Stories have been created through songs in the past, a good bard could tell you that. That story can be the artist’s past, a moment in history, or their political or religious stances. When it comes to video games, these songs can either add a little lore into our favourite characters, or a whole new way of thinking about our favourite songs. Though there are quite a few examples out there, here are three that spring to mind.
Good Neighbor – Fallout 4
In the old subway tunnel called The Third Rail, sings the ravishing Magnolia. As the Sole Survivor descends the steps, they are greeted with one of five songs she has written herself – sung lovingly by Lynda Carter. Magnolia herself is a Synth – an artificial human; though, without killing her and looking at her loot table, you would never know. Being a Synth, it is likely she escaped from The Institute, and with help from the Railroad, received a new life and new memories implanted from The Memory Den. When Sole Survivor asks her about herself, she responds “you really want to know? It’s all in the songs. Everything I am.” She has five songs, each different in tone and style, though it is with “Good Neighbor” that we get a clearer picture..
Coming into the world, lost and disoriented, she turned to drugs to make sense of it all. She tells us:
Had a talk with a man about some chems
He asked me what’s your flavor
I said I need a favor
I’m a little short on caps but
I’m a good good neighbor.”
She sold herself for her fix, traveling the safest places to stay alive. She kept around the Fens, saying:
“Diamond City it’s my thing . . . I do the boys a favor
With all of my manual labor.”
She worked the neighborhood for her fix, and perhaps for extra caps. Perhaps not one of the best stories to hear, but by listening to her other songs, and seeing her up on stage loving her songstress path, you can tell that at least there’s a happy ending.
Leliana’s Song – Dragon Age: Origins
After a lengthy quest entitled Nature of the Beast, the Gray Warden and their company rest at a campsite. The Gray Warden speaks with Leliana, who reflects on what happened, and is reminded of a time when she was younger, and of her mother passing away. An Elven woman approached her, saying that death isn’t final, that the spirit is freed from their bonds, and that alone should be celebrated. She then sings an Elvish song that reflects this ideal.
It begins with a feeling of remorse for the passing:
“Haren na melana sahlin (Elder your time is come)
Emme ir abelas (now I am filled with sorrow)”.
Then, as like Leliana herself, the composer understands what is really meant to be done to honour those that had passed:
“Vir sulahn’nehn (We sing to rejoice)
Vir dirthera (We tell the tales)
Vir samalh la numin (we laugh and cry)
Vir ‘lath sa’vunin (We love one more day)”.
The song is to bring peace and hope to the grieving, a sentiment that she upheld in her time with the Chantry.
Equilibrium – Final Fantasy 14
This song is played during the second phase of the Sophia encounter. Its lyrics paint a somber picture of a time during the Allagan era, in which a young woman’s father lost his life in a war. Her mother, grief stricken, began to lash out at her daughter, presumably hurting her. We get this assumption with the lines:
“Her mother sits, eyes down
A torn uniform in hand, farewells unsaid…
A daughter’s desperate cries, unheard pleas
Forsaken, beaten, tried, on her knees.”
The daughter then calls out a prayer to the gods of their time, and for some time the prayer goes unheard. That is, until Sophia, a being devout to balance hears her. The goddess answers, and whispers thus into her mind:
“A heartbeat without harmony
Is Moonlight without dark.
The heart beat seeketh equilibrium
With balance will your worry part.
So still this broken melody
And therewith shoulder thee
One last step before leaving
An empty hearth down by the sea.”
Sophia herself asks the daughter to calm her mother’s disharmony brought on by her husband’s death, by ending her life, then complete the balance by ending her own life. Remember, Sophia places balance above all, meaning that she sides with neither good or evil, so to have the daughter do this has nothing to do with benevolence or malevolence, only balance, to bring peaceful harmony to a family in disorder.
Can you think of any more songs with stories? Share what you remember in the comments. I do have two more, but they will be saved for another time. Until then, Adventurers!