Top Game and Film Soundtracks of 2012
When it comes to the top lists of 2012, we would be remiss if we didn’t include the soundtracks that have accompanied some of our favourite games and films of this year. In many respects the choices below don’t just serve as a suitable accompaniment to the cream of this years big titles… but they are stand out pieces of work in their own right.
The low fi visceral self styled f*** em up that not only delivered a brutal and raw gaming experience. It also piled on a rock solid perfectly assembled soundtrack that delved deep into the psyche of the game. The scuzzy synthetic and spaced out sounds added perfectly to the dark and dirty underworld presented by the game, where reality blurs into a schizophrenic nightmare. For us, it perfectly ebbed into the more ingenious electro beats of the 1980s and was a standout highlight of 2012. More impressively is how cohesive the entire soundtrack sounds despite being assembled by a collection of musicians and existing tracks. Whilst most of the soundtrack isn’t available on Spotify, the good news is that all tracks are available to listen to on Soundcloud.
Standout Tracks: Miami (Jasper Byrne – not available on Spotify), Deep Cover, Horse Steppin (Sun Araw)
The Dark Knight Rises:
The continuation of a long and fruitful partnership between Hans Zimmer and Christopher Nolan. Whilst the soundtrack does resort to some over repetition of the signature Batman theme, first introduced in Batman Begins, it’s the newer content centered around Bane and the Prison that makes the soundtrack stand out from its peers. As with The Dark Knight and Inception, the score is perfectly placed at key moments throughout the film, yet absent in others where you would normally expect it (the first fight between Bane and Batman for example). The track Gotham’s Reckoning is an incredible piece that brings both suspense and thumping action in equal measure during the astounding plane hijacking scene at the beginning of the film.
Standout Tracks: Gotham’s Reckoning, Imagine The Fire (Hans Zimmer)
No musical moment grabbed my attention more than the opening bars of Prometheus. It was a curious swelling of horns (and shortly after, strings) that wouldn’t have seemed out of place in a Spielberg summer blockbuster, but indicated a film that had some beautiful themes hidden away deep within its rotten core of our deeply misunderstood origins. This was later expanded upon during the scene where David finally understands the “broad strokes” of the engineer’s plans, the music reaching to a rousing crescendo before abruptly halting.
To me Prometheus will for some time now remain a flawed masterpiece (much like Alien3, it will be sorely misunderstood for many years simply because it wasn’t Aliens/Alien all over again) but the soundtrack deserves to be given high merit for adding grand sweeping romantic segments alongside bassier insidious sounding beats that reference an unknown and foreign danger.
Standout Tracks: Life, Going In, Engineers (Mark Streitenfeld)
Max Payne 3:
L.A noisenicks Health provided the entire soundtrack to Max Payne’s triumphant return to the gaming world this year, and what a stunner it was
The thumping score did an incredible job of infusing each level and situation with a tempo that drove you forward into the dangers ahead. It also holds a very high accolade in my heart as it was solely responsible for making me change the way I’d previously played the game. Towards the very end of the game as you have to make your way through the airport terminal… I found my conservative duck and cover approach which I’d been using throughout the game suddenly disappear. Just after a cutscene, an absolutely rousing series of aggressive beats (from the track TEARS) thumped through my speakers. Suddenly I found myself running, in plain sight, straight down middle of the terminal lounge flicking on the bullet time and hammering out rounds at my targets as they came at me. I’ve honestly never encountered anything like that before, it was exhilarating.
Standout Tracks: TEARS, FUTURE, MAX: PANAMA (Health)
A bit of old and a bit of new. Like the Bond film itself, the soundtrack pays homage to the last 50 years of Bond, with the unmistakable theme itself making several appearances throughout the lengthy album runtime (and a full track to itself in Breadcrumbs).
Composer Thomas Newman, much like director Sam Mendes, was a left field choice to compose for an action film based in his previous work (for example, The Help, The Iron Lady, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel). Especially as many expected David Arnold to continue his compositional run on the Bond franchise.
The entire work feels like a fabulous celebration of the last 50 years. With many moments feeling as though they could have easily been lifted from the Sean Connery era (Komodo Dragon, The Chimera). However it’s not all about the past, Newman manages to successfully weave more modern notes throughout the soundtrack (Quartermaster, Shanghai Drive). The soundtrack mirrors the film perfectly in capturing the old spirit of Bond, whilst acknowledging that without the Daniel Craig re-birth… the 50th anniversary of Bond would have been reflective on past glories rather than recent form and what might lie ahead in the next 50 years
Standout Tracks: The Bloody Shot, Tennyson, Quartermaster (Thomas Newman)
Remember, you can listen to most of our standout tracks on our Spotify playlist. Thanks for reading our wrap up of the top soundtracks of 2012, and feel free to flame us in the comments section below if we’ve missed out your personal favorite/s of this year.