I did this back in 2008 (Click!), 2007 (Click!), and 2006 (Click!) so after skipping two years here it is again for 2011. Basically, since half the year is over now, let's sum up the "Best of 2011" in VGM so far. If you suffer from memory loss and don't remember what came out this year, start here.
5) Sonic Generations Demo
Even though there are only a handful of tracks in the demo, it still deserves a spot on my top 5. Naofumi Hataya and Jun Senoue both did amazing remixes of Green Hill Zone and the Sonic Heroes menu remix is pretty nice too. Bring on the full soundtrack!
4) Shadows of the Damned
I'm sure all Yamaoka fans will have this on their list. What's not to love? It's basically a new Silent Hill soundtrack with some latin and opera influences thrown in. I haven't gotten far enough in the game yet to hear a lot of the music but so far it's totally rocking me. Looking forward to the full soundtrack release later this year!
3) Myth - The Xenogears Orchestral Album
Once again, what's not to love? Xenogears music played by an orchestra. While some of the arrangements aren't anything to write home about, the source material is so good that it doesn't even matter. This CD wins my "gave me the most chills while listening" award.
2) Akumajo Dracula Harmony of Despair Original Soundtrack
Played this game on 360 last year and the music just blew me away. Had to have the music low while playing the game due to using a headset for co-op so it's a real treat to finally have a CD release. Lots of variety here due to so many composers/arrangers, and all the Castlevania remixes from existing games are top notch.
1) NEO CONTRA Original Soundtrack
First of all, yes it counts. Even though the game is seven years old, the soundtrack was just released this year. One of Sota Fujimori's best game soundtracks ever if you ask me, right up there with Castlevania Chronicles and the Yamaoka co-composed Shin Contra. This man needs to do more non-Bemani games.
So yeah, that's my list.. Konami, Square, Yamaoka, and Sega. No surprises there.
Kinda slim pickins this year but I'd give honorable mentions to Akumajo Dracula Tribute Vol.1 (only a few tracks), Dead Island Trailer Theme, Hard Corps Uprising, and Senjou no Valkyria 3 Original Soundtrack. I have yet to play and/or listen to: FINAL FANTASY IV & THE AFTER YEARS Sounds Plus, L.A. Noire Official Soundtrack, and Ryu ga Gotoku OF THE END Original Soundtrack.