Thursday, February 21, 2013

Portal 2 OST: The National - Exile Vilify

I was playing Portal 2 a few days ago and I came across one of Valve's Easter Eggs in game, which are always clever and fun. But this time it was something more than just an Easter Egg for me, because it made me discover something fabulous. 

I was on Chapter 2, Test Chamber 3 and I was scoping the place to see what's around. Below was another room, which looked like there was nothing useful inside, but I jumped down anyway. Then I heard it. A song was playing in the room so I followed the sound to find the source, I turned around and found one of those Aperture Science Radios in a corner. The song had already touched me by then. There was a poster on the wall, "vilify", "don't even try" and "feels like a trial" was written on it. On another wall "sucker's luck" and "exile" was written. I really liked the song, so I took the radio with me to listen to it throughout the level. I admit that this test took me longer than the others, and the reason wasn't because it was harder to solve, but because I loved the song so much. When the test was done and it was time to leave the radio there and move on to another test, that's when I gave up and Alt+Tabbed to find the song. Then I found out that the song is in fact one of my favorite band's and I was like the only person in the world that didn't know about it. It's Exile Vilify by The National.

I just love it when you randomly discover a great song from TV series or video games. Although Exile Vilify is written for Portal 2 exclusively, it still doesn't make the lyrics any less influential. Matt Berninger's voice is charming as always and the piano tune is simply beautiful.

The song itself is very soothing, yet very depressing at the same time. Or maybe it's because I have been a bit depressed lately. Sometimes when you listen to a song over and over and over while troubled by something, you start to relate that song to a specific person or occasion. And when you listen to that song again, even after a long time when everything turns out okay, all the emotions you felt when you first listened to it come back and haunt you. Oh, now I see, that's what the song does to me in fact: it's haunting me. And I know that a few months or even years later when I listen to it, all the feelings and the sadness and the anger and the confusion I've felt for the last few days, will probably come back and haunt me again. I guess this is one of the downsides of having an auditory memory. But does it stop you from listening to a great song? Is the song really great if it makes you feel down? Or is it great because it can arouse such strong feelings in you? Is that the true meaning of what they call masochism, doing something that you know will hurt you? Does the song make you feel like a "Lab Rat"?  Or perhaps the right question is,

 "Does it trouble your mind the way you trouble mine?"

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