Review: The Music of Grand Theft Auto V

The Music of Grand Theft Auto V coverHello!

Since the release of Grand Theft Auto V on September 17, our Twitter feed has been going crazy with people asking us if we’re going to do a review of the best selling game.

Ok. It was one guy.

Still, considering that Grand Theft Auto V earned 1 billion dollars for Rockstar Games in just 3 days I figured that we have to say something about it.

Wait. Think about that for a second: 1 billion dollars, in 3 days. Shit, Blackberry lost a billion dollars in their last quarter. We know that has nothing to do with GTA V’s earnings. It’s just interesting from a money losing/money earning perspective.

So we’re not going to review the game this time around. We’re going to talk about the The Music of Grand Theft Auto V which is not to be confused with the Grand Theft Auto V Soundtrack. The OST consists of every song from every in-game radio station (there are 17 of them), which is a staggering 240 tracks (!). Maybe one day we’ll do a track by track review of that but for now, let’s stick to the Music of Grand Theft Auto V, which is a reasonable 3 Volumes.

The first volume aptly named Volume 1: Original Music has some choice tracks. In style, it’s kind of  a cross section of what you’d hear if you sampled all 17 in-game radio stations. So, if you don’t like rap, synth, techno, and dance music, you probably won’t like the majority of this volume. And by ‘you’ I’m probably talking about myself, but mainly pointing at the rap because I’ve tried and tried, but I just can’t digest it in on a regular basis or in any sizable quantity.  Still, if you’re wreaking havoc in Los Santos, this is the soundtrack that fits. It’s kind of like going to Cuba for a week. You’re immersed in Samba and Rumba and it’s wonderful. But when you come back home to your element, the feeling fades, like a dream. My point is, it’s all about the mood and it works regardless of your personal tastes.

Alright, I’ll stfu about it already.

Dancier stuff like Stonecutters by Flying Lotus and groovy tracks like Don’t Come Close by Yeasayer (love the name) are two of the more audibly pleasing songs on this volume. For more straight guitar/bass/drums/ rock there’s the beautifully heavy and obviously Pixies-esque Nine is God by Wavves and the more hardcore punk What’s Next? by Off!. Plus, Oh No‘s Welcome to Los Santos as the opening track just feels so GTA. Overall, not super amazing unless you like a lot of rap, which is almost every 2nd song if not more. Still worth it in my book for Nine is God. Go listen to it on YouTube.

Volume 2: The Score is all Tangerine Dream with Oh No, DJ Shadow, Woody Jackson and The Alchemist. There’s a lot of really good things happening here. Fast paced stuff like A Haze of Patriotic Fervor and Minor Turbulence are really fun to listen to. Great driving songs which, considering the soundtrack, might be the point. Slow burners like Hillbilly Crank Dealers’ Blues and A Bit of an Awkward Situation are also kind of irresistible. The remainder is quite soundtrack-y for which I’ll use words like moody and cinematic to describe, but you know, with over 60 soundtracks (!) under their belts, would you expect any less from these guys? It’s a good thing.

Volume 3: The Soundtrack is a diverse collection of artists from Bob Seger (Hollywood Nights) to Charlie Feathers‘ classic Can’t Hardly Stand It, so what you’ve got is another cross section of styles that can be found on the games 17 in-car radio stations. Pretty eclectic mix when you consider having The Weirdos back to back with The Mexican Institute of Sound and followed by Waylon Jennings, reggae legends like Yellowman and punk rock acts like Hot Snakes.

Overall, plenty of good stuff and super eclectic, which is what we like about soundtracks. Next Mission: Actually play GTA V and see how all this music ties in.






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