Hello and welcome back to P-Vock's Music Box, the weekly blog where I drop some sweet tunes to send you into the weekend. This week, it's time to mix drinks and change lives. You may remember that back in April I wrote a lengthy blog post discussing a game I had recently finally played, that quickly became something I couldn't forget, titled VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action.
VA-11 Hall-A (pronounced Valhalla) really took me by surprise with its relaxed pace, incredible story, shockingly fleshed out world, and wonderful characters. This simple game about mixing drinks for the patrons of a cyberpunk bar in the midst of a capitalist hellscape nudged its way into my mind and absolutely refuses to leave, and I don't want it to leave. That said, there was one thing about the game I never really mentioned.
Hot damn this soundtrack is incredible. What really makes this soundtrack stand out to me is how it's implemented. The tracks, minus a few exceptions, aren't really tied to specific moments or characters like most video game music. Our wonderful protagonist, Jill, just sets up the bar for her shift and the player picks what tracks to play from the jukebox. This adds so much to the world. The soundtrack is so varied, and it really helps immerse you in this wonderfully horrible world. Let's start with what may as well be the main theme of the game as it has been so beloved by fans (and we'll come back to that topic).
This is the kind of music that just puts me at ease and lets me carry on. The simple melody and driving tempo just encourage me to carry on without worry. This track has accompanied me as I have worked on various things many times since I first played this wonderful game. I wouldn't say it is my favourite track though. It's also canonically a song in the game's universe performed by a pop star who visits Jill at the bar. Now if only it had lyrics....
Like it or not, winter is on its way (also the game takes place right at Christmas so it is perfect to talk about now). This perfectly leads into my next track, which is one of many winter tracks that perfectly capture the joy I feel when it starts to snow, as long as I'm not driving that day.
This track just feels like the snow is coming down. I turn this one on, and I just see snow gently falling and feel my fingertips freezing (wait, why do I love this season?). Even moreso than Your Love is a Drug, Snowfall just puts me into a good mood. I have listened to this for hours and have never tired of it once.
Now, normally when I write these columns, I consider dropping a third track as a P.S. if I really the music. Fuck it, I'm just dorpping this because the mere existance of this next track is so cool. I follow a lot of video game cover artists, and two of my favourites (at least one of whom I have played music from in this column before) collaborated with the official composer to give Your Love is a Drug and incredible rendition with lyrics.
HOT DAMN, that is some good shit! do I even need to say more? This is phenomenal.
I hope these jams and the straight fire they drop warm you up while it gets cold as we get into the final weekend of November. As always, thank you for joining me and I'll see you right back here next week with another suggestion from my Music Box. Stay Brutal!