Daily Prompt: Polymathic Playlist

Hey, folks. Today’s Daily Prompt is all about music. Specifically, the kind of mix tape/playlist you’d make to introduce yourself to someone new. This one took a while to make, mainly because I was raised with a really eclectic music selection. I’ll just let the playlist do the talking. Happy listening! EDIT: For the sake of simplicity, I made a playlist on YouTube.

Soundtrack Saturdays: Double Dragon Neon – Final Palace

Double Dragon was one of the greatest beat’em up games of the late 80s-early 90s. It followed the exploits of Billy and Jimmy Lee as they destroyed their city’s criminal underworld. While not as popular as Final Fight or Streets of Rage, Double Dragon had enough of a following to earn several ports and sequels. The series was thought long dead until Double Dragon Neon was announced in 2012. It captured the best aspects of the beat’em genre: tons of crazy enemies (including a gloriously hammy Skeletor ripoff), flashy moves, responsive controls, and rewarding multiplayer tactics. It also had a small but incredible soundtrack composed by Jake Kaufman; many of the songs parodied the likes of the Beastie Boys, Marvin Gaye, Freddie Mercury, and other iconic music from the time period of the original game. The Final Palace theme is one huge homage to just about every cheesy action/spy movie, and it works perfectly in which the level it’s set.

If you want more Double Dragon Neon, you can find the OST here and on Jake Kaufman’s Bandcamp page.

Good gaming, good music.

Soundtrack Saturdays: Katamari Forever – Sayonara Rolling Star (Yuri’s Mix)

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned Katamari Damacy’s eclectic soundtrack before. In a game series where you roll up everything into a giant sticky ball, you’d think the music would be overshadowed the bizarreness. But with each successive title, the remixes and sampling became longer and more complex. This is especially evident in this song; in the original game, it was a mellow electronic tune called Lonely Rolling Star. In Beautiful Katamari, it was revamped as a pop song called Sayonara Rolling Star. In Katamari Forever, it was finally remixed from pop into disco. And it sounds awesome. Fun fact: the song is about lovers parting ways. Seriously.

If you want more Katamari Forever, you can find part of the OST here.

Good gaming, good music.

Soundtrack Saturdays: Capcom VS SNK 2 – This Is True Love Makin’

Video

Much like Nintendo and Sega, the rivalry between Capcom and SNK was one of the defining aspects of 90’s video gaming. Both companies had immensely popular fighting games; it’d be impossible to find an arcade that didn’t have at least a couple of their cabinets. They had no qualms about taking little jabs at the other, either. Dan Hibiki, one of Street Fighter’s most iconic characters, was a parody of Art of Fighting’s main protagonists. After nearly a decade of mounting tension, someone finally had a bright idea: turn the rivalry into a game! Capcom VS SNK came out in 2000, but it was quickly overshadowed by sequel, Capcom VS SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium 2001. It had 48 characters spanning almost all of both companies’ libraries, intricate combat mechanics, a deliciously hammy announcer, slick animation, flashy special effects, and a metric ton of fanservice. It also had an absolutely killer soundtrack, as demonstrated by the London stage theme, This Is True Love Makin’. Few fighting game themes can get you to stand up and dance. Turn it up!

If you want more Capcom VS SNK 2, you can find the full OST here.

Good gaming, good music.

Records My Parents Played

Hey, folks. Today’s Daily Prompt is all about music. Specifically, the music you had while growing up and how it influenced you. This is going to sound bizarre, but I was raised with an eclectic mix of R & B, soul, pop, disco, rock, easy listening, and show tunes. No, seriously. My parents had wildly different tastes in music – probably not a factor in their divorce when I was two – so I got to hear something new depending on who was watching me. Neither were around much, but they gave me full access to their record and cassette collections. My mother’s vinyl library was small, but it had some of the greats. She used to sing along to the likes of Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Vanessa Williams, and Dionne Warwick. Looking back, it makes a lot of sense; my mother was part of a church choir growing up, so it’s no wonder she loved listening to those powerful voices. I’m pretty sure she considered I Will Survive her personal theme song. She was also an avid Michael Jackson fan, and had at least a couple of Earth, Wind & Fire albums. She also had a great love for more traditional singers like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Nat King Cole. She had a cassette of oldies that stayed in her car for well over a decade.

I didn’t spend nearly as much time with my father (every other weekend at most) but I could tell he was more a straightforward rock fan. Not the stuff from the 80s onward, but mostly songs from the 60s and 70s. He got me hooked on Elton John, The Beatles, The Eagles, James Taylor, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart, and several others. I’ve always been kind of curious about learning the guitar, and I think it’s because I listened to Hotel California and Fire And Rain so many times as a kid. He also made sure I listened to classical music as well; I’m pretty sure I was the only sixth grader in my class who knew O Fortuna and Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 by name. It probably helped that I asked about the Looney Tunes background music countless times…Dad was also a big theater geek, so he had me listen to the entire Phantom of the Opera soundtrack, specifically the one with Sarah Brightman as Christine. He even took me to see the play when I was in the 8th grade. He also had the taped version of the Les Miserables 10th Anniversary Concert, complete with the legendary 17 Valjean encore!

Wow, I’m actually geeking out over all this.

Needless to say, such variety had a huge influence over my musical tastes. Even to this day, I prefer songs with guitars, pianos, or strings. Santana, Hendrix, and Clapton are mainstays on my playlists. The genre doesn’t matter, though; I can rock out to DiDuLa’s Arabica, Seals and Crofts’s Summer Breeze, and Oasis’s Champagne Supernova depending on my mood. A considerable portion of my library is dedicated to older rock bands like Led Zeppelin, Queen, Pink Floyd, and many others; I’ve listened to Kashmir and Under Pressure more times than I’d care to admit. I’ve got a soft spot for somber ballads, too; Andy Duguid’s Don’t Belong, Simply Red’s Home, and Fastball’s Out Of My Head are practically essential for my evening commutes. Wichita Lineman is still the loneliest song I’ve ever heard. Mel Torme’s version of Stardust comes pretty close, though. I wonder if my liking those songs is a reflection of musical taste, or just an emotional state.

Oh, and fun fact: I may have all these songs completely memorized in my head, but I can’t sing them. My voice is too soft. How’s that for irony?