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The Last of Us by Gustavo Santaolalla

The Last of Us

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The Last of Us (Soundtrack) by Gustavo Santaolalla
The Last of Us (Soundtrack) by Gustavo Santaolalla
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Last of Us (Soundtrack) by Gustavo Santaolalla

The Last of Us
Composed by Gustavo Santaolalla
Lakeshore Records (2013)

Rating: 8/10

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“(GUSTAVO) SANTAOLALLA’S score never crosses the line set by the game’s narrative, rather it acknowledges it and delivers an understated musical experience that seamlessly fits into a story of humanity’s most potent instinct - survival.”

Surviving Santaolalla
Review by Richard Buxton

 

It’s no secret that THE LAST OF US is a dark, depressing, and at times overwhelming experience, thanks to breathtaking visuals, sharp writing, and voice-acting that is of the highest calibre. GUSTAVO SANTAOLALLA’S score reflects the seemingly hopeless efforts of the protagonists with understated incisiveness, but it is the infused sense of hope amongst the death and decay that allows the music to strike fiercely at the heart of the player. These moments of hope are few and far between, but allow the relationship between the characters, the music, and the players themselves to grow that little bit deeper. There’s a sense of inevitable demise hanging over the characters for the game’s entire duration, yet it’s hard not to feel hopeful when witnessing the exceptional leading duo grow closer as the game progresses. SANTAOLALLA interprets this astutely and structures the score’s standout cues to reflect this. “The Last of Us” (3), and “The Path (A New Beginning)” (29) are arguably the most memorable melodic cues on the release and are excellent examples of this structure. “The Last of Us” exudes the raw emotion of humanity on the brink of destruction through the five-note guitar motif, before opening up with great warmth and optimism that acts as a brief respite from the overhanging unease. “The Path” follows suit with a morose opening minute, before flowering into an agonisingly short theme of hope. The game is scattered with such moments, suggesting that a life devoid of these new horrors of the world may just be attainable for the characters, before snatching it away in an instant.

Both aforementioned themes, along with two others, are treated to multiple interpretations within cues that see the themes expressed in varying moods. “The Last of Us” receives four variations - “(Good Night)” (14) arguably being the most provocative, with its rolling solo guitar motif echoing the despair of the game’s world. “The Path” (22) is subject to one modification, the aforementioned “(A New Beginning)”, with the original cue differing only in that it lacks the more hopeful interlude. “Vanishing Grace” (6) grows progressively more spirited with each variation, while “All Gone” (8) unwaveringly piles on the misery. “All Gone (No Escape)” is particularly poignant when heard during the game’s stirring gameplay climax. “Smugglers” (12) is perhaps the only standout track not to receive multiple iterations, adding an edge of playfulness to the morbid proceedings, and further enhancing the depth expressed through the game’s tremendous leading cast. This all makes for a score that is thoroughly entertaining when heard alone, and one that demands to be heard in the context of the game, a game that will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the great achievements in the industry.

THE LAST OF US may be this generation’s last big exclusive, and what an exclusive to end on. Yet the story told is a personal one, a small story in a big world that just happens to have far reaching consequences. SANTAOLALLA’S score never crosses the line set by the game’s narrative, rather it acknowledges it and delivers an understated musical experience that seamlessly fits into a story of humanity’s most potent instinct - survival.

 

Rating: 8/10


Track

Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 The Quarantine Zone (20 Years Later) 3:40  ****
2 The Hour 1:01  ****
3 The Last of Us 3:03  *****
4 Forgotten Memories 1:07  ***
5 The Outbreak 1:31  ***
6 Vanishing Grace 2:06  ***
7 The Hunters 1:59  ***
8 All Gone 1:13  ***
9 Vanishing Grace (Innocence) 0:55  ****
10 By Any Means 1:53  ***
11 The Choice 1:42  ****
12 Smugglers 1:38  *****
13 The Last of Us (Never Again) 1:01  ****
14 The Last of Us (Goodnight) 0:51  *****
15 I Know What You Are 1:21  **
16 Home 3:07  ****
17 Infected 1:16  ***
18 All Gone (Aftermath) 1:04  ****
19 The Last of Us (New Dawn) 2:28  ****
20 All Gone (No Escape) 2:54  *****
21 Vanishing Grace (Childhood) 1:41  ****
22 The Path 1:28  ****
23 All Gone (Alone) 1:22  ****
24 Blackout 1:38  ***
25 The Way it Was 1:31  ****
26 Breathless 1:24  ***
27 The Last of Us (You and Me) 2:08  ****
28 All Gone (The Outside) 1:57  ***
29 The Path (A New Beginning) 2:47  *****
30 Returning 3:35  ****
  Total Running Time (approx) 55 minutes  

 

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