L.A. Noire

In Let’s Playlist, the Gameological staff assembles a themed lineup of video game music and packages it in a YouTube playlist. But we’re just providing the start. It’s up to you to nominate your own candidates and fill out the list (with a YouTube link if you can find it, please). We’ll choose our favorite nominations, add them to the YouTube playlist, and present the final collaborative compilation in the Keyboard Geniuses column at the end of the week. This special Love Week installment is dedicated to sexy songs from video games.

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1. “Torched Song,” L.A. Noire

Buried in L.A. Noire’s vast soundtrack of dramatic orchestral and jazz pieces are several period-appropriate original performances from German singer Claudia Brücken. Backed by The Real Tuesday Weld, she croons about falling in love and reveling in breaking hearts. On “Torched Song,” though, she’s the one looking for love, in this case from someone who left her hanging after fanning the flames of passion. Brücken is bewitching. She shifts from breathy and sweet as she longingly describes the feeling this lover gave her to powerful and intimidating as she commands them not to leave. Supported by a steady, eerie vibraphone accompaniment, you can feel her confidently walking the accused into a corner, getting as close as possible, and whispering her final temptations. Coming from a dame like that in a shadowy town like this, you know it’s just as much a threat as it is an appeal. [Matt Gerardi]

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2. “Your Vibe,” R4: Ridge Racer Type 4

Let us forgive Ridge Racer Type 4’s deep ’90s vibe. The acid house soundtrack, delicious as it may be, is certainly less evocative of contemporary hookups than it is of hookups that might take place in Spaced fan fiction. Let’s presume, though, that you and your paramour aren’t concerned with contemporary trends and like to dance with each other in abandoned auto garages under the sweaty rays of a strobe light, glow sticks akimbo, while you’re wearing silver vinyl pants. “Your Vibe” is the song for that moment, a pulsing dance number whose organ grooves and builds but always chills back out before climaxing and returning to its melody. It’s the song for when you stop dancing across from each other and opt to start dancing against each other, the stink of spilled drinks and Vicks VapoRub all around you. [Anthony John Agnello]

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3. “Desert Highway,” Hotel Dusk: Room 215

While unraveling a tantalizing mystery of murder, theft, kidnapping, and betrayal isn’t exactly essential for spicing up some hotel sex, it doesn’t hurt. No one definitively gets laid in Cing’s classic Nintendo DS game, but Hotel Dusk: Room 215 certainly brings the tunes for it. “Desert Highway,” with its twinkling piano and insistent, patient bass line, threatens to spill over into full on porn-music territory, but it manages to stay on the side of noir. Its shuffling beat feels equally suited to making out in a dim hotel bar as it is to making out in your living room while you watch a bad soap opera about people making out in a dim hotel bar. [Anthony John Agnello]

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4. “Upside Down Stalagmite,” Dustforce

“Upside Down Stalagmite” is as enigmatic as a missing page from The Kama Sutra. The raindrops and twinkling synth are gentle kisses and light touches across the skin, gleefully teasing and stirring up anticipation for more to come. The crystalline bridge flutters its eyelashes, luring the listener ever closer. The constant synth swells wrap their arms up around your back, holding you close but not too close. The song won’t force itself—it’s far too easy-going for that—but it’s here for you, and it aches for your attention. The snare drum raps and snaps in direct contrast to the song’s warm serenity, ripping the listener back to reality saying, “Stay in the moment, do not lose yourself to this feeling, we’re not done here yet.” [Derrick Sanskrit]

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5. “Eternal Midnight,” Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

In the pantheon of steamy jazz songs, “Eternal Midnight,” Naoshi Mizuta’s shuffling, autumnal jazz piece from the Lightning Returns soundtrack, falls outside the typical sentimentality of Miles Davis’ “Blue In Green” or the rhythmic pumping of Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme.” It’s scattershot and stumbling, held up only by the insistent brushing of drums. The wan horns never coalesce fully into a hook or even a proper melody. Across five minutes, it starts in fits and loses itself before keening sweetly for a stretch. It’s appropriately named for a certain kind of being together, when two lovers wake themselves up grasping for more, not fully awake but with bodies too electric to sleep. [Anthony John Agnello]

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6. “Inner Animal,” Hotline Miami

Hotline Miami wallows in the Hawaiian-shirt ugliness and Schwarzenegger violence of 1980s America. The soundtrack is attuned to that grimy wavelength, bombarding players with tracks that are as anxious and jittery as a cocaine high. Although the assault of electronica never quite relents, it does occasionally ease off and serve up tracks like “Inner Animal.” A bleary-eyed, meandering synth groover, “Inner Animal” ditches the game’s usual cultural touchstones of Scarface and Miami Vice to instead evoke leering, spandex-adorned exercise tapes and VHS pornography, badly eroded by years of pausing and rewinding. These days, slime like this would never be considered the appropriate soundtrack for a steamy night in, but in the ’80s, it could have been a real pants-dropper. It was a weird decade. [Patrick Lee]

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7. “Also Sprach Brooks,” Catherine

Hooking up with attractive strangers at a bar is a cliché for a reason. The soft lighting, the relaxed atmosphere, the steady flow of libations—they all conspire to lower inhibitions and make romance (or some expedient approximation of it) seem possible. “Also Sprach Brooks” is simultaneously assertive and nonthreatening for the aspiring barroom flirt. It stands its ground and nods in your direction as if to say, “You got this,” in its caramel smooth baritone. The steady beat ensures there’s no worry about losing your step, but the tempo is slow enough to elicit hip movements one wouldn’t dare attempt at a faster pace. The piano’s keys are tickled so softly, yet with confidence and purpose, making you wonder what else those fingers could do. It doesn’t matter where you were this morning; it doesn’t matter where you’ll be tomorrow. You’re here now, with this song, in this bar, so let’s see where the music—and the night—takes us. [Derrick Sanskrit]

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8. “Gold Leaf,” Transistor

A hasty one-night stand isn’t exactly the stuff of love. True intimacy takes time, and that’s the sentiment that drives “Gold Leaf.” The song reaches forward, slow and lurid, before backing off—a gentle tease intended to excite. It alternates alluringly between sharp and curved, with gently brushed drums softly filling space as a confident bass slinks in from behind a dark curtain of distant coos. What’s the rush? Enjoy every slow, heavy, steamy moment of your time together. [Derrick Sanskrit]

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9. “Funky Bar 100,” Beyond Good & Evil

When asked to think about Beyond Good & Evil, “sleaze” is most definitely not a word that comes to mind. With its multi-cultural alien world, strong female star, and prescient social commentary, Ubisoft’s ambitious cult classic is an early benchmark in the maturation of big-budget games. But “Funky Bar 100” has none of that pristine virtue. Of the contenders in this playlist, it easily takes the title of “most likely to be used in an actual porno.” Laid back trumpet, waves of swelling synth and wah-wah guitar, suggestive grunting that would make Salt-N-Pepa blush—the track drips sweat and raunch. Even still, there’s something classy about its eclectic brand of acid jazz that makes it feel just as appropriate for Beyond Good & Evil’s swampy patchwork world as it would be for a tender love scene in a shlocky softcore flick. [Matt Gerardi]

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10. “An Enveloping Smell Of Roses,” Ghost Trick

The success of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades Of Grey was an indication that the housebound, sexually neglected demographic typically targeted by Harlequin Enterprises was being badly underserved. Ghost Trick’s Emma and her leitmotif, “An Enveloping Smell Of Roses,” are love letters to both the authors and audiences of those purple romance novels. Wrapped in a mink stole and gripping a glass of merlot for dear life, Emma sashays around her apartment grooving to this overripe, practically narcoleptic sleaze-jazz tune. It ain’t high art, but some people’s luxuries are steamy pulp novels, inexpensive wine, and acidic department store perfume—and they deserve love as much as the next person. [Patrick Lee]

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