July 12, 2019

Various Artists - The Music of Red Dead Redemption II: (Original Soundtrack) Review

Various Artists - The Music Of Red Dead Redemption II: (Original Soundtrack) Review

Various Artists - The Music of Red Dead Redemption II: (Original Soundtrack) Review

Today released an original soundtrack from the makers of the wild west, cowboy masterpiece of last year, Red Dead Redemption II. A fully alive world of the west, Red Dead was instantly hailed as an undisputed classic in modern cinematic and interactive storytelling. It's awe-inspiring immersive characters, setting, and story were brought to vivid life not only by its beautiful, picture-perfect graphics but also by its swooning music, which could quietly enhance a scene or break out in full bravado, placing any player right in the middle of a classic western film. Rockstar shows the world again that their release last year was more than just a video game, but an arresting piece of art that deserves another look this summer, in the form of RDRII's original soundtrack.

Composed by various multiple Grammy-award-winning artists, Red Dead's OST has many different forms as it plays through. The music in this short 40-something minute release takes inspiration from the period of the wild west, so it's vocals and notes understandably so venture into the styles of instrumental banjo tunes, folk, country, and even some headier western rock tracks. The opening tune, Unshaken, features a deep, gravelly-toned vocalist with a choir of backing singers, in a Johnny Cash-like melody. It appropriately introduces listeners to the world of Red Dead. The second track, Moonlight, almost traverses into gospel territory, as singers croon and moan with the soft rising and lulling instruments. Other tracks that follow feature traditional sounding, bluesy country numbers, such as That's The Way It Is, and Cruel World, sung by none other than Willie Nelson.

Mountain Finale is the first of several instrumental pieces that inject a feeling of spirited excitement into the mix, a welcome break from the moody country and folk numbers that precede it. Crash of Worlds is ultimately a reprise of Unshaken, with an added melodic twist and an atmosphere of a story and song sung around a campfire of runaways and outlaws. Mountain Hymn is a transcendent piece of beautiful guitar-work and heavenly vocals and it further paints a serene setting of settlers' struggles and living their lives. Mountain Banjo is the second instrumental that opens up a suite of visually stimulating musical tracks, such as the introspective, steady Table Top, and the unflinching, rocking and rolling Love Comes Back. Oh My Lovely caps off this series of instrumental takes into western culture with a reverb-y (almost too-much-so) guitar meditation. The soundtrack is brought to a close with its final rendition of Cruel World by Joshua Homme, a retrospective look at the world that we've created before us.

The Music of Red Dead Redemption II is satisfying and illuminating as a video game soundtrack. Its many different styles throughout, all influenced by the same time period, showcases the studio's talent for storytelling in more ways than one. As Rockstar stated in their press release, an original score, intended to be this soundtrack's official companion album and featuring much more musical content, will be coming later this summer. Until that time comes though, there are some real quality tunes to enjoy now while the table is being set for Red Dead's next music release.

The Music of Red Dead Redemption II - 8.25/10

Recommended Tracks: Unshaken, Table Top, Love Comes Back