The important thing to know about Donkey Kong Country Trilogy is, although all three discs are from the same series, the games were created at different time periods, and therefore the styles of music on each CD are noticeably different. From the soft, easy-listening style of DKC1 to the majestic, almost royal music of DKC2 full of strong percussion and strings, to the playful, fun music of DKC3, the variety on these discs doesn't disappoint.
All of the songs have a definite in-your-face synthesizer feel, and though it might have been the only technology available at the time, it seems intentional in creating a mood. For some reason I just don't think that a symphony playing even one of these songs would have the true intended effect. Below are reviews for each individual disc. I'm reviewing each one individually because of the style differences.
"The Original Donkey Kong Country Soundtrack" is pretty fast-paced right from the start. Not to say that the songs are all frantic, though. Look at track 8 "Aquatic Ambiance". It's the most relaxing track of the whole trilogy. But most of the songs are quick and upbeat, even the ones in the minor key.
As I said before, the songs of "Donkey Kong Country 2 Soundtrack" could be described as majestic. The songs on this CD are rather fast and *can* be classified as frantic. Exactly eight of the 29 tracks are in a major key, and two of them are slow and relaxed. I say this from a completely objective point of view. I mean, people who liked "J-E-N-O-V-A" from Final Fantasy VII will love this particular CD, but if you're more into "Ahead on Our Way", you won't.
As soon as you press play for the first track of "Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble", you can tell that this one's gonna be different from the other two. And it is. In fact, it's almost the opposite of DKC2. The songs are about half-and-half in terms of major and minor keys, and though the pace is still upbeat, the songs are much brighter. What do I mean? More saxes, piano, and trumpets, and less strings. This CD is my personal favorite of the three. That's probably because I can play the music from it on the piano - it's available from Doremi Sheet Music Publishing.
Personally, I like DKC Trilogy's songs. Like - not love, and not hate. The horrid synthesizer is really different from the soundtracks you hear today, but as I said before, the producers of these discs made no effort to "cover up" the fact that they used synth - they let it show. It creates an effect not exhibited by other soundtracks.
However, I really don't like the DKC2 soundtrack much at all. I hardly even listen to it, for one simple fact: It sounds *way* too "gamey". It's hard to describe. It just doesn't seem fitting to create a soundtrack out of it, kind of like the way you'd never sensibly strip music directly from a Game Boy game and put it on a soundtrack.
The persuasion I would use to get people to buy this CD is the fact that it's so much music for such a small price. There's bound to be a dozen or so tracks in all that you really like, and that are worth it. But to fully enjoy *all* the songs, you have listen with an open mind and definitely not compare them too strictly to other game OSTs.