Hello Night City! Is what you’ll hear over and over again as you boot up the game Cyberpunk 2077. You’ll also hear the blazing anti-capitalist goodness of the band Refused, who recorded the tracks for Keanu’s in-game band SAMURAI. Cyberpunk 2077 is having a player surge at the moment. Maybe you finally got your hands on a Playstation 5, maybe you heard from a buddy that the game was patched enough to play, or maybe you’re just so bored out of your mind with the lack of AAA RPGs that you needed to give the game another whirl while you wait for the release of Gotham Knights. For all its initial faults, Cyberpunk 2077’s music was never one of them.

Refused’s story is a punk fairy tale. It’s about leftist politics, internal turmoil, and an album that was too punk for punk. Refused formed in 1991 in one of the most metal countries on earth, Sweden. There’s just something about those hardcore winters that lend themselves to harsh rock and roll. The group made a name for themselves with their outspoken, leftist political views and of course, great music. But when they released their third album in 1998, it tanked and led to the band breaking up. Here’s where the “cyber” part of cyberpunk comes in. Fans online began discovering Refused’s music, despite the members having moved on to other projects, the band began selling more albums. They toured, played music festivals, and gained a loyal following. Members of CD Projekt Red, Cyberpunk 2077’s developers, had gotten the Refused bug and approached the band about lending their sound to the game. The band’s philosophy aligns well with SAMURAI’s; anti-corpo, pro-noise. What’s wild is they didn’t know they were writing music for a game starring Keanu Reeves, they found out along with most of the rest of the world after his legendary E3 appearance. 

In an interview with Inverse, lead singer Dennis Lyxzén talks about missing his chance to meet Keanu when the game’s big release party was canceled due to COVID. But with the game’s first expansion coming next year, maybe we’ll get more excellent Refused music and they’ll get a chance to meet Neo.

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