Leon S. Kennedy pretty much won the heart of every single Resident Evil fan the moment he came onto the scene. Kennedy made his debut in the original 1998 Resident Evil 2. He was designed to be the polar opposite of Resident Evil’s Chris Redfield. As such, Kennedy threw out the “blunt” and “tough-guy” demeanour in favour of a “cool” and “with the times” persona.
With the remastered Resident Evil 2 right around the corner, I figured I would go back to the very first Resident Evil game that I played, and explore the kinds of music its leading man would listen to. During the events of Resident Evil 2, Leon S. Kennedy is just a rookie cop – late for his first day, no less. He is a cool and calm guy with a steady aim. As such, I started wondering what other cops would listen to while out on patrol and the like, and I got quite a few answers back. As such, this Playlist will explore exactly what it is that rookie cops listen to. It includes heavy rock beats, with hip hop, grunge and a tiny bit of Jazz sprinkled in there for good measure. This is the essential Vamers Leon S. Kennedy Playlist.
1. Savior – Rise Against
Savior is a pretty straightforward tale of broken romance. The song describes how a couple split up in the past, and how the singer still loves the girl very much. This love for her was so intense at the time, that he pretty much went crazy. Now that he is over it, however, he looks back and sings about how much he recognises that the split was actually good for both of them. Even so, and during the song, the singer starts to recognise that his love is still there.
As a twenty-something rookie police officer, there is no question that Leon S. Kennedy has a few things hidden away in a closet somewhere. Some of those being relationships. Not only is Savior such a good song, but it also perfectly fits the character of Kennedy. The song especially comes into play as a fitting song when Kennedy starts to uncover more and more of what is going on during his first day of work in Resident Evil 2.
2. Purple Haze – Jimi Hendrix
During his tenure as one of rock’s greatest showmen and guitarists, Jimi Hendrix performed Purple Haze to crowds of hundreds of thousands. He was likely high on psychedelic drugs and hallucinogens, but boy could he rock it out like there would be no tomorrow! If his history is anything to go by, it is safe to assume that the entire song describes one of his adventures through a violet, purple, and pink world during one of his LSD-induced trips.
Not only is Purple Haze a rocking song, but it also fits Leon’s first night on the job pretty well. He is pretty sure that his first day on the job will be pretty standard fare. Alas, he has never been more wrong in his life! The entire night goes down like a nightmare. A vivid, horror-inducing nightmare that Hendrix was said to have a lot of in his later years. Where Hendrix’s figurative nightmares and “vivid dreams” were brought on by LSD, Leon S. Kennedy’s literal nightmare experiences also originated from drugs and science. Only this time, the G-Virus wants to make the entire world share in the nightmare.
3. The Man Who Sold The World – Nirvana
Now, this is a classic! The song was originally sung by David Bowie. However, Kurt Cobain and Nirvana sang a cover of it at their famous MTV Unplugged show. It instantly became a hit among Nirvana’s millions of fans, and then some. The song depicts a world where a man thinks he has sold his soul and personality – his “world”. The song also describes how another man tried to become friends with him. The singer plays along, but still believes firmly that he died long before and this is all just a dream.
While Kennedy definitely did not sell his soul, I believe this song resonates with the rookie officer. Particular because of the way it depicts a world that has gone “down the drain”, by all accounts. The song is about a man’s lost soul, but it pertains to Kennedy in a much more literal sense. His world is burning down one room and mutated enemy at a time. It is also a pretty chill song, and Kennedy likes chill songs.
4. Hells Bells – AC/DC
AC/DC frontman, Brian Johnson, famously told Classic Rock that the creative process on Hells Bells absolutely required that the new song be far more “moody” than their previous single, Back in Black. I think it is safe to say that this song is as moody as AC/DC gets. The song opens with ominous bells ringing in the distance. It then switches over to a sombre guitar riff before the band starts to sing about an impending storm. One that is sweeping over the fields and “flashing across the sky” like a “hurricane”, and how the storm (and the band) will not be taking any prisoners that night. There is no escaping Rock and Roll mayhem, just like there is no escaping a hurricane.
When he is not doing one night stands and trying to forget the love the first song in this playlist alludes to, Kennedy is out on the shooting range. There he train to become the best police officer the force has ever seen. Hells Bells not only encompasses his need to be a hero, ready to swoop in and save the day with badassery, but also depicts an ominous setting where the bells of Satan might get you without a moment’s notice. A setting that he lives out for an entire night during the events of Resident Evil 2.
5. For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield
One of the 60s most prolific protest songs is also one of 2019’s most pertinent classic rock songs. For What It’s Worth depicts how the police are taking advantage of their authority and power to silence the “little man”, by any means necessary. The song depicts how scary it can be to be confronted by men with weapons, and the world is not always just black and white.
The song might be one of the best protest songs in history, but it is also a jam with sweet guitar riffs that would make anyone want to listen to it multiple times over. As the differing sides in the song start to increase in tension, and lines are getting drawn, Buffalo Springfield sings about how “nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong”. This means that, while the lines are blurred and facts are difficult to come by, everything can still fall to chaos. Something that definitely happened in Resident Evil 2. This is especially true when the blame starts to be thrown around in the confusion of the initial scares.
6. Godspeed – Anberlin
The life of a rockstar can be glamoured up beyond belief by media and innocent fans who are not aware of the hardships that come with fame. Godspeed describes how the world of a star can be just as deadly as that of any other person, if not more so. Especially when you consider how sex, drugs and alcohol are often used to placate depression. It also famously alludes to how many stars seem to die at the age of 27.
Leon S. Kennedy may not be a rock star or be addicted to either sex, drugs or alcohol, but he certainly is a star in his own right. In-universe, he is the cool guy on the block. The one who graduated from the police academy and is now on his way to his first day on the job. He is a bit of an arrogant man, but ultimately comes out as a very level-headed individual. Especially when the proverbial poop hits the fan. This song resonates with the way that this very job he is doing now – the one that many think is great (because of the authority you have) – can be the death of him. It also does not help that he is in his early twenties.
7. The Boys Are Back In Town – Thin Lizzy
Some believe that this song alludes to a group of old friends reuniting, while others think that it is a song about returning veterans who are back home after a hard-earned victory. While the latter seems improbable, considering Thin Lizzy is an Irish punk rock band and never had anything to do with the army, it also sounds like the most fitting reason for the song. Regardless of its actual origins, the song depicts a group of men who have returned home. Now, they are searching for old loves, friends, and need to try to find their places in this town once more.
Despite the countless entires in the Resident Evil series, Leon S. Kennedy’s real origins remain a mystery. All we know is that he requested to work for the Racoon City Police Department when he graduated from the academy. What follows is the events of Resident Evil 2, and the rest is, as they say, history. I do think, however, that the mystery of “who the boys are”, and who Kennedy was before he came to Racoon City, is odly similar. As such, I like to think that he requested to work in Racoon City, not because he wanted to stop the strange uptick in recent murders, but rather because he wanted to return home after he was taken away in his youth. I may be grasping at straws here, but gosh is that a cool mystery to think about.
8. Lying From You – Linkin Park
Linkin Park’s Lying From You is without a doubt a song about pushing someone away. It depicts how someone is lying and making up stories in order to make the person they love angry. All in order to make it easy for them to walk away.
While the mysteries of Racoon City and the G-Virus are covered up by government officials, and even special agent forces and leaders (such as Wesker), Leon S. Kennedy tries to break the mould by being one of only a handful of people who are not out to get ahead of everyone else. Leon is also the focal point of a pretty cool music video on YouTube, featuring this song.
9. Victory Song – Scott H. Biram
When it comes to victory songs, not much springs to mind except for Scott H. Biram’s aptly titled Victory Song. The Texas, USA, born country and rock artist escaped death in 2003 when his vehicle was struck head-on by an 18-wheeler. Since then he has released four albums. This particular song, I would like to think, is a direct result of the crash he escaped. There certainly is no better victory, than that of beating death.
While the two certainly cannot be compared, I like how Scott H. Biram’s victory and Leon S. Kennedy’s eventual victory at the end of the game can be compared. Not only that, but the song fits the strange, dark and haunted sights that Kennedy explores throughout the game. It helps a lot that the song also depicts the end of a journey. One that was hard-fought, day and night, in a mutated and zombie-infested town. It would certainly call for a proper victory song, and there really is no better one than this.
10. Stardust – Glenn Miller
In a list populated by rock songs, one jazz track certainly stands out. Glenn Miller’s Stardust is a super chill track that creates beautiful imagery about snowy setpieces and couples dancing. All while the camera pans out to reveal a huge cityscape, complete with cars in the distance and hot air balloons overhead.
When I think of Racoon City, I always think of those classic animated movies such as 101 Dalmatians and Lady and the Tramp. Where simple jazz tracks are used to pan out and showcase happy surroundings before the story actually begins. I like to think that this is the song that played in Leon S. Kennedy’s car as he drove for hours-on-end, toward Racoon City. Imagine the camera pan, the beautiful views, and the wonderful snow-capped mountains in the distance!
There you have it, folks. The playlist is complete. With that said, are you looking forward to the remastered, from the ground up, Resident Evil 2? The first to feature Leon S. Kennedy? We definitely are.
Did you enjoy this Playlist? Do you have a different suggestion for this list? Reckon you have an idea for a better musical choice for any of the aforementioned spots? Whatever the case may be, let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check back fortnightly for a brand new Playlist featured article.
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