By: Kelly Chia, Peak Associate
Inspired by Dungeons and Dragons and the years I’ve spent reading young adult fantasy books, I’ve always been enticed by the idea of starting an adventure in a different world. Picture a place where bards sing about you, where shanties echo your name throughout taverns, and most importantly, where you carry some cool ass swords.
Be forewarned: the Woodland EP by The Paper Kites will make you want to leap from your seat and run straight through the woods, chasing euphoria under the sun. The titular track, “Woodland,” evokes that pure joy of having fun in the forest. The chorus begins with the vocals ascending through the last notes of the pre-chorus as the drums pick up: “Chasing all the things that are keeping us young / We won’t stop running till we reach the sun,” Sam Bentley, the vocalist, sings. This chill, yet upbeat song romanticizes the youthful natural beauty of the wilderness.
Breaking bread over a warm campfire, you take in your surroundings with excitement: this is where your adventure begins.
Compared to the lighthearted instrumentals of “Woodland,” “Laura Palmer” is a darker song with a heavier, steadier drumline. If “Woodland” is a fun adventure through the woods, “Laura Palmer” is the song that dares you to continue running down an unknown path. Dan Smith’s vocals soar in the chorus as the string orchestra joins the drum to simulate your heart beating faster.
As your path forward looms with uncertain dangers, do you keep going? Or do you seek refuge?
The theme in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, this song features few instruments, instead focusing on Ed Sheeran’s lyricism and vocals. Sheeran’s vocals shine in the isolated introduction, as well as the bridge, where the largely quiet instruments crescendo with the line: “And with that shadow upon the ground, I hear my people screaming out.”
Your beloved town is on fire. Heartbeat rising, you fight the flames as you try to reach your loved ones in time.
This incredible instrumental track is in a pivotal scene in How to Train Your Dragon. Hiccup successfully flies with Toothless, a dragon he has befriended, for the first time. It is a monument to their friendship, and it is filled with joy. The soaring instrumentals in the middle of the song reflect that fantastical feeling of flying through the skies, and it is beautiful.
In the nick of time, you’ve overcome your trials and come out the other end feeling like you have the whole world in your hands.
Featured in Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, this particular song pairs cheeky lyrics with the high vocals of Charlotte Cumberbirch. Any good hero’s story has to be recorded by a bard and sung in a tavern, after all, and the jolly spirit of this song is the perfect one to celebrate with. This feels like the song where a stranger takes your hand to dance.
After a difficult battle, you arrive back at a tavern, the quintessential fantasy barhouse. The flutes and the fiddle begin, and you cheer with mead as you know the rest of the night will be filled with shanties.
To listen to all of these songs and enter a deeper world of magical galore, you can find my playlist on Spotify, titled “Jumping straight into the (magical) books.”