One of the biggest overlooked pieces of information dropped by last week’s blowout was that for the first time ever, Grand Theft Auto will be getting its own original musical score. Historically, Rockstar Games have an exemplary record when it comes to implementing music into their games: whether it’s Shawn Lee’s expert percussion work from Bully or Bill Elm & Woody Jackson’s marvellous atmospheric composition for Red Dead Redemption, they know how to hit the right notes. And this is never more palpable than when it comes to their iconic radio stations.

Beyond the gameplay, the graphics and the missions, the heart of a Grand Theft Auto game lies with its radio stations. As they have shown time and time again, Rockstar are a developer who understand the importance of a video game soundtrack: much of the ambience and memories created are by virtue of the presence of its music. Remember hopping in the Admiral at the start of Vice City with the strains of ‘Billie Jean’ coming on?  Recall hearing ‘Hollywood Swingin’ during a dance-off with your girlfriend in a San Andreas joint? Or even, dare I say it, listening to ‘More Bounce to the Ounce’ as you are treated to a private dance at the Pole Position strip club? From the fictitious original songs of the earlier games to the big licensed tracks nowadays, Rockstar have always boasted of immaculate sounds that define generations.

Now, I don’t believe for one second that this game will contain as many as 25 radio stations. GTA IV had an unusually large amount (19, but 22 if you include Episodes From Liberty City in the package) and this time round I would expect a lower quantity closer to 15; so expect several of these proposals not to figure.

For virtually each entry I will provide a potential playlist, attempting my best to avoid any song with previous on a GTA game or in fact on any other likewise sandbox game (Saints Row, Mafia etc.). My knowledge on certain genres isn’t up to scratch so inspired choices may be few and far between. You will notice a lot of oldies listed as I find these stand the test of time (there’s a reason for being known as ‘classics’) and I’m one of those obstinate folk that don’t particularly take pleasure from “new” music. Some of my selections may seem a little self-indulgent, but if you have any qualms then take heart that I don’t work at Rockstar!

Now that I’ve got my excuses out of the way, let’s take a look..

1. Talk Radio

Example name: WhatGossip? (Yes, that is a nod to this website)

Let’s get the most painfully obvious out the way first. The banter of talk radio, with its chat show format and phone-ins, was introduced in GTA III with the hysterical and brilliant Chatterbox FM. Since then it has been a staple in every subsequent iteration outside of Chinatown Wars. Vice City accommodated two, and IV went as far as incorporating three separate dedicated talk stations. Safe to say its inclusion here is a certainty – the only question is how many? I would estimate at two, clinging to optimism that one will be hosted by the virtuoso Lazlow.

Chances of inclusion: 100%

So what else can we expect? Read on to find out…

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This article was first posted on November 18, 2012