How fast 20 years flies by. In an age where we celebrate nearly everything that’s been out for over a decade, I can only hope that next year we will be seeing the grandest of celebrations for 2 B A Master. This album contains songs that appeared early on in the US version of Pokémon, and other songs inspired by it. The Pokémon main theme and the PokeRAP are the more notable ones, but at the end of episodes there were parts of the other songs played on Pikachu’s Jukebox.
Even though it was nearly 20 years ago I still remember this whole song like it was yesterday. For anyone growing up with the Pokemon series how can you not?! Even when this version goes past the show’s opening version, too much time with this album ensures no verse goes missed. In the dorkiest way this music is still great. Memories come flooding back of the first movie and every morning catching the newest episode of Pokémon.
2B A Master
We are well and truly within the late 90s here, with a combination of pop, rap and maybe a little rock. This catchy earworm of a song starts off with Michael Jackson style rapping about becoming the greatest Pokemon master, adding in heavy doses of children singing in the chorus. I wish I had more to say about this song, because I enjoy it- so much that it turns out I still remember the whole song.
Pure pop and unashamedly one of my favourite songs of the album. This song captures all the energy of making your way into the grand Viridian City. While it wasn’t so grand in the gameboy game, it is the first proper town (as much as you can call it that in-game) you visit after leaving your small town.
What Kind of Pokémon Are You?
This one sounds a bit like a boy band, mixed with R&B.
The most notable moment in this song is the line “Make one wrong move and it’ll kick your grass”. It is the closest that the franchise has come to mentioning having your ass kicked by a Pokémon.
My Best Friends
A fun and catchy song about best friends, there’s only so much to say about it. My Best Friends starts off more “boy band”, then contains a surprise Doo-Wop section.
Starts off sounding like one form of Michael Jackson song, and then changes more into a R&B Michael Jackson. In the series it was a song about evolution. I don’t remember which point it was from if it was in an episode at all, maybe it was when Bulbasaur didn’t want to evolve.
The Time Has Come (Pikachu’s Goodbye)
With moments of sounding like Mariah Carey, Toni Braxton or Celine Dion, it’s hard to place which style it suits most. This is a strangely uplifting song about Pikachu and Ash parting ways, even though by the end of the episode Pikachu obviously chooses to stay with Ash. Even 20 ago it didn’t feel like Pikachu was really going to say goodbye. This song could double as a goodbye song for any of his companions, and should be played as such when it happens in the show to this day.
Pokémon (Dance Mix)
With touches of the movie Mortal Kombat dance song throughout, this is the danciest Pokemon gets. This Dance mix is all systems (Pokemon)Go from the start, and if it doesn’t make you want to break out in really bad outdated rave moves then you might be broken and I feel sorry for you. This is a song that could be played at the geekiest of discos and was a really cool touch in trailer for the first movie, feeling all dramatic while also really ‘dancey’.
Double Trouble (Team Rocket)
Team Rocket singing a song about being trouble, sung by the original voices for Jessie, James and Meowth (and some Giovanni too) – what isn’t there to like? It’s a great song like the rest of the album, but is strangely out of place because no other song is sung by characters from the show like this. It feels like the song should be playing at a live show during the school holidays at Westfield shopping centre. Imagine Ash and someone in a Pikachu costume talking to the audience while Team Rocket creeps behind them and everyone yells out to look behind them!
This song is of course all about Team Rocket being up to trouble, and that they’re going to catch Pikachu. James sounds like Scar from the Lion King during the song ‘Be Prepared’.
Together Forever has a real Boy band/Backstreet Boys sound. In hindsight it’s kind of weird, given Pikachu is the only constant companion in the series. At the time it would’ve been weird to think about the possibility Brock and Misty wouldn’t always be by Ash’s side. Like all the others, this song is just as catchy. Together Forever also contains a snippet with the gang as Misty is chasing after Ash, yelling at him that he still owes her a bike. Now I don’t remember if he ever bought her a new bike or if it’s still a sore point that will forever go unaddressed…
Starts with the gang all saying goodnight and then breaks out into singing about Misty’s feelings, wanting to say I love you and being too shy to say how she feels. This song is hard to place, did they just have a love song kicking around that they could repurpose for this album? Was this 4kids shipping Misty and Ash at such an early point in the franchise?! This song poses question after question that I can only hope University papers will be written about.
While the other songs played in Pikachu’s Jukebox, the PokeRAP is what people remember at the end of Pokémon episodes. All 150 Pokémon crammed into one rap. There are other lyrics but it’s really all about the Pokémon and saying each name. I really wish there was much more to say about this famous song, but as a bonus the CD does contain the full video instead of the usual cut up portions of it.
You Can Do It (If You Really Try)
Is this a country song? It’s definitely intended to be inspirational, and even has touches of ‘I believe I can Fly’. For me this is the weakest song of the album. It’s not bad at all, just doesn’t have the pep of the rest.
Now the CD is not only a vessel for these awesome songs, it’s also an Enhanced CD with with the PokeRAP video and came with a poster! The PokeRAP video is exactly as you would expect for the time. I had forgotten several of these songs appeared as music videos as part of Pikachu’s Jukebox. Some appeared in the episodes, and the PokeRap of course played at the end in seperate parts across episodes.
To me the majority of these songs are perfect time capsules when Pokémon fever was high and you could have an album like this. I admit all of them are cheesy as hell in their own ways, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. If anything it’s frustrating that there aren’t at least 4 standout hits because then I could call it ‘The Elite 4’. If you love Pokémon you owe it to yourself to listen to this album at least once, it can be found on Spotify.