I listened to the soundtrack for the Mass Effect trilogy well before I played the games (at the time I didn't expect to play them, but had heard the music was dope). I had no context for any of the tracks, but I could feel what they were telling me. "The Normandy Reborn" swells to a reveal. "The End Run" fills you with determination on a thin foundation of apprehension. "Leaving Earth" tells of sadness and destruction. "An End Once and for All" brings a somber relief and sense of pained relief. You can know and feel all of that without having played the corresponding scenes in the games. I will often avoid soundtracks for media I intend to experience for that reason, as the musical accompaniments can be emotional spoilers as it were.
Recently I've been listening to a podcast called The Adventure Zone. While it's technically a D&D podcast, I'd almost argue it's more like an audiobook...if the characters had total autonomy and the author only kind of knew what was happening because said characters are unpredictable at best. The storytelling has been impeccable to say the least, and somewhere along the way the DM started including music in the background to underscore certain parts of the story. I've started listening to the albums on Bandcamp and immediately zeroed in on some tracks as my "favorites", as it was so easy to see the scene play out in my head again when I heard them.
Here's the experiment I want to try:
It's safe to say that a good many members of my social circle have not listened to The Adventure Zone. I certainly hadn't heard of it until a few weeks ago, and even then I had to be coerced into giving it a shot ("A D&D podcast? Really? Why in god's name would you think I want to listen to that?"). I would love to hear how some of these tracks make people feel or what it makes them imagine, people who don't already have an emotional investment in the characters of this show. If you would at all be interested in sharing, please shoot me an email! I have a short list of particular tracks picked out, but am certainly not going to discourage anyone from listening to more of the albums! The idea would be that I would compile the feedback, remove the names, and share it here for us all to see how different people hear the same song.
Of course I highly recommend the show itself, regardless of whether you're into D&D or not. I would experience this show all over again as a book if it was ever compiled into one, it's that good. And if you're just curious about the music but don't want to share your thoughts, that's okay too! You should still check it out, especially the Suffering Game album <3
PS. Thanks Ben for forcing me to listen to this show. Because we all know I needed something else to get emotionally invested in. Jerk.
PPS. The target of this experiment is TAZ because I'm super into it at the moment and have been diving deep into the music, but if this is a successful experiment I will probably do it more in the future with other works. The hard part is, of course, finding something that enough people haven't experienced to be able to give untainted feedback. But that's a problem for future Jenn!