Number 6: Halo 2
Halo 2 is two things in one package: an epic, variety spiced soundtrack and an interesting experiment of musical talent that wraps itself up nicely between its two disc length. The Halo 2 soundtrack is actually somewhat of an infamous departure from the series for this reason. Similar to the Planetary Pieces soundtrack, Halo 2 featured numerous additional artists who came on board to perform select songs in addition to the songs composed by Martin O' Donnell and Michael Salvatori.
What results is a wide variety of musical types and talent. Although the core of the soundtrack is comprised of orchestral and choral elements, a significant portion of the soundtrack follows a rock bent, featuring a song each from Breaking Benjamin and Hoobastank, as well as several songs by Incubus (some of which seem almost Pink Floyd-ish in style at times). Since each of these songs is well done (although they may or may not be to your personal tastes) they serve only to add to the core of the soundtrack, not detract from it.
The core of course being the primary compositions, which embody multiple elements in such style as to easily evoke emotional response It's hard to listen to "Heavy Price Paid" for example, and not feel an element of sadness. "In Amber Clad" on the other hand, brings to mind a feel of determination and success (Rocky moment perhaps?). The songs are even more impressive on the second disc. While the first contained mainly smaller compositions, the second disc was comprised of seven to twelve minute suites of music that flowed from one them to another, although smaller themes can be recognized within and are also present on this disc. Unlike the first disc, the second disc is clearly meant to tell a story, and it plays out like a symphony, with moments of heroism, loss and redemption clearly communicated through the music. For example, take the "Sacred Icon Suite" or the "High Charity Suite" (two of my personal favorites). Without any coaxing or knowledge on your own part, each clearly tells one part of an overarching story that your mind begins to build as the music takes hold.
Halo 2 earns its place on this list through (in addition to the elements already mentioned above) its superb sound and haunting melodies that stick in your head for days after you've listened to them. Martin O' Donnell's work is truly superb, and as such Halo 2 earns it's place at number 6.
Number 6: Halo 2 by Martin O' Donnell and Michael Salvatori
Number 7: Planetary Pieces: Sonic World Adventure by Various Composers
Number 8: Super Mario Galaxy by Mahito Yokota and Mahito Yokota
Number 9: Final Fantasy: The Crystal Chronicles by Kumi Tanioka
Number 10: Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2 by Frank Klepacki
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