Today many of us may harangue about the evils of 4Kids. How they ruined One Piece, how they rendered Yu Gi Oh indecipherable (and possibly for the better). I’d like to go back to the happier times, when 4Kids was in charge of localizing everyone’s favorite cartoon show based on a Nintendo game: Pokemon.
I’m sure all of us have happy memories of our travels with Ash, Brock, Misty, and Pikachu, and could regale ourselves over the many times Team Rocket had been defeated. But how many of us remember the greatest music ever put in a saturday morning cartoon show? And indeed, the greatest CD ever devoted to said music?
Just to get the ball rolling, here are my thoughts on each song.
Pokémon Theme– This song, sung by Jason Paige, is quite possibly the most unforgettable song to ever come out of late nineties saturday morning cartoons. When Paige sings, “I wanna be the very best, like no one ever was,” we all want to say, “Move over Pavarotti, he’s the best already!” But it’s not just Jason Paige’s emotional vocals, the lyrics are filled with philosophical depth, “Our hearts so true, our courage will pull us through, you teach me and I teach you, Pokémon.”
Socrates taught that the unexamined life is not worth living. What he didn’t know was that life could only be examined with Pokémon.
2.B.A Master– Russel Velåzquez takes over for this towering song. What can I say that hasn’t already been said before? When Velåzquez implores that, “all the children sing” only the most heartless could refuse to join in the chorus, “na-nana-na-na-nana-nana-na-na-nananananana.” After this song, I too was “writin’ a brand new chapter” on my Pokémon Blue cart. And guess what, not only did I meet and defeat… the elite. I survived against my rival, and not only that… I caught them all.
Viridian City– Jason Paige returns to remind us that we are on the motherf****** road to motherf****** Viridian City. No other song expresses the feelings I feel while going through Route 1. “Now here’s the plan we’re gonna head down to the forest. Try to collect some pokémon” how did he know!?
What Kind of Pokemon Are You?– The bongo drums are reminiscent of The Rolling Stones’ Sympathy For The Devil. But the song itself is reminiscent of awesomeness. No other song in the history of the world so succinctly describes the effectiveness between other types of pokémon, and with such vividness and fervor.
“Don’t ya bug me with a Caterpie/ For a flying type the win’s easy/ Good luck with Muk and it’s poison gas/ Make one wrong move and it’ll kick your grass.” Who else hasn’t felt this? The pun that opens this verse is positively shakespearean, while the one that closes it out can only be described as hardcore, and ultra badass.
My Best Friends– An ode to the only thing that matters in the world. Pokémon. The hard guitars that salt and pepper this specimen of R&B perfection only hide a soft inside, “We will go where our dreams come true.” Clearly the Indigo Plateau.
Everything Changes– I feel bad for Parmenides, I seriously do. If he had only lived another twenty six centuries he could have heard this monumental song and would have recanted his heresy, “everything changes, changes, things are changing constantly, everything changes, changes, it’s evolutionary.” Who can disagree? Especially when sung by the always magnificent Shelia Brody. The song even provides empircal evidence for its philosophical assertion, “my Metapod evolved into a Butterfree!” Ash squeals. What other song would do this? Lesser ones, clearly.
The Time Has Come (Pikachu’s Goodbye)– Ladies and Gentlemen (yes, even Gentlemen) take out your hankerchiefs, and make sure to have at least two glasses of water handy. This song has been banned in twenty countries due to dehydration. Marti Lebow knows how to work the heartstrings like no other singer in the history of humankind. “I wish we could go back to the beginning!” Marti pleads. Before you reach for your razors, remember, Pikachu did come back at the end of the episode.
Pokémon Dance Mix– Michael Jackson cameos to warm our hearts of stone with his cool dance beats. “You can be a MASTER IF YOU TRYYYYY!!!!” Just like you Mr. Jackson? Even like you? Sometimes, when I beat the Elite Four… it can feel that way.
Double Trouble (Team Rocket)– Jessie, James, and Meouth sing a remix of their terrifying motto. They add a few more lyrics, just in case we didn’t get the picture. Did you know they could cause a riot in sunday school? Or that do unto others is their Golden Rule?
If I could think of only one problem in this song, it’s the line, “We’re Team Rocket and we fight for what’s wrong, for mayhem, and madness, and rare Pokémon.” If Rare Pokémon are wrong, I don’t want to be right.
If anyone listening are harmatialogically inclined, this is your song.
Together Forever– A perfect pop song that explores the erotic connection between Ash and Misty. Hey, Justin, J.P. Hartmann brought sexy back nine years ago! And for everyone who’s purchased this album, it’s never left.
Misty’s Song– I don’t know about you, but when I watched the TV series, I never detected any sort of love relation between Misty and Ash, until this song. The second best R&B song on this album, making it approximately the third best in existence. “I want to tell you what I’m feeling, and to say that I love you.” One day you will Misty, one day…
PokéRAP– Nothing needs to be said. Nothing. If you don’t recognize this as the greatest song ever written, produced, and rapped, well then, get out of my Universe.
For those who purchased the CD, it contains the PokéRAP music video.
You Can Do It (If You Really Try)– Look upon John Loether’s work, ye mighty, and despair. “It’s your destiny, to spread your wings and fly.” Sure it may be a cliché, but for the first time, I believe it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going onto the roof.