Considering how my first two exposures to the main theme of a video game series were a digital flatulence mess and an improved though still not stellar electro-symphonic version, imagine my surprise at finding out that the original from which they spawned is pretty fantastic.
Yeah yeah, another week, another song feature from a DICE game, you’ve got me beat there. Also, yes, this is no joke, the song known ‘round the world as The Theme of Battlefield was originally called “Vehicle IV”.
There are plenty of things about it—the three-beat time signature, the d-da da d-da da rhythm of the string/bass hits, the epic melody—that make it ripe for the remixes that followed it. However, there is something special about the approach of first time that much of the 2010's renditions are unable to hold a candle to.
Namely, it’s that unlike all of the modern Theme of Battlefield versions, the one from Battlefield 1942 is neither explosively loud nor bombastic. It is rather understated, even. Especially when compared to the likes of the third and fourth-numbered game entries.
This theme is less action movie score and more Sound! Euphonium in execution. At heightened urgency, but not to full-throated extremes. Dramatic, but not histrionically so. There may be strings, but instead of wailing their hearts out, they spend most of the time accentuating the rhythmic bass hits and quietly underlining the lead instruments. The main melody comes from a single trumpet and trombone duo. Snare rolls make up a majority of the drum work.
Taken altogether, “Vehicle IV” is seemingly an attempt to emulate World War II-era military march songs. It must have hit its mark if so, if only because I envision that it could be a more natural than expected fit if, hypothetically speaking, it were slotted into Girls und Panzer’s soundtrack.
Also, unlike the modern-day Battlefield entries, 1942's theme does not spend most of its run time on build-up in an attempt to be uber-dramatic, which invariably ended up with the awesome shit being too short-lived. The entire song stays at the same level of awesomeness all the time.
RedStripe Loved Trax—originally from days of Tumblr past—is a series about the music Justin adores, with special emphasis on songs from (or introduced by) video games and anime.