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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Song of the Week! 13 August 2011


An user request and a staff pick take us into an international journey! Who said Taiko games don't have good English songs?

 Thriller (スリラー) Michael Jackson
Allx3 (57)x4 (95)x6 (218)x8 (326)
 Taiko 14, Taiko DS 3

About a year after Michael Jackson's tragic death on July 25, 2009, this showed up all of a sudden on both arcade and console, as if to make a tribute to the late and great artist. Originally recorded in 1982, Thriller is the seventh and final single from his sixth studio album, also named Thriller; it was written by Rod Temperton and co-produced by Quincy Jones. In the song, sound effects such as a creaking door, thunder, feet walking on wooden planks, winds and howling dogs can be heard (most of them were created by a synthesizer), and the lyrics contain frightening themes and elements.

Thriller was overwhelmingly successful; critics praised it to no end and it was featured several time in AOL's Radio Blog lists as a Top-10 hit in several categories, like "Top 100 '80s Songs" and "10 Best Halloween Songs". The single soon earned a Platinum Record, which is now displayed in Hard Rock Café in Hollywood, and Thriller (the album) went on to become one of the best-selling of all time.

A year after the single's release, Jacko made a 14-minute music video with John Landis for the song, named Michael Jackson's Thriller. The idea to produce "song interpretation through short movies" was one of Micheal's most recurring ones, where he could show his artistic talent with his unique dancing choreography. This revolutionary experiment started the video clip trend by selling over 9 million copies; this impressive result is recorded in 2006's Guinness Word Records. In 2009, the video was inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress, the first music video to ever receive this honor, for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant.

The Taiko version is a very short extract from the hit single, covering two stanzas and the chorus once. The slow BPM is ripe fodder for an easy song with normal clusters, but instead the song has been loaded full of clusters to increase the difficulty. Aptly enough, this thrilling, scare-themed song is used in the RPG battles with the skeleton enemies in Taiko DS3.

 I Was Born To Love You Queen
TDM (JP)x4 (136)x4 (195)x4 (348)x6 (427)
Taiko 12.5x4 (136)x6 (195)x7 (348)x7 (427)
 Taiko 12.5, Taiko Drum Master (JP edition)

I Was Born to Love You is a 1985 song by Freddie Mercury, and was released as a single and on the Mr. Bad Guy album. After Mercury's death, Queen remixed this song for their album Made in Heaven in 1995, by having the other members play their instrumental parts over the original track.

The Queen version was released as a single exclusively in Japan in February 1996, because the song was used in a TV ad for Kirin Ichiban Shibori, or Super Dry (スーパードライ), one of the best-selling liquors of the country produced by the Kirin Brewery Company. Thanks to the cameo in this Japanese commercial, the single entered the Japanese chart; that's why I Was Born to Love You is featured only in the Japanese version of Taiko Drum Master (though why it wasn't present in its native region is a mystery)

In 2004, Queen's version was used as the theme for Pride (プライド), the successful Japanese drama starring Takuya Kimura and Yūko Takeuchi, aired on Fuji Television, that featured the songs by the band. Jewels, their tie-in compilation album featured "I Was Born to Love You" and released only in Japan, and the song re-entered the Japanese chart. This second cameo pushed the song back into Taiko, into the 12.5 arcade, under the Variety section and with new difficulty star ratings, raised by one star from its original position from TDM with no notechart changes. However, the 2P notecharts were not ported for its new arcade release.

Taiko isn't the first rhythm game to feature Queen's hit single, the 2006 touch-based rhythm game Elite Beat Agents has it too, where Paul Vician's cover of this song is featured with a small story accompanying the song (like every other one in the game's 10-plus tracklist). In the story, a young Leonardo da Vinci tries to attract the attention of lady Lisa, in order to have her as a model for one of his paintings, and the Elite Beat Agent encourages him with this song.

The Taiko cut is also a cover version, and a short one. Being slightly faster than Thriller, the 7* Oni has livelier and easier note patterns, featuring tons of 2 and 3-hit clusters instead of one long chain of clusters.


  1. I love Gear Up and Angel Dream :D

  2. I found a taikojiro 2P ver. of Thriller, closest to HQ I could find. Posting here if anyone's interested.


  3. I was wondering, how come there isn't an Idolm@ster song series? (there are so many songs though, like 2 new ones on the newer console games)

    Anyway, can I request some of the newer PSP DX songs? Like Shiro Neko/ Wanya World or something.

  4. @betawatcher: Too many songs in the series, and most of them have very derivative song styles and unremarkable notecharts, so it's quite hard to find much to talk about.

    As for the PSP DX songs, there's very limited information on a large part of them so we leave them for now.