So, Bioshock: The Collection is out now, incorporating all three original games plus their downloadable content, and then a director’s commentary from Ken Levine. Bioshock is the game that got me to finally return to the then-current generation of game consoles, having abandoned gaming almost entirely in my twenties. The trilogy is regarded as one of the greatest franchises of all time, basically the gaming equivalent of the original Star Wars trilogy in terms of popularity, media influence and critical acclaim.
So it’s not surprising that since the first Bioshock was released in 2007, a fair amount of songs have been written in its honor. Some parody, sure, but also sincerely produced odes to a remarkable franchise. Climb in your bathysphere and put in your earbuds; it’s time to rock out in Rapture.
10. PUBLICLY ANONYMOUS FEAT. VEELA, “Killings”
Let’s start off with something both sweet and sinister, appropriate enough for a song sung from the point of view of Rapture’s Little Sisters. Veela’s haunting, modulated voice lays out the plea to be saved from the Splicers that inhabit the ruined, sunken city. It’s an intense bit of electronica with a sharp edge.
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9. BRENTALFLOSS, “The Bioshock Song”
On a more light-hearted note there’s good old Brentalfloss, who writes some of the best video-game-inspired tunes. This is an old-timey, pun-filled song-and-dance-man tribute to Rapture (it’s like New York, but with more fish!). It’s nice to see someone bringing a little levity to what’s usually a pretty grim set of games.
8. DAN BULL, “And the Songbird Sings”
The first of the raps in this list and also our first look at Columbia from Bioshock Infinite. Dan Bull really pulls out all the stops on this track, taking no prisoners with the class warfare that is the heart of Infinite’s plot. Bull aside, Dead Man Walkn’s backing track may be the best thing you’re going to hear this whole article. Just all around a solid track.
7. THE LUCKY JUKEBOX BRIGADE, “They Chose Rapture”
This is easily my favorite on the list. “They Chose Rapture” is a nice mix between Rebekka Karijord, Danny Elfman and really early No Doubt when they still had Eric Stefani on keys. I especially love the breakdown near the 2:30 mark, where the rhythm drops down to a weird two-step that feels like the plodding rhythm of a Big Daddy’s tread.
6. VAMPYRE BLADE REVIEWS, “I Will Save You”
This is another of the soft salutes to Infinite, and it’s got a classic neo-goth feel that tickles this old Soul Asylum fan’s little black heart. It’s cheesy as heck, but it’s also something that honestly moved me deeply remembering the most human moments of a very complex game.
5. TEAMHEADKICK, “This is Bioshock”
Another solid rap entry on the list, “This Is Bioshock” is actually more about actually playing the game than the storyline. Of the rap songs we found it probably has the tightest hook, and extra points for rhyming "Reese’s Pieces" with "telekinesis."
4. MIRACLE OF SOUND, “Dream of Goodbye”
Remember how I said Brentalfloss was responsible for some of the best video game-inspired songs? Miracle of Sound is the other side of that coin. They have more than a few Bioshock songs, but I went with “Dream of Goodbye” because there are almost no songs dedicated to the Burial at Sea expansion. It’s a good deal darker than your typical Miracle of Sound fare, but definitely captures the atmosphere of Bioshock.
3. PETER COFFIN, “Infinite”
Oh hey, it’s my friend Peter Coffin! I had no idea he’d ever done this, but combining Will Smith’s “Wild Wild West” with the storyline of Bioshock Infinite is surprisingly awesome. I love how the hook calls attention to the ridiculous clothing-based stat-boost system!
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2. KAWNAR, “Tear In the Floating City”
I’ve got to say, the songs inspired by Columbia rather than Rapture tend to be the more compelling; make of that what you will. Kawnar really brings some next level stuff in this track, and it oddly feels the most like something you would have heard on the soundtrack.
1. JAMES ARCHIBALD, “Rapture Rap”
This one is particularly fun, and that’s why we’re ending with it. It’s a homemade rap video that won a PC Gamer competition in 2013, and it’s as silly as they come. It has a breakdown of Big Daddy sound files as a verse, and that’s just ridiculous enough to rule.