Music is an integral part of life, and it is a way in which we can connect and express emotions with each other. In fact, there have been countless times I've been moved by songs in games, series or trailers, and in more ways than just one -- with some invoking fear or anger, and others bliss or a sense of power.
Therefore, it always fascinates me how games companies get it right to seemingly source the perfect songs to match games, promotional game trailers, and cut scenes. So, I'll be sharing with you some of the best songs composed for games, gaming trailers, and video game-inspired series.
Top 10 songs from games, game trailers or series
I've compiled a list of my favourite songs and I tried really hard not to be biased. In addition, I attempted to include a range of musical genres to hopefully cater to everyone.
1. Imagine Dragons & JID - Enemy
Okay, I've had this song literally on repeat this week since I only recently finished watching the League of Legends series, Arcane. However, before you castrate me, the only reason I left it for this long was so I could enjoy it in my own rights; rather than being influenced by trends.
While I do not play League of Legends, nor intend to (sorry, not sorry) I must give props to Riot Games for continually sourcing fantastic music. If it weren't for the other songs, this list might have been a tier list of songs used to promote Riot's games. Hmm, now there is an idea!
2. Bring Me The Horizon - Ludens
As a massive Bring Me The Horizon fan, there was no way I'd leave one of their songs off this list. Ludens was released in the official soundtrack for Kojima Productions' Death Stranding video game.
In an interview with NME, Oli Sykes revealed that the song was actually inspired by climate activist Greta Thunberg and centred around humans and our intrinsic ability to adapt. Admittedly, I didn't know this until now. But, considering the game's apocalyptic storyline (and otherworldly rain, Timefall), it makes a lot more sense.
3. K/DA - Pop/Stars
Yes, another song inspired by League of Legends. Released to mark the start of Worlds 2018 (I think), the virtual K-pop all-girl group absolutely smashed song charts with what can only be described as an absolute banger.
I really don't listen to much K-pop, so it was an interesting surprise when my Spotify Wrapup listed the genre among my most-listened-to songs. Yes, this means that I did have it on loop for days, and I'm not afraid to admit it.
4. Billie Eilish - Bury A Friend
The E3 2019 Showcase piqued my ears when I heard what I knew was a familiar song. As a massive Billie fan, I was pleasantly surprised to hear "Bury A Friend" as the official trailer for Gears 5's main character.
It was a bold move by The Coalition to switch from more traditional reveal trailers. The developers highlighted the character depth perfectly and had the perfect song to boot. So, with my inherent "Billie Bias" aside, major props go to The Coalition.
5. Grimes - 4ÆM ("4 AM")
While Cyberpunk 2077 was a flop, this song certainly wasn't. Initially composed by Grimes, the piece is also performed by Night City's Elisabeth Wissenfurth (or Lizzy Wizzy) in the game. You can also hear it on Body Heat Radio 98.7.
Grimes is one of my favourite music artists. Moreover, her song's feature is totally befitting the futuristic and dystopian video game. According to a now-deleted Twitter post on 5th June 2018, Grimes said that the song's inspiration was actually from the Bollywood film Bajirao Mastani (Thanks Genius)!
6. Imagine Dragons - Warrior
The only reason this song is listed #6 is that it's my attempt to make you forget that there are at least two other League of Legends songs on this list (again -- Sorry, not sorry). In addition, the song marked the start of Worlds 2014 and nearly made me want to start playing League.
Like most Imagine Dragons songs, this had the propensity to make those tiny hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Indeed, it also made me feel super powerful or somewhat destined for greatness (or was I the only one?).
7. Carpenter Brut - Le perv
I decided to change things by dropping a somewhat niche song from Carpenter Brut. Interestingly, there are many game tracks featuring songs from this iconic artist (the more you know) -- and Hotline Miami 2 is one of them.
Carpenter Brut (much like Perturbator) leads the retro new wave music scene (or "Synthwave"). If you're into dark synth or sinister-sounding music, then you will not be disappointed by these artists.
8. Bea Miller - Welcome To The Playground
I really couldn't stop myself from including yet another Arcane song on this list. Still, Bea Miller's "Welcome to the Playground" was a perfect emotive match for an introduction to Zaun in the series. The song was also played at the opening of Worlds 2021.
Bea also collaborated with K/DA for the song "The Baddest"; yes, also from League of Legends. While I was compelled to include this song, I think I might have exhausted my permitted overuse of Riot music.
9. Kanye West - Power
Kanye's "Power" was perfectly fitting for the official trailer of Saints Row 3. Although it also annoyingly plays during a Penthouse mission, it is otherwise a kicker of a jam.
Notably, I do not like Kanye West -- I think he's a prick; however, he does have pretty kick a** music.
10. Lil Jon & East Side Boyz - Get Low
I'm not going to lie; I just included this song for the lols. This song is ingrained in my childhood and is synonymous with my memories of jamming Need for Speed Underground.
Notably, this subjective "exhaustive" music list might not tickle everybody's musical tastebuds. And that's totally fine -- in fact, I encourage you to let me know which songs on this list you agree with and which you think I might have forgotten on Twitter.
Here are a few "honourable mentions" (in no particular order) from some GINX writers and fans on Twitter.
- MitiS - The Boy Who Shattered Time (League of Legends)
- The Trashmen - Surfin' Bird (from Battlefield Vietnam)
- Pearl Jam - Future days (sung by Joel in The Last Of Us Part 2)
- Jeremy Soule - Dragonborn (Skyrim)
- Star-Lord - Zero to Hero (Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy)
- Daniel Lanois - That's The Way It Is (Red Dead Redemption 2)
- Daughter - Hope (Life is Strange: Before the Storm)
- Kenichi Matsubara - Bloody Tears (Castlevania)
- Lollia - Colors Flying High (Persona 5 Royal)
- Mick Gordon - Doom Eternal OST (Doom)
Thanks to Solenne, Wessel, Alejandro, Astros, and Shreyansh for their suggestions!
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Featured image courtesy of Unsplash / Reet Talreja.