Soundtrack Review: The Last of Us Part II (2020)

The original soundtrack for The Last of Us Part II is now available from Sony Music. The music for this soundtrack was composed by Gustavo Santaolalla (who also worked on the original The Last of Us), with additional music composed by Mac Quayle. Gustavo Santaolalla is a musician and film composer from Argentina who has previously won the Oscar for Best Original Score for Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Babel (2006), not to mention his work in other film and video game soundtracks. Santaolalla is also slated to compose the music for the upcoming HBO series based on The Last of Us.

Of the soundtrack for The Last of Us Part II, composer Gustavo Santaolalla had the following to say:

“Composing the music for The Last of Us Part II represented one of the biggest challenges of my career. Diving into the universe of the first game inspired me to come up with sounds, instrumentation and moods that became very closely related to the story and the characters. Fortunately, people found in the music the precise emotional support that a story such as The Last of Us required. The way in which fans related to the score of that first game is something I had never experience before.

In that context, writing new music for Part II demanded from me even more soul searching and more experimenting. So just as in the first game, where the acoustic guitar and the vintage 6 string bass played an important role in the narrative, this time the banjo, a special classical guitar (fitted with strings that are an octave lower) and my ever-present ronroco, became the story tellers of the score. Once again, I could only conceive the emotion that drove me to compose this music thanks to the amazing, multilayered story that is The Last of Us.”

Now while I can’t compare the soundtrack for The Last of Us Part II to the original (since I haven’t really experienced that game), I can say that the music for The Last of Us Part II did surprise me. Coming into this series with little to no knowledge about it, I was startled to find that most of the music on this soundtrack is quiet thoughtful and slower in pace than I thought it might be (I freely admit this reveals I’ve likely missed the point of the series entirely). There are moments of action here and there (notably in “The Cycle of Violence”), but most of the tracks feature the sounds of the banjo and the classical guitar. I was briefly puzzled as to why the guitar features so heavily and then I remembered that a guitar features quite prominently in this game (and I believe in the first game too, though I can’t say for certain), so it makes sense that this would be reflected in the game’s soundtrack.

Listening to the music for The Last of Us Part II reminds me yet again that you should never judge a video game by its cover art. If you think the music for this game is generic and action-y, then you have another thing coming. This soundtrack is sensitive, with only an occasional foray into “action mode” music. That tells me that this game is more retrospective than I thought, as it’s my experience that the music largely reflects what goes on in the game (and you’re not going to get calm music if it’s crazy fighting all the time).

If you want to experience the music in this game without the distraction of playing it through, then I highly recommend picking the soundtrack up.

THE LAST OF US PART II (ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK)

TRACKLISTING –

1. The Last of Us Part II

2. Unbound

3. Longing

4. Eye for an Eye

5. It Can’t Last

6. The Cycle of Violence

7. Reclaimed Memories

8. Cordyceps

9. Longing (Redemptions)

10. Restless Spirits

11. Chasing a Rumor

12. They’re Still Out There

13. Unbroken

14. The Rattlers

15. The Obsession

16. Soft Descent

17. The WLF

18. A Wolf’s Ghost

19. Masks On

20. It Can’t Last (Home)

21. Inextinguishable Flames

22. Allowed to be Happy

23. Collateral

24. The Cycle Continues

25. All Gone (The Promise)

26. Grieving

27. The Island

28. Beyond Desolation

Let me know what you think about the music for The Last of Us Part II in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Video Game Soundtracks

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1 thought on “Soundtrack Review: The Last of Us Part II (2020)

  1. Pingback: Soundtrack Review: The Last of Us Part II (2020) - 192kb

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