We’ve discussed Laura Shigihara here on Music Mondays before. Her vocal performance in To The Moon‘s “Everything’s Alright” absolutely defines that game, overshadowing many of its other qualities. This isn’t the first time that her work has done so though. PopCap’s 2009 tower defense title Plants vs. Zombies is an incredibly popular take on the genre, but I personally remember it much more for its music than its art style or strategic gameplay.
This is usually the part of the column where I discuss the best tracks from the game in between generic video embeds, but today’s artist affords us an additional perk: live performances. Shigihara maintains an active social media presence full of original work, remixes, and covers, all of which are as equally delightful as her professionally published work. Her YouTube channel is a particularly good resource for fans of beautiful game music.
One quality you’ll probably notice across the entire Plants vs. Zombies score is a playfully dark tone. From the intro theme “Crazy Dave” to the climactic “Ultimate Battle,” each tune somehow manages to come across as simultaneously goofy and slightly foreboding. Of course, this is absolutely perfect for a title that uses stock horror monsters to murder adorable little flowers.
As good as the menu and background music is, the ending song may be the most remembered. Much like Portal‘s “Still Alive,” PvZ concludes with a music video of memetic proportions. “Zombies on Your Lawn” (below) is a great track on its own merits, but it may be even better in Japanese. Yes, the bilingual Shigihara sings “Uraniwa ni Zombies ga!” as skillfully as she does in English. The recording is even an official part of the soundtrack.
Speaking of the official OST, you can buy the whole thing for $3.99. The download includes all 29 tracks, which means that you get multiple versions of quite a few pieces. You can buy the whole soundtrack right here.
Final fun fact: The zombie voices in “Zombies on Your Lawn” are provided by Plants vs. Zombies game designer George Fan. The Japanese zombie voice? Laura Shigihara’s father.
Music Mondays is a weekly column by Austin Yorski and Robert Heck dedicated to discussing the most interesting audio experiences in electronic interactive media. Tune in every week for more original game soundtracks that you need to hear. Feel free to disagree with, add to, or question everything. I welcome your feedback.