It’s great that PlayStation is still a holdout on menu music. Sure, it can sometimes get annoying and repetitive, but it’s a nice way to set the tone for the experience, and gives off the vibe of stepping into a fancy boutique you can’t afford anything in. Keeping the tradition, the PS5 has new menu music, and I wish I knew more about melody structure to understand how it creates the feelings that it does.
The PS4 menu music was more like an angelic choir preparing you for sleep the night before a battle in which you were expected to claim victory. The PS5 goes another way.
To properly imagine how the music sounds (because I can’t record it for you yet, and this tweet from Sony only gives you a short snippet), I must first describe a scene to you. Picture this:
You’re in the waiting room of a spa. You’re about to get a massage on your very sore upper back. Someone wearing beige linen just handed you a calming cup of herbal tea.
But wait, was that a ghost? Why couldn’t you see the face of the person who handed you the tea? How did you get here? Did you even book an appointment?
Then again, it’s so nice here, the music is so peaceful, the tea is warm, and this couch cushion is so soft and luxurious. Ooh, maybe the robes will be soft and fluffy.
Are you sure this is safe, though? Should you be concerned that the soft gauzy curtains keep rustling even though there isn’t a breeze? Should you have asked what was in the tea?
That extremely calm but vaguely unsettled feeling you’re currently confused about is exactly the mood of the new PS5 menu music. It’s perhaps best described as “music you’d play at a spa in a haunted house where the ghosts are neither good nor evil”. It sounds like some kind of musical metal bowl was involved at some point in the process.
The sound effects are also a little different to the PS4, they sound more rounded at the edges and less stabby.
Of course, you can still turn it off by going to the Sound menu in settings. But do you really want to do that? Eventually, sure. But in the meantime, enjoy being calmly unsettled with me once you get your PS5 on launch day.