It’s everyone’s favourite problematic Marmite anime, Attack on Titan! Whether you love it or hate it (or stopped reading after it started getting political, at which point, it apparently got… extremely weird), there is one indisputable fact: Hiroyuki Sawano’s soundtrack absolutely slays.
This list unfortunately cannot include the relentless number of parody videos, the best of which was indubitably this version to Ke$ha’s Die Young. A moment of respect for the YouTube creators.
Guren no Yumiya
Otherwise known as: SIE SIND DAS ESSEN UND WIE SIND DIE JAEGER
Was this the song that spawned a thousand memes? Take yourself back to 2014, a simpler time when everyone was walking around in Recon Corps jumpers, and let yourself be subsumed in sweet nostalgic bliss.
Some people will try to convince you this is the best Attack on Titan theme – nay, the best opening in all anime. These people are, of course, wrong, because we all know the best opening belongs to that swimming anime, but also because we all know the best AOT theme is:
The Reluctant Heroes
This is it. The real OG.
You know what I would want in my head as I rushed into certain death? An upbeat electronic bop with a melody which sounds like you’re running your hand aimlessly over a keyboard. Every soundtrack should aim to make you feel like you’re the main video game character while you’re just singing along in the shower. Sawano understands the needs of the people.
Vogel im Käfig
You think you recognise it? Yeah, it’s from that scene in Episode 1. That sudden doomed feeling you get in the second half is just your instinctive fight-or-flight response kicking in. Don’t worry, the titans can’t hurt you.
For once in my life I think I am blessed with being able neither to speak nor understand German, because this means I an unable to appreciate the apparently terrible pronunciation to its fullest extent. As it is, not even realising that it was in German has allowed me to appreciate it for what it is – a beautiful, extra-as-hell soundtrack that sounds like it’s straight out of a zombie epic.
So ist es immer
What’s better than having a song in faux-German? Having every other line in English!
This song perfectly encapsulates the central theme of the series: growing attached to a character and then having them die in front of your eyes. This is filled with the sorrow that only those who have seen their comrades eaten before their eyes can know. Even better, this version goes the whole hog by just having a PowerPoint slide show of everyone who died, just in case you’d forgotten. (Spiderman: Far From Home could never.)
Call Your Name
Not sure what they were going for with this one, to be honest! The line about the coffee throws me for a loop every time. Honestly, I’ve spent the last few minutes trying to decipher the first verse, and legitimately thought I’d forgotten how to read.
Still, it’s sort of a bop in the way that you’d not switch to another station if it came on the radio; familiar in the way your dad asks if it’s a band he knows. It’s the classic rock anthem we didn’t know this series needed. Truly the Nickelback of the AoT soundtrack.
Katie Knight (@codaevermore) is a Classics grad and librarian working in the UK. She spent her first lockdown discovering the Death Note Musical. She’s spending her second lockdown trying to catch up on 5 years of One Piece (before its 1000th chapter).