The curse of May has struck early and decisively: Adam “MCA” Yauch of the Beastie Boys succumbed to cancer today at 47. Just in case you were wondering why your radio dial has been overloaded with tracks from License to Ill and Hello Nasty all day. Which they should be every day, but… well, that’s not really the point.
Honestly, I’m pretty terrible at writing obituaries. Instead, why don’t we just let the music fill this space for us? That feels like the most appropriate response.
Intergalactic used to play virtually every afternoon on the bus home from school and like other tracks on that playlist, such as Bran Van 3000’s Drinking in LA, I never, ever got tired of hearing it.
My love/hate relationship with video game soundtracks goes back almost as long as I’ve been wasting time with a controller in my hands, but rarely does one piece of music walk that fine line quite so gingerly.
As far as I’m aware – no, I am not going back in time almost thirty years to confirm this – the chocobo theme has been a staple of the Final Fantasy series for as long as the giant yellow chicken-things themselves, and has therefore been remixed countless times. There have been extended cuts, retro throwbacks, versions with vocals, minimalist instrumentals… basically, as many different takes as can support the Japanese fan’s insatiable appetite for CD releases.
And now, we have this: the venerable chocobo theme, as snarled by Japan’s closest equivalent to Disturbed-esque nu-metal. And it is at once the best and the worst thing I have heard in recent memory.
Dig these lyrics:
GAS ‘EM UP WITH THE GREENS AND LET ‘EM GO
STAND BACK, STAND CLEAR AS HE PUTS ON THE SHOW
SO CUTE YET FIERCE IS HE FROM HELL?
I CANNOT TELL YET I DON’T EVEN WANNA KNOW
SO YOU WANNA BE A TRAILBLAZER
KICK UP DIRT LIKE A HELLRAISER
TAKE THE REINS BUT DON’T REACT SLOW
IT’S TIME TO FEEL THE FORCE – OF THE CHOCOBO!
SO YOU THINK YOU CAN RIDE THIS CHOCOBO?
GOT CHOCOBUCKS? YOU BETTER PUT HIM ON THE CHOCOBO
SADDLE UP IF YOU THINK YOU CAN RIDE THROUGH THIS RODEO
ARE WE IN HELL? I DUNNO TO THE DIRT LET’S ROLL
COME IF YOU THINK YOU GONNA HIDE THIS CHOCOBO
EVERYBODY’S GONNA WANT TO RIDE YOUR CHOCOBO
IT’S CHOCO-LOCO STYLE IN THE CHOCORODEO
GONNA RIIIDE’M STRAIGHT THROUGH HELL IN THE CHOCOBO RODEO
LET’S RIIIIIIIIIIYAH (ride)!
Now that’s poetry! One could almost imagine The Undertaker riding out to this song during his “hell biker” days. I doubt anyone would’ve noticed.
As I noted in the forum thread which spawned this entry, irony as a comedic device isn’t always a concept that Japan seems to grasp, especially in their somewhat out-of-touch gaming industry, which is no better exemplified by anyone but Square-Enix. At best, it’s not the kind of humour that translates terribly well across borders and language barriers. So it doesn’t feel totally unreasonable to assume that this hardcore version was meant to be taken completely straight.
And that just makes it even better. Or even worse. I’m still not sure which.