Apr
03
2015
0

Pitch Perfect Pairings: What to Listen to on PlayStation Music

Rings the bells and shout it from the rooftops: Spotify has arrived on PlayStation 4! Boasting the monicker “PlayStation Music” and replacing Sony’s previous “Music Unlimited” service (which I think was only “unlimited” in the amount of gamers who could care less about it), Spotify can be accessed directly from the PS4’s dashboard much like any other application. It features the service’s full library of music and fan-made playlists, can be controlled on the PS4 using the smartphone application, is available for free (with ads), and best of all, can be used to listen to music WHILE YOU PLAY YOUR GAME! While the latter point may seem trite, since this option was available on both the 360 and PS3 using music saved to your harddrive, and you can also play music on the PS4 using a USB flashdrive, given that Spotify’s catalog is virtually limitless and requires ZERO extra space on your harddrive to listen to, the excitement you should be feeling about this announcement can NOT be overstated.

But this raises an important question–what should you be listening to while you game? Well, my first instinct is to tell you to cue up your favorite artists or albums and just roll. But if you are an avid Belieber, and are currently playing the gothic masterpiece Bloodborne, you would have a fairly disjointed experience on your hands. After all, music is key to establishing a game’s mood and atmosphere, so a genre mismatch could detract more from the game than it adds. As such, I took it upon myself to ponder this question for five of the most popular recent releases. And using Spotify’s collaborative playlist feature, I’ve organized my results in a manner we can all enjoy and share!

Below you will find the five games in question, broken out one at a time. For each, I will describe the best music genre pairing, and explain how I landed on that choice. Each entry will also have a link to a collaborative Spotify playlist I created for that game, with ten songs I added just to get the ball rolling. Please feel free to subscribe to these playlists so you can easily listen to them on your PS4 while you game, and if you are an audiophile, don’t hesitate to add your own favorite tracks–just make sure they fit the coordinate themes and genres I describe below. Just one small proviso: my taste in music may be a bit dated for some, as a 2008 college grad, so if you are only seeing songs from the late 90s/2000s, you will know why.

And with that, let’s dive in!

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Bloodborne

  • Game Description: a punishingly difficult third-person action-adventure with heavy RPG trappings and a terrifyingly gothic setting that feels like a Victorian horror story.
  • Matching Music: only one genre of music comes to mind when I think of dying repeatedly and fighting scary monsters: Metal. After all, what could possibly be more perfect than hearing “let the bodies hit the floor!” shouted over and over while you watch you character die over and over? Nothing, I say. NOTHING!
  • Representative Artists: Metallica, Alice in Chains, Iron Maiden
  • Spotify Playlist: WTN – Bloodborne Mix

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Borderlands: The Handsome Collection

  • Game Description: A brightly colored, fast-paced sci-fi FPS-RPG with a twisted sense of humor, infinite crazy weapons, and an even crazier cast of characters.
  • Music Match: I have to admit, I got a little help from Claptrap on this one. But after hearing him spout his sick beats in Borderlands 2, there can be no better fit for these games than EDM, or, more specifically, Dubstep. The high-intensity pulsing tracks are the perfect compliment to the neon bedlam transpiring on-screen. SO. MUCH. WUB!!
  • Representative Artists: Skrillex, David Guetta, Calvin Harris
  • Spotify Playlist: WTN – Borderlands Mix

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Axiom Verge

  • Game Description: a branching 2D sci-fi adventure game with 8/16-bit graphics and heavy inspiration from the Metroid series, but with a glitchy twist.
  • Music Match: based on this game’s old-school graphics and gameplay, my mind immediately went to the 80s. Add in the sci-fi setting and high technology this game features, and there is only one music genre that could possibly fit the bill: 80s Synth Pop. While the rhythm of some of these songs may not match the more metered pace of this game, if you are looking for a truly nostalgic experience, you really can’t go wrong with this pairing. You’ll feel like you are right back in your parents’ basement playing games after school, sitting cross-legged on a shag carpet!
  • Representative Artists: Duran Duran, Tears for Fears, A Flock of Seagulls
  • Spotify Playlist: WTN – Axiom Verge Mix

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Battlefield Hardline

  • Game Description: a FPS that takes the childhood game of “cops and robbers” to the max, with players choosing to play as either the criminals staging large-scale heists, or the police trying to thwart their efforts.
  • Music Match: I know this game gives you the option to play as either the police or the criminals, but let’s be real–it’s the criminals that have the most fun. With this in mind, I think most fitting genre of music for this game is Rap; specifically, 90s/00s Gangster Rap. Snatching bags of cash from a bank vault while “Notorious Thugs” blares in your eardrums–I don’t think you can beat that feeling if you tried.
  • Representative Artists: Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac, Dr. Dre
  • Spotify Playlist: WTN – Battlefield Hardline Mix

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Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae

  • Game Description: a three hour demo of an upcoming open world action RPG featuring an all-male best-friends road trip. And all the guys wear black leather outfits.
  • Music Match: this is the definition of a slam dunk. Boy Bands. Non-stop. All the time. Boy Bands.
  • Representative Artists: NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, New Kids on the Block
  • Spotify Playlist: WTN – Final Fantasy XV Mix

Do YOU have the perfect game-music genre pairing in mind? Don’t be shy! Hop on Spotify, make a new playlist for that game, set the playlist as collaborative, and share the link in the comments below!!

[NOTE: After authoring this post, I learned that collaborative playlists are not yet accessible on PlayStation Music. But fret not! You can still open these playlists on your phone or laptop in the Spotify app, add new tracks if you like, and then you can just copy and paste the track list from the WTN playlist into a new, private playlist of your own to access from your PS4. Easy peasy!]