Review Summary: It's a Pokemon soundtrack. Obtain it.
Everyone loves childhood memories. No matter how much of a hardcore, badass, death-metal listening to guy you are now, you can look back on stuff like GI Joes, Saturday morning cartoons, and Barbie (equality in the review place!). I may have caught the craze at the tail end of it being cool for my age (I entered middle school as it got really popular, when you’re supposed to get “:mature” to fit in etc), but undoubtedly Pokemon holds that kind of place for me. Despite the fact I’m nearly 9 years older than I was when I first discovered it, I can’t help but get excited at the thought of a new Pokemon coming out. An indication of “gay” I am? Perhaps.
It could also be that Pokemon is just one of the best concepts ever made ever. Little monsters that you can capture and collect, while not exactly the most original idea, was put to perfection with Pokemon Red & Blue
, and even though later releases may have done little more of value than add new Pokemon, it still has become one of the most massively successful video game franchises of all time. And, if there ever was a soundtrack that could encapsulate how awesome Pokemon is, it would be 2 B A Masta
, the first real soundtrack to the animated version.
To be honest, you have to take the album with a gigantic grain of salt; it’s made for 9 year olds who really don’t listen to music (at all). It’s filled with cliché after cliché, pretty insipid lyrics (it’s a Pokemon soundtrack after all…), and the music is incredibly over-produced to add a bunch of little effects that can catch the attention of even the most ADHD child. It’s also seriously lacking the addition of any killer guitar solos, although there is a pretty sick Opeth-like riff near the end of “Double Trouble (Team Rocket).”
I’m not kidding.
Looking past that though, the soundtrack just plain rocks. Somehow it captures a lot of the magic a Disney soundtrack would encompass, eliciting feelings of nostalgia I haven’t felt since I listened to the Disney Princess Collection. Almost every song here can remind you of something you found in the game or saw in the anime (except for “Everything Changes” which is really only rung in by Anime samples of Ash exclaiming a pokemon involved- AKA it’s really stupid), and in the process all end up extremely catchy and upbeat. It has everything you’d expect out of well paid studio musicians and singers- pretty uninvolved sounding material, but damn if the bassline to “2 B A Masta” won’t be your next task to learn.
It can get pretty overwrought in the cheese department- half of these songs really do try to be touching and end up just going overboard. Songs like the previously mentioned “Everything Changes” and “You Can Do It” are really teetering on the edge of being Celine Dion levels of pretentiousness and over-doing it. It sucks, as there are some songs that (if you’ve watched the anime) can give you a large sense of emotional connection, like “The Time Has Come (Pikachu’s Goodbye),” a song that details the departure of Pikachu from Ash (Pikachu being Ash’s [the main protagonist] loyal companion and best friend- shut up, it was really sad in the show). “Misty’s Song” also details pretty well adolescent feelings of confusion; while I doubt the authors of the song wanted to depict how it is to have a crush when you’re 10, they did so pretty well.
Nonetheless, when this album is good, its fantastically awesome, in a completely dorky way. It’s not a good album taken strictly on its musical merits- its really quite generic, and the only song that really contributes something new to anything is “My Best Friends” which paved the way for adorable friendship anthems in soundtracks based on games that at their core are incredibly violent. The album is quite fun, if a bit forced- they were dealing with kids under the age of 10, to give them a reasonable reason. Then again, half of the songs can get to tedious after a minute, so its really a “hey guys check out what I’ve got on my computer!” affair than a “while we play Super Smash Bros. Melee I’m going to play 2 B A Masta, k guys?”
I don’t really care though. 2 B A Masta
reminds me of Pokemon in a good way, and thus is definitely recommended to anyone else who got caught up in that whole crazy Pokemon thing.
Author's Note- My personal rating is a 3.5-4, but I mean...yeah. Figure it out.