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Why Ellie's song in The Last of Us 2 sounded so familiar

Whether or not you like The Last of Us Part 2's narrative, you cannot deny the game is drowning in references and Easter eggs, from PlayStation 3 consoles that crop up occasionally to knockoff Warhammer 40K miniatures that hide in plain sight. However, the most notable Easter egg has to be Ellie's guitar.

The team at Naughty Dog decided to program every conceivable guitar note into The Last of Us Part 2, and you can combine them to strum some decent covers. Gamers have discovered an insane number of songs Ellie can recreate, but one song in particular has won over the internet's heart. Many players have encountered a cutscene where Ellie plays and sings a strangely familiar song. 

Just why does that song strike a chord? Keep reading to find out.

The song is Take On Me by a-ha

As you can tell by the title, Ellie's song is just a cover of a-ha's Take On Me but with a lot less synth, backup singers, and 80s. You might not even recognize the song since Ellie's cover is slower, has a folk music vibe, and lacks the song's iconic rotoscoped music video visuals. But, rest assured Ellie is indeed singing Take On Me.

How did Ellie even learn the song since she was born in 2019, six years after society (and the internet) met an untimely demise at the business end of a Cordyceps zombie's mouth? Maybe from the tape Riley gave her.

No matter how Ellie actually learned Take On Me, the cutscene still makes for a touching moment as she uses the song to serenade Dina. The moment is full of raw emotion thanks to Ellie's facial animations and the acoustic intonations of voice actor Ashley Johnson.

The Last of Us Part 2 isn't the first time Take On Me has appeared as an Easter egg

Since Take On Me is one of the most popular tunes of the 80s — thanks in no small part to its music video — other pieces of media have referenced the song countless times. The Last of Us Part 2 is only the latest in a line of entertainment samples that use the song in one way or another. Although, most focus on the visual aspects of the music video rather than the song itself.

One of the most well-known examples of Take On Me references is an episode of Family Guy, where Chris Griffin is temporarily sucked into an alternate rotoscope dimension, complete with lyrics from the song, while buying milk at a grocery store. And who can forget when Volkswagen made a commercial for their No-Charge scheduled maintenance to the melody of the song, complete with visuals that mimic the original music video.

Take On Me is also no stranger to the world of video games. In one of Just Cause 4's explorable buildings, players can encounter a few notes of the song emanating from a stairway. If you venture down the stairs, the game world turns black and white as the rest of the song plays. Unfortunately, the protagonist isn't accosted by wrench-wielding goons, so the reference room is just a place to listen to Take On Me and nothing more.