Hey! Listen – “Rare Earth Elements” (Black Ops II)


Unparalleled destruction in the palm of your hand. It’s a little unsettling, really.

Technology, as helpful as it often is, can also be scary and daunting. After all, when something seemingly insignificant at first glance, like a nuke inside of a briefcase, can in reality cause death and suffering on a massive scale, there’s more than enough reason to worry and become paranoid, especially if such a thin, fragile line is established between life and death. This is the kind of feeling that will only become more prevalent in the future, and today’s Hey! Listen track from Call of Duty: Black Ops II does an excellent job of grasping that raw uncertainty and fear.

The track below, titled “Rare Earth Elements” and composed by Jack Wall, plays during the level “Celerium” when David Mason first discovers the powerful yet tiny Celrium device with the help of a scientist named Erik Breighner. The track feels distinctly ‘Jack Wall-ish’ and seems like it would be right at home in the soundtrack for a Mass Effect title, though it’s use in Black Ops II is fitting nonetheless. When Mason is first handed the Celerium device, which looks only slightly bigger than a pinecone, this composition kicks in at the right moment to tell players that untapped potential is looming inside, just waiting to be unleashed. The synthetic beats here sound almost echo-like in the way they’re produced, giving off the sense that the device’s effects can be long-reaching and widespread. The coldness and detachment that’s conveyed here is also something to respect, since it envelops the whole thing in a kind of tragic, machine-like feel. Have a listen below and let us know what you think!

Jack Wall is an American composer who has worked on the soundtracks for game series’ like Mass Effect, Call of Duty, Splinter Cell, Myst, and many others. You can check out his site here.

Also, I might as well mention that I made some edits to the Call of Duty: Black Ops II review I posted a few months ago. After taking a long hard look back at it, I was shocked at how rushed/poor some of my writing was for it. Hence, I’ve made some quick edits in the vain hope of smoothing it out and elaborating on certain things. I’m not quite sure who it benefits at this point, but I figured that I’d let you guys know anyways.

Michael Urban
Now an occasional contributer, Michael Urban is the former Editor-in-Chief at OnlySP and has the nickname "Breadcrab" for reasons his therapist still doesn't understand. From the moment he first got hacked in Runescape, he's been uninterested in multiplayer games and has pursued the beauty of the single-player experience, especially in terms of story and creative design. His hobbies include reading, writing, singing in the shower, pretending to be productive, and providing info and feedback regarding the games industry. It is an industry, right? You can ask him a question or send him spam at Also, follow him on Twitter or the terrorists win. (@MichaelUrban1)

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