Jukebox Heroes: The best of Fallout 76’s musical score


Last week, composer Inon Zur took to Twitter to celebrate a big moment: “Dear Friends,
Fallout 76 has been nominated for Best Original Video Game Score in the Jerry Goldsmith Awards! Thanks to Film Music Festival for this recognition.”

This is a well-deserved nomination. Inon Zur has become a fan favorite among video game enthusiasts for his musical talent and diversity over the decades, and no matter what you might think of Fallout 76 the game, his score was just as superb — if not more so — than his previous work on the franchise. He’s introduced beauty to the apocalypse and been the personal composer of many players wandering around this post-nuclear world.

Today we’re going to examine the highlights of the Fallout 76 soundtrack and see what lies here that is deserving of an award.

“Main Theme”

This may well be my favorite of all of Inon Zur’s Fallout main themes. It’s softer, warmer, and yet somehow more epic all at the same time. I bask in it from the familiar opening notes to the chilling denouement.

“Lit Only By the Stars”

Can a track be both eerie and magical? This one certainly can, as it balances between some very lonely, forlorn notes and a touch of wondrous beauty. Each instrument here is used carefully and sparingly, making you treasure them as they take you along a stroll through the wooded apocalypse.

“Wandering Appalachia (Part I)”

The largely ambient Wandering Appalachia series can, at turns, put me at ease or set me on edge. More of the latter, to be honest, but there are a couple of them (such as this one) that I think truly enhances the beauty of the countryside and those moments of laid-back exploration.

“We Hold The Line Here”

This track truly sounds like an alternate take on the main theme… but one that isn’t bad nor unwelcome. It’s got that slow, stately, epic quality to it that has you unconsciously nodding along to the beats as they come. When it gradually wells in this note of triumph, I want to punch my way through a field of super mutants.

“Facing Myths”

There were a lot of pleasant tracks and sinister wasteland tunes on this album, but this particular piece went a different way with a (mostly) percussion-based tirade that ratchets the tension all the way to eleven and then some. Maybe Mothman’s lurking about?

“Take Me Home Country Roads”

I don’t typically feature trailer music in this space, but this John Denver cover gets a special mention for how instantly intertwined it became with the identity and promotion of Fallout 76 — especially leading up to its launch. It’s a pretty smokey cover, too, so I don’t consider it desecration of the classic.

MMOs are meant to be heard as well as seen, and chances are that music ties your memories to these games more than you might realize. Every two weeks Jukebox Heroes listens through a game soundtrack and picks out the highlights to share and discuss. And if you like this column, then don’t miss the author’s MMO music podcast, Battle Bards!
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