Sometimes when a piece of music resonates with us, we don’t always know why. While playing through the original Sly Cooper trilogy recently, I greatly enjoyed the games’ soundtrack, with some songs catching my fancy more than others, as is to be expected. There was one song in particular in Sly 2, however, that really stuck with me. I initially thought it had perhaps simply gotten stuck in my head, and I played on, through Sly 3 and eventually halfway through Sly 4 (as of writing this post). And yet, despite all the time that had passed, I just couldn’t get the song out of my head.
Video from Youtube User: OBigCheese
The Cabins, as expected, plays in the log cabins found in Sly 2’s first Canada level, and there’s just something about this song that speaks to my heart like any good resonating song should. But, why, I continued to ask myself. What was it about this song that was capable of invoking such a strong sense of emotion in me? And more specifically, what emotion was it?
To figure it out, I thought about the location itself. The first of two chapters that take place in Canada have us wandering the big, open Canadian wilderness (well, both Canada chapters do, but I liked the first the most). Once we pass beyond the outskirts of the tiny outpost, you’re thrust into the great, snowy outdoors. I quickly became overwhelmed with the sheer size of this place and the sense of wonder after having gotten used to far more heavily populated locations earlier on in the game, such as Paris and Prague. I also realized the dangers of such a wild place when I was faced with such perils as bears, moose, and swooping eagles. In short, this place just had a really unique feel unlike anything else I had experienced thus far in the series.
This place was wild and untamed, as wild as Jean Bison himself, the pioneering buffalo who wished to clear away Canada’s wilderness to make room for his trains. And as I began my initial exploration of this place, I felt…lonely. I felt the kind of sadness one might feel if they lived in such a place, where the snow could very well fall to such an overwhelming thickness, that any interaction with the outside world was impossible until the spring thaw. At the same time, I was well aware I was simply playing a video game. That I was home, surrounded by the modern world. There was nothing lonely or isolated about my existence, but in that moment, I certainly felt like I was tens of miles away from another soul.
For some reason, this song makes me feel that all over again. The music has a quick pace, its seemingly cheerful tune bringing to mind the comfort the cabins must bring to weary workers after spending a day out in the snow. But I also detect a note of loneliness, of a sadness one might feel in this harsh environment that even the general warmth of the cabins can’t erase (I particularly felt this at 1:20). It reminds me of the past, when I was a duckling, and my parents and I would drive through the night on our way home after a trip. We would pass through nothing but overwhelming emptiness for miles and miles, and the only sound was the music on the radio. It was positively unsettling to feel that cut-off from the world, and though we were only hours from home, it was easy to believe in the darkness that home might as well have been months away. Maybe it is that experience that made this song resonate with me due to the memories it brings to mind, or maybe this song’s success simply speaks to the power of music and its ability to make us feel such strong emotion due to something as silly as a location in a video game. All I know for certain is that this song makes me think of comfort during hard times. That is why The Cabins resonates with me.
The Duck, the Fiercest of all Canada’s Wildlife