Papo & Yo


Pros: Lovely, relaxing, and occasionally moving
Cons: None

The Bottom Line: It works well as background music whether you’re in a swimming pool or just doing some work in your room.

Whatever I was doing one day, I ended up on YouTube watching Cry play through a bit of a game called Papo & Yo. It’s a unique little game that’s puzzle-based and with a storyline you don’t usually see in games. While the game itself deserves good reviews, you can go elsewhere for those – we’re here for Brian D’Oliveira’s music.

As the game takes place in Brazil – or rather, a fantasy Brazilian world, the music has a decidedly Brazilian flavor. It’s pretty clear even if you haven’t played the game and know its background. Certain instruments and the general style make it pretty clear that’s where you are. Or at the very least, that you’re somewhere in South America. Whistles, rattles, flutes, and horns all doing their thing give this soundtrack its flair and, if I remember right, the creators had it work in a similar fashion as some of the Journey music, where it changes depending upon what the character is doing, rather than doing a ton of looping.

At about 54 minutes, it’s pretty long, and there are only 17 tracks, and they’re all of fairly good length, with only one clocking in under a minute.

1. A Strange New World - 2:23
2. The Lost Song - 3:28
3. Here I Am - 0:30
4. Lost Hope - 3:32
5. Goodbye Alejandra - 1:05
6. A New Hope - 4:24
7. Over the Inferno - 4:02
8. Just One More - 2:20
9. Cozy Digs - 4:41
10. Anger Management - 3:26
11. Euclid Is Wrong - 3:01
12. Lula's Resurrection - 2:49
13. In the Deep - 2:39
14. Relax, Why Don't You? - 5:31
15. A Slow Realization - 3:27
16. Growing Up - 3:48
17. Liberation (La Muerte De Papo) - 2:57

This isn’t D’Oliveira’s first musical rodeo. He’s done work on other interactive video games as well as composed a bit for Little Big Planet 3. Seems he likes using obscure instruments and so that kind of seamless blending between gameplay and music. He does it well.

I think the song I heard while watching the first video was track 6. The songs are all different depending upon the situation in the game. Some might be upbeat and ready to go like track 1, while others are slow, quiet, and in some cases sad, such as track 15. They can even be a bit on the dark side, like track 8 and its drums and almost discordant notes. You do get some lyrics at the very end with the final song for when the credits roll, sung by a young boy and with chorus, which all matches up with the main character of the game – a young boy named Quico.

They’re all enjoyable though, and because of the instruments and sound, I find myself using it for one of my present writing projects. And to me, that’s always a good thing when I can use music to feed the muse.

I feel like I’m not saying much about this soundtrack and therefore not doing it justice. But there isn’t much to say. It’s good, and unless you listen to a few tracks yourself, I’m not sure how else I’m going to convince you. I like the compositions and the use of every instrument. I can’t even really pick out a favorite because they’re all so strong on their own. It’s like trying to describe your favorite drink to someone. Simple on the surface, but very complex on the inside. Everything about it is great – the only way you’re going to know if you really like it is if you sample some for yourself. And I highly recommend doing so.

NT

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I am an author, I sell books for a living, and I love music like there's no tomorrow. I've experienced much of this country, from forested hills of the East, to the golden plains of the Midwest, the sandy beaches of the Southeast, and the oh-so-majestic mountains of the Rockies. And when all else fails, eat chocolate.