All of Borderlands 2's environmental music is pretty great. It's fitting, subtle enough to set the mood but powerful enough for your ears to perk up and notice.
The first campaign add-on to Gearbox's sequel is Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty. There are a lot of things that are great about this new DLC: the loot, the characters, the awesome, awesome new vehicle.
Some vague plot line spoilers follow.
But one thing that got me to sit up in excitement while playing was this damn song above, composed by Raison Varner. I loved it so much that I'd stop right there in my tracks to listen and savour. I noticed this particular track -- that Gearbox was so kind enough to send to us -- just before reaching the lighthouse that Captain Scarlett sends you on a mission to find. The music changes when you transition from in combat to out, so I lingered before jumping down to what I knew was going to be a chaotic battle just so I could listen a bit longer.
The overall smooth track starts off slow, hitting peaks here and there. It feels like a good Western movie complement, and I can totally visualise a cowboy dragging his clinking metal boots towards the horizon where the fire-glowing sun shines down on his dusty, rugged outfit. I imagine he's just come out of a tough battle, looking for water but too proud to show his exhaustion. Music lets my imagination run wild, and that's why I love it so much.
But the end of the song (at around 1:10 in) is where it really gets good. (Unfortunately you can only hear a fraction of it in our sound clip. Fortunately, I found the most quiet YouTube video I could -- to your left, courtesy of ShockBlastMedia -- that features a lengthier listen. Just be wary of some message in the bottle location spoilers.)
It feels more romantic. I wanted to close my eyes and dance my head along to it. The gentle yet rapid guitar stringing reminded me of classical middle eastern music: soft and exotic all at once. It dips and rises with fluidity. My musically-influenced imagination traded the Western picture to something more resembling the plight of an assassin: subtle, hidden in the shadows, yet powerful and deadly. And, happily, that's exactly what a lot of Varner's work entails. This one is just my favourite. So far.