Red Dead Redemption 2 D'Angelo

Red Dead Redemption 2

10 of the Best Songs Used In Video Games.

Would you kindly“…sit back and relax, pour yourself a drink whatever that may be and gently read through this list of 10 songs used brilliantly for video games. With the recent release of single ‘No Save Point’ by ‘Run The Jewels’ for the hugely anticipated game ‘Cyberpunk 2077’, a sweet moment of reminiscing poured itself over me like a hot shower on a winters morning as I was taken back to some of the most memorable moments of being a gamer over the past 20 years. 20 years of escaping the sometimes harshness of reality and these songs are associated with such escapism. Get ready for a list of memories, throwbacks and some “OH MY GOD YES!” moments.

Do not expect any ‘Grand Theft Auto’ soundtracks on this list because there is just too much to choose from and we’ll be here a very long time.

10. Gran Turismo 2 [The Cardigans – My Favourite Game]

Oh the nostalgia! Swedish Rock band ‘The Cardigans’ provide one of the best songs for a driving soundtrack before driving soundtracks even existed. Well not really but for emphasis on how well this song fits the opening sequence I am throwing in a little white lie for good measure. The subtle repetition of this simple riff is enough to throw you back behind the drivers seat in one of the biggest and most revolutionary driving games of all time.

9. Batman: Arkham Knight [Frank Sinatra – I’ve Got You Under My Skin]

The Joker is dead. Does a song represent a relationship between the most famous Hero vs Villain story ever better than this? I think not. The third instalment to ‘Rocksteadys’ Arkham Trilogy opens with the cremation of The Joker with Frank Sinatras classic acting as the “funeral song”. Its lyrical content is a perfect representation of the endless mental torture the Clown Prince of Crime bestows upon The Dark Knight despite being dead. The way this song works almost takes you in to the mind of Batman and you tend to question yourself “do I miss him?’”, as the flames engulf and surround the body of your favourite enemy. 

8. Need For Speed Underground 2 [Snoop Dogg ft. The Doors – Riders on the Storm]

60’s psychedelic stoners, meet the worlds biggest stoner. There was no better feeling for a 90’s kid to come home from school to do the following; Walk through the front door, switch on the PlayStation 2, forget taking off your school uniform, open up your 35p energy drink from the corner shop and wait for this tune to surround you. It’s an unexpected yet brilliant collaboration. Ah the memories…  

7. Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2 [Rage Against The Machine – Guerrilla Radio]

FISTS UP IN THE AIR! How many of you reading this were a skater kid? Honestly. This game was an outstanding breakthrough in sports games. Forget FIFA, this is where it was at! Tony Hawks Pro Skater was a game that appealed to everyone and it had a great soundtrack. Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2 took everything  good about the first game and made it an incredible game. A gaming series so good that earned the skating icon $4 million! The soundtrack to these games are considered some of the best and for me, political rockers ‘Rage Against The Machine’ encompassed the adrenaline, risk and pure joy skateboarding gave a whole generation. 

6. Fallout 3 [The Ink Spots – I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire]

Arguably the best game of the ‘Fallout’ Series. This or ‘Fallout: New Vegas’. Open world post-apocalyptic breakthrough by ‘Bethesda Game Studios’ (also responsible for the ‘Elder Scrolls’ series), is still being played to this day as it emulates a vision many of us come to believe, or want to believe. The main story is set in the year 2277 and ‘The Ink Spots’ 1938 release ‘I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire’ displays dramatic irony at its finest and it is a humorous take on psychological horseplay. Theme for 2020 maybe? 

5. Gears Of War 3 [Gary Jules and Michael Andrews – Mad World]

From one war game to the next. 80’s global megastars ‘Tears For Fears’ pathed the way for many of their songs to be covered by modern artists. This one is the best. One of the most ethereal cover versions of all time hit home for millions of gaming fans when it layered itself over the trailer for ‘Gears of War’ back in 2011. The scholar like written lyrics and minimalistic atmosphere of ‘Mad World’ covered by Gary Jules and Michael Andrews had hairs stand on end and bought men to tears. This haunting rendition of the song is now associated with the entire gaming series a decade later and many consider this to be the best video game trailer ever. Brothers to the end.

4. BioShock [Bobby Darin – Beyond The Sea]

I love these games! Yes, even BioShock Infinite. However, we rewind to 2007 to the first ever BioShock game that changed the world of gaming. An instrumental version of this world-renowned song captures you upon entering a flickering lighthouse to then be transported to an oceanic city. How fitting. The smoothness of ‘Beyond The Sea’, much like our number 6 pick, is dictionary defined dramatic irony as the city is overrun with ultraviolet megalomaniacs. The use of this song in a broken utopia such as this only adds to the horror.

3. The Last Of Us 2 [A-Ha – Take On Me]

Oh boy, maybe the most divisive game EVER?! I’m on the side of saying this game is great! Here’s one of the reasons why. There is something extremely appealing about post-apocalyptic games and the long awaited sequel to ’The Last Of Us’ caused quite the stir when it was released only June of this year. Considering the first game is known as the best post-apocalyptic game ever, (it also happens to be my second favourite game of all time), it’s safe to say millions were all eagerly waiting for a long time. 7 years of waiting in fact. People still need time to process what happens in this game. Whether you liked this game or not can we all put our opinions aside, land in the middle and agree that this moment was something very special. Hence why it belongs on this list. Even in a gaming world ravaged by a dog-eat-dog civilisation, music continues and the cover of a song that is “epic cheese” done this way is stunning. Bravo. 

2. Red Dead Redemption 2 [D’Angelo – Unshaken]

Speaking of games that people eagerly waited for. THIS! Damn. Not as divisive as our previous choice as more favoured this game. ‘Rockstar Games’ are no strangers for using music to their advantage. Just look at the ‘Grand Theft Auto’ in game radio stations. Honourable mention for you all right there. Red Dead Redemption 2 portrayed almost every emotion in our human catalogue. This isn’t a game, it’s an experience. After countless hours put in to this colossal world and landscape of the unforgotten West, we are treated to ‘D’Angelos’ spine-tingling song ‘Unshaken’. After being shaken by the events that unfold upon a mysterious island, we venture overseas back home to America in 1899, mount our steed and are cinematically transfixed to the screen as what is in front of our very eyes is of Oscar winning extravagance. If you skipped this moment you shouldn’t play games. 

1. Borderlands 2 [The Heavy – Short Change Hero]

“This ain’t no place for no hero, this ain’t no place for no better man.” 

Never, in my opinion, during my 20 years of gaming has a song fit the setting and theme for a video game more perfectly than this. Guaranteed many people wouldn’t have even heard of this band and for that reason alone, they are my number one pick. The sheer atmosphere this song sets for the intro sequence and entire game tops any other game I’ve played. Empathetically, the lyrics magnetically suit every character in the fictitious world of Pandora for not being good enough and have given up on being any form of hero. Sound familiar? It’s a gaming world full of b*stards trying to outdo each other and ‘Short Change Hero’ awakens that darker side within you whilst maintaining a calmer collective vision of the world. Not only is this a fantastic song that marries a fantastic game, ‘The Heavy’ are simply a fantastic and underrated band. Seriously, check them out.

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