Death Stranding: Timefall
Death Stranding: Timefall
November 8, 2019
Buy at iTunes
Death Stranding: Timefall is a collection of songs written or licensed for Death Stranding, available as part of the special and collector’s editions of the game, as well as separate digitally. The album is mostly some form of alternative pop with just a couple of outliers, and it largely has a different sound from what is predominantly heard in the game, even though all of these tracks are available as part of the in-game music player. Although it focuses on vocal themes, the album is notably missing “BB’s Theme” (which is part of the Original Score for the game), some of the credits and trailer songs, and the tracks composed by the band Low Roar, though for those one can look to the recent Death Stranding (Songs from the Video Game) album. As for what is here on Timefall, this half-hour collection of vocal tracks is not completely unrelated to the game, but it’s not terribly representative of it either.
The album begins with “Trigger” by Major Lazer with Khalid, a catchy track that sounds the most mainstream of the lot, with Major Lazer’s standard pitched-vocalization chorus, Khalid’s scruffy male vocal, and the use of short repeated phrases. It’s an enjoyable track with a good hook, not too deep with its break-up lyrics but tangentially related in imagery. The R&B-influenced dance production is solid, with a variety of sounds that keeps it from being bland. Following is “Ghost” by Au/Ra and Alan Walker, which is a more downbeat track with a nice use of strings and the occasional processing on the vocal that makes it sound closer to the game’s stylings. The verses are pretty good, but it’s too repetitive with its chorus to hold up for much repeated listening. In the same vein of these tracks is the closer “Sing to Me” by MISSIO, with a harsher industrial instrumental. Again it’s decently catchy and has a pretty big sound, but there isn’t a ton more to it than that.
A couple of tracks are slower and closer to the tracks that appear normally in the game. “Yellow Box” by The Neighbourhood is sedate and depressive track, sporting a dreamy arrangement of sounds and noises that give it a futuristic dystopian edge. Its strong atmosphere makes up for its unremarkable melody. “Born in Slumber” by Flora Cash is similar though more acoustic with two brooding vocalists who contrast and compliment each other very well. Although the melodies here are pretty repetitive, they work better in the contemplative atmosphere of the track. It’s an album highlight thanks to their heavy emotional performance, the post-apocalyptic lyrics, moody production, and the effective build up over its runtime.
The rest of the album’s tracks are quite a bit different from these. “Ludens” by Bring Me the Horizon for example is an aggressive techno and metal track. The instrumental finds a good balance between its quieter verses and its thunderous chorus, and actually manages not to sound out of place on the album. It also has good variation and development throughout, making it an easy track to come back to. Given the lyrical reference, it is one of the tracks that was more clearly made with the project in mind. Then there is “Meanwhile…in Genova” by The S.L.P. which is a track that seems quite popular based on how often I encountered it in the game. And understandably so, since it has the most interesting and distinctive atmosphere of the album, having Italian influences that make it alluring and even exotic. It has a grand sound by its end through a great crescendo of rhythmically distinct layers, and here even gets a distinctive vocal line that the original track did not have.
The last track to be discussed is the game’s eponymous track, “Death Stranding” by CHVRCHES. It is the most positive and upbeat song of the album, even sentimental which to me was a bit jarring at first, but I warmed up to it quickly given how lyrically and thematically relevant the track is to the game. Lauren Mayberry’s bright and youthful vocal is a great fit, and though there isn’t a ton of instrumental variation over the track’s five minutes, it’s a grower that functions as a stirring anthem for those who have gone through the game.
Death Stranding: Timefall is a polished collection of vocal tracks that is well-produced and mostly cohesive. Although little of the music is very representative of what is most heard in the game, it’s all still connected to the game through some lyrical tie-ins and a more serious tone in most of the tracks. There is a decent variation of styles and vocals, and although it doesn’t often rise above popular music in depth or complexity, the album easy to enjoy. Fans of the game who are not averse to popular music should appreciate the solid offerings here, but those looking for an experience closer to the game should look to the other albums from the game.
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Posted on March 12, 2020 by Tien Hoang. Last modified on March 13, 2020.