“M4, Part II” - Faunts
from Mass Effect Original Soundtrack (Sumthing, 2007)
Now seemed as good a time as any to revisit the music of the previous installments in the Mass Effect series, and while individual pieces by Sam Hulick, Jack Wall and Clint Mansell have been burnt into my brain, “M4, Part II” is the track I keep coming back to time and time again.
Most probably because it stands out from the crowd of other compositions.
“Well, obviously,” you think, “it’s an epic prog-rock tune in an otherwise electronic score.”
Yes, I know, but there’s more to it than that.
This song plays over the end credits of the first game. Any filmmaker or TV showrunner or game designer can tell you the music that plays during the end credits of any motion picture narrative is a key component of the lasting impression the narrative leaves on the audience. And the best examples of “end credits music” (in my humble opinion) are the pieces that take the themes of that narrative and present in them in a different light, with music to match (see also: Max Payne 2, Metal Gear Solid).
There’s a line that echoes throughout the song: “I need you to recover, because I can’t make it on my own.” It’s sung in a desperate falsetto, a short moment of the confident narrator revealing their inner doubts. This is a theme that was lightly touched on in all three games and, most importantly, played a part in the much-discussed, much-maligned conclusion to the final part of the trilogy.
So, consider this a footnote to that wall-of-text I wrote the other night. I think, subconsciously, I was expecting Mass Effect 3’s unexpected ending. If you listen closely, it’s all here, in the panicked lyrics and frantic notes of this song.