Could Red Dead Redemption 2’ Soundtrack Be the Biggest Album of 2018?

Red Dead Redemption 2 Soundtrack Is The Biggest Album Of 2018


/ by Kevin smith

  • Could Red Dead Redemption 2’ Soundtrack Be the Biggest Album of 2018?
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 Soundtrack Tops 2018 Album
  • Soundtrack Of Red Dead Redemption 2 Tops 2018 Album
  • 2018 Album Soundtrack Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 Soundtrack

The year is coming to an end but one of 2018’s biggest albums is missing from nearly every major publication’s ranking: The soundtrack to Red Dead Redemption 2. According to a report, total easily exceeds the numbers of chart-toppers like Drake’s Scorpion. And not only did millions upon millions of people hear the Red Dead Redemption 2 music, they heard a lot of it: The game takes over 30 hours to complete.

 Red Dead Redemption 2' soundtrack is 2018 biggest album ever listen

Unlike the music of Scorpion, the sounds contained in Red Dead Redemption 2 lean towards instrumental roots music or pre-rock orchestral pop, with occasional vocal contributions from Rhiannon Giddens, Willie Nelson and D’Angelo at his most reflective. Banjo, harmonica, the jug, fiddle, cello and the Jew’s harp make sense in the context of a Western-themed outlaw game set in 1899.

“For this particular game, we kind of compare it to Noah’s Ark — it was all the real musicians who were left behind,” says Ivan Pavlovich, Director of Music and Audio at Rockstar Games. “People come to us to listen to things the way that they may go to Spotify or YouTube, or Apple Music. We’ve got a platform that reaches however many tens of millions of people, and they may not listen to this type of music.”

Despite the vintage sounds of Red Dead Redemption 2, fans of the game are responding to the music in the same hyper-modern manner they interact with contemporary hip-hop. “What’s interesting to me is the amount of traction we’re getting — all of this material has really caught on on the internet,” says Daniel Lanois, who oversaw the sprinkling of vocal tracks. “These songs are being ripped from the game and they’re on YouTube everywhere. There are Japanese pianists doing classical versions of the song I wrote with Rhiannon [Giddens]. I haven’t felt this kind of fever since the late Eighties, when I was knocking it out of the park [producing] Peter Gabriel and U2!”

The last Red Dead Redemption game came out in 2010 with a soundtrack that Pavlovich describes as “very Spaghetti Western” — referring to the famous film sub-genre best known for Sergio Leone-directed, Ennio Morricone-scored box office hits like Fistful of Dollars and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. The previous installment of Red Dead Redemption was also popular, to the tune of 15 million copies sold to date, though the new iteration sold more in eight days than its predecessor did in eight years.

Rockstar Games wanted the follow-up — actually a prequel, in the game’s timeline — to have a separate sonic footprint. “We really didn’t want to be derivative this time,” Pavlovich says. “We pushed it really far in the opposite direction at one point, almost going a little beat-driven with programmed rhythms and stuff like that. To find where the happy place is you kind of push it almost until you break it, and then you swing back.”

Though it took over 110 musicians to create all the music required for Red Dead Redemption 2, a number of players turned down the opportunity to contribute to the soundtrack, unwilling to engage with the unusual parameters of the work or uninterested in video games as a medium. “When I talked to people [about helping to score the game], it was wildly varying as to who was indifferent and who was dying to do it,” Sweeney says. “Some people would be like, I’m not going to make a royalty off that.”


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