Bioware-Related Music

NOTE: Because Grooveshark unexpectedly closed their doors April 30, 2015, I will be re-making the playlists on Spotify and re-posting them as soon as I can. In the meantime, none of the links work because the embeds are all dead. I apologize for any inconvenience.

I write a lot about music in other places. Sometimes I hear a song that makes me think of one of Bioware’s characters or one of my own stories. I’m going to include those songs here. Unless otherwise noted, the songs that are linked will take you to The Not-Pop Jukebox where you can listen to the song and read a bit about it. This is taking a long time because I apparently don't have a list anywhere so I'll be adding the songs as I think of them.

You can also find my freshly-updated Mass Effect and Dragon Age play lists at Grooveshark where you can listen to the full songs for free (except the ones that aren't on the site).

Mass Effect Songs
  • Ain't Misbehavin' - Lena Horne (This is Shepard's theme in Mass Effect 2. Surrounded by a best pal that suddenly wants her, a hot assassin that does, too, and a spandex-clad cast of extras all she wants is her Kaidan.)
  • Alive Again – Champion (For a rockin’ Shep loyal to her Virmire survivor—at least until Horizon—this song is perfect: kick ass, take names, and run searches in the Cerberus databases for Kaidan or Ashley’s location at night.)
  • Born to Ruin – Wildlife (I fear this song has supplanted the tender feelings between Shepard and her closest loved one at the end of ME3. Even while she talks to Garrus and Kaidan, even in her last moments with Anderson, she’s got this idea in her head, “Baby, we were born to ruin.” She knows they’re all going down, sooner or later.)
  • Break My Stride - Matthew Wilder (Again, this is a Double Shep song. She's just boppin' her way around the universe, doing her thing. Horizon? Bah. TIM? Pft. Ain't nothin' gonna break her stride.)
  • Competition Song – Pennywise (It turns out this is the Asari theme song, though you don’t know it until you go the Atheme’s temple on Thessia in Mass Effect 3. Those selfish, self-aggrandizing liars had critical information for thousands of years and never said a word just so they could be the dominant race in the galaxy! Idiots!)
  • Criminal - Fiona Apple (This is Shepard's song, after the Horizon confrontation. She's feeling like crap, working for Cerberus and shoved away by Kaidan. She goes to Garrus, her best friend and confidante. The question is does he help and console her or does he see the chance to lure her into seeing him as more? Potentially this could be an ME3 discussion for an unfaithful Shep, looking for advice on how to win Kaidan back after what she thought might be an end-of-the-line fling.)
  • Depression Era Music—Spekulation (This is a song about how you can’t go home again, mostly because of a man with “a fist full of dough”. The more I listen to this song the more it makes me think of Mass Effect 2, in which Shepard’s home is destroyed and TIM throws credits by the fistful at her until she and the Normandy are resurrected, new and “improved”. I imagine she was pretty depressed by the whole thing.)
  • Everlasting Love—Howard Jones (If ever there was a Shenko song, it’s Everlasting Love. Kaidan and Shepard aren’t looking for a fling, they’re serious people who are serious about each other. Their love is worth waiting for, even if events conspire to keep them apart—and then fling them back together only to rip them apart yet again. You know when Kaidan walks out of that ship on the mysterious other planet at the end of Mass Effect 3 he’s happy to be alive so he can start figuring out how to get back to his love.)
  • Evolution Orange - Earth, Wind, and Fire (It’s the lyrics that make this one a perfect fit for Mass Effect’s Shepard as well as her relationship with Kaidan after they steal the Normandy and fly off to Ilos. The bridge fits the Reapers, too. With any luck this can be the theme song for Mass Effect 3: Shepard doing what she does best and back with the love of her life. Evolution Orange should be on the radio in the captain’s quarters.)
  • Ferris Wheel – The Living Sisters (This lovely song inspired Chapter 22 of The Double. My goofy, sappy Shep just fell in love all over again.)
  • From the Hips - Cursive (For me this a perfect theme song for Shepard in Mass Effect. She's making things up as she goes along, shooting from the hip and finding that her best-laid plans fall apart.)
  • Guilty – Classix Nouveaux (How many songs can there be about the Horizon confrontation in ME2? At least one more, apparently. This is Shep’s reaction to Kaidan or Ash’s accusations: “Although I know of no crime, it’s the same.” Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?)
  • Hooked - Eilen Jewell (A swoon-y love song for Kaidan to hum while he's doing their Spectre paperwork in the observation deck in ME3. He may not really understand what happened to her, yet, and he may still think she was kept imprisoned by Cerberus in some sort of coma, but he's hooked and that's the important thing.)
  • It Only Makes Me Laugh - Oingo Boingo (Crazy Shepard from The Double has a philosophy that she stole from this song: darkness can never last too long when you laugh in its face. Bad things happen to her. She bounces back up, dancing to this song. She's just that awesome.)
  • Jenny – Walk the Moon (Every time I hear this song I want to make a Shepard named Jenny so that this can be Kaidan’s theme song for Mass Effect 3. The first verse has her fully armed and kicking ass, after all, and now it’s head-canon for me that she’s got a freckle on her shoulder.)
  • Kick It Around – James Hunter (This song embodies what Kaidan was saying in his post-Horizon e-mail for me: don’t answer me right now but think about it. From Shepard’s perspective, Mr. Hunter’s great People Gonna Talk works, too: you’re going to hear a lot of nasty rumors. Don’t believe them.)
  • Might Be Her Fool - The Pinstripes (I picture this as a song Kaidan gets stuck in his head while he's mooning around outside Shepard's quarters in the first Mass Effect game, pretending to fix that console for months on end. "Must...resist...Commander...")
  • Not the Same - Bodyjar (This song underscores the entire ME2 Horizon confrontation for me: “You’re not the same, you’ve changed, I don’t need you anyway. You’re not the person that I believed in yesterday.” Ouch, Kaidan, ouch.)
  • Once in a Lifetime – Talking Heads (You have to see the screenshot with Kaidan emerging from the Normandy at the end of Mass Effect 3 to really get this one, but “how did I get here” is my head canon for the whole crew at that point. In addition, I can’t help but believe that Shepard would be thoroughly confused by peace and happiness, should the happy ending so many people desire come to pass. See War Child below. She’s been letting the days go by, fighting full-tilt and grabbing what she can, for years. What happens when all that stops?)
  • Rise and Shine - Bassic (This one could replace the music for the sequence between Shepard getting spaced and actually waking. Much as I like the rebuilding sequence, it would be even better with Bassic.)
  • Scientist – The Dandy Warhols (Show tunes notwithstanding, this is head-canon for me as Mordin’s theme song. I see him locking the doors to the lab late at night and absolutely jamming to this one. And doing back flips; I know that Salarian can do back flips. After ME3, I see him jamming in the elevator on the way up to cure the genophage. [sniff])
  • Slackjawed - The Connells (For me this is the song that's in Kaidan's head when he's composing that tentative message after the Horizon confrontation. Of course it works for Shepard, too. They're alike that way.)
  • Somebody That I Used to Know - Goyte ft. Kimbra (Bitter recriminations and mourning a lost love? Sounds like Shepard and Kaidan if she's moved on or just doesn't take him back. I haven't done that in ME3 yet but I'm thinking this would be their theme song in ME3: The Musical if I did.)
  • War Child – Blondie (How can this not be Commander Shepard’s theme song? Seriously, can Jennifer Hale sing? “I’m a war child, I’m a war baby, and that’s the difference between you and me.” If anyone’s a war child, it’s Shepard.)
  • Under the Milky Way - The Church (I've loved this song forever and now it's a lovely background song to Kaidan and Shepard, just sitting quietly together on that couch, having a cup of coffee and looking out that observation deck window. They don't need to talk, they just sit together and watch the stars go by, content in the moment because that's all they've got.)
  • Ya Ya – Buckwheat Zydeco (I picture Kaidan pacing around his hospital room in Mass Effect 3 with this song running through his head. He’s put himself out there for Shepard but everything is still up in the air. Will she “come on home”? We all know she will, but he’s not convinced, yet. And, though he’s still in love, he’s not so sure he wants the new her to do so…except that he really, really does.)
  • Yellow Light - Of Monsters and Men (This is a strange and somewhat creepy song but it makes me think of Kaidan and Shepard just after Virmire, when they're just acknowledging what's between them but now Ashley's death--and, y'know, glassing a gorgeous place to kill thousands of baby Krogan--loom over it all.)
  • You Can’t Hurry Love – The Supremes (This is the Shenko theme song: Shepard and Kaidan wait forever to give in, then she dies, then she’s working for Cerberus, then she’s in jail, then he’s can’t get past his doubts. Finally, they’re back together for real just in time for the end of Mass Effect 3. Love don’t come easy, even for Spectres.)
  • You! Me! Dancing! - Los Campesinos (My wild and crazy, doofy Shepard from The Double shares this as a secondary theme song with Garrus in my version of Mass Effect 2. Seriously, they dance. A lot.)
Dragon Age Songs
  • 7 – Prince & the New Power Generation (You’ll have to read the second half of the linked post for a full explanation but this is Solas’s song for an AU where he abandons all his plans and settles down with Lavellan.  Apparently in my mind the only way for him to do this is by killing the rest of the pantheon.)
  • Born This Way - Lady Gaga (As much as I'm embarrassed to have a Gaga song on here, this one makes me think of The Architect in Awakenings. When you ask him how he came to be sentient, if he is the one that figured out how to use Warden blood to make Darkspawn the same, essentially he responds, "I was born this way." Voila! Gaga. Plus I could totally see her wearing that mask.)
  • Butterfly – Mason Jennings (I imagine Cullen watching the Inquisitor flitting around Skyhold and singing this song up on the battlements.  It’s perky and upbeat enough for our new Commander’s outlook on life while still expressing surprise and reservations about the relationship.  As a bonus, you can picture Cullen playing the lute.)
  • Dick Around – Sparks (This is the song that I think of for the three years between killing the Arishok and waiting for Fenris to come around again. If Hawke did anything but dick around Varric would have mentioned it, surely.)
  • Dream Police – Cheap Trick (Poor Anders, stuck with Justice watching and listening all the freaking time! And you just know the spirit lectures the poor man endlessly at night when he's trying to get a little rest between writing manifestos, smuggling mages, and healing the downtrodden.)
  • Drumming Song - Florence and The Machine (Everyone has a Florence & the Machine song on their Dragon Age 2 play list.  This one makes me think of Anders fighting to stay himself while Justice and Hawke tear him in opposite directions.  Plus it's an awesome song.  I swear the writers had the "Lungs" album on repeat for months when they were plotting this game.  Yea, them!)
  • Forget It - Blood Orange (Solas mournfully croons this mooning around the Fade deciding it's time to break it off with his Lavellan love.)
  • Fraulein – Pale Young Gentlemen (This one requires a bit of explanation. In fact, I wrote a whole post about Anders in Song that gives you one. Think, "Fraught.")
  • Fuck You - Cee-Lo Green (The link on this one takes you to the post explaining how this one is related to Dragon Age 2. If you just want to listen to the song, for now, try The Not-Pop Jukebox.) 
  • Harvester of Eyes - Blue Oyster Cult (I can't help it. Every time I hear the song now I think of Isabela in Dragon Age 2. "You have pretty eyes." Now it’s her theme song, at least as far as Fenris is concerned.)
  • Is This – Boingo (The longer Cullen--and the others in Transmutation--are held prisoner, the less real it must seem to them. Not only is there the lyrium withdrawal but there’s the torture and humiliation and the utter dismissal of anything they’d ever expected.)
  • It's Your Thing - The Isley Brothers (Pro-mage-rebellion Hawke is singing this in the background while Anders gives his little staff-thumping speech before the big moment. Then he shows her just who to sock it to. Then they come around for another verse while Chantry chunks fall.)
  • Lost in My Mind – The Head and the Heart (This one originally made the list for a different purpose but Solas made this his theme song in Inquisition.  In fact, I wrote a whole post about Solas, Abelas, and FleMythal lost in their minds.)
  • The Mission - Van Canto (This is the Dalish theme song, in my world. "Our mission's to fight to be free again; to stand our ground and to be immortal!" I can totally see them rockin' the forest with this one at some giant clan gathering. Also, Felessan from The Masked Empire would jam to this one, probably while Solas stood in the shadows, shaking his head.
  • Out of Control – Oingo Boingo (For a Hawke who loves Anders, whether in a romance or just as a dear friend, a conversation about how out of control he is must come at some point near the end. Sadly, for all her aching concern, Hawke can’t do a thing to rein him in and Justice isn’t about to let her.)
  • Primo Victoria – Van Canto (Despite the anachronisms, I hear this song while we’re fighting our way across the Arbor Wilds to the Temple of Mythal.  For this I blame Cullen and his epic hilltop stance.  The post linked contains a much longer description.  The link takes you to a post with more details and the song itself.)
  • Rangers (The more I listen to this song, the more it makes me think of Ferelden. It makes me think of a pair of apostates, elves escaped from the Circle and on the run through the Bracelian Forest. They don’t even really want to find the Dalish, they just want to be safe and free for once. In this case, of course, the Templars are the titular rangers and they don’t really have muskets. I’m betting they do have lanterns, however.)
  • Requiem Dem – Champion (The moment I heard this song I thought, “This is how Cullen felt after the Warden came back down from the Harrowing Chamber.” The roaring confusion at about three minutes fits my idea of how he might feel: angry, frightened, and unexpectedly free. Like the artist, he expected to die and finds himself alive after all, left to deal with the pain and fear that haven’t completely gone. Sorry if it makes you cry or breaks your heart a little.)
  • River of Love - Taj Mahal (As if there aren't enough songs about Anders suffering, trying to repress his love for Hawke, I have found one that fits like a glove. Have a listen and tell me the lyrics aren't perfect for an Anders fem!Hawke is pursuing in a friendmance. Go one, tell me! And then try not to picture Anders in a big dance number for the song.)
  • Spinning - Jack's Mannequin (This one makes me think of Anders just before he goes out to blow up the Chantry. Events have spun out of his control and he's just ready for the end, whatever happens. Actually, Deep Blue from the same band fits the story a little earlier, with the same loss of control but the creepy, obsessive love that inspired the "drown us in blood" line and some foreshadowing to the Chantry explosion.)
  • Spirits in the Material World – The Police (Not only is Justice a Spirit in the material world but the song is about political solutions failing and turning to revolution. This is Justice’s theme song.)
  • Trust Me I'm a Doctor - The Blizzards (While the tone is more Dragon Age: Awakenings Anders the chorus makes me think of that conversation in Dragon Age 2 when Anders brings you to his clinic to ask you to distract the Grand Cleric for him.)
  • We're Not Gonna Take It - Twisted Sister (This is the mage's rockin' anthem as they rebel following the Templar crackdown that Anders forced with his splody Chantry trick. Screw you, puppets of the Divine!)
  • You Might Think – The Cars (This one just makes me think of Anders at the beginning of Act 2 of Dragon Age 2, mooning over Hawke and just boarding that bus that takes him straight to downtown Crazyville so he’s still pretty fun.)