One of the great things about the EVE Online soundtrack, other than its perplexing popularity despite being mostly an ambient synth score, is that CCP Games has made all of it free to listen and download on SoundCloud. I truly wish more studios took the effort to continually release music that goes into each update like this.
I got inspired the other day to listen through the entirety of EVE Online’s login themes from each of its major expansions and releases. And boy, let me tell you: There are a lot of them. EVE’s had many releases since its 2003 launch and virtually a different theme for each one. Some, I found, are pretty forgettable, but there are more than enough interesting ones to fill up a top 10 list.
So today I want to share with you my personal top 10 favorite EVE Online themes (in no particular order).
1. Exodus theme
One of EVE Online’s earliest expansions, Exodus doesn’t really come out of the gate with its theme rocking. It’s a slow burn for the first minute or so before building up a beat and a haunting synth melody that for the life of me reminds me of the Terminator score. If an intentional homage, it’s not a terrible one to make.
2. Hyperion theme
This track couldn’t be more sci-fi if it tried, jamming out the synth and making me think of both Blade Runner and Babylon 5 (both of which were heavy with electronic orchestration). It’s almost a little funky and definitely upbeat, which is not what I expect when I come to EVE Online.
3. Retribution theme
From its first notes, you can tell that Retribution isn’t messing around. It’s got those BAMMM notes that became really popular with the Inception trailer, giving a heavy-handed weight to a main theme. Beyond that, it’s stirring and majestic and deserving of not just a little bit of love.
4. The Magnificent Realm
This theme is from the first (and confusingly titled) update for 2016 and has been dubbed The Magnificent Realm. It’s almost burbling with happiness while still clinging to that classic EVE sound. I could easily picture this being conducted with a regular orchestra — and perhaps being better for it.
5. Odyssey theme
Do you like your Space Odysseys 2001 or 2010? Does anyone even remember there was a sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey with that guy from the Jaws movies? Because nobody seemed to mention it the way we did when it was Back to the Future day, just saying.
Anyway, this is another track that takes a good while to get going but in so doing builds up some genuine emotional strength. To me it is definitely the soundtrack to exploring in deep space, both alone and overwhelmed as a pioneer.
6. Dominion theme
Now this theme might as well be the soundtrack for some sort of mechanical lizard villain who stalks the stars and eats asteroid miners when they turn their back. It’s a harder theme that slaps you down and then glares at you for the duration of its play. I don’t know why, but I kind of respect it for that.
7. Rhea theme
There’s some playfulness here that appeals to me, a cheeky wink and a nod to the adventurous pilots out there. If nothing else, it’s very pleasant on the ears and a good addition to the game’s OST lineup.
8. Trinity theme
Composer Jon Hallur’s work on EVE is sometimes compared to Vangelis, and I can totally see that. It doesn’t leave a lot of room for non-committal opinions; you either dig it or it’s just annoying. In tracks like the Trinity theme it’s almost perfect for the vast unknown of interstellar space. This sounds like the backdrop to a grand, if slow, space opera.
9. Incarna theme
I mostly only like this track for it’s middle bits, which erupt from a weird ominous intro to be this spiral dance of upbeat notes. Unfortunately it’s over too soon and the track dives back down into the weirdness once more.
10. Mosaic theme
I appreciate how this track builds up over its two-and-a-half minute run-time, not just in volume but in intensity. It’s like the loading bar of music tracks, making you get more and more excited the closer it is to the end.
What are your favorite EVE Online themes and why?