You know, going in… I expected Arcane to be pretty okay. The trailer looked perfectly fine with an interesting art style and hey, as a bonus it even seemed to focus around characters I was familiar with from my dark and distant days of playing League of Legends myself.

But I also expected it to be a rather… undemanding affair. Switch brain off, watch the pretty colours and people go boom boom and smashity-smash. I did not expect to be confronted with contemplating ideas such as the selfishness in sacrifice, or perhaps more generously, the unintended consequences of self-sacrifice. Nor did I anticipate that the writers would spend any time on allowing the more emotional elements of their story to breathe.

But here we are, a few days after completing Act 3 and it’s still sitting with me. Truth be told, I was pretty eager to Netflix to just release them all at once so I could binge at my leisure. But in retrospect, I think releasing in three separate acts, of 3 episodes at a go — or 2 hours each week — was a wise choice.

If you have no idea at all what I’m on about, perhaps a trailer will help.

I would like, at some point, to do a full no holds barred spoilers galore look at the series — but it’s perhaps a bit early for that. Plus; I’m not sure I have my thoughts in sufficient order for that just yet. Suffice to say though, that I agree with the likes of IGN’s 10/10 and Rotten Tomato’s (at time of writing) 100% critic and 98% user approval. Even IMDB has the series as a whole at 9.4, with the final few episodes on 9.9.

Instead, I’m channelling a little Bhagpuss here and doing a bit of a music post!

Now, while I won’t discuss any spoilers — it’s probably worth noting the soundtrack was held and released act by act as well. I won’t discuss any of the story contexts in which the songs were presented but they may still spoil, if nothing else, the general tenor. Particularly relevant given the three songs I most liked from the soundtrack capped each of the three acts.

‘Goodbye’ – Ramsey (Track 3, Arcane Soundtrack)

I couldn’t tell you a single other song that Ramsey performs — but I like this one. A rather wistful, almost regretful piece — with a blend of sounds from electronica through to more orchestral style strings.

It has already spawned a number of covers, with possibly this one being my favourite so far being backed by piano as it is. Listening again, I think I prefer the vocal performance of Aloma Steele in this cover as opposed to Ramsey’s original as well. (Hopefully saying so isn’t about to get me shot!)

‘Guns for Hire’ – Woodkid (Track 6, Arcane Soundtrack)

Woodkid is another artist I’d never heard of before but is one I will no doubt eventually go on a Spotify journey of discovery for now that I have.

The opening of this song I could take or leave. But come the chorus, it had me. I do have to give some credence to the possibility at least that it grabbed me as heavily as it did alongside the context of the story being told in the moment with it. I know for a fact that I’ve previously liked songs for their tie into the experience they were presented to me in moreso than from any value intrinsic to the song itself.

There seems to be some shared DNA here with a song you’d attach to a modern James Bond project, and scanning through the comments on the track — it looks like I wasn’t alone in thinking so. Although note: I don’t recommend scanning through the comments if you’re worried about spoilers — key plot points are openly discussed.

‘What Could Have Been’ – Sting ft. Ray Chen (Track 11, Arcane Soundtrack)

Oh hey, Sting! I’ve heard of him!

Although I cannot claim to have recognised his voice while hearing the track the first time. In fact, I did a double-take, maybe even a quadruple take upon discovering the fact. I then had to go investigate whether Riot had really been able to get Sting onboard for an original song or whether it was an existing piece of work adapted for the series.

Turns out, Riot has a lot of money and this is brand new. Sheesh.

That aside though? This one… This one has been on repeat altogether too much. Even so, it can deliver quite the gut punch when a moment is taken to stop and put focus on it again. Lyrically, it speaks to the desire to inflict pain in equal measure to that received — not exactly a laudable desire to hold — but it comes from such a broken place that one can hold an utter rejection of the sentiment expressed simultaneously with deep empathy.

I can only imagine how they’re going to top this for the already confirmed Season 2.


Naithin

Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.

2 Comments

bhagpuss · November 26, 2021 at 6:20 am

Ramsey’s new to me and that doesn’t particularly inspire me to keep an ear open for the name in future. It’s okay but a bit bland. The name “Woodkid” is vaguely familiar, although I haven’t thought of it/him/her/them in years. That’s a very odd vocal. I’d have thought I’d remember someone who made so many lunges toward unexpected notes as that. I have never liked Sting and usually he’s as easy to spot as a buffalo at a barbecue but I don’t think I’d have twigged this was him straight away. It’s obvious when you know.

Interesting how similar all these three tracks sound. I wonder if they were written by someone for the show and just given to these people to sing or whether the performers worked from some kind of brief.

    Naithin · November 26, 2021 at 10:19 am

    The similarity between these three has as much to do with my preferences for the end of act pieces than a reflection on the soundtrack diversity as a whole.

    The genres covered were reasonably broad across the season as a whole, but these ones resonated most with me — how much they would have absent the context of the story though is perhaps hard to say. Almost certainly at least a little less though.

    I believe there is a common writer credit across the tracks of the soundtrack too — so I think (although this warrants better investigation) the lyrics if not the music were provided or at least guided to an outcome for the artists involved.

Comments are closed.