Video Game: Grand Theft Auto V (2013)
Developer: Rockstar North
Composers: Tangerine Dream, Woody Jackson, The Alchemist & Oh No
Even if you’re not a gamer, you’ve probably played Grand Theft Auto before. Some of us have played for the story, others have played to create mayhem, but very few have played for the music. I must admit I wasn’t part of the last category when I first played some of the games, but I am now. Ask anybody who’s ever played a video game and they’ll tell you Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto saga has some of the most iconic music ever. As you might have guessed, the series’ fifth installment is no exception. Even if you don’t like the game, you can’t deny the amazing amount of craftsmanship that went into it. From the sweat stains that appear on your characters back after being outside for a while to the fantastic 80s style music that plays whenever you’re on a mission, this game hits every mark perfectly.
One of the aspects the game nails is its depiction of our society. From its radio stations filled with commercial satires to its incredible representation of the typical middle age crisis with the character of Michael, Grand Theft Auto V mocks our society more than any game I’ve ever played. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to stop driving (in-game) just to listen to the insane amount of shit that was being said on the radio. News channels that blame lack of movies for the rise of gang crimes? Check. Mini podcasts about motivational speaking and all they do is make humming sounds during the whole interview? Check. Radio commercials about a proposition that would legalize medical cocaine? Check, check, check. My friends, this is satire at its finest and we should not ignore it for this game is incredibly well-written.
All that to say this: Grand Theft Auto V is a masterpiece. Furthermore, this game has one of the best soundtracks ever composed for the digital medium of video games. The composers were able to create something nostalgic as well as fresh, and they did it with such expertise that a lot of people overlook the game’s soundtrack because it blends itself so well into the game. The 80s feel that the whole score has is something very peculiar, but it has a ton of effect. The player feels a lot more engaged whenever a song starts playing during a mission. He or she knows that something important is happening, and it gives a cinematic feeling to the whole experience. It’s not the best music you’ll ever hear, but it works thoroughly with the game it supports.
In the words of the great Trevor Philips, “It’s like… pornography or a perfect turd. I can’t quite describe it, but you’ll know it when you see it.”
Interesting trivia: Grand Theft Auto V is the first game in the series to feature original music, a decision that was prompted by the strong reaction to the award-winning score for Red Dead Redemption composed by Woody Jackson.
Song: Welcome To Los Santos
Song: No Happy Endings
Song: Minor Turbulence
Thanks for reading (and listening). See you next week!