Uh - music, what can one judge except the technical quality? All the rest are personal preferences.
From the side of compositions i see them as good, very good for the limitations.
I would say i love them each one, but that's my opinion.
Over all i like Roberts compositions and honestly i discovered Keen for me thanks to his music, i came here in a long run over vgmpf because of Doom.
While i know all of my comrades in RL don't understand my addiction to the simplistic music, they rather wonder about this dude which else is listens often very complex music which also spoils them.
Hard to tell it in words but there is something in his music which attracts me much.
Let's saddle up the Horse from the back, everybody knows and (most) like "Für Elise" by Beethoven, this is a some sort simplistic yet complex composition, quite short and very repetitive (in general one could define music as repetition and pauses).
Roberts tracks for Keen aren't far from this quality to my ears.
Another example is what he did to Holst's "Mars", he catches the spirit of the whole movement in one single minute, and this is simply brilliant!
I love "The Planets" for several reasons and there is a good reason and a lot of guilt of mine that it is to find in Pioneer Space Sim, i offered it first as a mod, a comrade played it on his synth to make it legal to us (thanks Dan, great fellow, Yep i guess Dan would support me in my opinion).
Since i claim to love the Planets i could easy say "Mars" is crippled, but it isn't.
A catchy composition needs far more effort as one could guess.
Btw, sure "für Elise" is part of Pioneer as well as the inevitable "Blue Danube" for the orbiters and docking scene.
The latter is the track everybody will remember and connect to "space".
The guilt of Kubrick.
But another good example for what i like to point out, a "simple" waltz.
Sure i respect much the complexity of the Dune II score, great stuff but very complex, not the kind of music you will whistle at work (while the MT version is to find on my phone, in case i am in the mood for it).
Roberts tunes for Keen haunt me - in a positive way for sure, i whistle and hum them quite often (even if i don't work anymore on the construction site).
To compose something such simple sounding and catchy isn't easy i think, it's what many like to reach but never reached.
Perhaps they search in the wrong place for it.
Still and most of all music is matter of choice.
i'm able to claim i like a three voice tune from my intellivision.
Sometimes one could guess as simpler it is the more i will like it.
Which for sure isn't true.
Maybe let's peep into each track,
"skating over the ice" isn't it just a great tune? It immediately reminds of "skating over the ice", everything is winter in this tune, great!
(i have to admit that i interpreted the tracks quite different as most AND pardon me but i interpreted the title always as "skating over the thin ice")
"too hot to handle" i've read not much good here about it while i like it, i mean i had a reason to add the XMI loop to them, i could listen endless - almost. (honestly i can't write anything bad about any track).
Always take to account that this "gran'pa" is new to Keen, it isn't biased what i say, i'm no "fanboy" (yet), i wouldn't claim it sounds good to me if it wouldn't.
"welcome to a kick in your pants in good ol' hillville" at first bite i didn't liked it to well, but well if you live in "good ol' hillville" you must like it and kicks in my pants i received many. Thumbs up it always puts a smile in my face, because it reminds me of "Wattwil" (Ulisbach
That is i'm a stranger in Wattwil even when i was born only 30km far from it! Such small is switzerland.
They talk the same allemannic language as me but they won't understand me, i'm from a different valley and that we had a war 500 years ago is still present.
Roberts tunes are almost all very singable, in the composition of him for Doom you can almost hear the words they are there but just not sung.
But we talk about Keen.
Right on commander Robert, i don't have to lose many words about "you've got to eat your vegetables" i fine example for what i've claimed above, every single word is to hear and if that isn't fun i don't know what fun is.
Dunno how you hear the song i hear it with muted trumpets and trombone, that is hmm.... you know the peanuts? for sure you do!
Do you remember how the teacher and all grown ups was interpreted?
With muted trumpet, to me if i don't listen attentive the voices of ppl often turn to muted trumpet. "bua bua bua"
Well it seems i like the trumpet as much as my dad and guess what i like most
(2.oN otrecnoC - etreznoK ehcsigrubnednarB - hcaB S.J.)
"you've got to eat your vegetables" just the perfect way to "emulate" every mothers voice. (while i like veggies, i have to say there isn't any vegetable i don't like but meat i don't like all, but for sure i'm totally addicted to sugar, there was no way to hide it from little Gernot, it's pure brain food one must love it) Gernot you are a liar you lost quite some words about it.
"in a land of wonderment and awe" twice! short indeed, even not the one i liked best at start but it seems in despite of as simplistic they are they still can grow. The mood is great in this snippet of music.
Another moody track of course "having tea with little ampton" this i liked at first bite, a lot of oboes and bassoon (to me).
Talking about mood, "A Shikadi Aire" A TARANTELLA how great is that?! This dude is a huge composer!
It's a favorite of mine.
Let's move to my first love ROCK 'N ROLL this greaser will like it! them are just great rock 'n roll songs "rock me but don't stone me", "robo red rock".
shuffling feet included.
The ROCK will follow later on.
Perhaps one shouldn't look at each snippet and take each score as a whole composition, the snippets are just like the movements in baroque music.
Let's go for the marching band, i loved as child and you found me always dancing along in front of a marching band whenever they played, so it is no wonder that i like "This Is Where I Came In" because "This Is Where I Came In". Belongs also in this genre "into the future".
The ones which attracted me at start most was "just snoopin' around" and "Almost Out of Breath" both great jazzy tunes which i interpreted with trumpet, trombone and tuba as second bass for "snoopin'", the marimbas in it gives it a scary mood, i can see marching skeletons when i listen to it.
The most childish of all "wednesday on the beach", one must'n like this it sounded very kindergarten to me but i like it as well.
I guess or if i remember right from working on them he used the ocarina quite often, for most songs i replaced this with another instrument but not for this tune it suits perfect. it is one of the tunes which took a little time to like it.
And imagine to make the "thingy" and to record the clips over and over because i'm always displeased with some tidbit i listened more as just often.
"Tropical Ghost Oasis" some sort of tropical a different tune sure again trombone what else would fit better to it?
"please don't metal with me" "ominousity" "space funk" now he shows off who he is for real, i know it's claimed he leaned out a lot but never blatantly copied. But can you tell me where he leaned this out from? I would love to have it in Phoenix to release and not only for my personal pleasure.
This is outraking, and he shows really off to what he will evolve to.
Psychedelia, it's just tripping! (or trapping?)
There was a good reason for and it was the proper decision that Robert composed the score for Doom (about this i could fill whole thread, what a great feeling for rock and classical music).
"Faster and faster yet" again ocarina but in a quite different way, not exactly to tell what mood it has it reaches from fun to scare and i don't know when to stop the loop when i listen to it.
"end of specialities"
"brother tar ain't gonna get me" a plain blues number, i like it.
"aliens ate my babysitter" to me it belongs to same as the above which didn't makes it less good, it's just if something is just good you can't tell much about except that you think it's good.
"the mambo snake gonna eat you boy!" i guess that's one of the tracks with the best reputation?
say YES! (or you will be threatened by commander jameson, he will hunt you until he gets you)
"playing bagpipes nearly kilt me" not only you bro'! nonetheless it's good how can one single guy catch so much music in its essence?
Everything fits, the pipes and the beat, if it wouldn't be Robert one would say it's a Scottish bagpipe tune no question.
Well i wouldn't be surprised if he has Scottish ancestry, not especially because of this but because of his versatility.
See i can't say anything bad about his compositions.
"be very sphereful wit my diamonds" now we move to jazz-rock and it's crafty as always. The tumbling sort of break beat makes it to a great tune.
give it a fat bass drum and you will dance along the alley. What?! yes of course can you hear it? "Flight of the Bumble Bee" - "Green Hornet Theme" crossover. (where is batman?)
"Shadows Don't Scare Commander Keen" the title implies it as usual, a great opening tune for a game, as i feel.
I guess i covered most of ck4-6 except "fanfare" this is just a Fanfare and it is what it is, no real track and for this reason the only which i don't loop.
to answer the question of this thread in no way is commander keens music weak
, or you must have weak ears.
I'm no musician, maybe a versatile whatever and foremost a listener of music, i love music.
I do know music well, i have my preferences but i can even judge what i don't like i'm no fool.
If you grew up with Bach in your ears you will understand music different, but never it's something sophisticated to me, even not "music for long hairs" (classical music). Music is for pleasure and i can't understand ppl who lift it in the skies where it doesn't belongs to.
I do like "moldy figs" (blues) as much as a complex jazz tune.
I learned to like heavy metal which i disliked in my youth (stupid no? but on the other hand i was a regular reader of "heavy metal" comics)
i defend hip-hop wherever i can (just some sort of jazz).
I can like a swiss accordeon tune as well as a "schottisch" (scots music is a sort of folk-dance music in switzerland. Not that bagpipe thing it's the typical rhythm of a schottisch which is to find in all of them. others dance polkas - we dance schottisch).
One could say each genre is a language you have to learn before you can understand it.
And dammit Robert speaks a lot of languages.
That is how short the snippets in Keen might ever be what makes the difference and i would claim it's better as most what has been cited here as comparison.
Again keep in mind i'm no Keenealogist, i didn't knew my brother commander until last year and that is somewhat surprising to myself because i'm already 54 and i lived the computer revolution - but i lived it on my miggy.
Pops was a great hobby electronics engineer and i was not only gifted with the Pong and Lightgun game by him.
End of transmission.