5:15 pm EDT, July 12, 2019

Best ‘Kingdom Hearts’ songs: The top 10 hits for a Keyblade Warrior

The best Kingdom Hearts songs come from many of the series’ 13 video games across generations of gaming consoles.

Kairi, Sora, and Riku’s adventures in the KH series has seen the three face some pretty incredible trials and tribulations. The best Kingdom Hearts songs added an emotional investment to their stories, and impacted players’ permanent memories of their favorite boss fights, cutscenes, and overworld themes.

Some are emotional, some are exciting, and some are just fun to listen to. The Kingdom Hearts series loves to use the piano for many of its themes, but somehow, the instrument never becomes redundant or annoying to hear.

When the games aren’t utilizing a piano theme, they delve into chorus vocals and epic organ runs to add an extra epic level to the gameplay. Whether you’re a casual Kingdom Hearts fan or a Keybalde Warrior fanatic, chances are you’ve noticed how beautiful the soundtracks are for all of the games.

The OSTs for these games make you feel like you’re a part of an epic journey. The attention to detail in the KH series OSTs is impeccable, making them all worth listening to on repeat.

While the Disney worlds themes are cutesy and earwormy, they don’t have a place in this best Kingdom Hearts songs ranking. Many of those themes originate from their respective movie franchises, and even when they’re original tunes, they don’t bring as much to the table as the original Kingdom Hearts songs do.

From overworlds to epic battle themes, here are the top ten Kingdom Hearts songs.

10. ‘Shipmaster’s Humoresque’ – ‘KH 1.5’

Whimsical and fun, this tune makes the arduous but entirely optional Gummi Ship Garage building sequences tolerable. The clarinet leading the theme is bouncy and soft, which makes sense, seeing as Chip and Dale are your guides here.

It’s almost a hidden theme in KH1‘s wonderful soundtrack, for as pleasant as it is to the ear, not many bothered to actually build a Gummi Ship past the standard features. Treats like “Humoresque” are ones that deserve a little more attention from the KH fandom.

9. ‘Forze Del Male’ – ‘KH1’

Rivaling “One Winged Angel,” “Forze Del Male” is one of the best Square Enix final boss themes out there. It combines so many elements of the KH1 songs before it, and adds in just the right touches of piano thrills to affect further drama.

The organ leading the front makes for a dynamic and unique theme, with the symbol crashes timed perfectly to balance out the light taps of brass. “Forze Del Male” is inspiring, dangerous, and overall one of the best Kingdom Hearts songs.

8. ‘Enter the Darkness’ – ‘BBS’

“Enter the Darkness” is Vanitas’ battle theme, and oh boy does it get the pulse racing. Right off the bat, the animalistic noises coupled with the deep bass effects spike your adrenaline. You know you’re in for quite the ride in this track from there on out.

The horns blast their way through the main theme, with a synth drumset setting the tone for a fast-paced and exciting battle. There isn’t another song like “Enter the Darkness” out of all of the Kingdom Hearts OSTs, making this unique track all the more special.

7. ‘Kairi’s Theme’ – ‘KH1’

Smooth, flowing, and emotionally charged, “Kairi’s Theme” transformed into the theme of Sora and Kairi’s love affair.

The red heroine’s theme is one of the most memorable in the original game’s soundtrack, as it played out during the climax of many of the game’s emotional arcs. It has a lasting impact on players, not only because it’s an earworm, but also because it’s a really great character theme song.

6. ‘Xion’s Theme’ – ‘358/2’

Xion’s tragic fate is to be frozen in time via her sad theme song. The song tells a tale of sorrow and grief, with the slightest hints of hope and love strewn throughout.

“Xion’s Theme” is a known tearjerker in the KH fandom. Listen with caution.

5. ‘Destiny Islands’ – ‘BBS’

BBS took the slightly annoying World theme for the tutorial levels of Kingdom Hearts 1 and transformed it into one of the most beautiful, simple tunes out of all of the best Kingdom Hearts songs.

While this tune does take notes from KH2‘s variation on the theme, there’s something unique about the way the strings and woodwinds harmonize in the BBS version.

4. ‘The Other Promise’ – ‘KH 2.5’

It’s a rare treat that a character’s introduction theme transforms into an epic battle track. Roxas is one of the few Kingdom Hearts characters to receive this treatment, and the end results are chilling.

The song starts off in a similar fashion to the blonde’s character theme, but really hits its stride when it amps up the intensity. This is not only Sora and Roxas’ battle of brawn; the boys are two halves fighting the same internal struggle, reveals “The Other Promise.”

3. ‘The 13th Struggle’ – ‘CoM’

This Game Boy Advance game really pushed the limits of what the small cartridge could do, as the graphics, action, and music were all top-notch GBA content. The songs in many of the worlds were cute, but some of the battle themes really ramped things up a notch.

The origin of this recurring theme comes from Sora’s battles against the Organization XIII members in Castle Oblivion. While it may be easy to forget that, as you’re likely accustomed to hearing the orchestrated version that debuted in KH2, the GBA version of this song remains the most groundbreaking and beautiful.

2. ‘Dearly Beloved’ – ‘KH3’

The Kingdom Hearts team did it: they created the ultimate version of the opening theme from the Kingdom Hearts games. While this one is followed closely by KH2‘s “Dearly Beloved,” the KH3 version of the classic song swells, breathes, and sends chills all across my body.

It wouldn’t be a Kingdom Hearts game without an epic start screen song. Square Enix is known for making the most out of their start themes, and with the Kingdom Hearts 3 one, they really raised the bar.

1. ‘Sanctuary’ – ‘KH2’

This synth bop tops the best Kingdom Hearts songs in the hearts of many. Utada Hikaru’s vocals mixed with the pumping bassline set up the wonderful adventure that is Kingdom Hearts 2 beautifully. It’s time to save Riku and return home to Kairi, and Sora is ready to fight to the death to achieve these goals.

It’s an iconic tune many associate the Kingdom Hearts series with, probably even more so than they do “Simple and Clean.” It has some of the best lyrics out of the Hikaru songs in the series, and has the cleanest sounds. This track is one you can play on repeat, with its soft guitar riff intros drawing players into the epic story it has to tell.

“Sanctuary” is as peaceful as it is exciting, with lyrics like “Where fears and lies melt away,” giving players a strong mental image of Sora falling deep down into the Castle Oblivion memory pod’s depths. Bittersweet and oh so tasty, “Sanctuary” is easily one of the best Kingdom Hearts songs.

Is one of the best ‘Kingdom Hearts’ songs missing from this list?

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