I just finished The Last of Us Part 2 and although I am conflicted with some of their narrative choices, what I am not conflicted with is the banging licensed music which is used to great effect. That Ain't No Grave rendition by Crooked Still is just too smooth. So I want to ask y'all, what licensed music is used to great effect in video games and what would y'all recommend for me to listen?
Best Licensed Music You Discovered from Video Games
Um I think there was already a thread for this.
Yeah the GTA ganes are generally very solid. I think with GTA V I can not name a single track though.
However when I was young and we got our Dreamcast (which I still play to this day) and experienced Crazy Taxi 2 for the first time, that got me into The Offspring. I didn't even know they were a band at first, I legit thought it was just the soundtrack to the game.
I can't even name the number of bands I got into through various games. It's also impossible for me to pick a favorite. I still listen to lots of stuff from the Tony Hawk series to this day, and GTA helped define my musical tastes in my 20s.
One artist that is somewhat outside my general comfort zone that I got into through a game was Ladyhawke through Forza Horizon 3.
I think the Forza Horizon games have the best licensed soundtracks of the last decade, and I kind of wish more games cared more about licensed songs these days. Obviously they don't fit into some games, but I play something like Watch Dogs: Legion and I listen to the radio and none of it clicks with me. That could just be because I'm old, but even the last Forza Horizon had a few songs that made their way into my rotation, and I enjoyed the additions to the soundtrack for the Tony Hawk remake, so I'm not totally incapable of vibing with new things. I just thing most recent games don't bother to curate incredible soundtracks like they did back in the day.
Special shout out to the original Amped for introducing me to the Ziggens, a band I would NEVER have found without that game (as opposed to something like The Offspring who are pretty famous and popular in their own right.) I used to hit the "new song" button over and over in Amped until I got "Just The Way You Aren't," which is impressive because that game had like 150 songs on the soundtrack. It had a whole bunch of obscure weird indie stuff and it was a great soundtrack overall.
Most of my initial music taste as a young teenager was shaped by Guitar Hero and Rock Band, where I discovered my love for Iron Maiden, Metallica, Rage Against The Machine, and all their ilk. I also got into rap in no small part due to the use of Kanye’s “Power” in Saints Row the Third and other game trailers during whichever E3 that was.
A few that spring to mind.
Sled Storm (1999): This Rob Zombie remix that was also used in The Matrix
MTV Sports: Snowboarding (1999): The cover of Cars by Fear Factory and Gary Numan
MX Superfly (2002): Spineshank
The Xbox 360 (2005): Skindred, the song Pressure came on the hard drive
Urban Chaos: Riot Response (2006): Its menu music by a band called Metro
GTA4 (2008): Whitey, this is around the time i stopped listening to licensed music while playing because it was too noisy, but luckily i heard enough to come across Whitey
Edit, Poets of the Fall from Max Payne 2 (2003)
There are a lot so I'll give a few examples:
The Wipeout games, especially Wipeout XL, introduced me to Techno in the 90s. Groups like The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Underworld, Fluke, to name a few. Then I discovered MTV Amp shorty afterwards and I was hooked.
Road Rash 3D helped me discover Soundgarden with their signature song from the game "Rusty Cage".
The ending credits song for Max Payne 2 helped me discover Poets of the Fall with their song "Late Goodbye".
In GTAIV I discovered the amazing Fusion station and that got me into that genre for a while. I'm not a big fan of GTA, but yes the soundtracks are great.
When Tony Hawk 1 came out on N64 it was the first time I started going out of my way to listen to any music that my family didn't already listen to. That was my Goldfinger Phase. (I also had a minor Goldfinger Phase Part 2 when the THPS1+2 remake came out.)
In that old thread I posted about Descent introducing me to Skinny Puppy and Neuromancer to Devo, but one pretty significant game I forgot back then was Wing Commander Prophecy, which introduced me to Front 242 (via a cover of Headhunter and the side-project Cobalt 60 who had two songs in the game - Darwin Was Right and the titular Prophecy) and Juno Reactor (Komit).
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2! Here's their spotify playlist.
I'm not typically into this kind of music, and I probably wouldn't have liked it if I just listened to these songs without playing the game, but the songs totally fit the game and I happened to like a fair few of them.
My favourite song is In Control by Baker Boy. It's a cool rap with a great chorus and positive uplifting message :)
GTA has influenced a lot of my musical tastes. I still pop in to GTA Online from time to time. They added a few new radio stations recently and I heard a Danzig song called "Deep" that I like a lot. I think the only other Danzig song I know is Mother.
I also discovered this DJ/Producer that calls himself Moodyman through the Music Locker, which features full sets from a few artists. I ended up listening to his full set on Youtube. Pretty excellent.
This is an obvious one but Guitar 1-3 and the Rock Band games are the ones that actually got me into music. I was in 7th grade when we got the first Guitar hero and I was never big into music and being that young was awkward if you like something that seemed lame or not popular, also i was never sure what music to like or what to even listen to without feeling embarrassed. Obviously all the 90s-early 2000s hits when i was a little kid I enjoyed but never big into Rock and metal, or even music until I played these games. These games also got me into playing drums, guitar and my bass and essentially single handedly shaped the music that I listen and enjoy today.
Full Throttle got me into Gone Jackals (and later the Bonedrivers) and garage music in a big way, and it's still one of my favorite genres.
THPS introduced me to a lot of indie bands, but also inadvertently turned me off them for a few years in a roundabout way. An indie purist with a rainbow Mohawk and I were talking about our favorite music in college and he was rattling off all these indie bands. I asked him if he'd ever heard of US Bombs because that was in whatever iteration of THPS I was playing at the moment, and he said, "Well, yeah, of course I've heard of them," like I was the most eye-rolling poser he'd ever talked to. To this day, nothing will turn me away from a band or a genre like hipsters gatekeeping it.
The ones I personally love the most are:
Featured in Forza Horizon and GTA Vice City.
Featured in Forza Horizon 2.
Featured in Forza Horizon 4.
My fond memories on the Forza Horizon for Xbox 360, when I first played the game, I usually listen to Bass Arena radio station and I fall in love with it.
KDST The Dust in GTA San Andres influenced 13 year old me a lot, even more, than I realised until I got older. Funnily enough, 11 year old me mostly listened to the talk radio station VCPR on repeat while playing Vice City.
Life is Strange playlist is great, Hotline Miami is great. One of the things I liked most about Cyberpunk 2077 was the jazz station. Fallout 3 was good but the radio station repeated too often.
I have also gotten a few bangers from game trailers. The original trailer for Last of Us introduced me to Hank Williams and there was a Transformers trailer that had a Puscifer song that I liked.
I was introduced to the band Poets of the Fall through Alan Wake. Several of their songs were in that game, but they also did a couple songs for the game as the in-universe band "The Old Gods of Asgard." Remedy has featured them in several of their games, and they had them do another song as the The Old Gods of Asgard for the awesome ashtray maze sequence in Control.
I'm not sure this counts, since it was technically written for the game, but I discovered that Chuck Ragan (the lead singer of Hot Water Music) does roots rock solo stuff that is really good, when the trailer for The Flame in the Flood came out. He actually wrote an entire album inspired by the game.
Please Log In to post.