I may have mentioned this before, but one thing that I remember from my very first visit to homestarrunner.com was the “what’s new” button displaying a new Pom Pom shirt available in the Store. Not having any idea who Pom Pom was at the time, I assumed it was a shirt with actual pompoms on it, and didn’t really investigate this any further. I would look at the store every now and then to see what kind of stuff they had, but I never had any interest in getting any of it, because A) I didn’t have any money, and B) I didn’t really trust online shopping. Over the years, I eventually did get a Homsar T-shirt, as well as hoodies of Strong Bad and The Cheat. They came with keychains, one of the Strong Badia stop sign, and one is just a white star with Homestar’s head on it. I still have those keychains, but unfortunately I don’t have any of the shirts any more. I gave one of them away, and I have no idea what happened to the other two. And that’s about it. Now, rather than just talk about the other stuff that the store contained, I’d like to provide a link to an archive of it, thanks to the Wayback Machine, and then you can look through it a bit on your own while I talk about some of the more obscure stuff.
I actually do have something else worth mentioning about those, which unfortunately I can’t find an archive of, but I do remember that at one point, you could play a certain song with the “doo” noises that Homestar makes when you mouse over the shirt designs. When you got the correct note, it would show a star (I think) in the corner of the screen and when you finished the song, it would show you a preview of the figurine set. Since this particular archive already has those for sale, this was obviously an older version of the page, but none of the archives from before this date seem to have a page that loads properly, otherwise I’d link to it.
And since I don’t really have any better time to talk about these, there’s a couple other things the store offered that are kind of interesting and worth pointing out. First off is this funky “floaty pen” that you would apparently get for free if you bought a messenger bag. I checked quite a few of the archived pages and wasn’t able to find one with this mentioned anywhere, but I do vaguely remember it existing, and you could click and drag the pen to make The Cheat float up and down in the pen. Exciting.
On a more interesting note is the Kick The Cheat doll, which I mentioned in an earlier article, since it’s the exact same thing they use in the puppet videos. From what I can tell, this was released around February 2004 (which is odd, because I seem to remember it being available before they used it in the puppet videos, but I guess I’m remembering wrong.) When it was released, there was a little game (though I use that term loosely) you could try out, which is actually somewhat similar to that hidden Taryn game from the Message Bored. Rather than link directly to the game, here’s the page that has a little rotaty The Cheat image, along with a separate link to the game.
Now before I get to the CD, there’s still one last thing I did want to talk about related to the store, and that’s the little Flash scenes that would play when you buy stuff. There’s two kinds – ones that would pop up within the store as you add stuff to your shopping cart, encouraging you to look at other items (I don’t have any record of these other than the Wiki mentioning them), and the “Thank You Messages” that would appear after you complete your purchase. I can’t really link to these directly, because they were intentionally coded so that they would only play after legitimately buying something and not just linking to a url.
Which then transitions into my next point – I’m definitely a fan of the site, but I haven’t exactly supported the series financially. So when it comes to reviewing material that I don’t own, there’s a few different options – don’t review it at all, actually support the site and buy it like I’m supposed to, or rely on other people to upload the material to the internet and watch it that way. Guess which one I picked. To be fair, I didn’t illegally download anything, I just used Youtube, but still, I do wish I had the physical copy. Maybe at some point I’ll get the DVDs (they’re all pretty cheap on the official store), but for now, I’ll just be a complete hypocrite and ask other people to support the site while I sit back and freeload. So here’s Strong Bad Sings and Other Type Hits. No, I’m not linking to it, you can search Youtube on your own.
I really do want to just get to the point and say a little about each song on this CD, but first, a short intro. It was released on November 17, 2003, and there were actually a couple emails that came out between the Halloween stuff from the previous post and this one, but I’ll be getting back to those next time. And as I’ve already stated, I don’t own the CD, so I can’t really talk much about the artwork, but the front cover of it is delightfully outlandish. The other artwork sounds kind of cool from the Wiki’s descriptions, but I can’t find any pictures of it, so I’m out of luck there. So enough loafing around, let’s just get to the songs. Whether you have the CD yourself or you have to use Youtube for it, feel free to go through them with me. Just keep in mind that I have no musical knowledge whatsoever and no position to put out any kind of meaningful review. Ready? Go.
TROGDOR: This is probably the most well-known song on the album, thanks to its appearance in Guitar Hero II. It’s also one of the few that is actually played in this format on the website – in this case, the Happy Trogday toon (though it doesn’t play in its entirety there). Overall, this is a pretty dang good song. Very … loud. And energetic.
The System is down: Good mindless fun. It’s worth mentioning that there’s actually three distinct versions of this song – this one, the one in the techno email itself, and the one on the Downloads page. This is definitely the best of the three, as it would be expected. I also like the ending, where it’s revealed that Strong Bad was somehow doing all those noises at the same time, and not just layering them over each other in post. Which was already seen in the email, of course, but meh, I still found it funny.
Strong Badia National Anthem: Well, I can’t say that this is one of the better songs in this, but I do like the attempt to make it stand out by including a class of students singing along with it. Though I have to say, it’s a bit weird how they sound like teenagers at the start and then have much higher voices while singing, unless only girls were singing. I dunno.
Oh Yeah Yeah: I can’t say I expected this one to turn into a rock song when I first read that it was on the CD. But I’m not sure what else I expected. It’s probably the most worthless song on the CD, but I might take that back after listening to some of the later ones again.
Because, It’s Midnite: This one was also in Guitar Hero, and much like TROGDOR, is considered extremely difficult by people. Except this one is actually possible to finish on Expert, whereas TROGDOR is not. And one last thing comparing it to that song – this one also appeared in its full version on the actual website, in Limozeen vs. Sloshy. But enough about that, is the song actually any good? Well, I definitely think it is. I’ve never been a big Limozeen fan, but I can’t deny that it’s catchy, and is one of the best songs on the CD in terms of actual musical quality. I can’t say if the song actually has any kind of meaning behind it, but it’s not purely comedic either, it’s just an homage to old hair metal bands.
Circles: Remember the theme party email? Yeah, I don’t either, and I’m surprised that they did. The best part about this song (well, aside from the meaningless lyrics) is the random muttering between lines. I’m not sure exactly what was going on here, but it was definitely unprofessional, and that was obviously what they were going for, so … good job, I guess. I dunno, not too crazy about this one.
Let’s get started on doing all those awesome things I suggested: This one actually made me laugh out loud when I first listened to it. Not because of any of the pre-song comments or anything, because those were pretty useless, but because the song just completely dies as soon as it begins. I would have liked to actually hear some of the song, but this was hilarious in its own right.
Moving Very Slowly: Meh, I can’t say I’m a fan of death metal. Or “stoner metal”, as people are claiming this song actually is. I dunno, music genres are a mystery to me. Point is, it’s not that great of a song in my opinion. And it’s the longest one on the CD. Eugh. But yeah, anything Taranchula-related is pretty hit-or-miss. I did enjoy the death metal email, but that came long after this. At the time of this CD’s released, I think the only things related to the band were the original band names email and the short clip from fingers.
Sweet Cuppin’ Cakes Theme Song: What the crap was this? Like, seriously, what was this? I guess it fits in with the concept of the actual cartoon, I’ll give it that much. And I did enjoy the rapid “everybody knows it” bit, because it reminded me of the “check it out, check it out” from Lookin at a Thing in a Bag. And then there was a weird voice at the end. It might have been Eh! Steve, but it sounded more like Homsar. The wiki can’t decide what was up with it either.
i think i have a chance with this guy: So mix together The System is down with Teen Girl Squad, and you get this. Sure, why not. Not as fun as the original techno song, but the lyrics are at least pretty funny in this one. I think I’ll put some ants on this guy.
It’s like it was meant to be: No clue where this one came from. It’s not even from the original Strong Bad Sings toon. And I’d say this has a good contender of being more useless than Oh Yeah Yeah, but … nah, it’s not quite that bad. It just lost focus pretty quickly. It went from being a love song to just Strong Bad repeatedly insisting that he’s being serious. I completely forgot this one existed when I got to it my second time going through the CD, and the first time was only like, two hours ago. So yeah.
NITE MAMAS: Y’know, this CD is making me rethink my opinion on Limozeen. They might seem kind of out of place compared to the rest of the Homestar universe, but I legitimately enjoy their music. I don’t think this one is quite as good as Because, It’s Midnite, but they’re both good in different ways. This one’s just a bit too repetitive, I think, but it’s still a nice tune.
Sensitive to Bees: Ok, this song is legitimately funny, thanks to Strong Bad’s live commentary. And Homestar joining in at the end and messing up. It doesn’t hurt that the song itself is really stupid to begin with, but not in the Oh Yeah Yeah kind of way, because this one does have substance, it’s just … well, really stupid. And sometimes that can be a good thing.
You’ve got an Ugly & Stupid BUTT: I was disappointed when this changed its tone after the first line. I wanted to see where the song would be heading, and I can’t say I expected it to completely change genre and just devolve into him saying essentially the same thing over and over.
These peoples try to fade me: This is one of the songs on the album that I’ve always been interested in hearing , and now that I have, I must say it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Coach Z has better raps out there – namely Hip Hop Dance and Rap Song. Neither of which I’ve covered yet in this blog, but I’ll get to them in due time. This song wasn’t awful by any means, but I feel like it was too repetitive, and the funny parts went by too quickly. Now there is one other thing I must mention about this song, and that’s the music video that comes along with it. If you have the CD, it should automatically play if you get to this song when playing it on a computer. If not, just check Youtube. It’s nothing to write home about, but I was surprised to see its similarities to the one from New Boots. And this one came first, so it’s kind of weird to realize that a toon that I was quite familiar with is actually sort of a follow-up to something older.
The ladies in Town all know my name: Ok, enough of these. Let’s get started was funny, It’s like it was meant to be was forgettable, and this one was just kind of dumb. It seemed like it had potential, but then it just stopped. Which I guess was kind of the joke, but come on, you had a nice melody going and then just killed it.
The theme from DANGERESQUE II: This time, it’s not Dangeresque I: Man, that’s a long title. But that aside, this was a pretty good one, I think. It definitely has the spy movie feel to it, and some of the lyrics were quite funny (I enjoyed the “length of pipe” bit). And on another note, there was actually a preview of this song in an old SBEmail menu. For the sake of being thorough, here’s a link. Be aware that the links on the sticky note don’t actually work in this mirror, but there were two of them: one for this song, one for #19.
Somebody Told Me (Now I Believe Them): This is the last of the ones taken from the Strong Bad Sings toon, and at least we ended on a good note. Yes, the song is repetitive, but at least it wasn’t less than I expected. In fact, I rather liked the twangy feel to it. Not great by any means, but it took a single line that I enjoyed from the original toon and actually made it better.
THE Cheat is NOT DEAD: I always enjoyed the original version of this song, and this is an extended version of it with a random choir and overly enthusiastic gospel segment at the end, so you’ll get no complaints from me. I’d say that this, TROGDOR, and the next song are in close competition for the best non-Limozeen song on the album, and it’s really just a matter of personal taste to say which is the superior song.
EVERYBODY TO THE LIMIT (Live): Definitely ending on a high note here. I think this is my favorite out of the three that I just mentioned as the contenders for “best on the album”, but it really is a close call. This one just has a lot of energy behind it, and it’s a fun song in general. I can picture Strong Bad on stage singing this to a crowd of fans. It’s a strange image, I’ll grant you that much, but I can picture it nonetheless.
Secret Song: This one is found by waiting on the last track for a few minutes. And it makes me realize that Homestar really wasn’t on this CD very much. Friggin’ Strong Bad always stealing the spotlight. Anyway, this was a nice little Easter egg. Not the best song on the album, but definitely not the worst.
And there we go, that’s the whole CD. Definitely a big range of lots of different types of music, some good, some bad, but overall, I have to say it was an interesting collection, and I’m glad I checked it out, even if I was about ten years late. Next time will be a more standard update, with some classic SBEmail goodness, and perhaps a bit of other stuff. But this was a nice little diversion, and I’ve been wanting to go over the store for a while, so I’m glad I got that done. But this post came out much longer than I anticipated, so I’ll have to wrap it up here for now.