The soundtrack from popular 1930s-style side-scrolling boss battler, Cuphead, has recently become the very first video game soundtrack to reach number one on the Billboard Jazz charts. The Kristofer Maddigan-led album provided an excellent soundtrack for the challenging animated work, and it's clear that the music has reached more than just the video game community.
Originally released in September of 2017, Cuphead, has captivated gamers with its incredible art direction, derived from the early cartoon styles such as Betty Boop, Popeye, and Swing You Sinners. The watercolored old school art style gives gamers an impressive visual experience while simultaneously presenting them with one of the biggest challenges you can find in video games.
However, Cuphead would not be Cuphead without its music. The epic jazz instrumentals define the game's aesthetic, sucking you into the game's inspired era and bringing its characters to life. Each instrumental is exciting in its own right, perfectly representing the boss battle in which it was created for. A game with such a specific style could only work with the perfect music accompanying it, and that's exactly what Cuphead's soundtrack accomplished.
Recently released as a 2-LP vinyl album, this is not the first time that the Cuphead soundtrack has received recognition for its innovation. The game has also won best soundtrack at a handful of award shows, including the 2018 BAFTA Awards, the 2018 Game Audio Network Guild Awards, and Geoff Keighley's The Game Awards in 2017. The game itself also won an Annie Award for outstanding character animation, as well as several awards from the NAVGTR Awards, and the SXSW Gaming Awards.
Even though this is the first time a game's soundtrack has reached #1 on the Billboard Jazz charts, it's not the first time that the iam8bit record label has seen its music on the charts. They also produced the iconic The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time soundtrack, as well as the soundtrack from Persona 5, both of which landed on the charts in the past. Their latest collaboration with Studio MDHR has proven to be their most successful though, and the record-breaking album is standing strong atop the charts.
Cuphead continues to capture audiences with its incredibly challenging, incredibly authentic gameplay experience, and the soundtrack's success on the Billboard charts just serves as another example of how special this game really is. Cuphead is expected to see some DLC in 2020, and Cuphead 2 is rumored to be in the works some time soon afterwards. Netflix is also developing an animated Cuphead show for its streaming platform. Whether its high flying jazz music, one of a kind animation, or layered, challenging gameplay, it's impossible to get enough Cuphead, and it's exciting to imagine what might be next for the series.