The Best Video Game Soundtracks: Part 2

Video game soundtracks are one of the most underrated culturally significant forms of music. In my last post, I introduced some of my favorite video game soundtracks, but wanted to continue the series with a few more soundtracks that I really like and that still have an impact on me. 

Doki Doki Literature Club 

If you’re unfamiliar with this game, I will go ahead and say that you should check the trigger warnings associated with it that may affect you. This part RPG, part horror game has such a bubbly soundtrack, created by game producer Dan Salvato. The song Your Reality and its instrumental version has stuck with me through the years and I find myself singing it still to this day. 

Fire Emblem: Three Houses 

I love all the piano instrumentals that come out of my favorite Nintendo games, especially Fire Emblem: Three Houses which came out last year. The entire soundtrack is a great complement to the game, with tracks that vary in intensity and are perfect for me to study to. I especially love the detailed piano composition the game provides, and how warm and home-like the main tracks are. 

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim 

I love Skyrim and think it truly set the tone for open-world video game soundtracks. It was the first of its time to experiment heavily with deep orchestral notes and choir vocals (yes, they used an actual 30-person choir to create parts of the soundtrack). Listening to this over again reminds me of all the great times I had playing the game, and gets me immersed right back into that world. 

Grand Theft Auto V 

GTA V has one of the longest and most diverse soundtracks. I love that the game includes so many genres and a variety of artists. I thoroughly enjoy at least 90% of the songs and artists featured, with some of my favorites included like Phantogram, Little Dragon, and Wavves. The game also helped me discover some new music from different genres, which increased exponentially how much I enjoyed playing the game. Definitely recommend playing it or giving the soundtrack a listen. 

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed! 

– Miranda 


Music For Focusing

While most of us are working or studying for home, it’s important that we can all have good background music that allows us to focus in on what we’re doing while contributing to a pleasant atmosphere. I have compiled a list of all the best albums that help me focus. Most of them are instrumental or lofi-indie albums, which I think are the perfect mix between songs that aren’t distracting but are still entertaining. 

Ecstasy – Disclosure 

This EP came out fairly recently, and is one of the easiest for me to vibe out to while doing homework or blogging. A lot of the EP includes samples from old songs compiled into an overall great instrumental compilation. I really recommend the whole EP for studying. 

April In Paris – Grove Street Quartet 

This jazz EP by Grove Street Quartet is short but sweet, and though I normally don’t absolutely love jazz music, this project is both energetic and listenable while completing any difficult tasks. I like the romantic tones the quartet uses and think it’s a great addition to any study playlist. 

Ambivalence Avenue – Bibio

I absolutely adore this album, and it is one of my all-time favorites even outside of instrumental music. Bibio is an artist who has masterfully created the perfect atmospheric tracks, especially on Ambivalence Avenue. My favorite from the album is lovers’ carvings, and I definitely would recommend that song specifically. 

How Are You – Mounika. 

This album and artist are exactly what I love to listen to while working. This type of electronic mix always helps keep me upbeat. I love the simplicity of the vocals, especially on Cut My Hair which samples a song I really like by Cavetown. 

This is all I have for now, but hopefully I’ll be able to post a part two eventually. Hope you all enjoyed this list, and it helps you finish everything you need to do. 

– Miranda 


Friday Favorites (4/17)

Hope you guys are all staying well! Here are some of my recent favorite new(ish) releases with a bit of description. 

Intro (i m sorry) – Mounika. 

This new single is such a pretty instrumental, lofi-chill beat. I love the sampling and how it comes together for such a simple and relaxing melody. Just give it a listen, and you’ll know exactly what I mean.  

Black Qualls (ft. Steve Lacy, Steve Arrington, Childish Gambino) – Thundercat 

I reviewed the Thundercat album in depth, and if you haven’t read the blog yet I totally recommend checking it out. This album is a really amazing continuation of Thundercat’s discography and especially like this song for all the musicians featured on it and how soulful and deep it is; it makes me just want to dance. 

12.38 – Childish Gambino 

Overall, I  was not super impressed by the new album this track derives from. Unlike a lot of Glover’s previous albums, this one felt rushed and had less depth and emotion than I prefer. However, I do really enjoy this track and have been playing it all week. I like how Childish Gambino plays around with different styles all within the same song and how it is so experimental and out there compared with some of his past music. 

Tokyo Drift Freestyle – Rich Brian 

I wanted to include this one because I think Rich Brian has one of the best voices in rap right now. I have really liked his 88rising projects as well as this song and its music video, which he made while quarantined in his house. I really like the creativity paired with such a popular beat. 

Snoopy – zack villere

This song is super out-there and weird, which is a definite plus in my eyes. I love zack villere’s vocals and especially enjoyed this recent album, this song it ends on in particular. 

As always, you can check out all of my Friday Favorites from this week and past weeks on my Spotify playlist

– Miranda 

New Album Review

Porter Robinson’s Get Your Wish

Porter Robinson recently announced his second album, titled “nurture,” on his Instagram. It’s been four years since he released his last single, Shelter, and six since the release of Worlds, his first album. 

Porter released his most recent single, titled “Get Your Wish,” this past month. I definitely recommend giving it a listen, it is an upbeat mix of instrumentals and interesting vocals so reminiscent of Porter’s previous projects. There is definitely more of a pop/EDM influence in this most recent track, which I hope will continue with the release of the rest of the album. The single is Porter’s response to his four-year hiatus. He posted an explanation of the song on his Twitter, stating that the single is about “finding a reason to move forward, even if it’s not for your own sake.” Porter has been relatively open about his struggles with creating music and enjoying the process within the past few years, and this single reflects his renewed motivation and the reason behind all of it: to “move people the way music moves [him].” The song is available on all major streaming platforms, and the music video is already up on YouTube. 

I’m so excited to see the storyline of nurture. Porter’s first album, Worlds, follows the story of a post-apocalyptic world where humans and machines collide. From my perspective, the Worlds album begins with a descent into a new world. The album progresses to depict the intertwined relationship of a human and a robot who depend on each other for survival in a world of chaos and war. The final song of the album, “Goodbye To A World,” is almost haunting. The human has left the robot (perhaps in death or by entering a different dimension), and the robot reflects on their time together before it shuts down forever. Each song on the album has a unique melody and detailed narrative. The stories Porter Robinson is able to create within all of his tracks and their visual counterparts are some of the most vivid I have ever found in music. 

– Miranda 

New Album Review

It Is What It Is Album Review

Listen if you like: Erykah Badu, Toro Y Moi, Flying Lotus 

My favorites: I Love Louis Cole, Black Qualls, Dragonball Durag, Fair Chance

Hello all you cool thundercats and thunderkittens (sorry), I hope everyone is staying motivated and well-rested. Today, I want to discuss my thoughts about Thundercat’s new album, as well as a little bit of an artist background. 

Stephen Lee Bruner, better known as Thundercat, has a long and diverse history in the music industry. He happened to be born to Ronald Bruner, Sr. who worked with iconic soul musicians like Diana Ross and The Temptations. From being in a boy band to working on the iconic album To Pimp A Butterfly, Bruner has gained prominence in the industry and has absorbed musical influence from a multitude of genres. Thundercat’s past works include the well-known album Drunk and features on albums by Flying Lotus and Mac Miller.

It Is What It Is has a funky and soulful vibe, and many of its tracks are more playful than Bruner’s past discography. The album has a surprising amount of artists featured like Ty Dolla $ign and Louis Cole. I especially love how each different voice comes together on Black Qualls, and I adore the vocals Childish Gambino and Steve Lacy provide. As one can expect, this album continues Thundercat’s trend of creating jazzy beats and rough, unfinished-sounding vocals. He delves into great emotional depth within this album. On Existential Dread he falsettos “I’m not sure, of what’s comin’ next/ But I’ll be alright.” The song fades perfectly into It Is What It Is, where Bruner wistfully sings out “So many things I want to say/ This is the end.” What impactful lyrics for all of us to consider at this time, when so much of the future is unsure. I find the questions of existence and love in the lyricism throughout the album to help guide me in my path of calmness amongst the calamity. 

Hope you all enjoyed! Let me know what you think of this album. 

– Miranda 

Non-Music News

Community Resources for COVID-19

Greetings to all who are apart of the Wolfpack community, and the Triangle area. It is so important for each of us to enable our friends and family to access necessary resources during the coronavirus situation. I have compiled a list below with many different resources for students and other individuals in the RDU area. For NC State Coronavirus Response updates, go to their website. For general updates, please refer to the CDC. 

Basic Resources:

  • Pack Essentials: NC State students experiencing challenges in accessing basic needs such as food, housing, and educational supplies should submit a Pack Essentials form. This form can help students get financial assistance and other resources, based on need. In addition, the Pack Essentials Emergency Grant has received generous donations, enabling it to help thousands of students. I definitely recommend applying if you need any kind of assistance. 

  • Wake County Food Pantries: This Google sheet has contact information for food pantries in Wake County. Please check the document to see locations available near you and any notes relating to changes in their hours of operation. 

Technology Resources: 

  • Internet Access: The North Carolina DIT put together a list of resources for internet access, including free and affordable internet services within North Carolina, as well as information on how to access free Wifi in certain locations. 

  • NCSU Libraries: Although NCSU Libraries buildings are closed, they are offering many useful online services for students. They allow long-term loans for technology, PDF copies of your textbook chapters, and more great resources. 

  • Textbooks: Wolfpack Outfitters and VitalSource have partnered to provide free access to ebooks through May 25th. All you need to do is create an account with your NCSU email address at the VitalSource site

Health and Wellness:

  • Telehealth and Medication: To help prevent further spread of coronavirus, many health offices are moving toward online appointments. In addition, many different insurance companies have offered free prescription shipping and other policies which may benefit anyone taking regular medications. You should check your primary care doctor and insurance company policies to see if it can help you. In addition, NCSU Student Health is offering “reduced and limited” services. You can find more information on their website

  • Mental Health: The NCSU Counseling Center is available for telehealth appointments through the phone or through secure video chat. You can find more information here. 

  • Exercise: NC State Wellness and Recreation is offering different programs such as virtual fitness classes, wellness tips, and at-home workout routines. Find more information here. 

I hope that these resources are useful. Remember that even if you do not need these resources, sharing this information with others can go along way in helping members of our community. 

Stay safe and be well, 



A Listener’s Approach to Problematic Artists

Disclaimer: everything stated in this blog post reflects my personal opinion and does not necessarily reflect WKNC’s views. 

Often, I come across “problematic” artists. Today, the spread of news media is nearly instantaneous and thus as music listeners we have virtually unlimited access to information about our favorite artists. Because of this availability we are easily able to judge and analyze the actions of artists. There are so many “problematic” artists today, from misogynistic lyrics, artists who are known abusers, to musicians who are supportive of causes the general public is not, and more. 

My favorite example of an artist whose views I disagree with is Kanye West. After years of political activism I aligned with, he publicly announced his support of President Trump, who has done significant damage to the country and whose political stances I am personally opposed to. Despite the unwavering support through his other allegedly problematic actions (Taylor Swift incident, anyone?), this definitely soured my opinion of West and his music. To this day, I can’t enjoy it to the same degree as before. 

In addition, there are a ridiculous amount of artists I have completely abandoned all support of when I heard the physical or sexual assault allegations against them. Especially in my own local DIY scene, so many allegations have come out against band members that I no longer feel comfortable in those spaces. 

The reason I’m writing this blog is as a discussion of how we, as music listeners, approach this conundrum. Are we allowed to like music done by bad people? Am I okay with supporting an artist whose values are extremely skewed from my own? I have reflected on these questions for years, since I was old enough to do research about the musicians I listen to. For me, it boils down to my gut reaction. When the evidence seems sufficient and the action is unforgivable (to me, personally) I feel the need to completely let go of the artist and renounce any support I once had for them. When it’s a lesser issue, like a political difference or distasteful comment it is easier for me to separate the music from the person who created it, and thus I can still enjoy the music. 

Let me know if any of you feel similarly, or different. I am always interested in different perspectives. 

– Miranda 


Friday Favorites (4/3)

This week I’ve been listening to almost only electronic music, including some of my favorite alt-electronica tracks from the past few years. Hopefully you all enjoy this, and as a reminder you can listen every one of my Friday Favorites here

What We Drew – Yaeji

I try to listen to a variety of music, and that extends to songs sung in a variety of languages, like this one in Korean. I adore the simplistic drum beats paired with electro tones, and Yaeji’s voice is super pitchy and high, reminding me of one of my favorite artists, Grimes. Definitely listen to this if you want to hear something out of the box. 

let’s relate – of Montreal 

One of my favorite tracks of all time, hands down. This song has nostalgic value to me, but more than that, it’s just a well-produced song that has an amazing vibe. The tones just coalesce into a gorgeous melody that I never get tired of hearing. If you are a fan of electronic or alternative music at all, I highly recommend this track. 

Orange Shirt – Discovery 

The entire album LP by Discovery is a good one. I chose Orange Shirt particularly because it’s lesser known than some of Discovery’s other tracks, but I think it deserves a little attention. It’s such a catchy song with the best mixture of synth pop elements. It’s definitely been an earworm for me in the past, hope I can put someone else on to it! 

Are You Feeling Sad? (ft. Kali Uchis) – Little Dragon

Little Dragon has had a great impact on my life as a music lover, and she helped me really dig into the electronic scene. I also happen to be a big fan of Kali Uchis’s vocals, so I really appreciate the vocals in this song. Its melody is a bit chaotic and leans more toward the genre of pop than I usually like, but overall I think it’s such a cool song. 

As always, I’m so thankful to everyone who takes time to read my posts and listen to my recommendations. Wishing that everyone is keeping safe and healthy!

– Miranda 

Band/Artist Profile

Artist Spotlight: The Internet

My favorite tracks: Hold On, Special Affair, Dontcha, They Say 

Listen if you like: Phony Ppl, Steve Lacy, Noname 

The Internet is an L.A.-based group which blends together a mixture of R&B soul, hip-hop, electronica, and funk to create the most inspired music out there. It all began in late 2011 when some of the members of Odd Future decided to create a side-project under Odd Future Records. Thus the album Purple Naked Ladies was birthed. Together, the members of The Internet masterfully create a sound unlike any other in the modern R&B scene. Although the band was founded primarily by Syd, along with Christopher Smith, Matt Martians, and Patrick Paige, they were joined by Steve Lacy in 2015. The Internet has a total of four albums, Purple Naked Ladies (2011), Feel Good (2013), Ego Death (2015), and Hive Mind (2018). Ego Death was nominated for a Grammy in 2015 and the band has received clout throughout the alternative hip-hop circles and beyond. 

While I truly appreciate all of the albums The Internet has made, I especially adore Ego Death. I love Steve Lacy’s contributions to the production of the album and think highly of it, as one of the most smooth and well-made R&B-hip-hop albums of my lifetime. Syd’s vocals and the electronic-inspired melodies blend together perfectly. Ego Death is a unique experience of an album. Since high school, these songs have brought me comfort in times of struggle and have allowed me to embrace the weirdness and beauty of life. If you’re looking for some tracks to start out with, I highly recommend Just Sayin/I Tried and Palace/Curse, which are my go-tos to this day whenever I need a mood boost. All this said, I do enjoy the entirety of the band’s discography, which is extremely rare for me. Check the band out, and you’ll see why. I appreciate the emotional ties I have with each album and I continuously hope to see new projects from them soon. 

– Miranda 

New Album Review

Album Review: King Krule’s Man Alive!

My favorites: Stoned Again, Perfecto Miserable, Slinky

Listen if you like: Ariel Pink, Blood Orange, Toro y Moi 

I really like King Krule’s (alias for Archy Marshall) music, specifically his lyricism, which is filled with wit and strangeness I haven’t found in any other indie artists. His voice stands out, a scratchy baritone with a thick English accent that is a delight to the ears. King Krule’s 6 Feet Beneath the Moon helped him accrue popularity in the indie/alternative scene. I particularly love this album; its melodies are relaxing and each song is shrouded in emotional depth. 

I found Man Alive! to be an interesting contribution to King Krule’s discography. I loved that while listening, I could feel more emotion throughout this album than most of his previous works. There is a palpable anguish in the tracks Comet Face and Alone, Omen 3. Perfecto Miserable is a track where he expresses a deep love and longing, which specifically stuck out to me as less grim and more emotionally charged than his past works. The entirety of Man Alive! allows the listener to step into the mind of a grim, pessimistic Londoner, and I love any album that can show so clearly the perspective and storytelling of another person. Throughout all the darkness in sound and nightmarish lyricism, there are the lighthearted snippets “Please, complete me/ It must be the answer” and “You’re my everything/ You make me feel alright” which must be a reference to Marshall’s current relationship. Even the ending of the album with Please Complete Thee transforms from a dark, grungy melody to light uplifting notes in the last minute of the song. This album is filled with such contrasts. King Krule also played with a variety of new sounds compared to his previous work. Specifically, there is more electronic influence in tracks like Cellular and Comet Face. As a big fan of electronic music, I really appreciated this as a breakaway from some of his more guitar/piano based songs from older albums. Although 6 Feet Beneath the Moon will always be my favorite of Marshall’s discography, this album is a lovely look into the evolution of King Krule as a musician and makes me excited for what’s to come. 

– Miranda