Medley Melodies #3: Video Game Soundtracks
Hey there gamers! And say hello to my little friend. Another installment in the article series featuring memorable music from terrific games, and six more songs to add to our Pixels playlist for video game music on the go. It’s nostalgic, and it’s rocking, but you better keep any eye out because one of these days I just may write up a run on music Scores, too. Alrighty then! Here’s what we’ve had so far:
1.) “Blow Me Away” – Breaking Benjamin – Halo 2
2.) “Wake Up” – Rage Against the Machine – Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2
3.) “Ready Steady Go” – Paul Oakenfold – Juiced
4.) “Lowrider” – Cypress Hill – Street Hoops
5.) “Aisle 10 (Hello Allison)” – Scapegoat Wax – Jet Set Radio Future (JSRF)
6.) “Techno Syndrome (Mortal Kombat)” – The Immortals – Mortal Kombat
7.) “Evil Eye” – Fu Manchu – Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
8.) “She Sells Sanctuary” – The Cult – Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
9.) “Passion/Sanctuary” – Hikaru Utada – Kingdom Hearts II
10.) “Beyond the Sea” – Bobby Darin – BioShock
11.) “Put Your Head On My Shoulder” – Paul Anka – Hitman: Contracts
12.) “All I Want” – The Offspring – Crazy Taxi 3
Oh yeah. Now we’re getting somewhere. Nothing but songs with lyrics, these are all songs that are great to listen to all on their own–but with the added hook that you can recall all your fond memories of all manner of crazy button smashing, spanning all genres of game and music (those two things I know you love most!).
13.) “M4 Part II” – Faunts – Mass Effect
Here’s a game that knew how to appropriately execute the strength of a song in reward to completing the storyline, in this case just the first of three critically and financially successful powerhouse installments concerning a futuristic war against the Reapers, mechanical beings threatening the Galaxy.
The song snugly fills out the atmosphere illustrated by the entire game, with its electronic vocals and fast-plucked guitar work. It generates the sense of mystery that made the first game somewhat more distinguishable from its sequels, and the sheer catchiness I’m sure made just about all of you stick around for the credits!
14.) “Looking For the Perfect Beat” – Afrika Bambaataa — Scarface: The World is Yours
Any of you fans of hip-hop, 80’s style? The decade paved the way for the best rap of the 90s, and into today’s more subjectively enjoyed work. But anyone who grew up in that decade knows that culture delineated in films like House Party and Beat Street know that breakdancing was spawned here—and so were turntable-designed songs like this one, the ultimate for scratching and mixing.
This is one of those all-encapsulating decade defining songs, that just screams the age it came from, the way BioShock fans know golden oldies. Well, Afrika found a damn perfect beat and for some reason it came up in this adequate Scarface game and it works, well, perfectly. It’s entirely catchy, and gives you a good window into real Old School.
15.) “Still Alive” – GLaDOS (Ellen McLain) — Portal
To be honest, this song is quite creepy, but Portal was awesome. And you can’t claim any other game gets you to complete a bunch of puzzles using a portal gun with the only promised reward of completing the game being cake. The thing challenging you to the puzzles is the artificial intelligence GLaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System). There aren’t any games quite like this one, and the song is eerie but neat.
By the way, GLaDOS? Totally mentioned in Wreck-It Ralph.
16.) “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire” – The Ink Spots — Fallout 3
Quite an intriguing intro song. These songs can be creepy in context of certain films, sort of like the demon in Insidious rocking out to Tiny Tim. Stuff like that. Anyway, the song does seem to work well with the concept of traveling the post-apocalyptic ruins of Washington, D.C. and such. I think there’s power to be had in romantic songs used in horror context. The song itself is quite unique, and is of course a fine addition to the fifties utopia attitude due to cultural stagnation.
17.) “Sympathy For the Devil” – The Rolling Stones — COD: Black Ops
Obviously, this song was used in a scene meant to be a throwback to classic war movies such as Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket. Such cinematic personalities often include music like this, primarily the former, and somehow the steady rhythm fits the moving shootout it accompanies.
18.) Red Dead Redemption – Far Away – Jose Gonzalez
Here, Rockstar Games finds itself with a terrific use of music, regardless of my thoughts on the game as a whole. The guitar feels appropriately Western, almost Morricone in nature with a steady and somber voice to match. This is a song that feels like travel, and is played over as you enter Mexico. I can’t think of any song better, for the genre, for the story, and for the moment.
And that’s that! I have to admit, this series is my personal favorite just for getting to listen to all the great music that’s been used in video games we love all over again. It’s less research than just having a good time, and hopefully you all are finding it just as rewarding as myself. Maybe you’ve forgotten about the game, maybe you didn’t know “that song” was used in it–but either way, you’ll catch a glimpse in this series!