Game music of the day: Theme of Laura from Silent Hill 2

Welcome to GamesRadar's daily blast of all things pertaining to the ever-growing field of game music. Each post will introduce new sounds, games, composers and fan-made remixes of gaming's greatest aural achievements.

May 19, 2010

Game: Silent Hill 2

Song: Theme of Laura

Composer: Akira Yamaoka

Above: Theme of Laura from Silent Hill 2

This week's release of Alan Wake has stirred up discussion as to how it stacks up against Silent Hill 2, arguably the best game in that series and one of the strongest survival horror titles of all time. Naturally the arguments teeter back and forth (even in the comments of our review), but there's one thing Alan Wake doesn't have, and that's Akira Yamaoka's consistently moving music.

Yamaoka produced dozens of memorable songs across several games, but this Silent Hill 2 opening still ranks near the top for me. I'm no expert when it comes to music terminology or even accurate analysis. But my primitive brain can say the song is deeply emotional, conveying James Sunderland's sense of loss and frustration, all with a feeling of ominous dread and crushing sadness. Yet, it remains upbeat and catchy, and that lead riff is just amazing. Sounds like a first-rate Hollywood theme song.

There it is in context. Fantastic opening, and the start of one of the best videogame stories there is. If you're eager for more Yamaoka, I interviewed him back in 2008 to discuss his role in Silent Hill Homecoming and his past work on the SNES and Dance Dance Revolution. In there he confirms that this exact song was created in just three days, a musical feat that blows my mind. I assume stuff like this takes forever to pull together.

Yamaoka has since left Konami and Silent Hill (after 16 years) and is now working with Suda 51 on another horror title. At least we know the music's destined for greatness.


Game music of the day: Twisted Metal 2
Los Angeles theme by Geary and Turner


Game music of the day: Super Adventure Island
Chillaxin' beats from Yuzo Koshiro


Game music of the day: Golf Power
I promise this doesn't suck


  • Clovin64 - May 20, 2010 5:28 p.m.

    I got the soundtracks for SH2 and 3, both are bloody amazing. If there's one piece of music in SH2 that can rival "Theme of Laura" then its "Betrayal" (the bit where you fight the two Pyramid Heads). It brilliantly conveys all the emotion of that particular bit in the game. Both beautiful and terrifying at once...
  • zer0hvk - May 20, 2010 11:20 a.m.

    Great choice, Brett! I miss Team Silent :(
  • zer0hvk - May 20, 2010 11:18 a.m.

    I love this song, once in school they told us to bring instruments if we knew how to play one, so I brought my electric guitar to school and a small amplifier, everyone was, you know, in turns going to the front of the class to play something, and I played "Theme Of Laura", about 2, 3 people recognized it and thus I made some new friends :) brings back good memories, I listened to that whole soundtrack for the whole first year in college, amazing and haunting, I love it.
  • philipshaw - May 20, 2010 9:28 a.m.

    I was just telling a friend about this song the other day, Silent Hill 2 was a amazing game with a fantastic soundtrack
  • Tenfey - May 20, 2010 4:25 a.m.

    I'd say music is more important than visuals for setting a games mood. This games music showcases that pretty well.
  • KREATIVEassassin - May 20, 2010 12:26 a.m.

    Silent Hill 2 is the reason I bought a PlayStation 2. Great game. Great music. Phenomenal experience.
  • lovinmyps3 - May 19, 2010 11:45 p.m.

    Silent Hill 2 will always beat Alan Wake!
  • CH3BURASHKA - May 19, 2010 11:19 p.m.

    I've never played it nor had I heard it before its debut on Talkradar, but the first time I did it sent chills down my spine. An amazing piece; I'm interested to see what Yamaoka is doing now.
  • iluvmyDS - May 19, 2010 11:15 p.m.

    I just love how big it sounds. Tons of great sounding reverb.
  • Tatts4Life - May 19, 2010 11:10 p.m.

    LOVE the Silent Hill soundtracks
  • Estacado - May 19, 2010 11:07 p.m.

    I love the music from the first Silent Hill, the intro is just wonderful and when Lisa became into "zombie" !!!!! (i think is the same music when James is reading the letter from his wife in SH2) and the Silent Hill 3 intro is a master piece =D
  • Samael - May 19, 2010 10:35 p.m.

    Theme of Laura is pretty much dead tied with Vampire Killer as my favorite video game song, and is easily one my favorite songs from any genre of music. I could listen to that opening riff for hours...
  • squidhead442 - May 19, 2010 9:38 p.m.

    Fine choice, Mr. Elston! This is, IMHO, the greatest Silent Hill game and the best soundtrack of all of them. But I haven't heard much from Homecoming or Shattered Dreams...I mean "Memories". I had all of the Silent Hill soundtracks until they started cranking them out every other year!
  • Rhymenocerous - May 19, 2010 9:06 p.m.

    Silent Hill 2 really does have a great soundtrack. The part near the end with the two pyramid heads - I seem to remember that music being amazing.
  • RebornKusabi - May 19, 2010 8:24 p.m.

    I made my comment (not throwing slander at him or not ignorantly calling him biased) because of the comment in his review on Silent Hill 2... until I read the comments and then re-read that section and saw that I read the broken version of the review lol Anyways, I'm not a fan of Silent Hill 2; I prefer and consider Silent Hill 1 and 3 better games overall however this is still a great song nonetheless!
  • Embolado - May 19, 2010 8:17 p.m.

    I want me some Chocobo music.. its the story of my life :( Also props on the new remodel of the site looks clean.
  • TURbo - May 19, 2010 8:16 p.m.

    arf arf arf Arf Arf Arf ARF ARF ARF
  • TURbo - May 19, 2010 8:06 p.m.

    Also the licensed soundtracks from the Madden NFL football games are better
  • TURbo - May 19, 2010 8:05 p.m.

    Also Mega Man 2 and the music sucks. Worse thing ever produced.
  • TURbo - May 19, 2010 8:04 p.m.

    Also David Bowie's C-C-Changes

Showing 1-20 of 21 comments

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