Soundtrack: Five Songs For Dystopian Settings

The problem with video game soundtracks is that either they become too repetitive after you play for a while or they’re not so good, to begin with. One of my favourite pastimes is finding songs which fit the game’s theme and mood, becoming a new custom soundtrack. In fact, I already wrote a few posts about it in the past. This time, the topic is dystopian totalitarianism.

So you want to be a resistance hero fighting oppressive regimes in the grimdark future? Or maybe just impersonate an ordinary citizen trying to survive the boot stomping on his face, forever? Since one of my earliest childhood memories is attending a Labour Day parade and waving a  tiny paper red flag towards some fat Communist Party officials standing on a balcony, I may be the right guy to do the job and recommend you five songs which will get you into the Orwellian mood.

Our sons will be born with their fists raised up! An anarchist classic from the times of the Second Spanish Republic and the civil war. Recommended for stories set in Latin America and the Caribbean, like Just Cause or Red Dead Redemption, but also for the few games portraying the Spanish Civil War. Unless you want to feel ironic and listen to it while playing Tropico and executing those pesky revolutionaries.

Every time I about a Western rock star or another celebrity doing something supposedly brave, risky and controversial, I immediately think about Yanka Dyagileva and then just sneer. Wanna see a real punk rock rebel? The Russian songwriter and singer was a member of an underground music movement during the final years of the decaying Soviet Union. Of course, being a subversive in that time and reality could get you into real trouble, including harassment and torture by the Communist police, and all this reflected in Yanka’s lyrics. The song above is particularly haunting story about a couple of young lovers getting arrested and murdered by the StateSec for the grave crime of having a walk down the tram tracks. It works very well if you want to immerse yourself into the world of Papers, Please.

The enfants terribles of Slovenian music scene have recently gained some notoriety in the news after playing a concert for the North Korean regime, including the Glorious Leader himself. Even before this happened, they’ve been always known for using Fascist and Communist aesthetics, supposedly to mock the modern popculture and the mindless masses bowing before their music idols, or so the critics claim. Geburt Einer Nation is typical for their work: they took a cheerful song about peace, unity and understanding, and turned it into a cover mixing 80s disco with a marching song. Including a video clip which would make Leni Riefenstahl swell with pride. All this seems perfect for the new Wolfenstein games.

Since I used an image from Pink Floyd’s The Wall, it’s only proper to include a clip from that film featuring a musician who suffers from a mental breakdown and starts to impersonate Sir Oswald Mosley himself. Weed out the weaklings. A song tailored for We Happy Few.

Our courage wants to laugh. Our anger wants to sing. Lonely struggle of individuals against oppressive powers is the constant theme in the work of the Luxembourgian artist Jerome Reuters. Frankly, I have no idea which particular game to recommend for this one, but you’ll like it if you’re a wannabe rebel anyway.

How about you? Do you have any favourite songs which would sit well with games set in dystopian settings? If your answer is yes, then the comment section is waiting for you.

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Distraction: Shuffle The Music Tag

 

Since I have no idea which video game character would be the perfect Santa’s helper, I’m skipping the Creative Christmas challenge for today and replying to an important post instead.

NV Jukebox

The invaluable halsdoll did me a great honor by choosing me for the Shuffle The Music competition. She’s not only a blogger of great taste and style, but also an incredibly patient person because I let her wait for entire 11 days! It’s time to make up for the shame.

Here are the rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog
2. Shuffle your entire music library and talk about the songs that come up
3. Mention the songs as well as the artists
4. Tag 7 people or more to do this tag and let them know

(since my nature is rather unruly, I’ll allow myself to alter the second point: “talk about the songs that come up and which games they fit as a custom soundtrack”)

And here are the songs:

Angelo Badalamenti – Dub Driving

You may call me uncultured swine, but I’ve never liked David Lynch’s film. Perhaps they are too intellectual and artsy for. What I’ve always liked, however, is the work of his court composer, Angelo Badalamenti.

I have good memories with this one and GTA San Andreas, driving a truck outside large urban areas at night. So my guess is that it’s perfect for any driving game, not only the GTA series.

Myrath – Tales of the Sands

The entire album served me well when playing Dune 2000. My suggestion is to use it in any game with desert and/or Middle Eastern theme.

Donis&Kulgrinda – …eisie…

The combination of Lithuanian folk and ambient is perfect for any winter game, like Skyrim.

Kyuss – Whitewater

Another piece driving music, this one seems to be a good choice for games like American Truck Simulator or maybe even Mad Max.

Carbon Based Lifeforms – Polyrytmi

Close your eyes, listen to it and imagine the wonderful emptiness of the universe. Then remember to play it when playing any space-themed game, maybe Elite or FTL.

And now, the chosen few:

Ochłapy Idealizmu

Particlebit

AmbiGaming

HePlayedTheGame

Cary

The Cake Is A Lie

I ❤ Old Games

Soviet City: Post-Stalinist Gulagcore

Proletarians of all planets, rejoice! A new piece of Soviet City soundtrack has been recently delivered by Dawid Hallmann.

This time, the track includes a speech delivered in a haunting, almost demonic voice by Comrade Wiesław, praising the “immortal idea of Socialism”, and the propaganda song “Pochód przyjaźni” (The March of Friendship”) about the joys of being a hard-working Communist worker who overcomes every obstacles on the path to the Red Utopia. Yes, it’s all as cheesy as it sounds, but somehow my laughter suddenly stops when I realise that THIS really happened.

Anyway, it’s another great song which almost perfectly matches the game’s theme and atmosphere. Let’s hope that other tracks, planned to be released soon, will have the same excellent quality.