“Still Alive” as videogame theme, redux

October 16, 2008

I got a press release today, heralding the theme song for the upcoming Electronic Arts videogame “Mirror’s Edge.” It’s sung by Lisa Miskovsky, and Nettwerk is releasing an EP of remixes, including big names like Paul van Dyk. The song is called “Still Alive.” Wait a minute, I think, isn’t that the name of the song Jonathan Coulton did for Portal? Yes. Are the games related? No. (I suspect that asking the question reveals the depth of my gaming ignorance.) I mean, seriously – it’s been barely a year since Portal came out – didn’t anyone at EA realize that the world might not want two videogame themes with the same title?

I’m sorry to have to relate that the Miskovsky song, at least the baseline version, is a little generic-sounding; I streamed it while working at my desk and realized I wasn’t even listening to it. On the other hand the Coulton version, like pretty much everything he does, is anything but generic. If you’re spoilerphobic and haven’t yet played the game, you might want to pass on listening to the song; if you’ve completed the game or don’t care about spoilers, you can get full details of the song process and lyrics from JoCo’s blog. Also, if you have issues with vocoders and/or sopranos (it’s sung by Ellen McLain, who did the character’s voice in the game), you might prefer a version that Coulton sings himself.

MP3: Portal theme – Still Alive


  1. The reason you didn’t notice the original track is that, like many generic electronic pop songs, it’s simply a carrier for samples to later be remixed into big room, effects-laden trance (or Electro) anthems. This in turn, associates bigger names with the song and should drive up both EP and game sales. Check out the Paul Van Dyk and Benny Benassi mixes on youtube to hear the generic remakes of this exceptionally forgettable track.

    Also, the Portal theme remains one of my favorite Coulton lyrics ever. Thanks for das MP3.

  2. An excellent point – that the original version is merely a tabula rasa.

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