No More Heroes – “Gorgeous Blues” (Masafumi Takada)May 22, 2010
No More Heroes (2008) was one of the quirky M-rated titles that came out for the Wii. It is about an otaku, Travis Touchdown, who buys a mysterious light sword off the internet, the beam katana. He uses the sword to kill the top ten assassins and so he can become the world’s most powerful hitman.
“Gorgeous Blues” is the game’s driving song. Travis Touchdown rolls through the city on a motorcycle the size of a Greyhound bus, named “Schpeltiger”, a rig that’s as much ‘cool’ as it is over-the-top. Hit the gas to fly ahead at mach 1 through the busy intersection, sending trees and signs flying. Anyway, the theme is perfect for cruising with the steady beat and driving guitar, recalling the rolling rock and leather jackets of the 50s. It’s got the happiness and freedom of the road but enough looping to match the city streets. One thing becomes clear: this man is looking for trouble (or just casually wrecking shit as he goes along).
Masafumi Takada (Killer 7, Neko Zamurai, The Silver Case) has been the main composer for Grasshopper Manufacture for many years (recently joined by Akira Yamaoka). From the track titles alone, you can tell Takada is hip. Each song has a creative – and incredibly difficult to understand – title, like “Vioectrolysis”, “Mach 13 Elephant Explosion”, and “Piranhas in the Air”. This is actually an extension of the game’s style itself – down to the titles of the songs, the feel of No More Heroes is present. And the feel of the audio is something Takada feels is central to the game, making the game come to life through audio. In an interview, Takada takes this a step further, stating that the atmosphere of the game not only brings memories of when you heard the song last but will also generate new memories in the future:
“I want to create music that will tie you to, and remind you of, the virtual world, but also come back to you in the real world, and create future memories. The soundtrack should recall your old memories, but also help forge new ones.”
It’s essentially emotioneering, finding sounds that anticipate the player’s memories while generating new ones.
I have to say though that I’m not really that big a fan of the No More Heroes soundtrack – many of the tracks are variations of the main theme (which I believe is the song “Heavenly Star” by Genki Rockets), which I find more than a tad annoying (“Cashmere Cannonball” may be my favorite version). There are literally about 20 versions of this song across all three discs. However, I do have a few favorites like “Oxygen Graffiti” and (the quite long) “Season of the Samurai” that may pop up here again…