Winner: Super Mario Galaxy
The point of this award is to honor a soundtrack that caught us totally off guard. Some would argue that Mario's always had fantastic music, and it should come as no surprise that the latest game is loaded with a wide range of excellent tunes. Well, we didn't expect it to be this good. Where there were usually circus-like beeps and boops, there's a sweeping orchestral score that elevates Mario music from background fodder to intensely listenable melodies. If you've heard the Purple Coin collection music, you know what we mean.
Let's be honest - Sunshine's music wasn't exactly the most memorable soundtrack of the GameCube era. To see such a musical turnaround in the span of one game is worth applauding. Lucky Japanese fans even got the soundtrack forfree. What the eff, Nintendo?
Honorable mention: Crackdown
Crackdown deserves special recognition for daring use of unrecognizable-yet-awesome licensed music; its bangin' electronic cuts were the perfect aural texture to go with kicking cars off of bridges.