Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Ricky Eat Acid's lovely new album soundtracks a retro JRPG that doesn't exist

Ricky Eat Acid
Ricky Eat Acid
Photo: Nick Hughes

Sam Ray was inspired by Chrono Trigger when, as Ricky Eat Acid, he penned his most successful song to date, “inside my house, someplace i keep dreaming about. Now, the songwriter’s love for the music of ‘90s-era JRPGs has manifested in a new Ricky Eat Acid LP, When they align just so, memories of another life bleed into my own, a collection of 26 gorgeous and evocative themes that dropped today via Pretty Wavvy.

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The project began as an honest-to-god soundtrack for an indie RPG in the style of Undertale that sadly never came to fruition. Undeterred, Ray continued work on the score, tying it into his preferred themes of memory as they related to his childhood love of JRPGs.

He writes in a statement:

What stuck out to me as the most interesting facet was the absolute overwhelming nostalgia at the heart of projects like these, whether it’s something seemingly observed and capitalized on simply to sell a project, or out of personal, real love for the style & tropes (seeing as Undertale & Stardew Valley were, famously, both labors of love from a single creator, I’d readily drop both into the latter category). It’s not just that we go back to these touchstones from our childhoods a lot (and a lot more after a certain age, especially) but things that are even vaguely reminiscent of them can still elicit the same knee-jerk emotional response despite not having the actual memories attached to them, or anything like that—like hearing a certain kind of retro synth sound used in other music, or a certain composition style meant to evoke music from those games & composers.

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Some of the titles directly evoke an in-game world—“world map,” “airship theme,” numerous songs about being in other people’s houses—while others, written following the game’s cancellation, feel more grounded in the here and now. Pixelated synths, chirps, and spastic bursts of percussion color the songs, each summoning the feel of exploring Figaro Castle or enduring, cross-legged before a TV, the attacks of Skull Kid or Magus or Pokey.

Find your preferred streamer here or check it out via Bandcamp below:

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All it needs now is a game to accompany it, preferably one with an airship, a haunted house, a pirate ship, and a dinosaur world. That’s not asking so much.

Ray is also planning a vinyl release of the album, as well as an accompanying videos and even a physical zine. Stay tuned to Bandcamp for more details.

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Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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