Red Dead Redemption Original Soundtrack

Red Dead Redemption Original Soundtrack Album Title:
Red Dead Redemption Original Soundtrack
Record Label:
Rockstar Games
Catalog No.:
iTunes (Digital Edition); Promotional (CD Edition)
Release Date:
May 18, 2010; August 23, 2010
Download at iTunes


In 2010, Rockstar Games published the highly successful video game Red Dead Redemption, an action-packed adventure set in the American West. In contrast to its predecessor Red Dead Revolver, the developer hired two composers, Bill Elm and Woody Jackson, to create an entire original score nevertheless influenced by the spaghetti westerns we all love. The resultant soundtrack is highly appealing both in and out of the game.


If I were to hear the soundtrack without knowing who it was composed by, I would immediately think it was created by Ennio Morricone. The moody main theme is cut straight out of a classic Sergio Leone western with authentic instrumentation and enchanting melodies. The results provides an excellent portrayal of the main character and is a gorgeous stand-alone experience. “The Shootist” likewise is complete with echoed yells and grunts that serve as an outstanding reference to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. That’s not to say the composers rip any ideas off from Morricone, but they aren’t afraid to intertwine their own ideas with the more established examples.

The composers also mix modern music into the more traditional ethnic. For example, the jazz influences on tracks such as “Triggernometry” wouldn’t sound out of place on an Unkle record with its darkly funky beats. “Redemption Dub” is an excellent showcase in how recent musical styles can be mixed fluently with old school sensibilities with it’s stark tone and driving nature. The composers also bring touches of ambient, Brian Eno-esque electronics to the fore on tracks like “Gunplay”, which serve as spooky remnants of its accompanying video game scene. In each case, the ideas are wonderfully realised in terms of both composition and implementation.

The soundtrack also includes a few oddities from other solo artists such as Jamie Lidell and Ashtar Command. Lidell’s track is the strongest of these, but you can find it on his album of the same name, and the version here is shorter. These are good tracks on their own, but don’t have any connection with the score music. They are put at the end of the album so they don’t interrupt the flow of the experience.


Bill Elm and Woody Jackson have recorded with different bands throughout their lives, including Friends of Dean Martinez and Calexico, and listeners can definitely observe similarities in this soundtrack. However, I was genuinely surprised at the high level of creativity and range they showcase here. This soundtrack would stand on its own as a very powerful accompaniment to any Hollywood film, but the fact it is supporting Red Dead Redemption only goes to show the level of artistic expression that video games now possess. This music should make any non-video gamer want to rush out and play the game. As a stand-alone piece, it deserves to be acutely admired as another slab of classical western music.

Red Dead Redemption Original Soundtrack Soundtracker

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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Soundtracker. Last modified on August 1, 2012.

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