Sunday, September 22, 2013

Music! Grumbling About Grand Theft Auto V Edition

If I have one single, solitary complaint about Grand Theft Auto V it's....that the controls are still shit in the broad strokes of it, even if they're serviceable 80% of the time.  If I had two complaints, the other would be that melee combat is utterly unsatisfying, shallow and boring outside of some really nice sucker punches.  But, uh, that's not the point.  The point is that one of my complaints about the game is that the radio tracklist this go around is very, very disappointing.  I've never looked at Grand Theft Auto games as having exceptionally wonderful selections for their radio stations (and in truth, I spent most of my time on the Talk Radio stations anyway) but after Grand Theft Auto IV's wholly enjoyable Massive B Soundsystem track list, I admit, I had some high hopes. least moderately off-the-ground hopes.  I was quite disappointed, I must say.

Still, there are some stand-outs among the rest of the songs that you've likely never heard before, and for reason as it turns out.  On the originally named pop station, Non-Stop Pop, the tracklist consists of songs from the 80s all the way to about three years ago, and it doesn't feel like many of them were actually picked from any Top 20s list from any point between those two eras.  Funnily enough, I don't actually think this one was on a list either, but I have a special attachment to the song after it was featured in the ten minute long musical orgasm that was the Encore from Daft Punk's "Alive 2007".  Stardust was also featured in a really, really good mash-up/remix that I heard a while back, with Beastie Boys and something else, though unfortunately it seems to have an aversion to Youtube, being taken down whenever it's put up.  Unfortunate, really, since it's a fantastic bit of music.  Anyways, tonight's first song is, obviously, "Music Sounds Better with You" by Stardust.

It's not fantastic on its own, since I've heard it mixed with Daft Punk so much, but it's still enjoyable and, well, it makes me -think- of the mixed version so there's that too.  I imagine that's kind of cheating, but if so, then it only helps further illustrate the problems that I have with this soundtrack, when a song that I like has only been a tertiary part of -other- songs that I like, which I like a lot better than this base song.  Whenever it's on, I keep it one, however, but that's more or less just so that I can actually -not- scan through the radio stations over and over and over again.  Because that does get a little old, as you might imagine.

Some of the soundtrack is comprised of Bands that you know, with songs that you likely don't.  Or if you do, they're know, the 'hits' that you know from that band.  It gets very, very frustrating and I think the worst offender here is Los Santos Rock Radio, as the station is almost primarily -full- of examples of this.  The one that burns me the most here, however, is the next song I'm going to feature.  It's not a bad song, certainly, but it just makes you go "Really?  You went with that?"  It's not the first Grand Theft Auto game to do so - I realized as much when I looked at the GTA IV tracklist, but it's far less of a problem there - but it really just feels like it's a little over-much and I don't particularly know why.  Whenever this song, "Radio Ga Ga" by Queen comes on the radio, I just think of what could have been.

I can understand not wanting to use We Will Rock You, We Are the Champions, Another One Bites the Dust or Bohemian Rhapsody as those are the Queen songs that everyone knows so that maybe you figure people are sick of them.  Or that they're like, much more expensive to license.  Not like it matters because it's fucking Grand Theft Auto V, but still.  I just don't understand using Radio Ga Ga instead of Bicycle Race, Under Pressure, Killer Queen, Crazy Little Thing Called Love or Don't Stop Me Now.  Basically what I'm saying is that there are a ton of Queen songs I would have picked before Radio Ga Ga, and it bothers me greatly that Rockstar didn't think similarly.  Since Radio Ga Ga just...isn't as fun to listen to as any of those other songs, in my opinion.  Nor was it ever nearly as popular as any of those songs at any given point in time.  Which is the point of a radio station, you see.

If nothing else, there is at least -one- song on that is an absolute, 100% perfect fit for the game, for the atmosphere and for the enjoyment factor.  The song in particular is from West Coast Classics, quite possibly the best station in the entire game since at least it's a -little- consistent in quality and theme.  If I'm listening to a station for a clip at a time, you can bet it's likely this, and not particularly because I like Rap (I don't generally, actually) but because there's this song and at least two others that I can be perfectly content listening to while driving around, playing the game  The song is "Gin and Juice" by Snoop Dogg (or Snoop Lion these days, apparently), and I'm sure you can tell why it just fits in GTA V if you've never heard it before this point.

If I could, I would probably just make this song repeat over and over again while I'm getting around because it's just the best chill-out driving song you can have in the game.  It works for all three characters even;  I can picture Michael and Trevor bobbing their heads along with the beat, slightly leaned back in their seats moreso than normal, just enjoying things just as much as I could imagine Franklin doing so.  Also, I just enjoy the song myself which is of course the most important part of it, but still, I can justify it in-game as well!  As opposed to something like "Gimme More" by Britney Spears, which I can listen to for the novelty of it, but the likes of Trevor would probably rip his radio out of his truck and toss it out the window before listening to it fully.  Doesn't mean I -don't- listen to it, just that I admit that my immersion is completely and totally broken, which is clearly an unfortunate thing to have in a GTA game.

While there is Gin and Juice, it's easily the best inclusion to the soundtrack, and that's....that's a little sad, unfortunately.  Not that the song isn't great, but because it's not even a contest - it's the best because it's the best and that's all there is to it.  It stands head and shoulders above all else and there's really no arguing the point.  Hopefully with some DLC or with some updates or hell, even just in Grand Theft Auto Online (or Because of GTAO) we might get some more music, but I'm not exactly confident.  I want to be, though.  The Lost and Damned added some great tracks to GTA IV, so hopefully, they're just holding some good things back for the next entry or something. 

the only way the song could be more appropriate in GTA V would be if you could smoke pot -while- driving -while- listening to that song

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