Parappa The Rapper is already established as an icon for the rhythm action genre of the gaming industry. It was this game that really woke the world outside Japan to rhythm action games. Parappa and the sequels “Um Jammer Lammy” band “Milkcan” team up for a completely new album, well 6 tracks at least. Before I go any further, I must tell you a few things about the album.
Firstly, “I Scream” is hip-hop music and if that doesn’t appeal to you (as it does not to me), then you may be at a disadvantage. The same can also be said if you don’t like rhythm games either(or cheesy lyrics – or silly sounds – or…).
Secondly, the album takes some of the main songs from Um Jammer Lammy and then rearranges them for Parappa The Rapper – which is cheating in a sense, but at least if you’ve played the game it’ll be warmly familiar to you and with just enough of a twist to give it a little freshness.
Thirdly, the whole album is full of childish moral banter, using the “cool” Parappa to give the listeners (aimed at the Secondary school range) messages such as “don’t do drugs”. You can either scoff at the attempts, or appreciate what has been done. Also, the lyrics, if you have an adult mind, can prove rather humorous too. Bearing that in mind, read on.
The album opener is called “All We Need Is Music”, which is supposedly sung by Katy Kat, with the main rapping by Parappa. Immediately, you’ll be greeted with happy, funk guitar riffs, and you’ll notice exactly what I said about the lyrics, especially the closing line “Keep my head high, never do drugs, never tell lies and check to make sure I zipped up my fly!” The song is catchy and harmless and sets the scene for the rest to come.
“The New Plan” starts off badly, plugging the PlayStation, but once it gets going, the catchy song manages to grab you by the shoulders and shakes you around, despite Parappa’s poor singing. If you’re into the song, you won’t notice, but if you’re not into the songs at all, it will grate.
“Life Is Like A Sky” is my personal favourite. Its extremely catchy, has some of the best lines, and the best “singing” that Parappa does on the album. “Chop! Chop!” could have been a perfect song along with “Life Is Like A Sky”, but for a bizarre beat problem in the chorus, which tries to spoil everything the song builds up as much as possible. It’s jarring at first however several years and many listens later it isn’t so bad.
“Why?” is either the worst or the best song on the album, depending on the stance you stand from. It’s a dreadful song, that’s almost laughable. Parappa does his best to sing out of tune too. What makes it so good though, is the lyrics. The song asks lots of questions, but as soon as it stops rhyming, it says something that innocently questions the ways of the world in a simple and very effective manner. You’d only wish that Parappa could sing though! “No Cuttin’ Corners!” is the closing track, which is much like the opening track. Its extremely happy and gives every moral under the sun and rounds off the album nicely.
“I Scream” is extremely hard to rate. You’ll love it, hate it, or appreciate what has tried to do but steer clear none-the-less. Fans of the series should snap it up straight away but everyone else should proceed with extreme caution.