SimCity 4’s Soundtrack Is So Good You’re Already Reinstalling The Game

Image: EA / Maxis / Kotaku
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Welcome to Morning Music, Kotaku’s hangout for folks who love video games and the cool-ass sounds they make. Today I’m going to remind you all how much the music in SimCity 4 slaps. Granted, I just did, but now I will go into greater length.


SimCity 4 (playlist / longplay / VGMdb) is considered by many, myself included, to be the pinnacle of the series. Like (nearly) all the other games in the franchise, SimCity 4 is about building and managing a city. And, if you’re like most people, it’s also a game about destroying cities once you’ve gotten bored with them and want to move on. SimCity 4 improved on a lot of features and mechanics from the previous games, but more to our point, it also had one of the best soundtracks ever.

Let’s take a listen:

EA / Maxis / Dmitri S (YouTube)

I’ve spent many, many hours playing SimCity 4, so almost all of these tracks are burned into my brain, hidden away in some vault unable to be forgotten. And I’m happy about that, because this music is good. All of these tracks are perfect for building and thinking. This is the kind of music you need when you’re having to decide where to place a new highway. Listen to “By The Bay” and tell me you aren’t feeling the need to sit and think about city planning:

EA / Maxis / Dmitri S (YouTube)

Little behind the scenes, I often write these posts bit by bit as I’m working on other things. So between that last paragraph and this one, I went and redownloaded and installed SimCity 4. That’s the power of this music. It just makes me want to tinker and plan. It’s funny to me now that I never actually knew what any of these tracks were called. In my mind, I had silly or descriptive names for some of them based on what they sound like. For example, I called the track “Metropolis” the “Future Church Song.” Listen and tell me I’m wrong!

EA / Maxis / Dmitri S (YouTube)

The SimCity 4 soundtrack was composed by Jerry Martin with help from several collaborators including Andy Brick, The Humble Brothers, Walt Szalva, and Edwin Dolinski (not all tracks have clear attributions). If you played a Sim-branded game from Maxis any time between the ‘90s and mid-2000s chances are very high a lot of the music was composed by Martin. He’s also done music for commercials and big brands like Toyota and the NBA. His work in SimCity 4 might be some of his best, mixing jazzy beats and plucky instruments with almost comically epic scores. We are just building cities, Jerry, we don’t need all this. Then again, we are also building huge cities in only a few hours across large continents. I guess that is pretty epic and worth some angels chanting, which by the way, was what I called the Humble Brothers track “Epicenter.”

EA / Maxis / Dmitri S (YouTube)


That’s it for today’s Morning Music! I’d ask you to leave a comment, but I’m guessing a lot of you are too busy downloading SimCity 4 and getting ready to play that. See you tomorrow!

Kotaku Weekend Editor | Zack Zwiezen is a writer living in Kansas. He has written for GameCritics, USgamer, Kill Screen & Entertainment Fuse.

DISCUSSION

I picked up SimCity 4 a few years ago. I didn’t know what to expect, so the music was a pleasant surprise. The four tracks featured on this article are also my favorites of the game, especially Electric City. It’s neither a Japanese-style music nor the occasional orchestral Western track I hear in RPGs like Skyrim. It’s in its own category.