Scores and Soundtracks in TV, Film and Games

Listing my favourite music in video games, TV and films.

There’s music for every mood and every occasion – whether you’re lurking around the Capital Wasteland to some suitably eclectic ‘oldies’ music or just trying to find some music to listen to while you’re writing about what music you like.

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I’ve just finished listening to some songs from the TV show Twin Peaks; some suitably haunting music to suit my foul mood at having just woken up at the time of writing. As clichéd as it sounds, the music is like an extra cast member in every scene; poles apart from your standard ‘DUN-DUN DUHHHHN’ scores, the Twin Peaks soundtrack enhances the chill factor during every episode. Some 23 years after the programme first aired it’s still one of the most talked-about aspects of the production; quite an achievement considering the massively talented cast and the reputation of its co-creators.

As far as the more commercial-sounding stuff in films goes, there are three which really stick in my head because of how importantly the music is placed within them. Two of them are set in record shops, and two of them star John Cusack. Neatly in the centre of this Venn diagram lies High Fidelity; based on the book by Nick Hornby it follows the tale of record nerd Rob and his employees through heartbreak, heart repair and some very obscure music references that would escape any non-obsessive. Grosse Pointe Blank also stars Cusack, this time as a hitman for hire at his high school reunion and, thanks to the soundtrack consultant Joe Strummer, does an awesome job of filling in the gaps of Blank’s life as his mysterious past catches up to him and prom date-turned-foil Debbie. Empire Records is my third pick for its brilliant soundtrack; in fact, the reviews I remember reading seemed to put it as one of the film’s main attractions – which, although flopping at the box office despite its now all-star ensemble cast (Liv Tyler, Renee Zellweger and, er, Daphne’s brother from Frasier) – isn’t the main reason that I like the film.

And when it comes to video games, you’ll need something that puts you even further into the action. Although it seems to have won over many fans with its trademark epic theme, I do happen to think that the main theme from Halo is just a load of blokes yawning; not nearly atmospheric enough for my liking. Nah, for that real intense effect you can’t beat a bit of Quake. Credited to ‘Trent Reznor & Nine Inch Nails’, each track which makes up the original score perfectly complements the action of the original game, veering wildly between harsh guitars and echoing beats to serve the schizophrenic pace of each level and making for an overall unique gaming experience.

Music brings an extra bit of something to every medium – no matter how diverse the subject matter or mood.

One thought on “Scores and Soundtracks in TV, Film and Games

  1. Pingback: Five For Friday: Workplace Films | Alpha Signal Five

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