Well, I don’t usually decide to cover disturbing tracks for Amazing VGM, and I don’t find myself likely to again any time soon. Truthfully, I don’t even really want to write this piece, but this is the only time where I will be able to get myself in the right mindset to be able to even listen to this piece again, let alone write about it. As fucked as Doki Doki Literature Club! was, and as many problems as I had with it; I will still admit that it did some things very effectively. In my review, I have gone into detail about the scene where this track plays and how effective it was, and I made a quick mention of the music. Well, there is a lot to unpack in regards to why.
Content Warning: Suicide.
Chances are, if i played Doki Doki Literature Club! before I made my Most Disturbing Video Game Songs countdown, this may have beaten my previous pick for number 1. My choice for the number one spot was a tie between the tracks “Too Much” and “In My Way” from Undertale. I cited the fact that both tracks make me feel dead inside whenever I listen to them, and it dulls me so much that I can’t feel anything. This track however, makes me WISH I felt dead inside so that I could not feel anything. Instead, this song does make me feel something… pain. This song hurts to listen to. I don’t even mean in that it hurts my ears or sounds harsh, it hurts my soul.
The thing with this song is that, melody wise, it is oddly beautiful. That ethereal wail is strongly captivating and piercing. The way it opens up with a glitched out version of the game’s main theme and those icy strings emphasizes feelings of disbelief and horror. It has often been described as if even the game itself couldn’t process what just happened, which makes sense because Sayori killing herself was not how the game originally intended to work in canon. However, it eventually managed to find something in its data that fit, although not fully, as represented by the off key music box.
As for the piano, it is very somber and depressing, and also symbolic of Monika’s presence. However, one with a good ear might notice that it is very similar to that of another infamously creepy video game track associated with underage suicide.
Yep, I see what you did there Dan. I did notably exclude the Lavender Town theme from my countdown because I felt that it was more on the depressing side than the disturbing side, and that a lot of the basis for its inclusion would be on a baseless myth. I always did feel something from it atmosphere wise and that it held a very mournful air to it, which is fitting in the only town where people seemed to have reference that Pokemon actually die.
“Sayo-nara” invokes the same mournful nature of the Lavender Town theme as well as the ironic reprisal of the game’s main theme. A track that once sounded so full of life and cheer is reduced to this. Hell, it’s kinda similar to the track “Scattered Future” from Cognitive Dissonance in emphasizing that this IS your reality now. THIS IS Doki Doki Literature Club, the game that you played up until this point and what you are experiencing now are one and the same… which just makes it all the stupider that the game went for the meta horror “Monika fucked with the game’s code” angle.
As devastating as this scene was, imagine how much more impactful it would be if the story continued from there. The MC specifically stated “I will carry this guilt for the rest of my life” and “nothing matters anymore without her.” These are what people who lived through a friend’s suicide go through. Families often fall apart over one’s suicide, and taking the easy way out and just pressing the reset button there takes away all of the meaning of this scene.
Hell, even if we still needed to include the meta horror elements, wouldn’t have been so much better to instead ditch the groundhog day loop elements and have most of the story proceed as if this never happened. Show the mental states of Natsuki and Yuri slowly worsening over time while presenting their mental illnesses as character flaws and conflicts rather than for exaggerated memetic shock value. Just imagine how much more meaningful it would be if the MC did decide to stay with Yuri despite her increasingly desperate tendencies, or if she had more self awareness of these issues and the MC tried to help her with them. Imagine if the MC tried to help Natsuki get away from her abusive father. Imagine if the MC was an actual character… kinda like how he was portrayed when Sayori killed herself.
The MC was presented as an actual character with genuine human connections to Sayori during this scene, Imagine if he came to regret how he treated her like an idiot during the first act when she died. Also throw in a secret polyamorous harem ending that also includes Monika. You know that’s what Sayori would have wanted. Hell, things would have worked a lot better if the twist that Monika was behind everything was delivered in a more subtle fashion, and without pretentious “deleting character files” bullshit. Fuck it, just hire me to write the story next time… no I won’t accept exposure as payment… unless it’s exposure to Yuri’s tits.
Anyway that is enough of that. Next VGM will most likely be something a bit more light hearted. Anyway see ya then.
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