We get an 8 week old baby to choose the best video game music to fall asleep too. For science.
The first few months with a new baby are tough. You seem to blank it out through rose tinted glasses as time goes on, remembering the first smiles and cute gibberish noises rather than the 3am feeds, near constant nappy changing and the persistent anxiety about every little thing. Having been through this with 3 of my kids already, you’d think I would remember it as clear as day but it all came back to me like a slap to the face with the arrival of my daughter, Felicity Rey Davies, in early December. I’ve not slept for more than 3 hours straight since. It’s true, the first few months with a new baby are really tough.
Of all my children, Felicity started life as the most content. She’d happily sit/lie quietly, curiously surveying the room with her developing vision, turning to try to focus on anything that moved passed her. She was waking just twice in the night for a feed and nappy change – far less than any of our other children – but then she got a nasty cold and all hell broke loose. This particular lurgy spread through my home like a wildfire – we’ve all had it – so we all know what little Felicity was going through. Headaches, snotty nose and a saw throat.
The main difference? She’s too young to have any medicine and the only thing you can do is keep her comfortable and keep her hydrated – so that’s what we did. My wife Katie, bless her, bore the brunt of this. Breastfeeding for hours on end, often being used as little more than comforter, often with just a half hour break before Felicity cries for more.
It was in the middle of the night a few weeks ago, my wife’s head bobbing up and down as she desperately tries to fight off sleep while breastfeeding, that I decided to try something different. I tucked the wife into bed (she was asleep before her head hit the pillow) to give her a break, picked up Felicity, ran through ‘the checklist’ (is she hungry? No. Does she need changing? No. Hot? No? Cold? No. Tired? Yes. Wants to sleep? No.) and decided she was simply niggly and irritated by her cold, so took her downstairs. Desperately trying to soothe her while pushing through the fog created by the lack of sleep, I switched on the PS4, loaded up Spotify and hit play on the first playlist that came up – my “Videogame music” playlist.
30 seconds later she was as content as Hindu cows. Quiet. Peaceful. Almost asleep.
The next hour was an exploration of sleep and sound. Felicity would drift in and out of sleep having very definite reactions to different songs. She’d drift off to one song and bolt awake to other. It shouldn’t be a surprise that my daughter likes music – she used to go crazy in the womb when my wife would play music to her – but it was surprising to see which songs soothed her and which didn’t (like Ed Sheeran. She must have inherited my irrational dislike for his music). This has become a bit of a routine for when my daughter is getting a bit grumpy at night (and sometimes during the day too). Pop some video game music on to let her chill out to and inadvertently get her to sleep – thus creating the basis of this article. Curated over the past 3 weeks, here is a list of the 6 best video game songs that my daughter will fall asleep too thus making them the greatest songs ever made ever. Ever.
1). Assassin’s Creed Origins Main Theme from Assassin’s Creed Origins by Sarah Schachner
This was the very first song my daughter heard from my playlist of games music and the gentle melody settled her off almost instantly. There’s probably a reason for that – I spent an inordinate amount of time with Assassin’s Creed Origins (review) while she was in the womb and had the soundtrack on repeat in the mornings while we were eating breakfast so there’s every possibility she caught the gentle melodies of Sarah Schachner’s latest master works quite often before birth. Whatever it is, the Assassin’s Creed Origins theme song has a profoundly calming effect on my daughter and that, in my thankful opinion, makes it one of the best video game songs ever created.
2). Mausoleum Mash from Crypt of the NecroDancer by Danny Baranowsky
Mausoleum Mash seems like an odd choice to put my daughter to sleep – the pumping beats, fast paced synths and occasional quick change in volume makes it an unlikely slumber track. In fact, when this track first came up, Felicity’s arms and legs suck straight up in the air and it jolted her awake sending me scrambling to find the PS4 controller – which was, of course, just out of reach. Then, a few seconds later, she was once again snoozing away and she stayed that way for the following 2 minutes. I’m not going to try and understand the science behind why a song that would be welcome in certain nightclubs has a sleep inducing effect on my daughter but I’m eternally grateful it does.
3). Old Friends from Transistor by Darren Korb
The Transistor soundtrack from Darren Korb is full of sublime tunes but Old Friends is 3 minutes and 21 seconds of the most relaxing and smile inducing music to grace the medium of gaming. It should be no surprise that my daughter enjoys the gentle guitars and slow beats and she probably enjoyed the gentle sway of me tapping my toe along to it too.
4). An Early Harvest from Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture by Jessica Curry / James Morgan
I know my daughter doesn’t really know what a smile is just yet. When she smiles, it’s either a learned response, copying the faces we as parents make at her or, more often than not, some wind making its way out. Nevertheless, when she does smile and it’s a genuine one of happiness, you can see it in her eyes because they smile too (don’t question it, you can just see it). An Early Harvest from Jessica Curry and James Morgan was the backing track to one of Felicity’s first bonafied happy smiles at 4AM in the morning as I’m tapping her on the chin, making stupid noises and trying to rock her to sleep. She’d smiled for her mum a number of times before but, underscored by the orchestral majesty of this song, she gave me her first gummy grin before dosing off to sleep. It was a perfect tranquil moment and one I’ll never forget.
5). Temptations from Journey by Austin Wintory
The Journey soundtrack has a magical quality to change the ambience of a room instantly. The random shuffle of my playlist dealt us Temptations at a moment when Felicity was balling her eyes out – real tears and everything – and I didn’t really know what to do. The various turns and swells in this song somehow managed to grab her attention as the string instruments grew and then the stunning melody did the rest. Out like a light in 4 minutes flat.
6). View From Orbit from Destiny 2 by Michael Salvatori, Skye Lewin, C Paul Johnson, Rotem Moav & Pieter Schlosser
When I first started this article, it was a top 5 list. I shared the first draft with the rest of the FingerGuns team and Paul suggested, in his silky southern accent, “Awrite. Give Felicity a listen to View From Orbit and see what she thinks”. I downloaded the track (it’s free from the Bungie website) that night and gave it a play after bathtime – it worked a treat. Felicity drifted right off and while I’m not entirely sure the music contributed in any meaningful way, my daughter had a lovely 4 hour sleep that night. View From Orbit is a beautiful piece of music and part of a fantastic soundtrack. Paul and my daughter have exquisite taste.
With my previous children, I’d always used traditional nursery rhymes and chart music to help them get to sleep. It never occured to me to introduced them to video game music, a genre I listen to constantly, and it was only by accident that I loaded the Spotify playlist on that first night (morning?) and noticed the effect. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a baby would feel soothed by some of the sound tracks here – gentle music is a proven method of helping them get to sleep – but sitting with my daughter, introducing her to some of the most beautiful music in gaming has been such a lovely experience. Sure, they’ve not all been winners – maybe Felicity will like Doom’s Rip & Tear later in life but she really hates it now – but with these 6 songs, she has slept wonderful sleep and hopefully dreamt beautiful dreams.
For the love of list features, “The Daily 6” is a feature we publish every week day exploring new topics we find interesting. Like this? Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for more on gaming, TV, movies, comics and everything else worth talking about.