I had to check several times to make sure no one had already written about this one, as Mining Melancholy might possibly be one of the most brilliant songs in a game that already has plenty of amazing tracks. As expected, Mining Melancholy is found in every mine level of Donkey Kong Country 2. As you play through these often frustrating levels (thanks to the fact that every single one is vertical, which means that one mistake could send you tumbling back to the start of the level, or worse), if you pay attention to the background, you’ll notice the tools left behind by the miners. Pickaxes, explosives, buckets, what have you. And let’s not forget those huge sparkling gems we catch glimpses of in the distance. Those things are massive!
Enormous gems and the staggering amount they must be worth aside, the best part of these stages is by far the music, which probably speaks far louder for these levels’ simple story than the background ever could. Right from the beginning, you can hear the sharp clang of pickaxes forming the song’s beat. The racket they create is almost jarring, but nothing could be more atmospheric.
Video from Youtube User: BrawlBRSTMs3
And then, all that harsh, metallic noise stops at 1:24 to make way for an entirely different kind of sound. Now, I know it’s a little hard to recognize vocals in a Super Nintendo game. They just weren’t a very common thing back then, and when you heard them, they usually sounded nothing like actual voices. Even so, maybe it’s just me, but I always heard voices singing at that one part of the song, like the miners themselves taking a break in their work to hum that one, single refrain before the sound of pickaxes ring throughout the mine once more as they return to their tireless work.
Where these mysterious miners are, I know not, but it imbues a strange sort of emotion into these levels I normally wouldn’t expect from a simple platformer. What do I care about some fictional miners working in a fictional mine that have no consequence to the plot, hmm? I wouldn’t normally, until I hear their soft voices for that 20-second timespan. It makes me feel…sad. There’s honestly a lot of emotion in this two-minute song. Not only is it brilliant, but clear proof that Rareware were kings of gaming back then. And sometimes I think that may actually be the saddest thing of all.