Red Dead Redemption 2 was one of the biggest blockbusters in the gaming world over the last year. The long-awaited third installment in Rockstar’s Red Dead series, it sold tens of millions of copies and captured the hearts and minds of gamers around the globe.
A fully immersive game, one of the most captivating elements is the official soundtrack, with contributions from D’Angelo, Willie Nelson, Rhiannon Giddons, Josh Homme and the album’s producer, Daniel Lanois. Today we’re excited to premiere a studio performance video of one of Lanois’ songs on the album, “That’s The Way It Is.” On the reinterpreted song, he’s joined by backing band Heavy Sun (which features Rocca DeLuca, Jim Wilson and Johnny Shepherd in this performance). The song is an Amazon Original and the audio track is available exclusively through Amazon Music.
Like many of the songs on the RDR2 soundtrack, “That’s The Way It Is” is a slow, methodical and moody piece of music. Lanois’ vocals are understated, serving almost as an additional instrument in the mix. The band consists of two guitarist, a piano and a keyboard – despite this spartan setup, the arrangement is lush and full of depth, enhanced by the beautiful setting of the performance. The lyrics are matter-of-fact and pointed, owing to the situation in the game during which it plays (more on that below), but as the falsetto backing vocals appear in the chorus, it achieves true melodic beauty.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is in many ways like a playable movie and details like the soundtrack are a major contributor to this experience.
“‘That’s The Way It Is’ is a soulful, emotional song about the acceptance and surrender at the core of Arthur Morgan’s journey, co-written by my friend Rocco DeLuca and I” said Lanois. “The song plays at a pivotal moment in the game as Arthur comes to a powerful realization about the choices that he’s made in the past and his path forward from that point on.”
In addition to a wonderful, star-studded soundtrack, Red Dead Redemption 2 also featured a who’s-who of contributors to the score, including Colin Stetson and Bjork collaborator Arca.
Music and video game fans in Los Angeles have had a few chances to hear the music from Red Dead Redemption 2 performed live. The first was a performance of songs from the score, which featured appearances from Stetson, vocalist Petra Haden, Indonesian band Senyawa and composer Woody Jackson. This show was part of the Red Bull Music Festival in Los Angeles.
Then in a more exclusive, invite-only event that was literally hosted at Lanois’ house in the Hollywood Hills – in fact in the very same room that this video is filmed, our own Editor in Chief Raymond Flotat was able to attend a performance of songs from the official soundtrack. During that show Lanois played along with the same players from the video – Rocco DeLuca, Jim Wilson and Johnny Shepherd.