My Review of the Bioshock 2 Soundtrack
Imagine if you will, a young Jordan Thomas before he worked at 2K Games, listening to his Grandparents record collection as if he was in the mind of Underground Comic Book artists Robert Crumb and the late great Harvey Pekar while reading and playing games of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead and The Legend of Zelda. Unlike modern music today of the 21st century which is now dull, pretentious, and boring from Justin Biebler and Taylor Swift, today’s music is out. But when you have a mind-blowing soundtrack which is now available on Amazon MP3 and iTunes, the official soundtrack of Bioshock 2, is definitely worth the wait.
Though Jordan and the 2K crew had to choose the songs very carefully for the video game sequel which are from: The Great American Songbook, Golden-Era of Radio, WWII songs, Swingin’ Jazz of the ‘30s, the early beginnings of the blues, and most of the time early beginnings of Broadway, it is something to check out. They remain significant for their contribution. The compilation is exciting and fun to listen to of hearing how music is supposed to sound like not what you hear today in the so-called top 40 hits of 2010. While it may surprise gamers to go into music history in college, it is a mastery of 2K course. Kicking off the soundtrack is the spooky 4/4 time signature of Todd Rollins children’s humoristic classic of The Boogie Man and the waltz-like dance of Patti Page’s How Much is that Doggie in the Window?
The song makes it very great and funny for the Little Sisters to drain ADAM out of the dead bodies as Splicers go in as Lion to get a taste of the drug. Then we get into the sound of Acoustic Broadway sound of witty flamboyant singer, Noel Coward and 20th Century Blues which brings a touch on the downfall of Rapture to this jazzy piano swing turned ballad tone while Artie Shaw paints a mournful beauty of the ‘40s sound of the Preservation Hall in New Orleans of Nightmare which would be his opening theme as he plays the clarinet as a funeral sound while the band follows him to where he goes, they follow him. The emotions kick in for roaring ‘20s as the beautiful Annette Hanshaw who is considered the voice of an angel with the loss of a father with the lukewarm Daddy, Won’t You Please Come Home?
Then we get into the fighting for our country with Kay Kyser and His Orchestra with the roaring thunder of catchy upbeats with Praise the Lord and Pass The Ammunition. Horace Heidt and his Musical Knights which could have been Oingo Boingo and the Mystic Knight’s great-great-grandfather, does a majestic glory for the theme song of the militant pounding introduction to the World’s Fair with Dawn of a New Day that makes it work with Ryan’s Amusements and then of course, ladies and gentlemen…the Lady who Sings the Blues. Billie Holiday’s heartfelt ballad Night & Day makes you feel you are right at home.
These are perfect examples of the soundtrack that is approached to the atmosphere of Rapture’s demise while Eddy Duchin and his Orchestra gives Mary “Peter Pan” Martin an eerie dance number of My Heart Belongs To Daddy as a fine theme for Eleanor Lamb to the days of ballads and yore. And then we hear the great Django Reinhardt’s gypsy guitar work along with his collaborator French Violinist, Stephane Grappelli creates a haunting composition on Chasing Shadows and La Mer (Beyond the Sea) which was featured in the first Bioshock that gives that magnificent touch of Classical Guitar Jazz. Fats Waller brings the dance to the core with his Organ work that is astonishing on the Jitterbug Waltz again with its ¾ time signature. The standard of Broadway makes it perfect for Connie Boswell with the luxurious love-song of I Cover the Waterfront.
Jack Purvis is one cool cat on the crazy solo on his trumpet to give it the New Orleans and New York feel of the Jazz sound of the battlefield of Big Daddies attacking Splicers with Mental Strain at Dawn as Benny “Sing, Sing, Sing” Goodman and Marsha Tilton bring a joyous live performance at Carnegie Hall in 1938 with the upbeat beauty of Ber Mist Bist du Schoen. Now while I prefer the Andrews Sisters version which is featured in the Siren Alley level of the game and in the first Bioshock, this one is top notch as Benny gives the orchestra a grand flavor with its horn section a glorified sound to Tilton’s voice. Now this song could have been Mickey Mouse’s theme of the early cartoons, but this makes it very fun to tap your feet as Red McKenzie sings and the guitar solo brings a high voltage beauty with The Trouble With Me Is You.
Putney Dandridge does sort of a Cab Calloway vocalization with the swinging and playing the piano very well with The Skeleton in the Closet as Fred Astaire, who is best known of dancing upside down on Royal Wedding and his classic films with Ginger Rogers; Top Hat, Flying Down To Rio, and Shall We Dance. The two of them were an excellent combination. Originally featured in, Follow the Fleet in 1936, We Saw The Sea makes it a hilarious number. Even though it’s not in the game, it fits perfectly with leaving home to fight for bravery. A beautiful soundtrack that makes you want to go back to Rapture and destroy the Splicers again and again.
maaan, people write less for the whole game review!
nice job! for me, music in games always meant a lot, it has to be spot on, otherwise it ruins the atmosphere.
question, do you work in some sort of magasine or a gaming web site or did the soundtrack simply inspire you?
The soundtrack inspired me to write this review. I don't write for a magazine or gaming website, but I have a blogsite where I write Album reviews, Do NOT expect me to write for Rolling Stone Magazine, but I would love to write for GameInformer. And it was also the first time I ever wrote a review on a Bioshock 2, for a video game. Was it interesting? Yes it was, but a learning experience also. Here's my blogsite:
Originally Posted by AndreyRyan
Progressive Rock & Symphonic Metal Reviews
Great review! You have an excellent knowledge of the music from the period.