Gangplank Galleon starts out sounding like a merry sea chanty played on a squeeze box, only to become dark and ominous (complete with a shift from a bright major key to a gloomy minor key) after a few seconds as the final boss fight against King K. Rool stops being mere child's play.
DK Island Swing, the first level music, is two awesome tracks for the price of one, the first bright and energetic to get the player fired up for the fun ahead, the second eerie and atmospheric (and, in the first level, Jungle Hijinks, often kicking in just as the sky clouds over), and both of them providing some of the series' more familiar Recurring Riffs.
Sadly, "Disco Train" is pretty much always drowned out in-game by the fireworks and rail screech effects in the levels where it's played, to the point that the kick-assery of the tune can only be appreciated via the OST.
There's also the rockin' Monkey Mountain theme, which goes high and low and all over. Dah dah dahdahdah, deerrr ner ner ner...
For more awesome original tracks created specifically for new types of level Archetypes exclusive to the first Donkey Kong Land, there is the music for the Cloud Levels, showing that the first Donkey Kong Land can stand on its own in greatness, both in its originality department in its new type of levels as well as its own original music, and showing that it's not just some watered down port of the first SNES game in the series with weak 8-bit music tracks from DKC 1.
The 8-bit remix of 3's"Enchanted Riverbank." It puts more emphasis on the melody, and really lets it shine through.
The chiptune version of Lockjaw's Saga somehow manages to sound as epic as the SNES version.
The Boss music is pure, gratuitous awesome. Think of all the rock bands which just can't approach this kind of catchy.
The Donkey Kong Land 2 version of Donkey Kong Rescued arguably surpasses its 16-bit counterpart.
Another great 16-bit to 8-bit conversion in the second Donkey Kong Land is its version of Stickerbrush Symphony. For as hard a time Grant Kirkhope had creating this soundtrack (the first video game he ever composed for) - he has admitted he nearly quit (thankfully he didn't) - he did an awesome job considering the limited hardware he had to work with.
Donkey Kong Land's Temple Theme. Very different from its counterpart and just as good.
Trivia: "Jungle Japes" as a title has by and large supplanted "DK Island Swing" as the title of the song. This version of the music is especially fun due to the song having layers of Banjo-Kazooie awesome.
The Boss Remix belongs to one Army Dillo, who was also the Crystal Caverns boss after some cybernetic enhancement.
Even though Kenji Yamamoto of the Metroid Prime series is the new composer and there are mostly remixes, that doesn't make the music any less awesome. One such theme is Mine Menace/The Rocket-Barrel stages.
Special mention should go to the remixes of Northern Hemisphere and Life in the Mines, for their effective remixing to fit their new settings: a desolate cliff side and factory basement, respectively.
Tidal Terror (which is another remix of Northern Hemispheres). You can really hear the influence of Metroid Prime here.
Although each and every mine cart stage contains its own unique cover of "Mine Cart Madness" from the original DKC, "Rickety Rails" is the only one to feature an entirely new arrangement of the piece. And It. Is.Awesome.
David Wise makes a return to composing the music in this game, with fantastic remixes of classic DKC songs and stellar original pieces. To put simply, the entire soundtrack is top notch. Let's kick start this off with the new rendition of the World Map theme, ready to pump you up for these island adventures.
Busted Bayou is groovy, funky, and relaxing, with an awesome saxophone that shows up midway through it.
Big Top Bop is the first boss theme. A heavy metal track that'll be sure to get the Kongs fired up and ready for a fierce brawl.
Windmill Hills has a lovely melody that'll fill you with joy, going along perfectly with the beautiful mountainous scenery.
Wing Ding is an amazing track to listen to as you zip line across the mountains. The track is even split into two parts: one for the regular parts of the level, and one for the zip lining parts, where it takes a more mysterious and aloof tone.
Rodent Ruckus, a remix of the already amazing Rocket Barrel theme from Returns, returns here.
Mountaintop Tussle is just the sort of tense theme you'd imagine when duking it out with a giant owl up in the skies.
Fugu Face-Off makes for another good boss battle tune to face off against a giant puffer fish underwater.
Swing Juice mixes jungle and machinery themes into one great track.
Reckless Ride sees another remix of the Rocket Barrel theme from Returns, giving it more of a mechanical and jungle sort of feel.
Jam Jam Smash is a great tune to listen to as you traverse through a factory full of jam and jelly.
Punch Bowl might just be one of, if not the best boss battle themes in the entire series. It's another intense heavy metal track like "Big Top Bop", it's fierce, just the perfect song for any boss battle as you throw down with the Bashmaster, a giant polar bear with a giant hammer who means business.
Snowmads Theme is the main theme of the villains, the Snowmads, an excellently composed and menacing tune with slight bits of "Aquatic Ambience" and "Welcome to Crocodile Isle" thrown in for good measure. With ominous chanting and drum beats around a minute and fifty five seconds in, this is the perfect theme to really show the Snowmads off as villains who won't be taken down so easily.
Aqueduct Assault is just the tune that can imbue you with courage, to give you the feeling that the Kongs won't yield to these Snowmads without putting up a good fight.
Blurry Flurry is the last remix of the Rocket Barrel theme from ''Returns', this time being much more urgent and intense, to really make you feel like there's something at stake here, and that is, to defeat the Snowmads and take back Donkey Kong Island.
Freezie Breezie is a track that really gives the feeling of being cold and soulless, with the desolate whistling around forty seven seconds in, it makes for a very ambient tune.
Volcano Dome is the theme for the final boss, and like "Punch Bowl" and "Big Top Bop", it's only fitting that the Big Bad also gets a very intense heavy metal tune. Just the right track to pump you up to take down such a difficult boss.
The Staff Roll has a groovy, jazzy rendition of "Wing Ding" and a saxophone solo of "Stickerbrush Symphony", a great way to end an amazing game with a fantastic soundtrack.
Temple 1 shows a return to the DK Island Swing, fast paced and jazzy, perfect to listen to as you take a romp through the difficult Temple levels.
Temple 2 takes it slower and is a rendition of "Life in the Mines", a very tense track that you'll also listen to while trekking through the hard Temple levels.
Secret Seclusion is an expansion of the title theme from Donkey Kong Jr., an upbeat, swanky tune to play during some of the game's hardest levels.