Chrono Trigger, “Frog’s Theme”

I’ve been falling asleep to SNES soundtracks for the past few weeks: Super Mario RPG, Earthbound, the Donkey Kong Country series. (Brave Fencer Musashi, despite releasing for PSX, makes the cut.) They’re fun because they well up positive feelings but aren’t so distracting as to keep me awake. All familiar friends.

It’s had me thinking about the necessary limitations to the form; a lot of these soundtracks were evoking a wide span of genres, and did so without, like, real instruments. “Frog’s Theme” is a fun example. It’s a highlight not just in terms of Chrono Trigger, but the SNES era. Inspirational, chivalrous, it sounds like a medieval march with a touch of desperado. It sums up the character’s motivation (literally a frog prince saving his liege, the Queen), fits the Middle-Ages-era he comes from, and wedges hard in your brain despite containing the musical data of a cellphone ringtone. It’s the best looped 45 seconds you’ll hear all day, or maybe ever– why would anyone compose a tune like this again?