WHO ARE THEY? Producer and slide-guitar master Daniel Lanois, along with D’Angelo, Willie Nelson, Rhiannon Giddens, QOTSA’s Josh Homme and other artists that you never expected to contribute to a video game soundtrack.
WHAT IS THIS? A compilation of songs and background music composed and created for the massively popular title that turned everybody into a pretend cowboy last year.
WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Well, obviously there’s plenty of Americana — what else would you expect from a Western-movie video game soundtrack? Glam? But thanks to the creatively restless Lanois, there’s also enough contemporary elements to keep it from feeling like some phoney sepia-toned photo.
WHAT WOULD BE A BETTER TITLE FOR THIS ALBUM? They Came to Play.
HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? Without a controller in your hands for a change.
WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Rootsy, rustic, dusty, western, warm, twangy, Appalachian, unvarnished, bittersweet, acoustic.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? The two versions of Cruel World — one voiced by Nelson and the other by Homme — make a nice pairing. But the Lanois tracks are far more than just some tossed-off instrumentals.
WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAY? ‘Can I play?’
HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? Well, you won’t spend as much time listening as you did playing the game. But once might very well not be enough.
IF THIS ALBUM WERE A VEHICLE, WHAT KIND OF VEHICLE WOULD IT BE? A used pickup truck that still has plenty of miles in it.
SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL? If you already own the game, why shell out again?