The 'Shroom:Issue 153/Palette Swap
Welcome to the December issue! Happy holidays, everyone!
Well, I've played through Sword, beaten the story and the postgame story, and I have a lot of thoughts. I went into this game not upset about DexGate, and as blind as I possibly could barring the official stuff Nintendo gave us, and... I loved it. I love the new Pokemon. I love the starters, I love the designs, I love how friendly they are, I love Camp and playing with my Pokemon. This game was a big first for me as I had close friends playing it with me- me and my two coworkers were playing through together and we were able to raid together and trade together. We're STILL doing raids a month later and helping each other complete our Dexes, and I love how we can work together every day. I love the new characters. The gym leaders feel fleshed out, the rivals are great (even Bede, I know), I think I even like Leon a tiny bit more than I thought I would (but boy was it fun to kick his ass). Bottom line is, I adore Sword and Shield, and I think they're great additions to the Pokemon family. They might not be perfect, but I had a ton of fun, and to me, that's all that matters.
This month we have some fantastic articles for you to celebrate the king of swing, DK! There may or may not be some DK Rap in there. You'll have to read ahead and find out! Happy reading! ~FunkyK38
Section of the Month
What's on the Box?
Hello readers, and welcome back to What's on the Box.
As you may or may not have noticed this issue of The 'Shroom is celebrating everyone's favourite monkey, and no, of course I'm not on about Lanky Kong. Donkey Kong has been with us since the very start, and today we're looking at a game that came to us in the Game Boy era. And, as it turns out this Donkey Kong edition of our paper is the perfect time to look at a DK boxart, as we really haven't looked at many beforehand.
This boxart is incredibly colourful and features Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., Pauline and Mario. As you can see Donkey Kong is kidnapping Pauline, with the assistance of Donkey Kong Jr., and I love how expressive everyone is on the boxart. Donkey Kong looks incredibly happy that he has his girl in his arms, Donkey Kong Jr. is teasing Mario over his failure to prevent the kidnapping, and Mario is definitely not pleased to be watching Donkey Kong get away, especially as he whacks an oil drum aside with his hammer. Meanwhile, some Fire looks on completely perplexed by the scene. I feel like if people were using the ‘Tag yourself, I'm…’ meme, I would be the Fire in this case.
I also like the artwork being used for Donkey Kong instead of his usual Donkey Kong Country look, he is looking like the artwork published around the time of the original Donkey Kong.
Judging by the background, I'd say this scene is happening quite early on in the game, as they are still in the city as opposed to being on a plane, the desert or an iceberg. It might've been neat to see the boxart flipped in a way, so perhaps we could see where Donkey Kong was escaping to, to show off the amount of variety in the worlds, but this isn't a major sour point.
The Game Boy had some terrific boxarts, and honestly this is one of the winners from that era. Everyone is so expressive on it, there's plenty of things going on, rather than characters standing in front of a white background. I wish more boxarts would take notes from this one.
First, we begin with a decidedly less serious version of the song by an artist we've seen before. Yes, that jazzy fellow Carlos Eine, better known as "insaneintherain," made his own cover of the DK Rap with the assistance of a number of rapping YouTube stars. You might recognize some of the names of his collaborators from that Super Smash Bros. rap featured previously in this section. In any case, this song clearly isn't in Carlos' usual style, and, between the horse masks and skimpy clothing, you can tell that everyone involved is more interested in having fun with it than making a masterpiece. Can one blame them, though? Even that song's original composer takes good-natured ribbing about it in stride. Of course, if it weren't so cheesy, it wouldn't be the song that's stuck in the heads of fans through almost a quarter of a century, now.
So long as I'm on the topic of the less-serious renditions of the song, I ought to point out two mashups which have caught Mr. Kirkhope's attention. The first mashup, "The Kong Family", takes the first verse of the "DK Rap" and sets it to the tune of the opening song of Family Guy. The other mashup is longer and more involved, taking the "DK Rap" and splicing it together with Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody", all sung using recordings from the vocalist performing the original rap, of course.
There are more covers out there which remake the entire original song, including some made by creators with a good sense of humor who took themselves a tad bit more seriously than Carlos and friends. Thadudette, who has a sense of humor that shines through in her many parodies of songs from videogames in anime, made a relatively straight cover of the "DK Rap." It's not a parody, so she keeps the original words, but she's clearly having fun with it. Covers of the song with female vocalists are unusually rare, which only lends to this cover's notability. Moving on to slightly more serious covers of the song, Transfatylvania Films provides a unique cover of the entire "DK Rap" and even adds some running commentary and extra jokes to the piece. These little bonuses aren't what makes this version notable, though. No, this version of the song is unusual because, rather than a rap, it's a a polka. If you ever should find yourself hosting a dance and you decide it's time to drive everyone away so you can get some rest, you might consider putting this song on at full volume and seeing if it doesn't have practical value in addition to its entertainment value. It's not at all because the cover is bad, of course; it's simply because you'll be forcing them to dance to the "DK Rap."
Another artist has gone out of his way to make a stylistic variant of one of Nintendo's early lyrical songs. Shady Cicada, who makes rock covers of and dissects music from videogames and anime, provides a rock cover of the great ape's theme song. He even went back a few months after making the cover and produced a remastered version, feeling like the original didn't give enough love to this classic videogame song.
For those who want serious, high-quality renditions of the song in its original rap style, look no further than Tim Rosko's acapella cover and FullBandDub's cover which works the instrumentation of, well, a full band into the song. These two covers keep the original song intact while giving it an entirely new feel, taking drastically different approaches in doing so. FullBandDub even provides an instrumental version of his cover. He does provide the backing chorus at certain points, but it otherwise makes for an excellent karaoke version of the "DK Rap" for anyone out there who wants to sing along.
The final cover I have to share today is also one that keeps the original song intact while lending it a serious, vastly different feel, and it just so happens to be my personal favorite of the covers listed here, too. Sebastian Mårtensson and a whole slew of collaborators (listed in the video description) created "Kong Kollective" as one small piece of a massive Harmony of Heroes album project. With the level of dedication reflected in this cover's quality, though, a listener could be forgiven for thinking this was the entire project. This cover is unmistakably the "DK Rap" so many fans heard upon booting up their Nintendo 64 twenty years ago, but it manages to feel fresh and new at the same time. Ultimately, isn't that the power of an enduring song like this one? Songs like this call back to long-cherished memories of days gone by, but listeners always seems to find new ways to engage with and experience them in the present, too. After so long years, one begins to suspect Mr. Kirkhope is right when he jokes that "the DK Rap will never die." What might fans make from this classic song as the next twenty pass? Only time will tell.
Touhou (Remix) Project
Hello, 'Shroom readers! Welcome to the last edition of Touhou (Remix) Project! Yeah, I'm cutting this one pretty short. The section's a nice idea but it's not clicking with me, you know? So we're going to go out before I end up not even writing it at all. Hope you enjoyed seven sections worth of Touhou remixes, and are ready for one final set! This month, I've dug up some good remixes of Beloved Tomboyish Girl, the theme of famous meme Cirno.
Considering the odds are high you've already heard it, I can't not start this off with Cirno's Perfect Math Class. Quite probably the most well-known Touhou video in existence, this meme established a lot about how Cirno was treated in the fandom, as IOSYS tended to do in general. Just look at Tenshi - an entire masochism trait created because they interpreted a line of dialogue a particular way... ahem. Cirno's Perfect Math Class is probably one of the first things a lot of people would think of if you brought up Touhou, and IOSYS has had plenty of mileage with it. For example, there's the PUNK IT! version of the song, which takes the same basic song and keeps the vocals the same, but completely changes the feel and tone of it by remixing the music alone. It's honestly a unique take that I don't think I've heard before. There's also the 9th Anniversary version, made to celebrate how absurdly popular this song ended up being. Complete with a whole bunch of guest singers! It's pretty catchy, really.
Of course, this isn't the only remix of Beloved Tomboyish Girl, so let's go over a few of the instrumental takes on it. Black Ice by Wiest is pretty solid, a good techno take on the classic song. It's one of the older ones - it's wild to think how long some songs have been around to be remixed. Meanwhile, Freezing Ray by Exist Twinkle is so fast I can barely keep up! With a wildly high BPM, this song just carries you forward without giving you much of a choice in the matter. Honestly, it's one of the most chaotic-feeling remixes I've put in this section! If you want slow and bombastic, on the other hand, the CarrotWine remix of this saw is exactly what you're looking for. It takes a while to build up, and feels like it's got a couple other themes blended in there as well, but once it hits properly? What a delivery it's got!
It's not the only one with a surprisingly long buildup, as the UI-70 remix actually has a COMPLETELY different intro. The first 50 seconds are a music box take on the song that doesn't sound one bit like the rest of the theme to come. That's one way to catch your listeners by surprise, I suppose! Hurling you right into a rock theme without any forewarning whatsoever. I can tell you, I was surprised when it happened. For a more traditional instruments style, we've got Absolute Jpnine by FOX RAVEL, which focuses primarily on using drums and woodwinds as the basis of the remix... at first. Once again, it starts slow and then speeds up, launching into techno with the traditional staying as a backdrop to the modern. That's one way to combine things, huh? To finish off the instrumentals, I'll end it with the remix from S.S.H. & Aether. For once, a song with a start that actually matches the rest of the music! What a concept, right? Hard rock blasts the whole way through - people seem to really like making Cirno remixes surprisingly intense for some reason.
Now, of course, there's the vocals. Everyone knows I always bring the vocals! ⑨℃ by IZNA might sound like it's just another hardcore instrumental at first, but give it some time and you'lll get to hear the singer as well. It just reinforces my belief that for some reason people really like rocking out when it comes to Cirno! If you want to go lower-key, though, there are some options for that. The Yellow Zebra remix is a good example of that, this particular vocal just a cheerful, upbeat tune. I'm sure that if I translated the lyrics, it would turn out to be a depressing song about unhappy things, since that always seems to happen with the cheerful-sounding ones. But I didn't, so I can't confirm! Speaking of translations, one that I actually know the meaning of is Blue Regrets, Blue Tears, by Buta-Otome... who I'm actually surprised haven't come up more often, considering they're really prolific with vocal remixes. Guess there's just not much overlap between the songs they remix and the ones I cover. It might be a downbeat subject matter, though, considering it's about Cirno missing winter, but man is it catchy. Give it a good listen, will you?
On the subject of techno, Absolute zero -273.15- by EastNewSound is a relatively low-key techno song. It makes for a nice change of pace after all these songs that go in 120%, because it feels... well, I recognize it's a bad pun, but it's chill. It's not even the only chill techno vocal song I have lined up here, because I've also got PRIDE WiNG, a song done by the collaboration of DiGiTAL WiNG and Halozy. It features that rarest of Touhou remix things, male vocals! People really like giving Cirno techno, though. Why? I dunno. Techno rock ice fairy. The ride continues with ICE BREAK by Alstroemeria Records. If you remember me covering Ancient, it's even the same shtick as that song, where there's a short intro and then a main song that are technically listed as two different songs but really just one song. I honestly don't get why they do this... why not just make it one song? To each their own, I suppose. I'll finish this off by covering Ice Fairy Masquerade} by T.Piacere, which sounds more like... well, it always puts me in mind of a dramatic dance. A song that plays in a movie at a dance scene that slowly unveils its true colors. That's what I end up thinking of. It's a very good song, I saved my personal best for last!And there you have it. That's the end for Touhou (Remix) Project - thanks for reading the sections I've covered! I hope you go out and search for Touhou remixes on your own time, even without me recommending them!