Monday, December 23, 2019

Why it Works: Lullaby

No, you're not mistaken, the "Bad Girl of Pop" really did a Pokemon song before evolving (?) into her current form. The track she contributed, "Lullaby", very clearly indicates which character it's intended for, but I decided to dive a bit deeper:


“Lullaby” by Willa Fo-er, I mean Mandah, probably didn’t need those Jigglypuff samples to indicate what character prompted its inclusion, as the lyrics match quite well. The puffball isn’t the largest, strongest, or most intimidating Pokémon out there, but it does have another trick up its sleeves that it’s more than willing to share, and the first verse summarizes that pretty accurately. As for the second verse, the primary Jigglypuff from the anime does appear many times throughout the series, making the term “déjà vu” very appropriate.  Even the chorus manages to provide a good parallel, as the repeated use of the song’s title mimics how most Pokémon say their name when talking. Finally, the inclusion of the word “capture” in the bridge hints-unintentionally of course-that sleeping Pokémon are easier to catch. As for the musical aspects, while the Latin influence might seem more appropriate for a singing and dancing mythical Pokémon that would come many years later, it is still fitting for our cheery pink balloon. In any event, what do you think of this adopted character song? Be sure to let us know. Thanks.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Poke Press Digest Podcast: Episode 30-The Music of "Hoopa and the Clash of Ages"

In this episode, Anne from Pikapi Podcast comes over to talk about the music of the 18th Pokemon film, "Hoopa and the Clash of Ages". We compare "Tweedia" and "Every Side Of Me" as end themes, and also do a fair bit of discussion on the movie's scores. If you want to know what we thought of the film itself, be sure to listen after the outro:

Pikapi Podcast
Gated Reverb Information

Monday, October 21, 2019

Why It Works: Happy Together

A late-60’s pop hit might have seemed like an unusual choice for the first Detective Pikachu trailer, but “Happy Together” does have some interesting connections to the movie, albeit mostly in tone:


As far as I can tell, “Happy Together”’s use in the first Detective Pikachu trailer wasn’t because of any super-specific lyrical parallel with the plot of the film. Sure, Tim whips out his phone a few times, and occasionally acts a little crazy, but really, it seems like the song was meant to highlight the “buddy cop” aspect of the movie, and perhaps to suggest that Tim and Detective Pikachu might have wound up with each other for a reason. Musically, the song’s melancholic verses and incredibly bright chorus parallel the film’s “darker but not too dark” tone and to a certain extent, the personalities of the main characters, with Tim being more low-key and Detective Pikachu more energetic. With all that said, however, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that this isn’t the first time the song has come into Pokémon’s orbit-fans of the original N64 Smash Bros. will remember that ads for that game also used this tune, adding another level of nostalgia to the mix. Anyway, do you have your own thoughts on any of this? Feel free to let us know. Thanks.

Monday, October 07, 2019

New Pokemon Anime Composer In Japan

Turns out the Pokemon anime is getting a new composer in Japan, as Shinji Miyazaki is being replaced by Yuki Hayashi in the next season. Here's some more information and analysis:

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Poke Press Digest Podcast: Episode 29-Diancie Movie Music/John Loeffler Part 2

In the first segment (1:10-39:10), Anne from Pikapi Podcast drops by to help me discuss the music of the initial X&Y Pokémon movie, "Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction". Scandal's "Daybreak Meteor Shower" gets compared to Dani Marcus's "Open My Eyes", as do the opening themes and scores from each version. For our thoughts on the movie itself, be sure to listen after the outro.

The second segment (40:27-50:31) is an archival interview with John Loeffler. In this follow-up to an earlier discussion, we talk about his role working on music for the first two Pokémon movies, including both the pop soundtracks and the scores. You'll find out about the genesis of "Brother My Brother", and how the music for these films came together overall.

Pikapi Podcast
Pam Sheyne Interview

Monday, September 16, 2019

Unboxing the Vinyl Soundtrack for "Pokemon: Detective Pikachu"

Last month, the "At the Movies" division of Music on Vinyl released the score to "Pokemon: Detective Pikachu" on a 2-LP set. This marks the first official vinyl release of Pokemon music in nearly 20 years. I ordered a copy of this limited-edition release and unbox the contents to show what you get. Be sure to stay to the end for a bonus unboxing:

Monday, September 09, 2019

Why it Works: The Extra Mile

Laura Pausini's "The Extra Mile" started as a submission for the 2000 Summer Olympics, but wound up working surprisingly well when re-purposed for the Pokemon 2000 soundtrack (also, as some of the screen captures in this video hint, it might have worked for another Pokemon movie). Find out what I think makes this combination work so well.


Originally written for the 2000 Olympics, “The Extra Mile” predictably includes a large number a sports-related phrases, including references to races, archery, and recognition for one’s personal feats. While Sydney wasn’t in the cards for this song, it did manage to find a home on the Pokemon 2000 soundtrack, and it’s easy to see why. In addition to the events of the movie drawing a large amount of attention, Ash is required to traverse rocky terrain, put his faith in a pair of wings, and perform other feats in order to fulfill his role. You could even consider the shrine where the ritual takes place to be a podium of sorts, or the artifact where the stones are put to be some sort of trophy case. The song doesn’t solely focus on the hero, though, as during the second verse (assuming I’m interpreting it correctly), the lyrics acknowledge the contributions of others that allowed the leader to achieve their goals. In the original use case, that was probably coaches, teammates, and family members, but in the movie, you could certainly apply it to Ash’s Pokemon and traveling companions. No “Chosen One” does it alone, after all. Anyway, if you’d like to know more about this song, I have an interview with co-writer Pam Sheyne linked in the video description. Thanks.

Pam Sheyne Interview

Monday, August 12, 2019

Poke Press Digest Podcast: Episode 28-The Music of "Pokemon: Detective Pikachu"

In this episode, Anne from Pikapi Podcast helps me discuss the music of Pokemon: Detective Pikachu. There’s a variety of tunes to cover, with multiple ending themes, a score, and promotional material. Be sure to listen after the outro to get all of it, including our opinions on the movie itself:

Pikapi Podcast
"Carry On" music video
Detective Pikachu Score

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Why it (Kinda) Works: Don't Say You Love Me

Admittedly, M2M’s contribution to the Pokemon: The First Movie soundtrack doesn’t have the most obvious connection to the film. When viewed from a certain perspective, however, there are some things about “Don't Say You Love Me” that make sense:


Admittedly, “Don’t Say You Love Me” doesn’t have much relation to the plot of Pokémon: The First Movie. At best, you could relate it to Brock, but perhaps that’s better left unexplored. Anyway, this debut single from M2M was likely intended to serve as more of a bridge that would raise awareness about the band for the movie audience, and the movie for the music audience. If nothing else, it probably generated buzz for the movie in M2M’s native Norway. As for the song itself, the assertive tone does wind up being a good fit for the franchise, representing the “stand up for yourself” theme of the series without sounding excessively angry. This tone carries into the music video, whose drive-in theater setting gives it a more casual feel, and of course provides a convenient opportunity to work in scenes from the movie. Speaking of the movie, have you ever noticed that the names of the two featured Pokémon line up neatly with the name of the band? Nice bonus, I suppose, but it’s obviously not the only reason they were selected. Anyway, do you have any thoughts about this song? Be sure to let us know. Thanks.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Poke Press Digest Podcast: Episode 27-Live Pokemon Music Discussion

In the latest episode, I team up with Anne from Pikapi Podcast to talk about live versions of six Pokemon songs. Our selections include performances from an Australian TV show, New York City, and a hockey arena. If you have any suggestions for a future live music discussion, be sure to let us know.

Pikapi Podcast
Don't Say You Love Me (Acoustic)
Flying Without Wings (Live)
Brother My Brother (Live)

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Unboxing the Detective Pikachu "Carry On" Single

Wish you could get a physical copy of the ending theme song to Pokemon: Detective Pikachu? Well, there is a way, but perhaps owing to how much the music industry has changed, you'll have to pick up a promotional CD. Is it worth it? Check out this unboxing to find out:

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Poke Press Digest Podcast: Episode 26-The Music of "Genesect and the Legend Awakened"

Anne from Pikapi Podcast joins me to analyze the music of the 16th Pokemon movie, "Genesect and the Legend Awakened", in which the Japanese song "Smiling Face" goes up against the English version’s "We’re Coming Home". These songs are different in both tone and approach, making for an interesting comparison. If you want our take on the movie itself, be sure to listen after the outro.

Pikapi Podcast
Jess Domain Interview
Jess Domain "Draw My Life" Video
Neal Coomer Interview

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Why It Works: Flying Without Wings

At first, "Flying Without Wings" seems like an odd fit for Pokemon 2000, but if you look at it from the right perspective, it actually works quite well:

Need more Westlife? We discussed a live version of Flying Without Wings during a recent livestream:

Friday, May 03, 2019

Poke Press Digest Podcast: Episode 25-"The Power of Us" music

In this single-segment episode, Anne from Pikapi Podcast helps me discuss the music of the 21st Pokemon movie, "The Power of Us". We compare the Japanese song "Breath" to the English version's "The Power Of Us", and wind up talking about some of the musical paths not taken with this film. If you want to know what we thought of the movie itself, be sure to listen to the bonus segment after the outro:

Pikapi Podcast
Charity Goodin Interview
Twitter Moment
INXS Discussion

Sunday, April 07, 2019

A Pokemon Perspective on "The Boy Band Con"

The new YouTube original "The Boy Band Con" doesn't mention Pokemon once, but it turns out Lou Pearlman has connections to each of the first three movies via his acts. Was I able to learn anything of interest?

Monday, April 01, 2019

Why it Works? "This Time" By INXS

Happy April Fools' Day! Today we'll be discussing a song that has absolutely no relationship to Pokemon whatsoever. This 1985 release still manages to have some relevancy to the franchise. If only there had been a Pokemon movie in '85/'86:


“This Time” by Australian rock group INXS has zilch to do with Pokémon, though I suppose you never know what they’ll do next with Detective Pikachu. In any case, the song was originally released in 1985 on the “Listen Like Thieves” album, and would eventually become a single and music video for the band. While the lyrics seem to be referencing a bickering couple, there are some elements that parallel the dynamics of the original traveling group of the Pokémon anime. Ash, Misty, and Brock often have differences that seem irreconcilable, leading to a lot of arguing. As far as wasting time…they’re good at that too, repeatedly getting lost, taking unplanned detours, and being easily distracted in general. Anyway, if you’d like to explore this April Fools’ Day joke further, believe it or not, I had a discussion with Anne from Pikapi Podcast about this very song, and she had some thoughts of her own, so look for a card for that video. Thanks.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Why it Works: Makin' My Way

"Makin' My Way (Any Way That I Can)" had an interesting journey to become a Pokémon song. This Dianne Warren-penned song actually appeared in several places before winding up on the Pokémon: The First Movie soundtrack in 1999. While I don't know exactly how it got there, it does have some interesting parallels to the games:


"Makin' My Way (Any Way That I Can)" has a longer history than you might be aware of. It doesn't go super-far back, but the earliest version I've found is by Wynonna Judd, on the soundtrack to the 1996 Whoopi Goldberg business comedy "The Associate". The song would then show up on a Marcia Hines album in 1999, which was soon followed by the Billie Piper version you're probably familiar with. Each of these features a different arrangement, but the more electronic instrumentation in Piper's rendition is probably what made it the choice for the Pokémon soundtrack. As for the lyrical content of the song, the theme of strength overcoming adversity results in an experience that I think would have fit in very well on 2.B.A. Master. What’s most interesting, however, is the way phrases that were originally intended as metaphors become literal when applied to Pokémon. The source material is a game, in which you cross rivers and climb mountains. If you really want to stretch it, there’s also a reference to "strength"-not bad for a song that was probably written before the games were even out in Japan. In any event, feel free to check out those other versions (there's at least one more that I didn't mention), and let us know what you think. Thanks.

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Poke Press Digest Podcast: Episode 24-Keldeo Movie Music/Anime Milwaukee 2019

For the first segment (1:03-4:04), I interview the winner of a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament from this year’s Anime Milwaukee. We talk about the game itself, and why he chose Ganondorf for the event. If you'd like to know more about what I did at the convention, look for a link to a recap video in the episode description.

The second segment (4:13-48:40) is a discussion of the music of the 15th Pokemon movie, "Kyurem Vs. The Sword of Justice". Anne from Pikapi Podcast helps me compare "Memories" by Rola to "It's All Inside Of You" by Jess Turner. Both performers have some interesting career trajectories, so it's a fun conversation. As usual, we also talk about the opening themes and score, and read a comment or two.


Segment 1:

Anime Milwaukee 2019 Recap

*A press pass was provided for this event.

Segment 2:

Pikapi Podcast
Jess Turner Interview

Sunday, February 24, 2019

The music of "The Power of Us" with Pikapi Podcast

Another Pokemon movie has come out, and as usual Anne and I are here to share our thoughts. This time, however, we recorded it live:

Discussing the music of "The Power of Us" was a lot of fun, and we hope you'll join us next time when we discuss the music of "Genesect and the Legend Awakened" in about a month. If you're wondering where our previous discussion of "Kyurem Vs. the Sword of Justice" is, it'll be coming to the channel soon, but you can listen to it on Anne's Patreon.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Poke Press Digest Podcast: Episode 23-Pokemon Cries/Wizard World Madison

In the first segment (0:51-10:53), I interview "Dots" from the YouTube channel "Retro Game Mechanics Explained." We talk about how he started his channel, and a recent video he did about the cries of Pokemon from generation 1. "Dots" also explains the sound generation application he created as part of his research.

The second segment (11:59-21:41) has some interviews from the recent Wizard World Comic Con event in Madison. You'll hear from Pokemon YouTuber RealBreakingNate, as well as Jerry Milani, the PR rep for the Wizard World organization.


Segment 1:
Retro Game Mechanics Explained Channel
Pokemon Cry Generator

Why it Works: We're A Miracle:
First Movie music discussion

Segment 2:
RealBreakingNate's Channel
Wizard World* Website

*A press pass was provided for this event.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Why It Works: We're A Miracle

Christina Aguilera's "We're A Miracle" has some obvious things going for it in regard to Pokemon: The First Movie, but some of the reasons this pre-existing song fits so well are a bit more obscure:

“We’re A Miracle” wasn’t written or re-written to work with Pokémon: The First Movie-and, if for some reason you don’t believe me on that, I do have an e-mail from one of the folks behind the song. In any event, despite its unrelated origins, it seems to do a great job matching up with the film-but why is that? There’s the obvious stuff, like references to a storm and tears early in the piece, and some later lyrics that provide a good summary of the relationship between Ash and Pikachu. However, there’s another possible explanation-“We’re A Miracle” definitely features some of Christina’s more aggressive vocal qualities. Normally this gives her songs a sensual vibe, but here it has the benefit of making her sound a bit more like, well, you know. Anyway, if you’d like to hear a more in-depth analysis of this song, as well as its Japanese equivalent, “Together With The Wind”, a few years ago I recorded a discussion with Anne from Pikapi Podcast.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

What happened to the hosts of "WTPT: Pokemon Radio"?

Spoiler Alert: Jowy and KC are still alive and kicking, but they have undertaken some new endeavors, particularly in the last few years:

Running from 2007 to 2010, WTPT, also known as “The Pallet Tribune” was one of the dominant Pokémon podcasts of that era. Helmed by Jowy Romano and Keith “K.C.” Smith, the Brooklyn-based show covered various aspects of the franchise, as well as whatever was happening in the world of Pokémon at the time. It also brought in a number of guests, including myself, along the way. Despite its success, however, the show would come to an abrupt end in 2010 for several reasons, notably a conflict with K.C.’s employer. There were a few tidbits and a spinoff that came afterwards, but that was more or less the end of WTPT.

Nearly a decade later, you may be wondering-what happened to those guys? Well, they actually both run new podcasts that are active to this day. K.C. co-hosts “The SwitchCast”, a Nintendo Switch-focused show that covers the system and its games, and Jowy has started “Level 5 Radio”, which discusses Pokémon Go in the New York City area-and has a rather familiar-looking logo. If you’re interested in either, there are links in the video description. If you just want to relive some classic WTPT memories, Jowy was nice enough to let me upload some of the old episodes to my channel.

Some of the information in this article came from the Bulbapedia article for WTPT.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Unboxing the "Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu/Eevee" Soundtrack

While the "Pokemon Let's Go" soundtrack may be available digitally in the states, in Japan you can pick up a three-disc CD set. The music may be the same, but the added contents may make it more appealing to some. Oh, and haircuts are...interesting: