GTA V is pretty awesome. There’s no denying that. And one aspect that makes it so awesome is the game’s radio stations. While they’re often just (excellent) background noise for driving around Los Santos and doing/breaking shit, it’s an even greater feeling when something on the radio unexpectedly, perfectly matches up with what’s happening. Off the top of my head, Robyn’s "With Every Heartbeat” provided a surprisingly sad soundtrack to Trevor driving the mob wife he’d fallen in love with to her ignorant husband. The Alan Parsons Project’s "Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You" creating a simultaneously dark and hilarious undertone to the final driving mission in the game’s best ending (which I won’t spoil here). And finally, Gerry Rafferti’s "Baker Street", The Greatest Song of All Time (c), perfectly accompanying the game’s brutally hard and fun police chases. Every song in the game works perfectly at some point or another.
The bad news, however, is that it doesn’t take long for the songs to begin to repeat themselves. While they’re all excellent, there’s room for much more (and too be fair, "Gimme More" and "Only Girl in the World" wouldn’t be huge losses. In the interest of full disclosure, Fergie’s "Glamorous" is a guilty pleasure). Given Rockstar’s reputation for keeping their game worlds alive long after their releases, with both content updates and “episodes” like GTA IV’s “Lost and Damned” and “Ballad of Gay Tony” and Red Dead Redemption’s “Undead Nightmare”, more songs would be a great treat.
I know there’s lots of behind-the-scenes stuff to deal with, like royalties, rights, and whatnot, but that is not my area of expertise. This is more of a wish list in no particular order for songs I’d like to hear added to GTA V. Note that this list will likely reflect my musical tastes, though I tried to include a little bit of everything. If you have a song you’d personally like added, politely say so.
"Nightcall", by Kavinsky
Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way. Tangerine Dream’s in-game score for GTA V is perfect, and it gives the great vibe of an 80’s movie while in a mission and gives the player incentive to turn the radio off for the first time. And "Nightcall" was used to absolutely amazing effect in Drive's opening credits. Why can’t these two perfect worlds come together? In fact, Rockstar should create a separate radio station that consists entirely of Cliff Martinez’ amazing Tangerine Dream-esque score.
Fuck it, throw the entire Drive soundtrack on there. Just listen to "Oh My Love" and picture slowly stalking a car along the coast at nighttime.
"Bugatti", by Ace Hood
I admit the rap stations are the ones I listen to the least in GTA V, next to the rebel country station. It’s just that I’m not in the mood to listen to it most of the time while I’m playing. For some reason, Steve Winwood’s "Higher Love" gets me more pumped up than Ice Cube (and with that sentence, I stole the Official Whitest Person Ever title from Paul Ryan). But "Bugatti"is such a fucking good song, and it matches the mood of the game PERFECTLY. The instant adrenaline rush of stealing a car and hearing this on the radio would be amazing.
"New Theory", by Washed Out
If you can’t close your eyes and imagine flying a plane over downtown Los Santos at dusk listening to this, then you and I are very different people.
"Recover" and "Lies", by CHVRCHES
Surely room could be made for two songs from one of my favorite new groups. "Recover" would be a perfect driving around song, underscoring emotional moments like the "With Every Hearbeat" moment I mentioned in the intro, and it "New Theory" is flying a plane over downtown at sunset, "Lies"is flying a helicopter over downtown at light reflected by the lights below. That mental image alone gives me goosebumps.
"Institutionalized" by Suicidal Tendencies
This would fit in perfectly with the punk station, and I feel like no other song ever recorded serves as a better theme song for Trevor Phillips. And this song is just fucking hilarious.
Come to think of it, Rockstar could also just throw the entire Repo Man soundtrack onto the punk station. It’s such an invaluable document of 80’s Los Angeles punk music, and every track would fit in perfectly.
A bit of a tangent, but if I worked at Rockstar, I sure as fuck would’ve hidden the ‘64 Chevy Malibu somewhere in Los Santos, complete with green glow and flight/time travel capabilities.
Or maybe someone did hide it somewhere….
There are many others that I’m sure would fit in perfectly, and some I can’t think of right now. If there are any notable ones I missed, I’ll add them in follow-up posts.