A very short note on the power of music

This really is a very quick note. I was mowing the lawn this morning, with my phone playing music on shuffle. During a quiet respite while I emptied the grass hopper, Dead Man’s Gun, the elegiac final song from Red Dead Redemption came on.

I suddenly felt a sense of loss, and bitterness, and tears came to my eyes. An incredible feeling of nostalgia washed over me, and I wanted to visit again the virtual world of RDR’s west.

Now, THAT’S what I call emotional engagement.

3 thoughts on “A very short note on the power of music

  1. Agreed…..the use of music in Red Dead Redemption (2010) is powerfully effective. I teach a college-level Westerns course and write about the genre at http://www.westernsreboot.com – my students study many facets of RDR as a Western video game.

    You may be interested in three posts I did on the use of music in RDR. The first examines the process by which the soundtrack was incorporated into gameplay, the second looks at the connection between mood music and location and the third looks at a remix that was recently done with dialogue and sound samples from the game. Here are links to the three posts:




  2. Cheers Chad, thanks for the links. I was also interested in this post:
    on Juarez: Gunslinger. I like thee way they plan to unpack some of the real history of events while the player creates the “unreliable narrative.” This is a trick that seems so obvious now that somebody has done it ,and neatly explains away the unrealistic mechanics of any shooter (where the protagonist can take more bullets than the bad guys and even come back to life). If only first person shooters didn’t make me sick, I’d be first in the queue when it comes out.

  3. Hi Matt….thanks for your reply and for visiting my site. My students study Call of Juarez: Gunslinger and for many, it could be the first they learn about real historical figures and events via the “Nuggets of Truth” that are contained/unlocked in the game. Such to my mind is a plus and demonstrates another way to engage those learning about the Western genre and its history – a way that many having grown up with video games naturally gravitate toward. If this leads to further interest and research on their own, all the better. I believe thru its narrative approach, the game acknowledges the mythmaking aspect of the Western genre in a clever way.

    If you have not yet read, another post discusses this further:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s