The Top Non-Racing Music from Mario Kart, Ranked
So I just finished ranking the best Mario Kart soundtrack pieces from the racetracks themselves, but what about that iconic menu music?
There isn't a Mario Kart game where the menu music doesn't slap, and that demanded some acknowledgement. I had initially planned to include these tracks in my main Top 50 ranking, but because I was struggling to narrow them down (they're all fab!), they worked better as a spin-off list of honourable mentions. So without further ado, here are my top 5 Mario Kart tracks to vibe to when I'm not racing.
5. Mario Kart 8/Deluxe - Spectating
This is my favourite of the spectating tracks, to the point I look forward to joining a room in the middle of an ongoing race. A thing I didn’t notice till now is the bass delivering the main motif of this game at the bottom of the mix, playing off against those spacey chords! It reminds me a lot of the Wii spectating theme but brought into the 2010s.
4-3 (TIED). Mario Kart Wii - Main Menu & Mario Kart 7 - Main Menu
Both these menus use similar themes and use the same gimmick of gradually building the further you go through the menu options... so I grouped them together. I think the gimmick is fun and they’re also super nice to listen to. Like they know you’re going to be on these menus a long time so it has to be something you can jam to. I could listen to either of these menus forever.
2. Mario Kart 8/Deluxe - Theme
This is the peak of Mario Kart themes, using the theme from Super Mario Kart but developing on it with such bombast and confidence to make this game’s identity clear: this is the definitive Mario Kart entry and it knows.
1. Mario Kart Wii - WiFi Menu
I have done my utmost to avoid nostalgia bias getting into this list, and it’s not been successful, as you know if you scrolled this far! But this WiFi Menu is the sound of my childhood. It felt magical the day my parents brought home a wireless router powerful enough for my Wii to do online multiplayer. It is the number one in my heart.
Making this ranking made me realise that the best game music from my childhood almost exclusively lives in Mario Kart - and now the tracks only keep getting better. I loved revisiting these soundtracks and hope that you’ll enjoy them with me! What are your favourites from the Mario Kart soundtracks?
Mal Morgenstern is a writer, visual artist, and musician. Follow them on Twitter here. Enjoy QSO Media’s content? Support alternative LGBTQ+ journalism by buying us a Ko-Fi.