Rohil’s Essential Video Game Soundtracks (Part 2)
Afro Samurai: The Game Soundtrack
RZA’s soundtrack brings a brilliant, surging, confluence of Spaghetti Western sonics and musings from Shaw Brothers’ classic Kung Fu films. The lyricism in the Hip Hop throughout the project illustrates Afro’s story and further contextualizes the legend of the character. The music fully enhances the flow of play by providing a rhythmic smoothness to the combat. It also effectively builds the narrative and sells the mythos of Afro’s abilities. If you love Wu-Tang Clan, MF DOOM, or Neo-Soul, and dark, grimey-funk — you’ll appreciate this soundtrack.
Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland
Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland notably features less iconic Hip Hop, in favor of distorted punk, surf-rock, and some glossier pop-punk / dance-punk. You have My Chemical Romance, Rise Against, Taking Back Sunday, Green Day, Fall Out Boy, Black Flag, Bad Religion — just a pantheon of power chord enthusiasts.
Here are my favorite moments in the playlist:
- Dead Kennedys – California Uber Alles
- The Bravery – Unconditional
- The Faint – I Disappear
- Suicidal Tendencies – Institutionalized
- Bloc Party – Like Eating Glass
- Felix da Housecat – Rocket Ride
- Felix da Housecat – Everyone Is Someone in LA
- The End of Biters – International
Fifa 15 – 18
These soundtracks have always seemed more appreciated in the UK, and back home in South Africa — every major international dance banger is present on the Fifa soundtracks. There aren’t many hidden gems. It’s all very mainstream — but that’s cool for what it is — sometimes that’s just what’s needed. Fifa soundtracks are typically trusty mixes that bring positive energy.
This game and soundtrack released at the height of mainstream Synth-pop and alternative rock and really everything within that musical ethos. (Indietronica, Noise pop, Post-punk revival, Alternative dance). It was a goofy cultural moment for sure. We got a ton of great tunes, but also a ton of obnoxious derivative hipster fashions, and people obsessed with triangles, rustic interiors, and spherical-color-swab anomalies pasted over mountain ranges. A brief gander on my favorites from the tracklist, and you’ll get exactly what I’m talking about:
- The Naked and Famous – Young Blood
- Foster the People – Houdini
- Handsome Furs – Damage
- Two Door Cinema Club – Something Good Can Work (The Twelves Remix)
This soundtrack also features a ton of energetic EDM and Dubstep, some Noisia additions. My favorite being:
- Flux Pavilion – I Can’t Stop
Jet Set Radio
Hideki Naganuma’s score for Jet Set Radio is sublime. Naganuma incorporates Jazz, Funk, trip-hop, and Breakbeat to create a high-octane, youthful sonic-scape. The music compliments the pacing and play of the game effectively, and these are some all-round vibrant bops. Hideki Naganuma brings a similar fun atmosphere to the Sonic Rush game.
Other great artists on Jet Set Radio’s OST includes Jurassic 5 & Guitar Vader.
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle OST
Produced by legendary video game music composer, Akira Yamaoka, most notable for the original Silent Hill soundtracks — the NMH OST is a sound-smörgåsbord as eclectic as the franchise’s visual influences. There are moments of ecstatic J-Pop and Vocaloid, to thrash metal and vintage punk. The music harkens to dingy bar sticker-walls, and cheesy detective television shows, and 80s comic book movies. Then there are moments sweatily heaving early 2000s techno, glitch-hop, and 8-Bit. It’s a texturally, luxurious project that serves to encourage exploration, finding sounds you like and diving further into artists and bands who do that sort of thing.