The modern Fallout games just wouldn’t be the same without stations like Galaxy News Radio and Radio New Vegas buzzing from your Pip Boy. Having these upbeat or bittersweet love songs provides a powerful juxtaposition with the horrors you face out in the wastes. Even this past E3 saw a Fallout 4 trailer played to the tune of Atom Bomb Baby (while raiders and mutants were chasing the protagonist with murderous intent).
With the sizzling selection of classic tunes that turned a generation of gamers on to talented performers like Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday and The Ink Spots, I figured that the first edition my new series Weekends in the Wastes should be dedicated to naming my top 5 radio songs in the series.
The Frank Sinatra version of Blue Moon is one of the first songs you will hear played in New Vegas (over the desert city’s loudspeakers in the intro cutscene). Though not the only swanky tune to get you in that vintage Vegas mood –the punchy Aint That a Kick in the Head is also there to lend some class to a violent wasteland— I found Blue Moon to have more of a smooth seduction that best brings me away, if only for a moment, from the pack of wild dogs trying to tear a chunk out of my ass at the command of their chem-blasted owner.
Speaking of songs that set the scene, there is nothing like roaming the perils of I-15 with a 357 drawn and Marty Robins singing Big Iron in the background. One of the most surprising things about New Vegas was how it combined a post-apocalyptic setting and an old west flavour, two things of which I initially had no interest, and made it into a game that got me scavenging for spare supplies to the tune of a gunslinger showdown. Past me would be speechless.
If I was to pick a personal favorite if the radio songs, it would be Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall, as performed by The Ink Spots and Ella Fitzgerald. Beautiful, somber and a perfect accompaniment to an evening stroll to Arefu. Actually, I only ever found myself longing to hear the song when I was roaming though the rural part of the wasteland at night.
My selection of Sit and Dream comes mostly from its rarity in New Vegas. Compared to the other radio hits, I rarely ever hear this Pete Thomas song. I suppose that’s why having this lullaby tune come on, especially when dodging ambushes from Giant Radscorpions, I find myself overtaken. I swear this song has the ability to ward off bad dreams after Japanese horror film marathon (don’t judge me).
This Ink Spots hit, featured also in the haunting intro to the original Fallout, is the perfect atmospheric tune for the Capital Wasteland, as well as the series in general. There’s a bitter longing to the lyrics that is applicable to so many personal relationships throughout the series, as well as (if you want feel like getting all pseudo-philosophical) the pre-war world. While not my favorite song in the series, I can’t deny the effect it has on the atmosphere.