ReMix: Super Meat Boy 'Power of the Meat'

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Super Meat Boy

Disturbing moral vegetarians and vegans everywhere, Super Meat Boy is the tale of one piece of meat's journey to rescue the bandage girl he loves from the evil clutches of Dr. Fetus. Regardless of whoever that premise offends, it's also a tight piece of platform gaming with an N+-style mechanic that features long-distance pinpoint jumping and relatively brief levels. What instantly pulled me in was the accumulation of blood on the various buzz saws that butcher our poor protagonist at every misstep, which happened to me a lot. I was proud just to be able to beat the first world (awesome boss w/ awesome music), that my waning gamer chops hadn't deteriorated to outright extinction...

Oh yeah, did I mention this game has a fantastic soundtrack by ex-judge and well-known badass Danny Baranowsky?

Well, I did now. We interviewed Mr. B awhile back, which you should check out if you haven't, but now that Super Meat Boy is released upon XBLA, he's all the more famous. You can grab the soundtrack at bandcamp; it's the OST plus mixes by the likes of Inverse Phase (aka Brendan aka Mr. MAGFest), AnSo, and of course, Josh Whelchel and Melinda Hershey (aka Poolside), with this mix that's somewhat reminiscent of their excellent Final Fantasy 8 OCR debut in its maximalist, male+female vocal, over-the-top popness. The power of the meat may be a curious thing, make a one man weep, make another man sing, but in this case it's not a Huey Lewis reference, but apparently a direct acknowledgment of the real, ultimate power of, well... meat. Mr. Whelchel 'splains himself:

"Super Meat Boy's soundtrack is a retrogamer's dream, and though technically not a chiptune soundtrack (don't be fooled!), it is full of 8bit inspired melodies and instrumentation which throws the ears back to the days of Mario, Luigi, Samus, and my favorite pixelated Link. Danny has done an incredible job of being true to the roots while nearly inventing a new genre of incredibly catchy music that helps relieve the tension caused by screaming at terribly difficult gaming experience. If the curiosity of the reward won't bring you back to the TV screen to play Super Meat Boy, then certainly the soundtrack will. Baranowsky also takes advantage of retro "warp zones" to create chiptune-inspired versions of the main themes in the game in homage to music of olde.

When Danny first approached me to do a remix for him, I had no idea what to do - so I started off throwing some electronic things together that had mild chip-inspirations. Before I knew what I was doing, it was incredibly apparent that I needed to call Melinda, fresh from her service trip to Uganda, to add the missing link: vocals. After a quick synopsis of the game and a few screenshots Melinda was writing lyrics, tackling the main chorus' with the lines of Meat Boy and Bandage Girl. It didn't take much after that for me to write the lines of a very quirky Dr. Fetus to finish the job. We used some of the layering ideas we laid precedent with "Shine Tonight" to really seal the deal, and this is the result.

Most of the music here revolves around what's heard in Chapter 2 ("Betus Blues"), but themes from the entire game peak through, namely with an interlude of Chapter 1 ("Forest Funk"). The bass line of Ch2 mostly drives the mix, but I alternate between a lot of the sections heard in that song as well, including some of the alberti and hocket type passages. I even throw a few augmented sixth chords in to freshen the music up a bit, which can be heard in the beginning.

"Power of the Meat" is intended to show just how incredible this little Meat Boy truly is. He's.... SUPER. (haha what?)"

You're so high. While I do get a little tired of folks drawing lines in the sand about what is and isn't TRUE, REAL, 100% CHIPTUNE (I'm generally wary of purists in all guises), the point here is that Danny is all over the place, with some tracks being completely chippy, others blending chip timbres in, and still others being completely unchiply. Basically, he did whatever the hell he wanted to, and it resulted in an OST that's not just another great indie game soundtrack, but a veritable statement. It segues in and out of retro-nostalgia in a way that keeps you guessing and meshes with the game's changing aesthetic, and seems very much the work of an inspired composer who was allowed to do completely as he wished. You could perhaps say that it's OCD, shifting from one aesthetic (visually & musically) to the next, but in this case that fits the game mechanic of challenging, short-order platforming like a glove. Because the game is relatively hard, if you're like me you're going to hear this music a LOT, and it's a testament to the composer and his vision that, like Wise's theme to Wizards & Warriors as one example, it doesn't get old or annoying even in the midst of frustration, dying, and replaying the same level 30 times until you get it right. Great stuff from an artist who's given a ton to our community - personally, this will be a game I think about when I think about great modern game soundtracks, and I'm really proud and honored that it comes from someone who has been and hopefully will continue to be involved with OverClocked ReMix. Yes, I used the full site name there for extra-dramatic emphasis.

Now, regarding this mix - pretty much everything I said about "Shine Tonight" applies here, as well. It's almost got a rock opera/musical theater vibe going with the different characters and male/female call-answer and layering, and with the semi-rapping and crazy vox fx, it's probably even more flamboyant and indulgent than its predecessor, in a good way. Lyrics are fantastic - let's face it, "fetus" NEEDED to be rhymed with "beat us" - and are all the better if you've played the game (play the game!), and the recurring vocal hooks & motifs, fakey retro-guitars, hard-sync'd synths, pizzicato, vocoding, and epic strings are all synchronized 110% with the spirit of Danny's soundtrack and the wholesome, Grade A USDA lean universe of Super Meat Boy.

This is a great OST that shows what Baranowsky is truly capable of, with a great ReMix by Josh & Melinda that's catchy as hell and highlights all that is true and good about the source. Makes me cry little tears of meat just thinkin' bout it. And now, for the gratuitous closing pun you've been waiting for:

Well done!

djpretzel

Discussion: Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
ElementDuck
on 2012-10-17 20:22:22
I know I'm late to the party, but this is really great! I especially like the vocals. I keep forgetting about it on my now massive playlist; it's such a welcome surprise each time.
Crulex
on 2012-05-01 15:37:45
Wow! Those are some catchy as hell lyrics. I'm liking the mixing on the vocals and the way it just flows with the music, and Melinda's voice is awesome. Seriously, I think her voice was perfect for this. The arrangement of the music is just so damn good. Instant recommendation on this one.
Brandon Strader
on 2011-04-16 18:21:58
Listening to this game while playing the game at the "hospital". Most infuriating game ever, haha.. Partially because my keyboard is pure crap.
Benjamin Briggs
on 2011-02-09 16:03:10
42
on 2010-12-26 17:05:30
Holy....
The more I listen to it, the more I want to listen to it.
By far my favorite line out of the song is:
"Well, when your blood paints these walls, I'll call it work of art!"
It's just such a cool line, and the way it's delivered just fantastic. The way the vocals are layered and fade in and out throughout feels so appropriate.
This is such an amazing song.
PROTO·DOME
on 2010-12-12 17:20:14
So, only recently discovered the fekkin' awsum that is Super Meat Boy and I thought I'd just post to say this track is brilliant, the production and lyrics are just fantastic, bloody catchy.
Almost a pun. Almost.
Emunator
on 2010-12-11 03:01:08
It's shit like this, Josh. God, why are you so creative and awesome? It's making everyone else look bad :-P Every remix from you feels like it's got 500% more effort put into it than most other remixers put into their own songs. Melinda's chorus vocals are SERIOUSLY infectious, I just caught myself tapping my toe and bobbing my head as I wrote this.
All-around stupendous effort from everyone involved, here's to a lot more Poolside and Josh Whelchel on OCR!
Deathtank
on 2010-11-27 08:22:54
Excellent arrangements + awesome singing = the perfect remix!
This song is amazing!! :)!!
Josh Whelchel
on 2010-11-16 10:10:33
Level 99;730593 wrote: Am I the only one seeing Whelchel's suspicious association with meat and food? Wait a minute...THE CURE FOR BURRITO BOREDOM WAS SUPER MEAT BOY, WASN'T IT?!

Oh no, you're on to me!
Martin Penwald
on 2010-11-15 15:40:23
One of the catchiest remixes to come out of OCR in a long time; it's next to impossible to get the chorus out of your head.
Nice beat around 4:05, too.
Level 99
on 2010-11-15 14:56:17
Super Meat boy is a game that is going to be getting a fuckton of remixing love. That's not opinion: it is fact. The awesomeness of the ost mixed with the game themes themselves...it's just too tempting to pass up, ain't it?
And here comes Poolside, with a pop synth duet featuring some heavily processed vocals. Can't say I'm a fan of most of the stuff done to the male voice, since I'm finding it hard to understand a lot of what is being said, but for the most part, this is really good. Kept my attention the whole way through, to say the VERY least. The interplay between the orchestral instruments and the hard synths was interesting and worked surprisingly well. The female chorus hook is unbelievably catchy. The male vocals later on were good. I guess I can also point out that some of the panning in this mix felt weird (either that, or I'm going deaf in my right ear while listening to this song). But, as always when I review things I a) try to find something good in a bad mix and b) try to find something bad in a good mix. So, there we are, and this definitely falls under category b!
Am I the only one seeing Whelchel's suspicious association with meat and food? Wait a minute...THE CURE FOR BURRITO BOREDOM WAS SUPER MEAT BOY, WASN'T IT?!
Master_Yoshi
on 2010-11-04 17:17:20
....
Uh....
Uhm....
What... what am I listening to? I can't tell, I'm so confused! Why is this so catchy!? Why do I want to hear more!? What is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything!?!?!
This is so cool, I can't get over how bombastic it sounds, and the contrast of the female vocal, the "Saaave me" is really well executed. And male vocals that I don't immediately hate! And actually like? And are quite catchy?
The world... is meaningless. I must buy this game on XBLA now.
Josh Whelchel
on 2010-11-04 10:28:51
Hey guys! Thanks for the overwhelming positive feedback :D
We have a ReMix kit available for you here as well as the INSTRUMENTAL VERSION of the song.
http://blog.jwmusic.org/remix-the-meat/
Xyless
on 2010-11-01 19:52:50
This is the best vocal mix I've heard...possibly in the history of OCR. The chorus is extremely catchy, the lyrics are inventive, and the instrumentation itself is spot-on. I've had this song in my head literally all day, and wound up buying the game today simply because of this song (dead serious).
If I may be so bold, could I request an instrumental version of this song? Or at least a version without the main vocals (so backup singing, processed voices, etc included)? Even though I know it won't be quite as amazing without the vocals, I really want to have this as an option for instrumental if I decide to put this into my Brawl music hacks. Strong vocals reduce the usability of a song on stages, so I like having instrumentals as well.
Again, great song, and I am looking forward to more!
EmpyClaw
on 2010-11-01 18:54:15
I waited for an hour with a crappy internet connection for this to load, and oh was it worth it. I loved Shine Tonight so much, and this one is just as fantastic.
Thanks for this incredible mix. It brightens my day. I shall keep it on repeat for quite some time.
It's like sausage wrapped in bacon, but for your ears. And without the down sides of fat and cholesterol.