Monday Music Appreciation: Bioshock Infinite

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Bioshock Infinite

(Music director: Jim Bonney; featured arrangements: Jessy Carolina, Scott Bradlee, etc.)

The music of Bioshock Infinite—and its DLC—is more than ambiance, but also an attempt to create a living audio culture. Although foley editing and songs contemporary to the early 20th century are the foundations of the franchise’s soundtracks, the anachronistic arrangements of songs from the last half of the century left a lasting impression. Jessy Carolina’s cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son” anchors the deceptively energetic rock anthem in the social disparity it laments. The slower, blues variation sung a capella highlights weighty lyrics often lost to the original’s catchy bass line.

However, the keen application of original music, both composed and licensed, expanded the game’s world as well. For all the novelty of Bioshock Infinite‘s soundtracks, “La Vie en Rose” is often overlooked; yet, the song bookends Burial at Sea and hauntingly encapsulates Elizabeth’s aspirations. Creative director Ken Levine hoped to use the number much earlier in the franchise; however, licensing issues prevented its inclusion. But, in light of the staggering imagery that is the end of Elizabeth’s story and Sally finding her own Booker in Jack, Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose” proves enchantingly bittersweet.

Do you have a favorite music moment from Bioshock? Do you have a “Tainted Love” for Columbia, or are you somewhere “Beyond the Sea” in Rapture? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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