You Probably Missed The Best Video Game Song Of The Year So Far

Image: Epic Games
Image: Epic Games

2023’s Alan Wake II is an impressive horror game that melds mediums and tells a metatextual story about creating art. It’s a wondrous accomplishment of game design. It also has one of the catchiest songs ever put into a video game, memorably accompanied by a spectacular interactive performance. So I shouldn’t have been surprised to find out that Night Springs, the game’s DLC, also has a song I can’t stop listening to. But the DLC has a twist: this is a proper theme song, and now I think every video game needs one too.

Night Springs is a cheeky bit of DLC for an already meta-heavy game. It plays out as episodes of an in-game Twilight Zone spoof written by Alan Wake himself and hosted by the mysterious Mr. Door. This gives each of the three episodes a canon explanation while not requiring them to actually make sense. With no responsibilities to stay consistent with existing lore, Remedy really lets loose in ways you wouldn’t expect even after playing Alan Wake 2. And as the entire DLC is a TV show, it just makes sense for it to have a theme song.

Simply titled “Night Springs,” the theme is a synth-pop tune that will quickly worm its way into your head. The lyrics talk about many of the weird happenings that can occur in the show’s titular town, with examples including getting caught in a time loop and finding a solar system in a bowl of soup, among others. Each one sounds like it could be its own bite-sized episode, and they all fit right alongside the stories we do play through.

Upon finishing the first episode, “Number One Fan,” the theme song plays for the first time and It feels so good to hear the pop anthem play after gunning down enemies in a rose-tinted world as the psychotic (but incredibly loveable) Waitress. Now I listen to the theme song and I think about how fun the DLC is. It’s just a feedback loop of good times between the song and the game.

Not that I needed more proof that things are better with a theme song, but this year’s indie journalism satire sim Times & Galaxy also has one. Spoiler alert, it rules. Before you even build your unique robo reporter in the game, an animated intro plays set to a catchy tune. What works in this theme song is how it introduces you to the basic premise and cast of the game. You are going to report a bunch of stories across a number of beats (arts, politics, and more) and do it alongside the staff of the titular paper. Give it a listen and try not to be excited about the game. I, for one, have sung the lines “Space is a lonely void. We’ve got the whole thing covered. From the trash heaps of Aug to places undiscovered” more times than I can count (or would like to admit).

All I’m saying is that no game would be made worse by adding a theme song. Halo? Drop some lyrics on top of that choral soundtrack! Red Dead Redemption? Give me some cowboy music! Elden Ring? You’d be having a better time if you could sing a catchy tune while you died to the same boss again and again. So please, let’s get some more theme songs in video games.


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