Jill Valentine is one of my favorite video game characters ever. I remember when I was a kid, I would stay up late playing as Jill in the original Resident Evil, biting my fingernails in fear. I wanted to tell Jill’s story in a unique way, and my inspiration came from talking to Vinett at thehorny-zombie. She said, “I don’t think zombies are stupid,” and that simple statement made me wonder how an intellgient zombie would feel during the classic “Mansion Incident” in Resident Evil. So, I sang from the perspective of the zombie who owns the mansion. He just sees Jill as a trouble-maker. Really, when you think about it, the zombies are victims of home invasion; S.T.A.R.S has no right to enter that mansion. The zombie’s rantings are full of references to the game—even the classic Jill Sandwich moment—and they really highlight why we un-undead all love Jill (good looks aside). This song is dedicated to Vinett for the good zombie-dialogue, and to these great Resident Evil blogs I read during my research: residentevil-fanart, f***yeahresidentevil, hellyesresidentevilseries, -thehive, f***yeahchrisandjill, fyeahjillvalentine, jill-valentine, valentinefever, claireredfield-, and bloodyxnightmare. If interested, free downloads are here; and stream it on YouTube here. I first recorded this with electric guitar and heavy distortion; if you are interested in comparing, you can hear that version here. I like it, but the humor in these #gaming pieces is lyric driven, and the words get lost in distortion. If you enjoy this, be sure to check out my other #zombie and #gaming songs. — Kavalier
Evil Valentine, everyone thinks you’re one
of them shining S.T.A.R.S.,
but I know you’re a petty thief in a uniform.
I’d like to wash my hands in your Type B blood.
Master of Unlocking who invited you to open up my doors?
Undead or not, I’m still a resident of Raccoon, and I got rights just like you.
I can kill trespassers on my land; what do you care if I turn them into a snack?
Why let good flesh go to waste? Brains, brains, brains.
Umbrella gave me this mansion of puzzles, games to test my mind.
I don’t remember asking for your help; Valentine, you’re out of line!
And you claim to be flexible, quick on your feet, but I would have made a sandwich of you if not for Barry.
And your sweet flesh would not have gone to waste. Brains, brains, brains.
I tire of you shooting my guests in the head.
I tire of the sound of your footsteps.
(Brains, brains, brains.)
Evil Valentine, I just want you to leave me be.
Take your beret, take your brain, and get off my property.
Don’t mind the dogs; they’re as friendly as can be.
And Valentine, we’ll see you again real soon in Raccoon City.
Tonight’s song is for Ratohnhaké:ton (aka Connor Kenway) from the upcoming Assassin’s Creed 3 game, which I can’t wait to play. I recently contacted the guys at the awesome On The Level Gaming blog to see if they had any song ideas, and they gave me great ones, including:
We pitched around the idea of a song on upcoming Assassin’s Creed 3’s protagonist Connor Kenway. Possibly something about how most people can’t pronounce his proper Indian name Ratohnhake:ton (pronounced Ra-doon-ha-gay-doon). There’s got to be some comedy gold in there, right?
I agreed, and tried to mine said gold. It remains unclear how Connor’s story connects to Desmond’s—the overarching story in Assassin’s Creed—so I focused on what we know now (which is very little). To write a song that would logically survive the release of the game, I needed to tell the story of the man, the story of a legendary assassin who fought during the American Revolution. I literally researched about oral tradition and colonial folk music to understand what makes a folk song distinctly American and timeless (à la “Yankee Doodle”). Hence the banjo and the Native-like chanting of the recurring, catchy refrain. Rhythm is essential in such songs, but hand claps are not easy to record; so, I leave it to all of you to clap as you sing along. Along with the bloggers at otlgaming, I dedicate this song to these awesome Assassin’s Creed blogs I read in my research: allsoundsasscreed, f***yeaassassinscreed, thetumblrhoodheadquarters, f***yeah-connor, everythingasscreed, assassinsecrets, and nyiro. Enjoy everyone! If you like my work, share it! Free downloads of this song are here, and you can stream it on YouTube here. And may the Gaming Gods continue to bless America. — Kavalier Calm
Though he left The Valley of his birth,
he wears his people’s name at his hips.
Like a bird among the trees he watches;
a Mohawk with Eagle Vision.
Ra-doon-ha-gay-doon, the Redcoats are doomed.
His moral compass guides him through the snow
like a wolf’s nose guides him to blood.
The Templar’s fingerprints are on this war,
and he will freerun them down for our freedoms.
The Founding Fathers know they’re outnumbered;
he is their ally in the shadows.
A new nation’s fate lies in the balance,
and he fights to tip the scales.
Stealthy as a whisper he moves,
with his tomahawk in hand.
He’ll scratch out your life
if you try to take our rights.
So, gamers, can you spot all the references to Assassin’s Creed?
EDIT: I decided to make a Lara-only version of this song, too. Check it out here.
Tonight’s song is about a race between Lara Croft and Indiana Jones to see who is the Best Archaeologist Ever Known. When Meagan Marie—who manages Official Tomb Raider Blog—suggested I write songs for the important women in gaming, I happily accepted the challenge of highlighting the strengths of women in games. Lara is probably my favorite female character ever, so I wrote her an epic. Really, at seven minutes plus, this is Homeric in scope. Fandom like a boss. In my story, Lara and Indy have the strength and intelligence we expect; but it is Croft’s womanly wisdom that matters most in the end. The art of this is in the storytelling—the music merely provides a chugging rhythm. I painstakingly enunciated so you could understand the words, but they are a fun read. I put the lyrics and a full explanation of the songwriting process in a separate post; the lyrics are also in the video details on YouTube. Free downloads of this epic are available here.
This song is dedicated to many blogs that I read during my extensive research on Lara Croft: Of course, Meagan Marie and the Official Tomb Raider Blog, and also larahcroft.blog.cz, Eidos’ Tomb Raider Forums, tombraideraddiction, captivatingcroft, raidercroft, twinpistols, f***yeahlaracrofttombraider, effyeahtombraidergirls, fyeahtombraider, lara-croft, tombraidingb*tch, and laracroft. Thanks for the inspiration, bloggers! I hope you all enjoy because I am certainly enjoying being the #Gaming Bard. – Kavalier Calm
Listeners: Who do you think is the better archaeologist? Lara or Indy?
Lara Croft of Tomb Raider fame is the protagonist in this adventure-ballad. When Meagan Marie—who manages Official Tomb Raider Blog—suggested I write songs for the women of gaming, I happily accepted the challenge. Lara is probably my favorite female character ever, so I wrote her an epic. At five minutes plus, this is Homeric in scope. Fandom big or go home, I say. In my story, Lara raids the tomb of an ancient Undead Kingdom; rather than highlight her physical traits or her weapons, I focused on her cleverness—her distinctly feminine wisdom. The art of this is in the storytelling—the music merely provides a chugging rhythm. A lot of thought about gender differences and music went into this; you can read about the whole process here if you wish. And this is actually the second version of this song; the original was an even longer version about a race between Lara and Indiana Jones. It’s worth a listen, too, but it is less attention-span friendly. Free downloads of this epic are available here, and you can stream it on YouTube.
This song is dedicated to the many blogs that I read during my extensive research on Lara Croft: Of course, Meagan Marie and the Official Tomb Raider Blog, and also larahcroft.blog.cz, Eidos’ Tomb Raider Forums, tombraideraddiction, captivatingcroft, raidercroft, twinpistols, f***yeahlaracrofttombraider, effyeahtombraidergirls, fyeahtombraider, lara-croft, tombraidingb*tch, and laracroft. Thanks for the inspiration, bloggers! I hope you all enjoy because I am certainly enjoying playing as the #Gaming Bard. – Kavalier Calm
A Woman’s Clever Ways
When Lara reads about The Kingdom of Undead, her eyes light up, dreams fill her head.
She makes plans to raid that tomb—the Skeleton King’s Temple of Doom—
for great treasure waits in its vault: The Queen of Bone’s solid gold skull.
Our raider smiles because she knows:
No man, beast, or magic game
can beat a woman’s clever ways.
The tomb’s first room is dark as night; Lara lights a torch and to her surprise
the floor is covered by undead tigers, restless in their slumber.
They smell blood, and they smell meat, but Lara is ever-quick on her feet.
She can see they’re blind as bats, from years living in darkness;
they hunt with their nose and ears; she needs to trick them that she’s near.
The cave’s high ceiling plays with sound, so Lara screams louder than loud.
Her voice bounces off all the walls, hits those cats like a hundred war calls.
In confusion, they begin to roar—adding to the echo score.
As they crash and claw each other, Lara slips by without a bother.
The next room is home to a ghost, he appears to Lara, a demanding host:
“In the next chamber awaits your prize, but passage comes at a high price;
The toll is a life or limb; nothing less will get you in.”
Facing this grave toll, Lara uses what she knows from old scrolls:
these undead worship cats as gods; she says this to help her odds:
“Sir, like many of your people, I am part feline—on my mother’s side;
this makes me swift and nimble and gives me nine lives.
I have one I can give to you if you agree to let me through.”
To this, the ghost responds: “I know this is a clever trick,
but I respect its guile, so I accept.”
Into the throne room Lara steps, and right away she spies her get:
she takes a step towards the prize, the golden skull shines;
she jumps back in fear! as the King from thin air appears,
carrying a royal club of wood, smiling as only the dead could.
But Lara’s heart doesn’t skip a beat; she falls to her knees,
and palms stretched forward on the ground, she humbly sings:
"My King, do you not wish to rest?
At this he halts his march, at this he drops his arm:
"At times I tire of my task, but someone must guard my wife
against thieves like you, against their greedy vice.”
“My King, I can be your guard. I can give your wife a new temple,
a modern home called a museum where people will line up to see her,
where she will be worshiped every day and be treated like royalty.”
The King taps his chin and weighs the choice, turns his ear to his queen’s silent voice.
“The Queen says she likes this idea, and I learned early in my rule
never to argue with that woman—it’s a duel I always lose.
So, raider, we have a bargain, then, and I declare it a win-win:
You get to keep your life, and I finally get to end mine.”
He extends his hand in thanks, and as they shake, he fades away.
And as Lara grabs the skull, she hears the Queen say:
This Mass Effect-themed song is sung by an Alliance soldier whose lover, another soldier, was tragically turned into a Husk. The inspiration for this song came from Erin at the wonderful blog gamermusic. She wrote the first verse and the melody with her friends one night, and it’s been an inside joke of theirs ever since. She let me build upon their great start to make a full song. Her words made me ponder what it would be like to see a lover turned into a Husk. I believe the power of love is such that humans will always fight for it, even if it means denying the “necessary” destiny of cleansing the universe. Love is probably the only shield strong enough to save someone from the Reapers’ indoctrination. I dedicate this song to Erin for the awesome idea and for being the first collaborator to aid in the songwriting itself; check out her blog! I also devote this song to these blogs with quality, unique Mass Effect content: f***yeah-masseffect, massdefect, masseffectlastnight, mass-effect, f***yeahmasseffectlegion, masseffecttranscribed, and masseffect-caps. Gamers, these lyrics are full of references to the series; can you spot them all? Free downloads of this song are available here, and stream it/comment on YouTube here. Thanks for listening, everyone! — Kavalier Calm
Are you a man, or are you a husk?
I’m alone in this squad when it used to be us.
We’re fighting this battle but I know we won’t win
‘cause I can’t survive if you’re not on my side.
When we found you on the dragon’s teeth, I closed my eyes.
The Geth stole away your soul and left a shell behind.
And I want to come close to say my goodbyes,
but, Abomination, I’m told you were made to explode.
And the Reapers, the Old Machines, say it’s our destiny,
but I’ll never be indoctrinated to believe
that you should have been taken from me.
Research from Cerberus shows the nano-machines
make zombies by riding the adrenaline of beings.
Well, I know of your passion, and I know of your fight;
I bet they changed you in the blink of an eye.
And I’d trade a Collector all the living beings he wants
for a way to get you back into my arms.
And the Illusive Man is wrong; humans are no better than the rest.
But in loving you I proved that our hearts have depth.
Husk, I will fight because they took you from me.
When Mandy suggested my next #gaming song should be about Axel of Kingdom Hearts, I was instantly inspired. Axel is such a dynamic character, and the language of the KH series lends itself well to lyrics (can you spot all the references to the series in my lyrics?). When writing this, I imagined what it would be like to be a Nobody; perhaps unsurprisingly, it wasn’t difficult. I think some days we all feel like our heart is gone—because no one has awakened it yet, or because it is hiding from some pain. Some days it is hard to feel any emotion at all. I wrote about that feeling of being a body without a heart, that feeling of waiting for someone to turn you into a somebody—a somebody special. I devote this song to make-my-heart-doki-doki and abreathingworkofart for their suggestions that I write a Kingdom Hearts-themed song. I also devote this song to these blogs with awesome KH content: kindomheartskey, kingdomheartssaga, kingdomheartslove, khcomplete, f***yeahkingdomheartsseries, kingdomheartsobsessed, and kiboom. Thanks for listening, everyone. I hope you enjoy! Free downloads of this track are here, and you can stream in on YouTube here. — Kavalier Calm
Well, this life is a gamble,
and I’m not winning the bet.
It seems I was dealt all spades in a kingdom of hearts.
Can I call redeal?
I tire of being a nobody who’s lost to the dark:
an axle without a wheel, a flame without a spark.
Help me find my heart so I am complete;
help me become a somebody.
Well, I have a long shadow that hides the light;
and my assassins live by my lies.
And there are at least thirteen ghosts like me
who dream of feeling.
I asked the guys over at the awesome Dude Let’s Game blog for some inspiration for my next #gaming song. One of the bloggers, Salvador, suggested I cover the theme song from Borderlands 2: “Short Change Hero” by The Heavy. We are usually cover-adverse at CI (for creativity’s sake), but I’ve been hooked to this song since I first played Borderlands 2 and was excited to give covering it a shot. I strove to make my version unique with the guitar solos; it’s also very minimalistic, ‘cause I’m just me and myself. I dedicate this song to the Dude Let’s Game blog for posting inspiring content and to these cool blogs with rad Borderlands content: f***yeahborderlands, borderlandstwo, and dotcore. Enjoy, friends, and if you do, share my work with others or put in a request! — Kavalier Calm