Videogame Soundtrack Reviews:
Saints Row III, Red Orchestra 2, Kingdoms of Amalur- Reckoning,
and Deus Ex
Part 1: Saints Row III
I’ve always been a fan of movie soundtracks and I own quite a few. A good soundtrack can set the tone for a film and make one that may otherwise have been merely interesting into something extraordinary. Like Garden State for instance; Zach Braff spent so much of the film’s budget on securing the rights to the music that he had to figure out unique ways to film it & edit it in order to make it work, but he knew how important that specific soundtrack was to his vision. It paid off since he won the Best Soundtrack Album Grammy in 2005 for it. It’s also one of my favorites in my collection.
I have the OST’s for The Matrix, Donnie Darko, Boondock Saints & Boondock Saints II, The Devil’s Rejects, The Crow, Blade and Blade 2, Drive, Hackers, and it doesn’t stop at films, either. I also like my soundtracks to True Blood Seasons 1 & 2, Supernatural Seasons 1-5, Buffy Seasons 1-7, and The Vampire Diaries season 1. I find that it’s a great way to be introduced to a bunch of artists at one time, so it’s like a big menu of CDs to buy that you’re likely to enjoy.
I figured that being such a fan of both soundtracks and videogames, reviewing the music of a game shouldn’t be a problem. For whatever reason I was thinking it would be like critiquing a movie soundtrack, but so far with my first CD, Saints Row The Third: The Soundtrack, it hasn’t been similar to that at all.
For some films I also like listening to the Original Score as well, and I think my favorite of all time remains the score to the film Donnie Darko. To me, Saints Row The Third: The Soundtrack is a lot more like listening to a score than a soundtrack due to the general similarity between each song and the way they flow into one another to where you almost don’t need breaks between them. I found that to be more and more appealing as I listened to the album, then left it playing while I went and did other things. The consistent tempo was fast and complex enough to be interesting without being distracting; which I would think is exactly what you would want in a videogame score.
The album is somewhat trip-hop-y with tones of electronica, techno, and industrial mixed together. It reminds me a bit of songs like “I Against I” by Massive Attack or “The Name of The Game” by The Crystal Method or even something like “Firestarter” or “Smack My Bitch Up” by The Prodigy. Since I happen to like that kind of stuff I rather enjoyed this CD.
I would say that as far as negative aspects go, while many songs of this type are usually quite long with layers of varied beats and tempo alterations over time, many of the songs on Saints Row The Third: The Soundtrack are too short to do any of that. The longest track is a little over six minutes and the entire album is less than half an hour, meaning that unless you put it on repeat you won’t be able to get too much done before it’s over. If I’m going to get an electronica album like this I want it to be reasonably long so that I can throw it on while I work on the computer or clean the house or paint, etc. However I still think it’s a well-produced score and worth listening to. If it costs as much as most CDs do nowadays I don’t know if I’d want to buy it; though I might buy a few tracks off of iTunes or Amazon.
The album is comprised of eight tracks with a combined total of 28 minutes seven seconds running time. They are as follows:
1. “Saints Row The Third” 2:47
2. “When Good Heists Go Bad” 2:18
3. “The Mission Part 1″ 6:05
4. “The Mission Part 2″ 3:09
5. “Oleg and Kinzie” 2:30
6. “Kilbane and the Syndicate” 4:33
7. “Stag” 4:07
8. “End Game” 2:38
The score itself was composed/produced by Malcolm Kirby Jr. with the additional writing contribution of Kyle Vande Slunt on the songs “When Good Heights Go Bad” and “The Mission Part 1.” It is distributed by Sumthing Else Music Works in collaboration with Saints Row: The Third by THQ and Volition Inc. © 2011