story but the original NieR’s soundtrack is legendary. One-of-a-kind songs made from an entirely game created language that really was lighting in a bottle. Automata has a good soundtrack but the original is just perfection.

Highlights – Shadowlord. Seriously just listen to the entirety of this track.
Similar – Panzer Dragoon Orta OST & FF7

kill la kill

Kill la Kill Original Soundtrack

I’ve saved you the best for last.

I don’t actually like the anime itself. The soundtrack however? Wondrous.

Incredible songs, incredible singles that the artists making could have easily released on their own and made a mint. Uplifting lyrics and an incredible mix of so many genres throughout. It’s not really the most unique soundtrack when you think about the composure but it has this star quality throughout. It just manages every note, every lyric and every shift in pace with subtle mastery. Promare really refined it but the soundtrack for that isn’t out yet and you can even watch Kill la Kill on channel 4 now. The soundtrack is easily accessible and brilliant and the best way to keep on rocking.

Highlights – Before my body is dry, Inuka Saku & Till I die
Similar – One Punch Man & Doom 2016

online jack

Still not enough? Here are some extras that didn’t quite make the cut but if you fancy more;

My-HiME Original Soundtrack – The anime has possibly the iffiest ending to any series and its sequel series has an iffy story to match. The music though is one of a kind. Phenomenal battle music that is a mix of fast paced trance and opera singing. Simply something else and a rarity to hear even now.

Guilty Gear XX The Midnight Carnival Original Soundtrack – It still holds up incredibly well. The game itself holds up to but the soundtrack is just classic 2D fighter through and through. The covers of Holy Orders (Be Just or Be Dead) always need to be better than this to be worthy of listening to. This is the base line for ROCK.

Project DIVA F 2nd Complete Collection – Hatsune Miku game soundtracks are technically just her greatest hits. Plenty of incredible pop titles in here and it’s a fantastic pick me up album that I use often if feeling low. You don’t need to know any Japanese to enjoy and there’s plenty of English lyrics in there for good measure.

Persona 4 The ULTIMATE in MAYONAKA ARENA Original Soundtrack – Stupid title aside I’ve always felt Persona Arena really polished the music and plucked the best of its library to make a fantastic mix. It’s a great little fighting album to listen for long time fans and newcomers alike.

And that’s it for now, I could have just listed every 3D Sonic game’s soundtrack and be done but hopefully this helps a little more. What do you think? Any that you really like I’ve missed? Let me know!


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