If you asked me what the best part of the Call of the Tempestarii update was, my answer would be obvious. The music. Warframe’s soundtrack has always been amazing. And for this update, they blew it out of the water. Vaguely nautical pun intended, thanks to Warframe’s newest earworm. Sleeping in the Dark Below is an amazing space sea shanty. In fact, it’s been stuck in my head for days.
An amazing, catchy song.
Lyrical songs in Warframe are kinda rare. So when they do pop up, I’m always happy. Sleeping in the Dark Below ticks all the boxes as well. It’s short yet catchy and calls out to those who feel beaten down. You have a strong, easy to follow chorus, attention-grabbing lyrics and could easily have a large group of people joining in your singing. As a sea shanty, it honestly couldn’t get much better. Especially since the Warframe references aren’t super obvious. Aside from maybe Solar Rails and Granum Crowns, this could fit in anywhere when it comes to sailing and pirate-y things.
In a vacuum, the song definitely stands up next to Warframe’s other greatest hit. Both songs have similar feels to them. The unfortunate singing for a better fortune. But is it AS good as We All Lift Together? I want to say yes. But Sleeping in the Dark Below is kinda missing something.
What makes We All Lift Together so powerful is its context. It’s clear as day that We All Lift Together is a song for the hard-working commoner. And Warframe reinforces this. Fortuna is a debt-internment colony where people are trying to survive. As the name suggests, they all have to lift together to help themselves and each other. And while the Tenno aren’t debt-slaves, they go through the same motions.
So when you see it in-game, or watch the short Fortuna introduction, you REALLY feel the vibes. The connection between story, game and music is much stronger.
Sleeping in the Dark Below lacks that context.
There’s no such context for Sleeping in the Dark Below. When listening to the song on Youtube or the likes, there’s no video, just someone standing over some water, a ship and some void stuff. As you hear the song in Warframe though, the context is VASTLY different. Sleeping in the Dark Below plays while standing in that aforementioned water. But Valla isn’t there. You are playing as Sevagoth’s Shadow, slaughtering a ton of Corpus soldiers, as the music plays on top. Valla, the Corpus captain the song is kinda about, does explain what the song means. It’s the song she imagined her sisters singing as she stared at their frozen corpses, while adrift in a Void storm. One that Sevagoth caused.
So we kinda end up having a massive disconnect here. We have a sea shanty about going sailing and the struggles of work and eventually dying on the waves. But the people singing the song are long dead, the person singing the song is an angry captain and it’s being played as the murderer (accidental or otherwise) of the dead goes and murders more people.
The context needs stretching.
It makes a bit more sense if you put the song in a slightly different context. It could have been the song Valla and her sisters sung while working. And Valla imagined them still singing it even after they were dead. It’s definitely not a stretch at all, but the game’s context clues don’t give such an immediate impression. There’s a massive disconnect between song and intended use that’s hard to get over.
All that being said, Sleeping in the Dark Below is still an excellent song. It’s a massive earworm that won’t get out of my head.