[Author’s note: This is the conclusion of my series in which I carefully research and review the themes of every Pokémon season, in chronological order.]
Season 13: Pokémon DP: Sinnoh League Victors (We Will Carry On!)
Lyrics: For FUCK’S SAKE, Loeffler and Wolfert! This is like the Nickelback Pokémon intro! The ultimate shitty pop song intro, and it recycles the concept of “carrying on” from my beloved David Rolfe way back in season 7, but makes it really shitty. Ugh. And then someone said, “Quick, bring back the guy whose job it is to shout ‘Pokémon!’ in the background!”
Delivery: Adam Elk, lead singer of The Mommyheads, is the vocalist. It embarrasses me to listen to this one. It’s just so shitty, and then the worst part is the “never givin’ up / So hold your head up” pseudo-rapped* part. Replace the word “head” with “glass,” and you’ve got a Pink single.
*To call it this is insulting to even the worst rap music.
Other: At least this is the last in the Pokémon DP series.
Season 14: Pokémon Black & White (Black and White)
Lyrics: Written by, you guessed it, Loeffler and Wolfert. OK, lyrically I don’t have a big problem with this. It’s the most ambivalent of the Pokémon songs: it’s not whether you win or lose! It’s the path you choose! (I.e. the WINNING PATH, KID.) I like the integration of the phrase “Black and White” in the theme song, that’s nicely done, although the fact that they use the phrase “it’s not always black and white” seems to undermine the fact that the series itself is called Pokémon Black and White.
Delivery: What the hell? Did someone really think,“It would be awesome to get an off-brand Arcade Fire to sing a Pokémon theme song”? The vocalists for this one are Erin Bowman (again) and Joe Philips, doing their best hipster voices. I don’t hate this as much as season 13’s song, but the delivery is pretty off-putting. It drags like crazy; what happened to the funky, upbeat intros of yesteryear? Also, Nintendo really dropped the ball as far as branding Pokémon goes. It used to be that you could recognize Pokémon by three notes. In the Black and White theme song, they repeat the same boring note! This has been going on for a while, but why? Compare this “Who’s that Pokémon” bit with a new one. Which one is branded better? Hint: it’s the one that doesn’t make you fall the fuck asleep.
Wasn’t that an intoxicating journey? It’s always interesting to watch the complete deterioration of a brand. I’m being hard on Nintendo, though. Their Pokémon franchise has spawned a TV show that’s been around for 14 years, and that’s no small feat. They must be doing something right. Oh, well. At least now we’re all experts on the Pokémon theme songs. Bring that up at the next cocktail party you attend. Or don’t. You’re more likely to make friends if you don’t.