Metal Gear Solid V is set in 1984, and of course makes a few references to the current events of the time (such as the brief warming up of the cold war) and George Orwell’s novel also set in a fictional version of that year-Metal Gear Solid V, like many other ‘open world’ games-utilizes a licensed soundtrack. It’s not necessarily the first Metal Gear game to do so-Metal Gear Solid V and Ground Zeroes utilized “Here’s to You” and Peace Walker had “Sing” by Karen Carpenter. Like those songs, some of the music selected for inclusion in MGSV have some connection to the story. I’ve already covered The Bowie/Ure Man Who Sold the World, this will look into some other features. I’ll admit, some of this is guesswork, and may not represent the intentions of Hideo Kojima.
First up we have Laura Braningan’s song “Gloria” from 1983 (Although based on a 1979 song). The song somewhat alludes to a woman being increasingly paranoid, to the point of hearing voices in her head. In the game, this sort of has a double meaning-Venom Snake experiences hallucinations due in part to severe trauma such as having shrapnel logged in his head….while Kaz Miller, his second-in-command, is increasingly paranoid throughout the game-likewise due to his own trauma and desire for revenge against Cipher.
Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell”‘s inclusion seems kind of obvious. Just compare Idol’s look in the video, and Eli’s (Liquid Snake’s). Plus Eli is quite the rebel himself.
You Spin Me Right Round from Dead or Alive is a bit tricky, to be honest. Although here’s a few guesses:
-Peter burns is wearing an eyepatch in the video, like Big Boss/Venom Snake/Solidus Snake.
Or Revolver Ocelot’s spinning guns trick:
or the fact that the beat of the song is based on part of the Ride of the Valkyries (really!) which is also included in V’s soundtrack.
Dancing with tears in my eyes is by Ultravox, one of Kojima’s favorite 80’s bands-in fact, Midge Ure sings the 80’s version of the Man Who Sold The World featured in the opening. The song is sort of talking about a lost love, which could be Big Boss’s loss of the Boss, although that’s not a major theme of V (as it was as Peace Walker). The video however deals with a couple’s moments before a nuclear explosion, and one of the main themes in the games? Nukes of course! They play a fairly important role in the FOB multiplayer missions of the game….
I’m guessing this might also in part explain the use of Europe’s Final Countdown as well, as that has similar apocalyptic imagery in it’s lyrics.
Katchagoogooo’s “Too shy”? Well I’m guessing it was chosen to reflect Quiet’s “hush-hush” (She doesn’t speak for reasons explained in the game) or “Eye-to-eye” (Well, the weird blotches in her eyes when she uses her powers).
Japan’s Quiet Life? Same thing, except it’s somewhat more obvious by the title of the song.
Hall and Oates’s Maneater is also fairly easy. Quiet might be Quiet of course, but she’s also extremely dangerous.
It’s very telling that this tape is at Lamar Khate palace, where Quiet, in her final mission, goes totally berserk on her captors.
Spandau Ballet’s “True” is of course known best as one of the tunes from Sixteen candles, but it’s also in this game.
Metal Gear Solid V in a way, deals with the concept of truth-the endgame tapes which reveal the deception used to create Venom Snake detail this.
However, some of true’s lyrics deal with the true meaning of words, and words themselves. In Metal Gear Solid V , words can kill, via Skull Face’s language-targeting viruses.
“This is the sound of my soul,
This is the sound.
I bought a ticket to the world,
But now Ive come back again.
Why do I find it hard to write the next line?
Oh I want the truth to be said.”
A-Ha’s “Take on Me” is of course the song with the famous music video of a guy in a newspaper comic coming to life and dragging a woman from a cafe into his world.
The song in part deals sort of an unspoken love-which is truely the case with Quiet and Venom Snake.
This is even clear in Quiet’s song, originally created for the game:
Birds in the sky
Carry these words for me.
Life tasted sweet,
It let me live,
It let me breathe.
Love hurts so bad,
But still saved my soul.
Flowers of a brighter past,
They bloomed so free,
Beneath the sun.
I want to give them to you,
So you can see,
What we left there.
When all hope bleeds out,
What remains is doubt,
Should have left it all for you for tomorrow.
As your time draws near,
Will you live in fear?
Could have left it all for you,
But we let go.
and her final tape:
I did not choose to be Quiet. I wanted to express my feelings to you. If only we shared a common tongue. Vengeance was what drove me to them… The only language left to me, revenge. But the words we shared… No, that was no language at all. That is why… I chose the language of gratitude instead, and go back to silence. I am Quiet… I am… the absence of words.
Thomas Dolby’s “She blinded Me with Science” sort of has an explanation too. There’s at least two key scientists in Metal Gear Solid V-one, Huey Emmerich, who is-more or less-the guy who developed Metal Gear in the first place (based on plans from his Russian friend Granin).
and of course Code Talker, whose research into parasites is perverted by Skull Face…
although I suppose it could also refer to the eyes of Kazuhira Miller, which are extremely sensitive to light (therefore requiring him to wear sunglasses).