Pokémon 2.B.A. Master & Pikachu’s Jukebox a listen back

Pokemon was a huge hit in 1999, so of course anyway to milk this huge fad was going to happen and Pokemon got their very own music CD. Produced in only 3 and a half weeks it sold 3 and a half million. This was never in my radar as even as a kid it felt forced and untrue to the spirit of the franchise but for one reason or another I kept hearing these tracks over and over again and I became fond of some of the songs and overall they do fit the franchise or what it used to be back during the Pokemon fad, so let’s take a listen back at this certified gold record.

The CD came out on June 29, 1999 handled by KOCH Records and 4Kids Entertainment and it begins with the original Pokémon Theme but the full length version instead of the one we see on TV. The theme is great and fondly remembered by everyone, the longer version is mostly same beat and formula though “come with me, the time is right: There’s no better team” makes me more excited than a kids cartoon song should to an adult. We then get to the track that named the album 2.B.A. Master which the name makes me cringe even by 1999 standards, the rapping is serviceable and some of the verses are pretty cool but mostly for the short Pikachu’s Jukebox edit of this song and this full version is rather awful especially with that interlude about the Elite 4. Viridian City always ticked me off since I didn’t think the city was worthy of having its own song, especially with so many cool cities in Kanto but now I can see that it’s both the first city you visit and the last city to get your final badge. The song is weak and the Pikachu’s Box edit is about all I can handle since at least it’s over more quickly than the full version.

What Kind of Pokémon Are You? is an awesome song and the right amount of cheese with cool verses that can easily make it into your guilty pleasures list of any Pokemon fan. It was even trying to be edgy and witty by saying they’d kick your your grass. Like all the other songs its a little bit longer than what you’d want but it shows that when it’s genuinely good you don’t mind it much. My Best Friends is one of those songs that I’m not ashamed to admit that it gets a few tears with me and again it’s because of Pikachu’s Jukebox adding some great scenes from the anime. Everything Changes doesn’t seem to have much to do with Pokemon at all, I’m guessing they needed some tracks to fill the album with and since it could kind of work with the concept that Pokemon evolve and the lyrics already had evolution in it they went for it. They knew even kids were going to wonder why the hell this track was even there so they added a clip of when metapod was evolving for good measure to cover their asses.

The Time Has Come (Pikachu’s Goodbye) is the song featured in the episode Pikachu’s Goodbye which is an alright song but me being a cold hearted kid it didn’t do much. I knew Pikachu would stay since he was the mascot of the franchise so I wasn’t falling for their emotional strings they wanted to pull on me, not to mention it’s fairly early in the anime so the bond wasn’t even that big, I’m sure I would’ve fallen for it too if it had been the episode after the league for example. They liked the song enough that it was featured a few more times in other emotional parts including one of the Pokemon movies. Pokémon (Dance Mix) is what you’d hear in all the promotional stuff for the movies and of course you would because it’s a song that no one would even complain if they played it at a Rave. I’m even going to go out on a limb and say that this is just as iconic as the Mortal Kombat techno theme is and it’s what all those casual Pokemon youtubers should use for their pokemon videos instead of the original theme.

Double Trouble is gloriously cheesy just as it should be, it somehow incorporates the original Team Rocket motto and ads to it and it somehow all lines up perfectly even with Giovanni having some cringe worthy narration. It features the voice actors of Jessie and James, oh yeah and Meowth. It’s always dangerous territory when having the voice actors sing but here things lined up perfectly. Together Forever is a little too cheesy to be considered great but if you can tolerate it then it’s decent enough but like some of the first tracks it feels like it overstays its welcome and the shorter Pikachu’s Jukebox edit is more masticable. Being the Best Girl it’s obvious she’d get her own song with Misty’s Song which feature the a romantic song of basically our favorite Pokemon waifu declaring her love to Ash and not sung by Misty’s voice actress. Shipping is a bid deal and this is called Pokeshipping and online wars have been fought for decades whether this song confirmed their love or if not because it was produced by 4Kids, but no matter who wins the war, song is still crap.

We now have the Pokérapwhich I guess was a big selling point since it’s featured in the actual cover of the CD and how it has the official music video which is only all the 5 Pokemon Rap segments together with some transition lyrics in full Enhanced CD Rom technology which is why this grainy video is more than representative of what you got back then. I can’t say I love the Pokerap but after all Ash said “Don’t go away, the PokéRAP is next!” and I couldn’t let him down. Because i heard it so many god damn times I’m more than nostalgic for it but I can’t say I love it. It always bothered me that some Pokemon had awesome clips from the anime while others had the generic stock art of the Pokemon, even some that already had had their appearance on the tv show itself. No Mew? Why not add to the mystery since the beginning, he was already in the opening. If you want the lyrics to the Pokemon Rap just scroll to the end of the page.

You Can Do It (If You Really Try) is the motivational song the album ends with and it’s pretty decent but doesn’t really have anything to do with Pokemon since these generic lyrics could fit pretty much any movie or show where there’s a quest. The album was popular and even got 3 books of sheet music, two for piano one called 2.B.A. Master and another Pokémon Five-Finger Piano but also it got its own Pokemon flute recorder with sheet music in Pokémon 2.B.A. Master: Recorder Fun!. I have to admit it’s pretty good for a Pokemon themed album and it dumps all over the Pokemon 2000 The Power of One soundtrack.

Since I mentioned it plenty of times, six of these songs were promoted at the end of Pokemon episodes since they figured everyone was tired of the PokeRap by then and this would not only spice things up but get kids to ask their parents to get them some the cassette or CD of the Pokemon album that featured them. What makes up for this is that this was called Pikachu’s Jukebox and while they’re basically glorified AMVs from the 90s I have to admit they’re pretty cool as they do go along with the lyrics rather well and well they’re officially endorsed AMVs from the late 90s. The featured classics include: “2.B.A Master”, “Viridian City”, “What kind of Pokemon are you?”, “My Best Friends”, “Double Trouble (Team Rocket)” and “Together Forever”. The first two are the weakest with barely any relevant clips to the songs but the last 4 were successful in stitching together scenes to match the songs and wouldn’t have minded full music videos instead of these 30 second clips.

pokemon 2 b a master hd

pokemon 2 b a master

For more our full list of tributes we’ve payed to Pokemon click here. If you enjoyed the article or have any thoughts let me know by commenting below or by tweeting at me. You can also share the article or hit me up an email with your thoughts, it’s nice to hear from other fans.

OK, guys, we gotta rap some Pokémon.
You just do the singing. I’ll take care of the hard part.
Let’s get it on!

I want to be the best
there ever was.
To beat all the rest, yeah,
that’s my cause.

Electrode, Diglett, Nidoran, Mankey
Venusaur, Rattata, Fearow, Pidgey
Seaking, Jolteon, Dragonite, Gastly
Ponyta, Vaporeon, Poliwrath, Butterfree

Catch ’em, catch ’em, gotta catch ’em all,

I’ll search across the land,
look far and wide.
Release from my hand
the power that’s inside.

Venomoth, Poliwag, Nidorino, Golduck
Ivysaur, Grimer, Victreebel, Moltres
Nidoking, Farfetch’d, Abra, Jigglypuff
Kingler, Rhyhorn, Clefable, Wigglytuff

Catch ’em, catch ’em, gotta catch ’em all,
Gotta catch ’em all, Pokémon!

Zubat, Primeape, Meowth, Onix
Geodude, Rapidash, Magneton, Snorlax
Gengar, Tangela, Goldeen, Spearow
Weezing, Seel, Gyarados, Slowbro

Gotta catch ’em all, gotta catch ’em all, yeah!
Gotta catch ’em all, gotta catch ’em all, yeah!
Gotta catch ’em all, Pokémon! Ow!

Kabuto, Persian, Paras, Horsea
Raticate, Magnemite, Kadabra, Weepinbell
Ditto, Cloyster, Caterpie, Sandshrew
Bulbasaur, Charmander, Golem, Pikachu

At least 150 or more to see.
To be a Pokémon Master is my destiny.

Alakazam, Doduo, Venonat, Machoke
Kangaskhan, Hypno, Electabuzz, Flareon
Blastoise, Poliwhirl, Oddish, Drowzee
Raichu, Nidoqueen, Bellsprout, Starmie

Woo! We’re at the halfway point, doing great so far.
We? What’s all this “we” stuff? I’m doing all the hard work!
Breaktime’s over, here we go!

Metapod, Marowak, Kakuna, Clefairy
Dodrio, Seadra, Vileplume, Krabby
Lickitung, Tauros, Weedle, Nidoran
Machop, Shellder, Porygon, Hitmonchan

Gotta catch ’em all, gotta catch ’em all, yeah!
Gotta catch ’em all, gotta catch ’em all, yeah!

Articuno, Jynx, Nidorina, Beedrill
Haunter, Squirtle, Chansey (Pokémon!)
Parasect, Exeggcute, Muk, Dewgong
Pidgeotto, Lapras, Vulpix, Rhydon

At least 150 or more to see.
To be a Pokémon Master is my destiny.

Charizard, Machamp, Pinsir, Koffing
Dugtrio, Golbat, Staryu, Magikarp
Ninetales, Ekans, Omastar
Scyther, Tentacool, Dragonair, Magmar

Whoa, catch your breath man. Shake out those lips.
It’s downhill from here, just 24 more to go.
Now it gets tricky, so listen real good!

Sandslash, Hitmonlee, Psyduck, Arcanine
Eevee, Exeggutor, Kabutops, Zapdos
Dratini, Growlithe, Mr. Mime, Cubone
Graveler, Voltorb, Gloom – We’re almost home!

Gotta catch ’em all, gotta catch ’em all, yeow!
Gotta catch ’em all, gotta catch ’em all, huh!
Gotta catch ’em all, Pokémon! yeah!

Charmeleon, Wartortle
Mewtwo, Tentacruel, Aerodactyl
Omanyte, Slowpoke, Pidgeot, Arbok – That’s all, folks!

Catch ’em, catch ’em, gotta catch ’em all (oow)
Gotta catch ’em all, Pokémon
Catch ’em, catch ’em, gotta catch ’em all (ow)
Gotta catch ’em all, Pokémon
Catch ’em, catch ’em, gotta catch ’em all
Gotta catch ’em all… Pokémon!

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Luigi Kawasaki

social hermit

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