Detroit: Become Human OST
Catalog Number: N/A
Released On: June 22, 2018
Composed By: Philip Sheppard, John Paesano, Adam Hochstatter, Nima Fakhrara, Emily Rose, Carrie Shepard, Lawrence Daversa, Thornetta Davis, The Britemores, Juan Atkins, Mike Banks, Rocket 455, White Shag
Arranged By: Johannes Vogel, Max Knoth, Andreas Lange
Published By: Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe
Recorded at: Unknown
Format: Digital
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Tracklist:

Disc One: Kara
01 - Not Just a Machine
02 - Keep Turning
03 - Little One
04 - Dark Night
05 - Song of the Lost Girl
06 - Kara Main Theme
07 - Lost
08 - Run with Me
09 - I Am Kara
10 - Zlatko
11 - Confrontation
12 - In the Cold
13 - And Then Time Stops
14 - What Is a Mother
15 - Carousel
16 - Buzzkill
17 - All This Will Pass
18 - By Firelight
19 - What Light Breaks
20 - Fly on Foot
21 - Breathe In
22 - No Man Has Borders
23 - By the River
Total Time:
68'50"

Disc Two: Markus
01 - Epilogue
02 - Markus Main Theme
03 - Father and Son
04 - Something You've Never Seen Before
05 - Time to Decide
06 - The Junkyard
07 - I Am Markus
08 - Lost
09 - Find Jericho
10 - We Can't Save Everyone
11 - A False Freedom
12 - Treated Like Slaves
13 - Time to Take Action
14 - Markus' Speech
15 - Can We Still Trust Our Machines
16 - Cyberlife
17 - It's Time We Send a Message
18 - We Are People
19 - It's up to You to Decide
20 - A Huge Mistake
21 - The Revolution Is Starting
22 - Not Human
23 - We Are Not Afraid
24 - I Can't Let My People Die
25 - Finish the Barricade
26 - The Horrors of War
27 - This Is the End
Total Time:
65'49"

Disc Three: Connor
01 - Hostage
02 - Your Choice
03 - Connor and Hank
04 - The Interrogation
05 - Investigation
06 - Now
07 - As I See Them
08 - Analysing
09 - The Nest
10 - They All Look the Same
11 - Eden Club
12 - One by One
13 - The Garden
14 - Kamski
15 - I Trust You
16 - Crossroads
17 - What's Your Mission
18 - Meet Markus
19 - Will You Trust Me
20 - Wake Up
21 - Connor Main Theme
Bonus Track - Deviant
Total Time:
62'42"

Disc Four: Detroit Artists
01 - Boom Goes The Music Box
02 - Straight and Narrow
03 - Seven Moons
04 - I'd Rather Be Alone
05 - C Blues
06 - Perfect Day
07 - Set Me Free
08 - Can't Leave
09 - Electric Night
10 - Johnny Lawless
11 - Midnight Cry
12 - Go To Hell
13 - Voices In My Head
14 - Station
Total Time:
52'48"

Regardless of whether you loved, hated, or avoided Detroit: Become Human altogether, the soundtrack is fantastic and definitely worth a listen. Not only is the music itself good, but Quantic Dream made an interesting and, in my opinion, brilliant decision with regard to how it is structured. Instead of a single artist or a group of artists working together throughout the soundtrack, Detroit features a different composer for each of the main characters. Each character has an entire disc of music devoted to them that plays only during their chapters or important moments. This not only makes each character's main theme very robust (since each of them have over an hour's worth of music for said themes to develop and build), but it also makes each character musically distinctive and immediately identifiable based on nothing other than sound. What's more, the music for all three characters fits together well, despite being composed by three different artists using three different styles. Needless to say, this is pretty damn cool.

Starting things off is Kara's soundtrack, composed by Philip Sheppard. Kara serves as the emotional center of Detroit; her storyline revolves around her motherly relationship with a little girl as the two of them try to find safety. As such, her music is very string-heavy and soulful, with an undercurrent of tension that represents the various dangers she and her charge face along their path to freedom. Kara's main theme is a relatively simple melodic line that is nonetheless quite powerful in its execution. You can hear it in various places throughout Kara's soundtrack, but it's most prominent in "Kara Main Theme," "By Firelight," and "Little One," where it is carried by strings, more strings, and piano respectively. Melancholic beauty is perhaps the best way to describe this theme; it is undeniably sad, and yet it commands attention wherever it is used.

Of course, there's more to listen to on this first disc than just Kara's theme. The strings have several other excellent pieces to give us, such as the devastating "Song of the Lost Girl" and the desperate energy of "Fly on Foot." When they're not being used to create emotional melodies, the strings churn in pieces of great tension like "Dark Night," and wail during moments of fear and danger like "Zlatko" and "Confrontation."

Almost everything is good on this disc, but there are two standout tracks for me. First is "Run with Me." As the title might suggest, this plays during a dramatic escape sequence. As a result, the track has great energy and a sense of balancing on a tightrope between getting away and getting caught. What's really cool about this track is that Connor's theme (which we'll get to later) makes an appearance about halfway through and is seamlessly layered in with Kara's strings; you can probably imagine what this means in game, but it's a neat trick to have the music reflect who is on screen at any given moment, even when multiple main characters are present.

Second is "What is a Mother." This is a quiet piece that plays during some sweet heart-to-heart moments between Kara and the little girl she cares for. As with "Run with Me," the title suggests the emotions the track tries to evoke, and really, I dare anyone to listen to this piece and not feel a stirring within their heart. At the very least, its strings and keyboard are a fine example of how music can enhance a scene and help draw out the emotions you hope people will feel.

Markus' disc, which is composed by John Paesano, is an interesting mix of uncertainty and epic. His main theme is incredibly subdued compared to the main theme tracks for Kara and Connor, and the simple piano keys that make up his theme start out almost innocent before turning dark and brooding. This might seem oddly quiet for a character who eventually leads an android revolution, but it's strangely appropriate. Markus is presented to the player, both through dialogue and gameplay, as being at a crossroads between light and dark, so his main theme containing elements of both is perfect. As with Kara, you'll hear Markus' theme throughout his disc, woven into a lot of the pieces in both quiet and dramatic moments. It was actually a delight for me to listen through this disc and pick out all the places where the theme pops up — I'm a big fan of thematic composition, after all.

The first half of Markus's disc isn't terribly exciting. It establishes his theme and provides musical setup for his journey toward leading a revolution, but things are pretty subdued for a while. My standout tracks include Markus' main theme, the first part of "Something You've Never Seen Before," and "False Freedom."

"Time to Take Action" is where things really start to take off. This is an excellent piece that accompanies a daring Mission Impossible-style infiltration of a skyscraper. It has dramatic cues for the action sequences of the mission, as well as tension-filled low-key sections for the more stealthy parts, and they all flow from one to the other naturally.

The very next track, "Markus' Speech," is one of my favorites on the entire soundtrack. Every time I fire it up, I inevitably listen to it another four or five times because I simply can't get enough of the power behind the moving orchestra and choir. There's a sense of sadness and determination, but also hope, that feeds the emotion of this piece, and no matter what you may think of the writing or the presentation of the scene in the game itself, this music most assuredly does its job: it makes you feel something.

Other notable tracks on this disc include "We Are People," a dramatic piece with an excellent action version of Markus' theme at about two minutes in; "A Huge Mistake," which has a great sci-fi feel to it; and "I Can't Let My People Die," another action piece with an absolutely heart-breaking piano section at the end. "The Revolution Is Starting" is a standout track and another one of my favorites; not only is it a great, epic piece of music from start to finish, it also expertly splices together several different musical cues that play dynamically in game depending on whether you choose a violent or peaceful approach during a key chapter. I'm still kind of in awe of how Paesano managed to compose and arrange this piece so that one cue flows naturally into another in such a way that you'd never know these were actually two different musical takes on the same event. Finally, "This Is the End" appropriately finishes the disc with the final instance of Markus' main theme, carried this time by a piano and string combo that creates an emotional sense of relief before the strings fade and only solitary, haunting piano keys remain. This is a brilliant way to both reference the initial version of Markus' theme heard way back at the beginning of the disc and also bookend the disc between two similar (but not identical) stylizations of that theme.

Saving the best for (almost) last, we have Connor's soundtrack, composed by Nima Fakhrara. Connor stands somewhat apart from Kara and Markus for most of the game, and depending on your choices, he can slowly become human (heh heh) or remain a cold and ruthless machine. As such, his music dips more into the electronic side of things, blending strings and keyboards with synths, custom instruments, and even a 20-foot "guitar" Fakhrara specifically created for Connor.

Connor's theme can be heard right off the bat at the beginning of "Hostage:" an ostinato that progressively climbs and then falls. As with Kara and Markus' soundtracks, Connor's music is thematic; you'll hear his main theme throughout this disc, played with in various different ways, such as during the frenetic "Now" or in slow form in the beautifully mysterious and disconcerting "Garden."

Most of Connor's music is dark and brooding, echoing the noir feel of his story. Tracks like "The Interrogation," "One by One," and "Kamski" are rife with tension, and there's even a Terminator-like quality to some riffs that feels perfect for a character you can play as a hunter-killer robot. On that note, "Meet Markus" and "Will You Trust Me" are two action cues that play if Connor remains a machine and carries out his mission. The latter is one of my favorite tracks on the disc. It starts off with the pulsing Terminator-like riff I mentioned, and transitions into strings and synths that musically portray a great struggle — in the game, this is a reluctant fight between Connor and a potentially close acquaintance, and the music definitely evokes the energy, tension, and resigned determination one would expect from such a dramatic conflict.

The oppositely named "I Trust You" is another favorite of mine. It can play in a few different places in the game, but always during a sequence where Connor goes against his programming. As such, it is desperate — a race against time where the stakes get higher by the second. The sequences where this track plays are among my favorites in the game, and a big part of why I like them so much is this music.

The final track on this disc that I want to talk about is called "Deviant," and depending on which version of the soundtrack you get ahold of, you may not even hear it. As of the writing of this review, it is strangely absent from the standalone release. Instead, you can only find it on the standard or deluxe digital versions of the soundtrack included either with pre-orders or special editions of the game. Whatever the reason for this, it's definitely a standout track for Connor. It starts out raw, with isolated, desolate piano keys and intermittent synths, before a pulsing ostinato creates a sci-fi beat heralding the return of the piano and a mysterious, melancholy melody. It's a subtle track, but its subtlety reflects Connor and his story perfectly, as he is the character whose path is the least obvious and whose destiny is the least set in stone.

The final disc contains a selection of songs from Detroit-based artists, some of which you'll hear in the game. It's cool that Quantic Dream not only sought out real artists to use for music in places like bars and car radios, but that they also specifically used Detroit artists for this purpose. It adds a little bit to the atmosphere of the game, knowing that you're running around a near-future Detroit listening to local artists. Having said that, I didn't find any of the music to be exceptional; I liked Emily Rose's acoustic folk, the alt country style of The Whiskey Charmers, and Thornetta Davis' soulful blues, but this isn't the kind of music that I would normally be listening to, and I can't say that I'll find myself listening to it outside of evaluating it for this review. That goes double for the techno and rock pieces that make up the second half of the disc. If any of these styles of music appeal to you, you might find something to love on this final disc. Otherwise, it's a pleasant bonus, but not the star of the show, so to speak.

All in all, Detroit: Become Human provides a mighty fine musical experience. There's over four hours of music on this soundtrack, and while there are sadly one or two pieces missing — such as the lovely piano/strings opening theme — the album is largely complete, which is always appreciated. Whether you loved or hated the game, the music of Detroit: Become Human is worth checking out.

Reviewed by: Caitlin Argyros

RPGFan