Sunday, April 24, 2011

The National - Exile Vilify single review

Videogames have come a long way since Pac-Man and the original Super Mario Brothers.  Today, videogames are immersive and compelling modes of storytelling, even sparking debates as to whether they can be considered works of art.  While modern games are no strangers to having big name composers create original music (Hollywood staple Hans Zimmer for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, for instance), we haven't really seen popular music break into games (unless the music actually is the game, i.e. Guitar Hero).

Portal 2, the sequel to the massively popular first person shooter/puzzle game Portal, is slated to have a song written exclusively for the game by Ohio bred, indie rock sadgasm, The National.  A spokesperson for the band had this to say:

"After I met with Valve and learned about the intricacies and story line of the first Portal game, I knew The National's music would fit beautifully in the sequel. The National's raw and emotive music evokes the same visceral reactions from its listeners that Portal does from its players."

The song, "Exile Vilify", is a piano driven ballad that will sound familiar to fans of The National.  The track doesn't ever really make its mark, meandering about without a sense of direction or purpose.  It lacks the unrefined immediacy of the rest of The National's catalog, which strips away most of the emotion, leaving it to flip flop between verse and chorus with a whimper. 

Taken out of the context of the game, "Exile Vilify" may lose some of its potency, but realistically speaking, this one is reserved for fans of the game and die-hard collectors who have a compulsion to own everything The National has ever recorded.

The National - Exile Vilify by the beat farm

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