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Pete Frogs – Genesis Jams Review

Your favourite cheesy pop anthems reworked as Sonic the Hedgehog's game soundtrack.

What does Pete Frogs sound like?

Full fat 16-bit chip tunes with a bassline that slaps.

The review of Pete Frogs – Genesis Jams

French bassist and composer Pete Frogs clearly loves the Sega Genesis (Mega Drive in the UK for me). He has released a few albums dedicated to this era of game music and excels in dropping in lots of sound effects that evoke nostalgia from classic games from the era. For ‘Genesis Jams’, he has reworked 9 iconic pop songs using the Sonic the Hedgehog chipset and game sound effects. It is as joyous and glorious as you may expect as no expense in showcasing the main melodies is spared.

photo of Pete Frogs
Pete Frogs

I’ll kick off with the best-known songs. ‘Call Me Maybe’ is an absolute blast with thick power chords, chunky lead synths and a stomping crunchy beat. It is alive and full of flavour and sounds way better than the original. ‘Take On Me’ mixes in so many Sonic sound effects and even ends with the level clear jingle. It’s punchy, runs at speed and is undeniably full of energy. Hearing Sonic’s power-up pops and even Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker “Ow!” is fun and using the wind sound as Sonic speeds off in a roll works as a treat too. ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ sounds like it’s using a slightly different chipset as the drums sound more realistic but the organs are also cheesier. I’m quite surprised at how close to the original this chiptune rework sounds! Another personal favourite is Haddaway’s ‘What Is Love’ which uses a wiry synth from the Sonic mechanical levels and mixes it with 16bit sampled drum machines. It’s arcade heaven and the arpeggiators give the whole track a main menu theme vibe. Add in Sonic’s ding-dong bonus post noise and some sampled vocals and you have an instant classic.

Two tracks that stood out far more than I expected are ’24K Magic’ and ‘Super Freak’. The reason is that Pete Frogs bass playing background shines here. Both songs are bass-driven and ‘Super Freak’ sounds like it is a lost Sonic or Toejam and Earl song. The grooves are strong. ‘Lean On’ is slinky and the skipping beat allows this to feel effortlessly rubbery and cool. Closing track ‘Nightcall’ is the sole darker electronica track on the album. The more deliberate stomp beat and darker chord structure allows this to veer towards a darker retrowave whilst sounding like a hero rising theme.

‘Genesis Jams’ is charming, disarming and a bloody good time wrapped up in Sonic the Hedgehog’s clothes. These pop anthems have been reworked beautifully by Pete Frog. Anyone who enjoys anthemic pop covers, chiptunes or Sega Genesis music should pick up this beauty now. It’ll leave you with a grin on your face as you boogie on down.

Recommended track: Take On Me

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Pete Frogs - Genesis Jams



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