It should come as no surprise that Ocarina tracks grace this best Zelda songs list, but it doesn’t claim the top spot.
There aren’t really any weak tracks on this list, as the best Zelda songs are all in pretty tight competition for the top spot. While this is a subjective list, I have a hunch that a lot of my favorites are yours as well.
I did not include titles from games such as Minish Cap, the original Legend of Zelda, Link’s Awakening, or Skyward Sword because they didn’t have tracks that immediately came to my mind when I was curating this list.
Honestly, there is nary a Zelda game with a mediocre or bad soundtrack, so picking and choosing from so many wonderful games and tracks is nearly like picking a favorite child. These games, and these tracks, are all close to my heart, but unfortunately, some hard cuts had to be made.
The music of the Zelda series has the power to move players emotionally, while also driving the story forward with sharp percussive beats, catchy melodies, and beautiful instrumentation. The music of the Zelda games are a big reason why the dungeon crawling adventure games work so well.
Without further ado, I present to you the 15 best Zelda songs, ranked from amazing to mindblowing.
15. Hyrule Field – ‘A Link to the Past’
Classic and fun, this overworld theme would go on to be remade time and time again in various Zelda titles. The horns blaring out the melody with the tuba ripping through an impressive baseline make for an excellent SNES song for an even better Zelda game.
14. Hinox Battle – ‘Breath of the Wild’
The jungle beat works well here to convey the scramble you’re likely to have in a battle against the giant Hinox. The wildness of this track is something that game developers and composers should study when looking to affect a dangerous and out of control battle scenario, because this Hinox track follows the player’s mindset flawlessly.
13. Great Fairy’s Fountain – ‘Ocarina of Time’
The harp intro to this iconic song brings in the piano melody with such a breathlessness, elegance, and grace. The song itself is the perfect startup screen song, and makes finding the Great Faries in any given Zelda game all the more exciting. I have found myself lingering on both the start screen and in the Fairy caves simply to hear this song on a loop.
12. Clock Town, First Day – ‘Majora’s Mask’
The daytime theme that plays at the start of this track is so enthralling. It draws in the player with its promise of light, exciting adventures, and leads beautifully into the bongos of the Clock Town theme. For being one of the more obscure Zelda titles, the game sure did have a lot of amazing sound direction.
11. Zelda’s Lullaby – ‘Ocarina of Time’
The Zelda cutscene where Link first meets her lays the ground for why this song is so important to the Zelda mythos. It’s haunting, has a dramatic arc, and works well as a shorter magic Ocarina song for unlocks.
10. Kakariko Village – ‘Ocarina of Time’
The harmonica shouting out the theme here makes you feel like you’re actually at a small town with quaint locals and a calm, always sunsetting lighting. It’s nostalgic, safe, and immediately relatable. Also, it’s a great one to hum along to as you complete the town’s many side quests.
9. Kokiri Forest – ‘Ocarina of Time’
The song that defined the “starter world” theme is the Kokiri Forest song. It plays with quick harp runs, and then continues with a bouncing duet that switches between piano, flute, clarinet, and even the harpsichord. It’s an incredibly diverse and versatile track that deserves recognition based on those characterizations alone.
8. ‘Breath of the Wild’ Theme – ‘Breath of the Wild’
Chills. The entire song plays out like an adventure, and imprints upon your mind the imagery of soaring through skies, racing across landscapes horseback, and barely scraping by in a battle against an ancient Guardian. Every time I hear this song, I am deeply and emotionally affected.
7. Realm Overworld – ‘Spirit Tracks’
Pan flute is key in this best Zelda songs list, as most of the better songs in the Zelda games shine through when they utilize this soothing and airy instrument. Listening to this DS (yes, this song was on the Nintendo DS!!!) track, I’m always happy. Chugga chugga chugga chugga.
6. Windmill Hut – ‘Ocarina of Time’
I could listen to this song on repeat and never get sick of it. It has a wonderful feel to its repetitive and quick melody, and makes for a great tune to get something arduous done to. If you don’t believe me, try it out on repeat the next time you’re filing your taxes. You’re welcome.
5. Minda’s Lament – ‘Twilight Princess’
This track may not be for everyone, but it always stands out as an amazing Zelda track when it comes up in my Smash Bros. gaming sessions. It tells a story, albeit a sad one, and has a tone rarely seen in any other top Zelda tracks.
4. The Great Sea – ‘Wind Waker
Admit it: you only got through the arduous sailing travel segments because of this beautiful track. It made me sad whenever I ran into an enemy on the open sea, because it would ruin my enjoyment of such a wonderful overworld theme.
3. Lost Woods – ‘Ocarina of Time’
This song is almost universally known by video game players, nay, the entire world. Just play it or a remix of it at a party, and you’ll see what I mean. The Lost Woods theme is the quickest way to get anyone to recognize the game, and that’s because it’s a song that’s made that well.
2. Gerudo Valley – ‘Ocarina of Time’
If you haven’t figured this out by now, I’m a sucker for driving guitar themes with a sharp percussion shake that maintain momentum. It’s one of the most earwormy out of all of the tunes on this best Zelda songs list, and is oddly peaceful to sleep to (I did it once by accident, and have never slept better). The environment of the Gerudo Fortress is built off of the Gerudo Valley theme song. Without it, it would be just another desert level. This track transforms your experience in this level, making it one that many Zelda songs fans won’t forget.
1. Dragon Roost Island – ‘Wind Waker’
Coming in at the top of this best Zelda songs list is none other than the theme from Dragon Roost Island. With a bit of the Peruvian feel of the Spirit Tracks overworld mixed in with a dash of a Mediterranian style, this island theme has the power to instantly transport the listener to the story of Medli and the great dragon Valoo. It’s an impeccable track with a chilling baseline, catchy pan flute theme, and driving guitar force. I’ve simply never heard a video game song that I’ve loved as much as the Dragon Roost Island theme.