Soundtrack Review: L.A. Noire


I Like My Music & Detectives Hardboiled

No Caption Provided

Back in the day, there was a throwback radio program back in Seattle called Harry Nile. While the stories and characters never reached for the hardboiled glory the show was going for, I'll always remember the sad trumpet that accompanied the program that made the down on his luck detective a lot more down than he actually was. And that's the point of Hardboiled Noire music.

You might hear it in coffee shops, or on rainy nights, but there's no mistaking it. When a down on his luck Private Dick is narrating, this is the music that accompanies him. This is also the type of music and mood that the L.A. Noire soundtrack nails down perfectly. The strength in the album really lies in the fact that it works on two levels: The level of atmosphere, which anybody that's played the game can probably attest to, and the level of just being great music. The genre is very specific, and isn't played with that much nowadays, but composer Andrew Hale not only gets mood down pat, but he also takes the liberty to explore the themes, playing around with the original compositions to really peg the era.

Granted, 40 minutes straight of it can seem monotonous at times, but it also gives you the chance to savor the quality that went into it. In particular, the main theme and its variations work well, and the track "Fall From Grace Pt. 2," is a great suspenseful piece so effective that it's the main piece they use in advertising the game.

The only place where the soundtrack really falls down however is the 3 vocal compositions at the end. Not only do they not nearly live up to the quality of the time, but the singer they found is sort of awful and annoying. Let's just say there was a lot of cringing, especially since you know they didn't have the budget to get anybody bigger.

Overall, if you like down on your luck trumpets, then this is a soundtrack for you. It's really a surprising and original effort that you're not going to find anywhere else, video game or movie-wise.

4/5 Stars